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The most satisfying ending of the year
This film dares to go where very few films in Follywood's past have ever dared go. New ground has been broken, I hope, for future films to go down a similar path. I won't give away the actual plot ending (go see it yourself), but I will reveal an important landmark in cinema. It involves Jauquin Phoenix, a very sturdy looking baseball bat, and a very unlucky alien. I had tears of joy in my eyes when I saw that bat being used as it was meant to.
Movie for the fans (and no one else)
First off, don't blame the actors or the special effects. It's not their fault. Whenever someone knocks a bad movie, which Episode II qualifies as, they immediately raise the pitchforks towards the actors. If your going to lay some blame, lay it at the feet of George Lucas. It was his puerile script that brought the actors to their knees, and his lack of direction that made them stay there. It was George's unholy fascination with all things digital that massacred the screen with billions of wasted pixilated images, making the flesh and blood actors seem like they stepped into the Twilight Zone.
This movie serves one purpose and one purpose only...to manually pleasure George Lucas' fanbase. The only things that seperate this wheelbarrow full of fertilizer from the average sci-fi schlock are the overinflated budget for Lucas' digital toys and the useless insertion of previous Star Wars characters.
(SPOILERS ABOUND BELOW)
The movie flows like a frozen sewage runoff. It goes from high speed, high altitude car chases, to boring, forced angst by the fireplace. To say that Christensen and Portman have no chemistry is to say that the Middle East might be facing some political problems. Their romance is about as believable as grass growing on the moon. Maybe they could have done better if the script hadn't been written with crayons.
I thought these prequels were about Anakin's spiral downward from the path of balance into the Darkside. Is that ever going to happen or are we going to be forced to watch a third episode of video game previews for the Game Cube? We were given a lackluster hint with the slaughter of the Sand People but that barely cuts it. It wasn't even shown, thereby castrating the power of the scene. We just have to hear Anakin whine about it for about three seconds. Usually, when someone butchers a whole village of men, women, and children there's a whole lot more soul searching going on afterward. Of course, Lucas goes the pansy route and glosses over the whole thing. Most people I've talked to didn't even remember the scene until it was brought up to them.
I'm probably one of the few people completely disgusted witht the Yoda fight at the end with the unimpressive Darth Sarumon (Lee plays the exact same character in LOTR: former wizard turned evil lackey=former jedi turned evil lackey). It's almost as if instead of a hand being up Yoda's posterior they've inserted a heroin suppository. Lucas has, in a brief half-minute, meaningless fight scene, destroyed the mystery of Yoda. The entire fight was unwarranted. If Yoda can raise ships from swamps and hold big chunks of pillar in the air, why can't he just pick up Count Poopoo and bang him against the wall a few times, soften him up a little, so to speak. Why? Because Lucas has toys he must abuse, that's why.
The real star of this movie is the CGI. And CGI doesn't make good film. CGI is a support for a movie, that's it.
There were far too many real world references, as well. Death sticks=cigarettes. Lame. Fifties diner in a galaxy far, far away, complete with sassy robo-waitress. Lame. This is supposed to be far removed from our world in the aforementioned galaxy far away. All I missed was the Fonz. Where the Hell was he? It might have been an improvement.
In closing..Lucas needs to stop writing, directing and editing. Let a grown up handle these things. All that crap about these movies being for kids is a lark. These movies are for the nerds of the late seventies and early eighties who can't seem to move on in the world. The charm of Star Wars was gone before Lucas unveiled his uber-deluxe, special treatment of the films for the third time. And now he's doing it again. Maybe he'll go the Spielburg route and replace all the blasters with peace symbols.
Rating 1 out of 10. I'd rate it lower, but I was never good with fractions.
Jurassic Park III (2001)
Better than expected.
Just having Sam Niel back in the saddle is a bright ray of hope for the Jurassic Park series. Maybe he'll be back for (the inevitable) number four. All in all, part tres was fairly formulaic. Dinosaurs see people, dinosaurs attempt to eat people, people run away screaming. This movie easily fits into the let's put our brain functions on hold for two hours and enjoy some neat special effects. Let's not forget the addition of the pteradons. I've been waiting to see them since the first movie. Not Oscar material, but still worth a look. Of course, it could have starred Yahoo Serious and it still would have been an overwhelming improvement to the cornball second installment.