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As the "Star Wars" Saga Counts Down and then Counts Up things are
Unraveling at an Exponential Rate. The Longest in the Series so far
(2hr 22min) and for the First Time it was Not #1, it came in Third at
the Box Office for the Year.
After the Drubbing that Fans Unleashed on the Previous Movie (The Phantom Menace) the Spillover Vitriol Stained "Clones" with just as much Bile, Disappointment, Outrage, and it became another "Prequel" for the Fan-Base to Vent Violently.
Christian Haydensen, Cast as the Grown Up, Almost "Jedi" Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) gets a Goodly Amount of Guffaws and Raspberries, with Natalie Portman also Taking a Goodly Amount of Flack.
Their Oddly Inserted "Romance" and "Love" Scenes Stop the Movie Cold, containing some of the Worst Dialog Imaginable ("I hate sand.").
It's the Awkward Chemistry between the Two Coupled with the Super Sheen and Artificial Backgrounds that Look Like TV Commercials for Women's Hair Products and Fireplace Serenity Scenes that are as Flat and Ill Conceived as one can Imagine.
The Lack of Imagination in the "Romance" Scenes Counterpoint is the Over-Imagining of Everything Else in the Action Department.
But when the "Jedi" and others are Sitting Around Talking and Talking and Talking the Film Stalls again and has to be Restarted with Scenes so Over the Top and Mechanically Maniacal the Brain Bursts, the Eyes Pop, and the Screen Saturates.
Overall, the Story of Anakin Succumbing to the Dark Side is Only Hinted at and other Main Plotting Points are Barely Eluded. It's Worth a Watch for sure Considering the Invested Interest in the whole "Star Wars" Glut, but Lucas has Lost Control of His Creation and it is Self Destructing before His Eyes.
Or Maybe it's just the Irritation from Staring at a Blue Screen Too Long.
Note...Now it is known where Luke Skywalker got the tendency to whine and whine...His Daddy was a whiner too.
So, Mr. Lucas, the Trilogy is a Critical, Fan, and Commercial
Success...But what can You do for an Encore?
16 Years Later, the Director/Writer Answered that Question and the Reveal was, at best, a Pretty Sight but Critical and Fan Approval was Not a Pretty Sight Indeed, in Fact, it was Pretty Ugly.
Although a Commercial Blockbuster, Earning 4 Times its Budget at the Box Office in its Initial Run, and the Toy and Product Dollars Enormous, Lucas Disappointed by the Movie on Completion, nevertheless, had to Live with His Creation, No Matter.
Surprisingly Empty Considering the Depth of the Original Trilogy, the Anemia of the Movie is Apparent and Appalling. The Ghost of Joseph Campbell Haunts the Film and is Forever causing Outbursts from Depressed Viewers of all Types.
Truth Be Told, the Movie could Hardly Live Up to its Predecessors and the Hype. Expectations were so Acute, Deeply Held, and Anticipatory that when the "Man Behind the Curtain" Revealed Himself Delivering a "Toy Commercial" at Worst and a Spectacle of SFX at Best, the Demystification was Complete.
Lucas can Blame Only Himself for most of the Demystifying. What with the Evil Darth Vader Revealed as a Cute as a Button 7 Year Old with absolutely No Indication of a "Dark Side", all Wide Eyed and Family Friendly and "The Force" Reduced to a Microscopic Slide for Analysis the Writing was Not Only On the Wall, but so Bad it made even the Illiterate Wince and Cringe.
The Movie is Not as Awful as the Initial Backlash would have You Believe, but it is Far From Great. It is an Entertaining Exercise in Excruciating Frustration.
There are Moments of Visual Wonder and Excitement on Top of Tantalizing and Ultimately Fantastic but Futile Eye Candy that Sweetens the Product but the Aftertaste is, after all, Reminiscent of a "Happy Meal".
Considered the Weakest of the Original Trilogy by most, "Jedi"
Certainly Suffers from Tonal Shifts and Inconsistent Vibes.
