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Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, plus the voices of Frank Oz and James Earl Jones
Written and Directed by Executive Producer: George Lucas
20th Century Fox
A few small annoyances plague this otherwise excellent installment of the Star Wars saga.
Just like the one and only original (still everyone’s favorite), once we get past the opening title crawl (“Somewhere off in a galaxy, long, long ago....”) this movie starts off with a bang!
We find ourselves immediately engulfed a space war as the Republic (lead by Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi, played by McGregor, and Anakin Skywalker, played by Christensen) battles a Sith Lord (played by Christopher Lee) and his evil General who have captured the Chancellor of the Republic (McDiarmid). Assisted by Skywalker’s trusty Droid, R2-D2, then board the General's ship in an effort to free the Chancellor.
The first annoyance I had seems to be Ewan McGregor’s ever increasing 'Alec Guinness English accent,' that I don’t recall being as prevalent in the previous two episodes, although his irreverent humor -- still a far cry from that of Hans Solo in Episode 4 -- still remains and is getting sharper all the time.
The second, and most resilient annoyance, was Hayden Christensen’s dead-pan, mail it in to the office job of acting, which made me want to mail him some Exlax to help him get over this blockage.
Well, after a delightful elevator scene they rescue the Chancellor (whom we now all know in our hearts to be the evil Emperor of episodes 4, 5 and 6) and he is in the process of trying to convert young Skywalker to evil as he elicits him to kill (his own henchman and associate), the Sith master, which Skywalker does with some reluctance.
Once back home we are introduced to some new characters, including one played by Jimmy Smits (from television’s “LA Law” and “NYPD Blue”) who is a member of the Government, and then Anakin is reunited with his secret love and now pregnant wife, Padme, who somehow got demoted from Queen in Episode 1 to just a member of the Government delegation in Episode 3, which was another annoyance, along with her now very yuppie new attitude (well, everyone told me that job change came in Episode 2, which I saw, sort of, guess I must have slept through that part)! In Episode 1 she was a very sly and wise ruler who hid out as a hand maiden and then took charge. She even raised her voice (the young upstart) to Obi’s senior Master (remember Liam Neeson?), challenging his wisdom on some matters. Now, she’s more like Anakin’s puppy dog, waiting to deliver her litter of Luke and Leia .
(Maybe we should all pitch in together and buy George Lucas a subscription to Time Warner Cable so he can watch all the old Star Wars episodes on the Fox Channel, take notes and remember what he had all the characters do in previous episodes, or maybe I’m just a jerk - don’t answer that!)
Well, the Chancellor plays his cards well, pits one person against another (is he just reading Anakin’s mind or is he actually planting all those nightmares we see?), dispatches people here and there and then lets loose of his traps, eventually netting him the job as Emperor, to a round of warm applause.
The total conversion of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side was somewhat underdeveloped and lacked conviction, but maybe that’s was Christensen’s dead pan acting.
Lucas is a great action director and he gave us a whole buffet in this episode! He is not, however, a director of romance movies, so never let him near Sleepless in Seattle II! He directs Padme and Anakin in love scenes, bedroom scene, living room scenes and even some dysfunctional husband and wife episodes (oh, yes, the two of them were in need of Dr. Phil, who probably could have done a better job writing and directing these types of scenes that really dragged the otherwise upbeat and fast paced movie down into realm of pure melodrama worthy of a TV soap - oops, sorry, I didn’t mean to insult the writing and direction of TV soaps -- not even worthy of a TV soap, unless of course Dr. Phil were to tell Anakin: "You're an idiot!").
Near the end we find out how the Jedi and Separatists got wiped out by the evil Emperor, with some chilling scenes that also annoyed me a little as the Jedi are supposed to be smarter than that! They don’t walk into traps. When things happen, they feel it in the force, as Yoda (played by the voice of Frank Oz, who probably also did some of the puppet work) did in this episode, but other Jedi are also supposed to be sensitive to this, but instead they got shot in the back by Republic soldiers, in some instances they didn’t even know what hit them. So much for “may the force be with you” as it certainly let some major Jedi figures down.
Anakin is finally turned to the dark side and battles it out with the head Jedi, Mace Windu, (played by Jackson) and then later his own master, Obi-Wan, who prevails and leaves a very wounded Anakin to die alone, but the evil Emperor foresaw this event and comes to his rescue. Then we learn how and why the black armor of Darth Vader (played by the voice of James Earl Jones) came to be!
