So, we decided to re-watch the star wars movies (for me, a lot because I had most recently watched to the end of Episode III, and I wanted to watch Episode IV to get a happier taste in my mouth)…
So, we started with Episode IV, and the movie has aged surprisingly well. We saw the version with the updated special effects, but overall, they were understated, and didn’t interfere with the plot. Much of the acting was pretty bad, but Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, and Kenny Baker held things together*.
The sword fight was almost slow and stately (especially after Yoda in episode II/III), but it made sense, and befit an old master confronting his old student. But anyways, the sword fights in IV/V/VI were all about the conversation and trying to convince each other of things than anything else.
The other interesting thing was how many of the phrases in the movie have entered the common lexicon: “I have a bad feeling about this”, “…a wretched hive of scum and villany…We must be cautious.” (Honestly, Alec Guinness may have been the only person who could carry those lines off, but I enjoyed them all.)
Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamil were were pretty bad. They did some good stuff over the competition over Leia, but most of their acting was execrable.
But anyways, we still cared about them as people, we cared about Obi-Wan, and he sacrificed himself for them (and Mark Hamil’s anger and sadness there was good). So, during the Death Star trench scene, there was actually tension while we waited for the result.
Overall, it’s difficult to give this movie one rating. For cultural influence, could easily be a 5, as an aged classic, probably 3.5 or 4, overall as a movie, maybe 3 or 3.5. But overall, good to watch, and I wanted to see rest of the film, which cannot be said for the next review.
*And Peter Cushing, for the Death Star scenes.
Which brings us to Episode I: The Phantom Edit
Having seen it in the theatres at midnight on opening night, and having been so thoroughly disappointed, I wanted to see what a new (better) editor could do with the footage provided.
It’s a really bad film. It’s racist (Gungans and Trade Federation), nonsensical (why didn’t they just go to a different junk dealer, why didn’t they go back for his mom immediately), and Jar-Jar, even mostly edited out, is a cringe-worthy character. S explained it that we don’t care enough about any of the characters, so there’s no tension, and therefore no real need for comic relief.
There were some bright spots. Jake Lloyd at 8 or 9 was a pretty good actor. The C-3PO meeting R2D2 for the first time scene was touching. This is actually a good time to delve more into Jake Lloyd. Apparently, he was so teased for being involved in such a bad and well-known film that he left acting. But, watching the movie, he’s fine in it. He’s pretty good for an actor of that age. If he doesn’t have the acting depth of Alec Guinness or Liam Neeson, well, he’s certainly better than Mark Hamil, Carrie Fisher, or Harrison Ford in Episode IV.
Also, the Phantom Edit removes the dialogue which makes him out to be a blundering fool (the ‘oops’), which makes his character pretty bad-ass. (It was pretty gratifying to see a starfighter take out droids and save the day, similar to how R2 did it with C’baoth in the Zahn novel.)
The pod race was still far too long, and somehow totally devoid of dramatic tension. Maybe because we’re never shown why we should care about Naboo or the characters. Also, looking at it 15 years later, Darth Maul was not really scary at all. If their ship had been a fighter on Tattooine, his involvement in the story would have ended right there.
But, in general, the actors in The Phantom Edit could easily have carried the day, given a better story and direction.
Overall, Two stars, which is miles ahead of the original edit.