8 June 2015

I Have A Bad Feeling About This

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Some people call me a fussy eater which is nice of them. I do love being judged. I guess humanity has reached a point where crimes such as serial killing and pedophilia have been long-since eradicated leaving just me and my hatred of sprouts to sort out. I do wish I liked vegetables but right now I find it difficult to eat something that was both fertilised with and tastes like horse shit. Having said that, I did find myself presented with a salad the other day and I actually enjoyed it. Now usually I'd just throw the plate on the floor and start screaming expletives but I'd just spent the previous week with a violent case of diarrhoea and so didn't really have the energy for a pissy fit. With cynical apprehension, I put the first leaf in my mouth and chewed down to discover that not only could I swallow the green crap but that I didn't hate it either. Sure I was starved to the point were I was half hallucinating that I'd turned into a six foot fucking rabbit, but that doesn't change the fact that that particular salad wasn't awful. I suppose the reason I tell you this is because in many ways this post-diarrhoea appreciation of salad is exactly like my most recent experience of watching Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge Of The Sith 

After setting us up for the long awaited Clone Wars, director George Lucas gives us another case of blue ball by starting with its conclusion. It's as though the guy lives off the energy of disappointing his fans, like an evil overlord from the mythical land of Twat. To cut a long story short, this is the one in which the previously bland Anakin will turn into the legendary villain Darth Vader. So essentially what you've got is the massive helmet from the prequels putting on the iconic one from the originals. We'll also finally find out here the identity of the hooded figure that's been manipulating the Clone Wars and that'll probably turn into the evil Emperor Palpatine. Could it be Jar Jar? Or maybe Padme? Or perhaps even that sweet old man, Chancellor Palpatine? So much tension, so much to uncover! I should point out that when growing up, I was basically everything the previous Star Wars fans hated simply because the prequels were aimed at my younger self. As a result, I loved these movies with even more aggressive passion than my dog has for sniffing arses. Still, I started hearing bad things and so despite my original enthusiasm I started to avoid these movies as successfully as I do my estranged family. Unlike my family however I've recently decided to revisit these movies to see who's right... my memory or their reputation.  

So far, it's been a bit like swimming through a nostalgic lake of shit in that I can't forget how much I loved the first two but nor can I deny how bloody awful they actually are. Like that first bite of a surprisingly tasty salad after a week of pissing food from my anus, I have to admit that it's nice to finally enjoy something. I might not have been expecting much with Revenge Of The Sith but despite my now increased sense of cynical apprehension, and against my better judgement, I actually found myself enjoying it. Sure it still has most of the same problems from the previous two films with the poor actors having to deliver lines that sound as though they were written by a simple toddler on an 'off day'. At first I thought Ewan McGregor was playing Obi-Wan as though he'd had a stroke before realising that the real problem was Lucas's inability to grasp the structure of any humanoid speech pattern. We also still have his obsession with now-dated CGI sets and creatures too, so that now we're ten years on, it kind of looks like this prequel trilogy took place in the fucking MineCraft Universe.  

But it seems Lucas is not above taking at least some constructive criticism from what must have been a particularly large mob of pissed off geeks at this point. I imagine them all outside of his window with pitchforks, burning dolls of the little boy from The Phantom Menace, chanting that he'd ruined their childhood whilst actor Jake Lloyd absorbed their anger like the fucking Hulk. In the first film, everybody shat out exposition whilst sitting down. In Attack Of The Clones they did it whilst standing up, and here we have them walking in circles as the camera rotates around them! It's like he's using a multi-billion dollar franchise and the crushed dreams of middle-aged nerds to slowly learn how to become a real filmmaker! The funny thing is that this film does have some quite impressive camera manoeuvres and tracking shots, but whenever they're used you sort of just wonder which proper filmmaker he'd gotten in to direct this shot instead. In the case of at least one scene, the answer is Steven Spielberg. If you're interested, it's the bit where Ewan McGregor rides a giant lizard whilst wondering what the fuck was the point in the those acting lessons he once took.  

Still, as anticlimactic as the Clone Wars might have been, I can't deny that I didn't love the intro to this film as the two Jedi fly their shitty little ships through a huge dog fight above the surface of some bland planet. To be fair too, he manages to keep the pace of this up for a good while with some genuinely impressive lightsaber fights. I think it's a problem that these prequels didn't have a consistent Vader-esque villain for us to hate but it is interesting to see the similarities between the pissy General Grievous and the recently-hyped Ultron in the Avengers sequel. Although what I would say is that if you want to set a cyborg villain up as being a hammy foreshadowing of what Anakin will become then maybe Darth Maul would have been a good idea? We could have watched his arc from Phantom Menace until now if only his fate had only been slightly different. Oh well. If George Lucas has an auteur-ish stamp on this franchise then it surely has to be in how he makes it up as he goes along. Hey- Chewbacca is in this movie, did you know that? And it turns out that C-3P0 was built by a young Anakin! Oh and Luke and Leia turn out to be related!!! It's like Lucas's story planning consists of pulling two names out of one hat and a verb out of another to see what connects them. “Oop, just got Anakin and C-3PO, I hope the verb I pull out now isn't 'Fucks'... Like it originally was with Luke and Leia”. 

