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Well, what else would I do this week? Unearth an old review of Baby Mama? This post actually represents redundancy upon redundancy (upon redundancy!) as I’ve already transplanted this tally from my former online home. This time, I’m caving in and using the full title. I’m also cleaning it up a little. I will allow my original misspelling of Wookiee to stand no more.

I’m not sure how much samuraithief checks his livejournal, but he’s the reason behind this post. More accurately, my guilt over the conversation I had with him yesterday is the reason behind this post.

You see, he really likes the Star Wars films, and I’ve developed a consistent tendency to meet his enthusiasm by needlessly explaining all of the things that are really, really bad in the various installments. He talks about Wookiees, light sabers, and Han Solo shooting Greedo, and I retort with Ewoks, Yoda using a light saber, and George Lucas reediting history to make Han’s act one of self-defense. My friend stopped by the station yesterday and mentioned his enjoyment of Revenge of the Sith. I then rapidly told him everything that was wrong with it. I did the same thing to my friend Jon a couple weeks ago and I felt like I’d taken away a favorite toy and stomped on it.

So, to atone for my sins (or “Dark Side moments” if you prefer), I will now list…


1. The long shots of the opening space battle are an amazing visual feast. The startling messiness of the scene captures, finally and exactly, what wars among the stars would actually look like. For all the tweaking Lucas has done of the original three films, this is first time I could truly understand why he’d feel compelled to use the updated technology to keep polishing his tale.

2. The moment Obi-Wan emerges from the ship and Anakin’s (or, er, I guess by that time Darth’s) sense of final, irredeemable betrayal boils to the surface is a deeply affecting emotional moment, maybe the strongest emotional moment across the six films. A person losing his grip on the better parts of himself is clearer and more believable here than at any other point in the film. You suddenly understand how Anakin really could turn into Vader.

3. “So this is how liberty dies–to thunderous applause.” It’s been widely quoted and justly so. Even putting aside it’s current political relevance, it’s a great piece of movie dialogue. So much so that I’m pretty sure that specific line bears non-Lucas fingerprints .

4. Really all the political stuff, much to my surprise, works really well. I like Padme the embittered Senator much more that Padme the barefront and pregnant wife making excuses for her husband’s bad behavior with explanations of his stress levels. I actually would have loved to see even more of the Imperial Senate.

5. Speaking of which, I love the way the old-school nineteen-seventies filmmaker in Lucas reemerges with the incredible-obvious-yet-still-somehow-supercool metaphor of the Emporer literally destroying the Senate after he had figuratively done so a few scenes earlier. Jackrabbit Yoda didn’t even bother me as the scene was exceedingly well-staged, shot and edited.

6. A jedi killing somebody by throwing their lightsaber like a spear. I like it when the light sabers are used creatively instead of simply being shiny laser swords.

7. It was nice to hear James Earl Jones again. The first (re)appearance of the Vader suit is pretty damn cool.

8. I’m glad Lucas realized that erasing the memory of C3-PO was a necessity to make the films that will chronologically follow truly make sense. I’ll go ahead and assume R2 is operating with less sophisticated long-term memory banks so that he didn’t need to go through the process.

9. Even if the Wookiees aren’t in it much, it’s nice to know that at least Peter Mayhew’s residual checks just got one film more lucrative.

10. For all my laments about the quality of the various films, Lucas and his collaborators have created an impressively vast and intricate universe. The fact that I wish it were better and richer and smarter is a testament to what’s been accomplished. I don’t give a second of thought as to what could be done to make the Matrixverse better, for example. The amount to which the film series and all its particulars (the Force, yoda, “turning to the Dark Side” and so on) is infused into our shared culture is simply amazing.

There that’s it. I can now go back to talking about the stupidity of the wheezy robot without guilt.

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