Monday, May 30, 2005
Movie Review Time!
I finally saw Revenge of the Sith today. This is the film that has the rightwingers' panties in a wad, because some French folk at Cannes saw it and think it's a full frontal assault on George W. Bush. This bothers them so much that the stupider ones are trying to attack it right back in a rather stupid way -- but more on that in a second. First, the film itself. I'm rather irritated at it -- I could forgive the schlockier parts of it if Lucas was better at storytelling, but he wants to be taken seriously -- he waves Joseph Campbell's approval like a talisman, the way Jerry Lewis literally runs around yelling "The French love me!" to anyone who'll stand still for it. That said, McDiarmaid as Palpatine did a beautiful job with the script he had (there's one scene he has with Christensen, in which he's telling Anakin-Christensen the story of a great Sith lord, that is most effective), as did McGregor, who comes off as dashing as Lucas' script permits. But Christensen and Portman cannot, unlike the Macs, spin gold from straw. Christensen in particular was a letdown -- his brow ridge did all his acting for him. (Was that a prosthesis? I sure hope so.) The few times he seemed to show any sort of non-woodenness was in some of the early action scenes with McGregor, where they were hemi-demi-semi-cracking jokes with each other. All through it, I kept thinking of Harlan Ellison's proposed script -- which never was made, more's the pity -- for Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. Ellison liked Asimov's story, and knew that he could write an excellent film treatment of it that surpassed the original. And he was right -- which even Asimov himself admitted, and Asimov hated other people messing with his stuff. More to the point, Ellison could have done a similar job for this film, much as Leigh Brackett and Lawrence Kasdan did for The Empire Strikes Back. Sith was an OK film. Ellison could have made it a great one. Back to the stupid people: Did anyone see new NYT columnist John Tierney's reaction to the rumor that this film was a shot at Bush (which I think it was, slightly)? He decides -- and other rightwingers have agreed -- that the Sith and not the Jedi are the real heroes! I shit thee not. Note that Tierney, in making his case for Vader-as-hero, chooses to leave out little things like murdering scores of Jedi children. But what the heck! I doubt Tierney was much bothered by Abu Ghraib, either.
Why would it be a surprise that the heroes of the bad guys would be the bad guys?
According to legend, Frank Capra was a Republican who thought the George Bailey character was a simp and the hero of It's a Wonderful Life was old man Potter. He was certainly a 'winger
It's not a surprise to me, but it might be a surprise to folks who aren't as familiar with the black-is-white, freedom-is-slavery, ignorance-is-strength modus operandi of BushCo and the Republicans. Truly, they are the People of the Lie. Cognitive dissonance is meat and drink to them.
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