The First Act is Full of Horrific and Repulsive Imagery. From the Droid Torture Chamber to Jabba the Hutt's "Party Palace" to the "Rancor", the Movie Starts almost like a Horror Film.
The Middle with the Ewoks is Cringe Worthy Cuteness and of course the "Ending" with Father and Son is Extremely Melodramatic. The Emperor's attempted Killing of Luke and His Taunting to Embrace the Dark Side is Excruciatingly Drawn Out.
The Fluctuating Feelings and Changing Tapestry throughout the Movie render a somewhat Clunky Tonality to the Overall Effort.
There are still Plenty of Things to Admire in the Production. The Space Battle Sequences and other SFX Heavy Scenes, like the Speeder Bikes can Impress even Today.
The Film can also be Burdened with the Enormous Popularity and Excellence of "Empire" and the Groundbreaking Awe of the First Film. These are only a Few of the Reasons that "Jedi" doesn't quite measure up to the Previous Pictures.
The Movie did make more Money, because of the Growing Fan Base, and the Anticipatory Aspect of the Intervening Three Year Wait. While not a Perfect Finale to the Trilogy it is still a Fine Effort and can Entertain Cultists and Newbies with its Rich Legacy and Retro Appeal.
Star Wars Fans Waited Three Years for the Follow Up and were Not Disappointed. The Rewards were Many.
Widely Considered, with Miniscule Dissent, "Empire" is Touted as the Best of the Original Trilogy and the Best Film in the Franchise.
The Template, Format, and Style Introduced in the First Film, Homages, Throwbacks, and Classical Storytelling Solidified and now Characters are Expanded and the "Star Wars" Universe became its own.
The Film is Darker, more Violent, and Richly Conceived. The Dialog is more Mature and most of the Fluff and Fancy of the Original is Abandoned for Relationships and Edge of Your Seat Danger.
Failure among Our Heroes is Often and Everywhere. The Suspense is Forever moving the Film along at a Breathtaking Pace. The SFX are Incredible, Detailed, and Amazing. The Sets have Color Schemes that Benefit the Mood of Scenes and Never Look Like Sets.
Believable, Bold, and Brimming with Atmosphere the Entire Production is Beholding to the Detail and Artistry of the Filmmakers.
Taking a Major Chance, Unheard of in 1980, the Movie Ends with a Cliffhanger. After All, wasn't the Original Conceived as a Tribute to the "Cliffhangers" of Old? But it was something that Audiences at the Time were Not Accustomed and it was a Shocker.
Overall, Epic Sci-Fi Fantasy doesn't get any Better and the Movie Holds Up in Today's CGI World and the Film is a "Stand Alone" Achievement of its Own. That Includes the Three-Quels and Prequels. A Major Accomplishment and Movie Entertainment as Rich as this is Rare Indeed.
Director/Writer George Lucas's immensely Influential Film was itself
Influenced by a Myriad of Classic Stories, Films, and Mythology.
He Packaged all of the Seminal Hard-Wire of Humanity, Soul Searching, and Hero's Journey into a Kid-Friendly, Action/Adventure, Sci-Fi Template that Everyone, including Adults, immediately Tapped into and the Movie became an Entity so Enormous and Epic that it Remains to this Day Synonymous with a Religion.
The Movie is Entirely Entertaining at its Core and like all Classics can be Viewed with Multiple Meanings with Layers of Characters both Good and Evil Battling for the Control of Existence.
Decidedly Deconstructed and Rendered Under a Microscope from Pop Culture Scholars and Cultists the Film has been Analyzed, Annotated, and Admired for what it was and what it has become.
The Formula has been Broken Down to its Individual Elements and Commented Upon by the Countless Voices of Fanatics and Film Historians. The Simplistic Sophistication is how it Finds its Way into the Hearts and Minds of the Masses.
It Changed Film and Film Merchandising Markets Forever. It Redefined and Resurrected the Sci-Fi Genre in a way that Stanley Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey" (1969) could not. Mostly because Kubrick's Film had a more Restricted Demographic Target. Namely Adults.