So yeah, I guess the reasons I found myself enjoying this boils down to two simple things- better action and a faster pace. That doesn't really seem enough to claim a film is actually good though does it? Which is where I think film critic Mark Kermode's theory of diminished expectations starts to come into play. He basically argues that the quality in blockbusters has reduced to the point that we've all collectively lowered our expectations and so think we're enjoying ourselves when we're not. I've just seen the shitty light on the first two of the prequels and so this being an average film suddenly seems like a breath of fresh air in a sewer of turds. Kind of like how I probably don't like salad but having experienced a bad case of the squits and not eaten anything in a week made it suddenly taste like I was licking angel juice from the base of God's balls. I mean, as much as I enjoyed the film, I'm not blind to all of its very obvious faults. Mostly that Lucas's lack of planning has meant that he's had to bridge the gap between the two trilogies with all the grace of a blind knife thrower whose oblivious to the fact that he's pinned his wife's skull to the board. 

I'm going to talk about the end now so you might want to stop reading if you've somehow not seen this movie or can't guess what happens based on the original trilogy. So, firstly Anakin's descent into the dark side is pure bullshit. As ever we have the losing combination of a bad actor delivering bad lines under the guidance of a bad director. So everybody is kind of to blame including those people standing around on the set who failed to point out how shit everything is... because it's not like they wouldn't have known! But essentially, Anakin starts having some bad dreams about his wife dying and so goes out and kills everybody he knows to try and prevent this. An old man suggested it might help and he apparently really wasn't very interested in doing some of his own background research to verify it. He then can't understand why is wife might not be so into him after finding out that he's also slaughtered a load of his friends and school children. Although for the record, I did think that his rather drastic decision to kill a load of kids did seem to go fairly unjudged considering how fucked up that actually is. Like he literally walks into a school with his lightsaber out Columbine style and nobody really seems to linger on the gravity of this. On the bright side, Hayden Christensen's inability to react to or understand anybodies emotions unintentionally does quite well at accidentally suggesting that he might actually be mentally disabled in some way. 

Then it comes to the death of Padme and the birth of their two twins. For some reason Lucas couldn't think of how she could die and so just has a droid announce “We don't know why she's dying. She's simply lost the will to live”. I've been single for a long time and I'm telling you that people can't just die from “Losing the will to live”. I love that he couldn't think of what to do and so had the genius idea of having one of the characters announce that it made no sense to them either. I mean, did dying in child birth not spring to anybodies fucking mind? Then they hide the twins by splitting them up which seems a bit harsh. You might think that in a film where space travel is possible, they could remain together and simply be sent as far away from their crazy Dad as possible. Nor does it seem like such a good idea to have one of them adopted by a man whose about to lead a resistance against the newly formed Empire. That's a bit like having Hitlers secret daughter raised by Churchill and hoping that as she grows up, nobody will notice her odd little moustache. The same goes for Luke who was not only hidden on Anakin's home planet but is actually being raised by his own family who live right next to his mothers grave. I mean, it's not like there's even the remotest chance that Luke might be found there is there? Literally every character in this film has the intelligence of a four day old McNugget that's become home to the most basic forms of bacteria and shit. 

But again, if I was to say that I didn't enjoy what I was seeing then I'd be lying. There's no denying that John Williams has at least remained brilliant throughout this prequel trilogy and so it's hard to be bored when coupling his ear-porn with some semi-decent action. Like my post-shits salad however it really is hard to know if the film deserves this praise or I'd simply lowered my expectations after wading through a sea of bland. I guess the only way to find out would be to watch it again soon but who can be fucked doing that? What I will say to those who were stung by the mediocrity of these prequels though is that it's time for you to simply stop worrying. Right now these three add up to fifty percent of the whole saga and so I can see why you'd be so bitter towards them, however now that they've decided to make more films, these ones will simply become less and less important as the years go on. The prequels are currently dragging down the reputation of the franchise but eventually they'll be nothing more than three duff movies in an otherwise great franchise. Today Star Wars is a neatly trimmed porn star with some very obvious clagnuts, but soon it'll be a bonafide mammoth in which three bits of matted shit are completely irrelevant. Thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time. 

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