5 July 2015

My Kind Of Scum

I don't know if it's a mental condition of mine but for some reason I just can't enjoy something once it gets over half way. The knowledge that the end is in sight just taints whatever pleasure I'm having, whether it be a tasty chocolate bar, a holiday, or the second month of what the other person thinks will become a long term relationship. The same is true of watching films, however in their case I think I often have a point. Generally by the time we get to the third instalment of a planned trilogy, something goes titties up and all the hard work that's been done before gets a little shat on. For example, just look at Spiderman 3, X-Men 3, and Debbie Does Dallas 3, which all somehow lack that sense of wonder and excitement that made the first two so gripping. Maybe they felt the need to escalate effects in favour of focusing on character; maybe they'd painted themselves into a corner, or maybe you could simply see the boredom behind Debbie's now cold, soulless eyes. The same rule of diminishing returns is sadly true of Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi. Though, does that film suffer because it is a bad film or simply because its predecessor was arguably one of the greatest films of all time? I say this as though I don't think anybody's seen it and made their own fucking mind up already. But if you keep reading, I can promise a good few dick jokes and a few too many swear words to keep everybody awake.

So, as we all know, this film tells the story of the evil Empire's latest attempt to build their moon-like, galactic kill-ball because it clearly worked so well the first time. I guess this Death Star will be an improved model and therefore lacking the torpedo-shaped tunnel that leads directly to its explodey innards. Meanwhile Leia has to rescue Han from a giant slug monster that's got him slabbed up on the wall in a block of concrete, and Luke must come to terms with the fact that Obi-Wan was a fucking liar and it's actually his own father that he has to kill. I think it was Kevin Smith that referred to this movie as being like Muppets In Space, although you could argue that that title could equally be applied to the brain dead fucknuggets of the prequel trilogy. However that's not to deny that he's kind of right, with Return Of The Jedi clearly placing more emphasis on creatures and effects than its predecessor The Empire Strikes Back did. In fact, there are so many freaks and weirdos dancing around in Jabba's Palace that it's almost like a Jim Henson production of a Friday night out on the Liverpool club scene. There's hairy little freaks with bad teeth, chubby dancers waddling their grotesquely fat roles, and Jabba himself, who looks like a disabled cat's angry penis.

Obviously there's nothing wrong with having a variety of interesting extras in a movie that relies on world building, however the problem is that they often swamp the characters that we've just spent two previous films getting to know and they really shouldn't be the main focus. If we've got Luke and Vader engaging in their final confrontation then I really don't want to keep cutting back to an army of down-syndrome teddy bears on Endor. Nor do I give one solitary fuck about Nien Nunb, that weird little alien sitting next to Lando as he attempts to destroy the second Death Star. Beyond the fact that it should be Han and Chewie piloting the Falcon at that point, the little guy looks like he has a diseased vagina for a face, and his name sounds like some sort of German sex lube. One of the things that made The Empire Strikes Back so great was because Han really came into his own and started stamping around like a cross between Dirty Harry and a stroppy toddler. But as all the shite with the Ewoks drags on, he really just becomes one more person amongst a rabble of miscellaneous and variously furry twats. Oh-- and why is he even in the forest in the first place? Because the evil Emperor is a full-on fucking tit!

To get into the third act a little bit, the plot revolves around the Rebels attempt to disable a shield generator that will leave the Death Star exposed and vulnerable. Unknown to them however, their plan was manipulated by the Emperor who is fully aware of what they intend to do. As a result, he has stationed a small army by the generator to prevent their success whilst allowing him to use his kill-ball to blast our heroes into the dark anus of the afterlife. Sounds like a great plan to me! Except.. if you're going to leak out plans regarding the one weakness of your otherwise unstoppable moon sized gun, then why the fuck would you give the real location of it? I mean, seriously? Tell them it's a few planets further than the real one, mock up a little base and then kill them when they get there instead! That's like Superman pretending he's got a broken leg to lure his enemies within kicking distance whilst screaming that kryptonite is his only weakness and tittering to himself. I mean what the fuck else has the Emperor got to do with his spare time than think about plots to destroy the rebels? Based on his complexion, he clearly doesn't do beach holidays and it's obvious he doesn't spend much time shopping for beauty products or clothes. He wears a grotty grim-reaper dressing gown and physically resembles an albino's thumb after a bath. If the prick is so focused on his job that he can't even be bothered to tart himself up with a little fake-tan then you'd think he'd think the whole fucking plan through.

Having said that, Ian McDiarmid's performance as the hooded prune is one of the highlights of the entire franchise as he cackles his lines out like a pantomime dame that's just choked down a packet of fags. If you're going to turn Darth Vader into somebody's bitch then I suppose you can do far worse than him. It's just a shame that this three way battle with Luke isn't given the focus it deserves as it's clearly the best part of the movie and everything that the previous instalments have been building towards. It's not that I don't like the the first half with Jabba's palace but there's no denying that it does let itself down by dressing Leia up like a slut. I understand that she's now a slave but it's clearly also filmed in such a fetishistic way that it's clear that we as an audience are meant to find her attractive like this. Not to sound like a cliché but it was seeing this at the age of eight that confirmed to my childlike brain that I definitely wasn't gay. So Leia starts off as an independent, sassy, empowered female in A New Hope, but we're only a few films on and she's now being turned into a confused child's dry-wank fodder. Oh, and if I'm to address another regular complaint by being completely honest, I'd say I'm not too bothered by the existence of the Ewoks. Obviously it would have been cooler if they'd have been wookies but if the prequels have done anything, it's to at least make them more acceptable. Sure they might look like what might pop out of a guinea pig's vagina about nine months after it was banged by a dwarf but at least they're not the fucking Gungans. My issue isn't with their design but rather the amount of time we spend with them when the hero and villain are trying to hit each other with their fucking laser swords!

Despite all of that though, I'd say that Return Of The Jedi is still a great film in its own right. It's definitely the weakest of the original trilogy and it is certainly in the shadow of The Empire Strikes Back. It's also really easy to be cynical about it now that Lucas has spewed out a prequel trilogy that had all of the artistic integrity of seeing somebody use their tax return to pick up some dog shit with. Are all those crazy creatures in the movie to open up the world and give it a more expansive and exotic feel, or did Lucas simply just want to sell a few more toys? Its predecessor was praised for being darker and more character driven, so why they decided to go lighter and focus more on spectacle here I'll never know. However another film with Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie is never a bad thing and it does have some great moments in it. The rancor scene might not excuse the sheer bollocks of Boba Fett falling into a giant bum hole in the ground, but it's still a fun scene. Plenty of what's on show could have been done better, but at no point is any of it boring. As a stand alone experience, I suppose that's all that counts really isn't it? In fact, it's so good that it only slightly annoys me that everybody finds out who Luke's sister is and nobody mentions that he's spent the last two films having wet dreams about her. If it's against the Jedi code to marry then I'm pretty sure that having your sister cram her tongue down your throat like a fucking xenomorph must at least be frowned upon. Anyway, thanks for reading motherfuckers, and see you next time!

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