"Star Wars" Awakens the "Kid" in Everyone who is Not a Kid and makes the Youngsters Stand Up and Cheer Universally and Unanimously.
Arguably Director John Ford's Greatest Film, although some might say
"The Searchers" (1956) or "My Darling Clementine" (1946).
But there is No Doubt that this Film Resonates and Captivates with its Story of the Depression's Devastating Effect on a "Salt of the Earth" Sharecropper Family with Multi-Generational Roots Planted in the Now Fallow "Dust Bowl".
Along with the Personal Hardships the Movie makes much of the Social Separation and Income Inequality of the Time.
There are the Compassion-Less Bankers and Their Minions of Law Enforcement and "Tin Badge" Thugs. Socialism/Communism was seen as an Alternative to the Punishing Poverty and Vanishing Opportunities by some and a Threat to Capitalism by the Capitalists.
This is a Solid Background to the Story but Not the Backbone. The Skeletal Structure of the Movie, from John Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize Winning Novel, is the Joad Family.
Impeccably Acted by Henry Fonda (Tom Joad), Ma (Jane Darwell), and X-Preacher Casey (John Carradine), with Support from Charlie Grapewin (Grandpa), and John Qualen (Muley). The Remainder of the Strong Ensemble of Acting all do Excellent Work and the overall Verisimilitude of the Film is Striking.
Gregg Toland's Haunting and Beautiful Cinematography Captures the Mood of Melancholy and the Film as a Whole is Widely Considered one of the Great Films.
Some Film-Scholars even Rank it "The Greatest". This of course is Obviously Objective, but suffice to say it is always a Contender when the Category of "Best" or "Greatest" arises. This is a Futile Exercise, but Fun.
Powerful, Unforgettable, and Ultimately a Cinematic Experience so Profound with its Realistic Dramatics that the Viewer is Likely to Feel attached to the Story and can Claim to have a "Little Piece" of a Big Picture.
Excellent, Embryonic Vampire Film that is Seminal with its Iconic
Blood-Sucker, its Place in Formatting Film as Art, with Pop-Culture
References to it remaining Alive Today.
A Massively Deconstructed Entry from the Early Days of the "Flickers" (1922). Its History is well Documented and one of those that Survived Copyright Infringement that resulted in the Death Penalty for All Prints, A few that were Exported Survived.
The Film has been Restored and the Best of these can be Seen Today in Pristine Form with Crystal Clear Images and an accompanying Symphonic Soundtrack Performed from the Original Score.
Diligent Viewers can Seek Out a Copy and Enjoy the Experience as it was Seen during its Initial Release. Settling for Less is Not Acceptable.
Time Displacement for most Moderns with regard to "Silent" Movies and Subtitles is a Displacement Fear that is Difficult to Overcome for some, so it's Best to Seek Out the Best. You Owe to to Your Sensibility and Appreciation of the Art.
The Film has a Dozen or so Scenes that are Impressively Expressionistic and can Awe and Disturb. The Core Story of Nosferatu (Dracula) is Basically the Bram Stoker Version with Name Changes.
Max Shreck's Look and Portrayal has become a Part of the Culture and F. W. Murnau's Film has much to Offer the Curious Connoisseur of Cinema and its Birthing of the most Popular form of Art in the Twentieth Century.
There are Only about 10 Films from the Silent Era that are Essential for a Film Buff to View. This is Definitely One of Them.
Note...This Movie has an enormous amount of details available from Film Scholars and casual Movie Fans if you are so inclined...Your favorite Search Engine awaits.
One of the most Popular Movies of all Time. It is a Safe, Feel-Good
Family Entertainment from Spielberg's Sublime "Suburban" Playground of
Hits. It's the Backdrop the Master Manipulator Finds His
Mega-Money-Makers the most Often.
Robert Zemeckis was Hired to Direct based on His often Rejected Script (with Bob Gale) that Spielberg recognized as something Special.
And Special it Turned Out to be. It has a Great Cast of Comedic Talent (Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Crispin Glover) feeling right at Home with the Story, and some Nifty State of the Art SFX.