Luke and Leia arrive in the world and are separated after birth (figuratively, not literally, of course). She goes with the Smit’s character, who will eventually become a major player in government and Luke goes to his Aunt and Uncle on Tatooween, where he’ll grow up to become mud farmer and later a Jedi apprentice in Episode 4, as well all we all know (or as Yoda would say: As know well all we)!
The actions sequences are great! This movie is worth the money just to see all the action, battles and duels. There are a lot of light saber duels in this movie. A large space battle. Vietnam type encampments. We get a real look at the Republic home world. There is, however, no real super chases like we saw in most of the previous episodes [the Dark Star assault (SW 4), the speeder battles (SW 6) or the Tatooween 500 (SW 1)]. We do, however, get to see the little green guy send people across the room without touching them! It's definately worth $8.50 to see the smug look on his little face as he "forces" them about and shakes his head in amazement of his own powers (or their own ignorance -- one doesn't fool around with a Jedi master)!
Except for Christensen, most of the acting is good. In fact near the end when Vader and the Emperor are looking out at the building of the Dark Star I could swear I saw a dead ringer for Peter Cushing (the Commander of the Empire fleet) walking from them and out of scene, which made me laugh.
All in all this was a very good movie, even though it lacked the camaraderie and shenanigans of Luke, Leia and Hans, whose banter has never been equaled or exceeded, although McGregor sometimes approaches it. Worth seeing just to come full circle if you saw the rest (and this is certainly not the best, but it’s not all that bad, either).
Revenge Of The Slip Up!
By Christine K. Rex
When Rodney's parents wanted to make a baby, they literally made a baby. Dad, a dishwasher by trade, comes home one day with a box of baby, assembly required. Thus, with one part left over, Rodney Copperbottom (Ewan McGregor) begins his life as a robot.
Growing up with poor Rodney has dreams to leave home and go find the majestic inventor Bigweld (Mel Brooks). As an inventor himself he dreams to become rich and famous and take care of his parents so his father won't have to wash dishes.
The story goes on with Rodney going to Robot City to make his fortune. Along the way he meets and makes friends with a few robots, the Rusties, (Fender-Robin Williams, Piper Pinwheeler-Amanda Bynes) who go along with him on the adventure.
This was a quirky cute movie, but I would wait for it to come out on DVD and then only rent it. Robin Williams was not given free rein as usual and the laughs were just not there. The kids will love this one and it has a good moral story. Not worth the nachos or the giant pretzel, but the Pepsi was nice and cold.
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Robin Williams, Mel Brooks, Greg Kinnear
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Douglas Adams' tale of a boring everyday earthman making his way through the universe. Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is a very ordinary man who is having a very bad day. He discovers that his best friend, Ford Prefect (Mos Def), is an alien and his planet, Earth, is going to be destroyed to make way for some cosmic bypass. Ford saves him by hitching a passing spacecraft and takes Arthur with him.
I think this has got to be one of the best adaptations of Adams' original story. Much better than the television series this movie gives a more realistic vision of the sleazy Galaxy president Zaphod Beebelbrox (Sam Rockwell), the Vogons, and the Babel fish, those legendary universal translators.
Ford shows Arthur how to use the book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with its "Don't Panic" on the cover, that tells him everything he needs to know about anything. In truth he finds all he needs to know through their adventures traveling to save the girl of his dreams.
This is an excellent and goofy movie with all of Mr. Adams's satire. If only we could all have a book such as The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
Well worth the popcorn, nachos, and yes, that big salty pretzel. Don't forget the Pepsi! I suggest you buy this one when it comes out on DVD. I know I will!
Starring: Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy
Kingdom of Heaven
Directed by Ridley Scott, starring Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Brendan Gleeson and Jeremy Irons.
20th Century Fox. Rated R.
No plot. Just blood and guts. The whole story could be figured out in the first 20 minutes. After that it's all graphic battle scenes that moved way too fast with weak to average acting. Liam Neeson has only a small part in the movie. Most of the time you couldn't tell who was who in the movie!
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie star in this action film as two, top secret "hit people" who live dual lives, neither knowing what the other does (which is kill people). Then one day they each get orders to kill the other and the fun begins!
A cloud in space changes the DNA of four space goers who each mutate into "super" human super heros and fight against evil. Has a lot of low ball humor, action and FX.