The Movie is a Slick Fun Time with all the Elements coming Together to make it an Ensemble Piece of Family Fodder that Charms with a Fast Pace, a bit of "Fish Out of Water" Edginess.
Lea Thompson's Endearing Turn as Marty McFly's Mother is Great, but Nothing here will ever be Considered High-Art. Just a Clap-Trap Pleaser (Spielberg's Specialty) with High Commercial Value.
The Product Placements are Over the Top.
But the Many Pop Cultural References from the 80's and the 50's Assured, at the Time, that a Parent and Child from 1985 (the Heart of the Movie), can Enjoy this one Together, Dare it be Said, Into the Future.
A Relief from the "Raunchy Comedy" Explosion that Permeated the Genre
and Developed a Huge Fan-Base and Endless Entries during the Era, this
Extremely Popular Movie Entertains with a Fast Pace and Two Endearing
Talents, Steve Martin and John Candy.
The Film is a Smooth Road Trip Adventure with the Adjective "Heartwarming" Attached Routinely from Fans and Critics.
It is a Funny, Non-Threatening, Piece of Fluff that has an Easy Time Entering the Consciousness of the Audience and makes it a Congenial Ride-Along and Rewards with its Uncomplicated Scenario and Sharply Defined, if Elementary, Personas of the Characters.
The Humor Results from the Dialog, mostly, and the Visuals are more Slow-Burn Expressionistic than Slapstick. The Director takes His Time setting up the Situations and then uses Martin and Candy to Punctuate the Proceedings with Their Individualistic Charm.
Routinely Stopping the Film for Tugs at the Heart, with a Tear-Jerk of an Ending, the Movie Finds a Nice Tone that Separates it from the Routine. Highly Enjoyable Family Fun where All Ages can Find a Handle of Humor for Their Liking.
Overrated, but Undeniably Infectious. The Underselling and Restraint Works Wonders for this Fan Favorite and it seems that only Nit-Pickers can Find Fault
It may be Difficult, after 40 Years of Accolades for this Film and
Director Martin Scorsese's Rise to "God" like Status, that this Movie
Struggled to be made.
Scorsese was virtually an Untested Director with Few Films to His Credit and the Studio System all but Buried, was Not about to Risk Big Bucks on this Nasty Piece of Neo-Noir.
Robert De Niro, Scorsese, and Script Writer Paul Schrader were in Tandem about the Power of the Proposed Picture and made it Their Business to get it done. It seems almost Laughable but none of the Trio, at the Time, expected a Huge Success at the Box Office or from Critics. But it was Their Troubled "Baby" and made Considerable Sacrifices to Give it Life.
This is one of those Productions where Everything Contributes on a Stellar Level. The Script, Direction, Acting, Cinematography (Mike Chapman), Music (Bernard Herrmann's "Swan Song"), and Overall Production Merged into a Cultural Phenom and the rest is Cinematic History.
One of the Best Neo-Noirs, it is a Sordid, Uncomfortable Ride through a Hazy New York City Bathed in Muted Colors Smeared to Resemble a Drug Induced Vision. Travis Bickle's Low IQ and Mental Instability Combines for some Awkward Dialog and Narration, that Contributes to the Tone and Unsettling Vision, as Travis Struggles against what He Sees as Total Corruption and Filth.
The Things Buzzing around in His Head are Creating a "Creature" Out of Control Packing an Unbridled Uneasiness that will Spawn a "New Age" Anti-Hero who 'Stands Up" against what He Prays will be Washed Away from a "Real Rain".
Bleak, Brutal, Uncompromising, and Not an Easy Watch. It's Social Criticism in the Form of Post Modern Seventies Gritty "Realism" that is Riveting and Indelible, making its way from the Naked Streets to the Screen.
Overall, Pulp Art at its most Profound and Disturbing. Ugly Truths about the Human Condition among the Squalor and a Savior for One Child Abuse Victim (Jodie Foster) from a Slime Street Pimp (Harvey Keitel).
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