Anyone who's read through this blog (well, basically it's just me) will have seen some sniping at George Lucas.
He totally screwed over the whole "Star Wars" story with Episodes 1-3. I grew up with the originals. I really loved the darkness of "The Empire Strikes Back." But even with the Big Three, we see Lucas beginning his free-fall into suck with the half-crap "Return of the Jedi." The whole teddy-bears-defeating-armored-troops-with-sticks-and-stones thing.
Granted, a Stormtrooper's armor didn't do much for protection, given that a single blaster shot from a good guy would take 'em out. But the Ewok schtick made the ending of "Jedi" into one long, drawn-out Three Stooges pie fight.
He took a rest for a while. Then he brought suck to an entirely new low with "The Phantom Menace." I didn't have very high hopes for the movie to begin with...but I left the theater simply numb. The farting camel. That idiotic Jar Jar. The really bad acting from Liam Neeson and others--we know these people can act, so I'd have to blame Lucas, who apparently went with first takes during rehearsals, then stitched it all together as foreground for very flashy computer graphics, and sent it to John Williams to write music for it. He didn't really develop the Sith as a "phantom menace"...and then there's the midiclorians-as-microbe-causing-the-Force instead of the much tidier mystical energy field that controls people's destinies.
"Attack of the Clones" gave us Hayden Christiansen, probably the least-inspiring actor in the entire series. He didn't really seem to be an angst-ridden teenager so much as an always-angry ADHD victim. Considering that the Sith are supposed to be a phantom menace, there's really not a good thread showing Palpatine exerting influence so much as seeming like an indulgent grandfather. The most irritating element in this movie, though, is C-3P0 and his incessant punning through the entire droid factory sequence ("Oh no! I'm beside myself!" "What a drag.")
"Revenge of the Sith" is much better than the first pair, but it still falls far short of the promise of the original trilogy. The battles are spectacular! The acting is somewhat better, but we still have that horrid, embarassing ending with a newly-minted Darth Vader (entirely too skinny, compared to the tall and bulky Dave Prowse) pulling a Frankenstein and wailing "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!" Bleah. He's turned the franchise into a modern-day version of the "Star Wars Holiday Special" without the snappy musical numbers.
But the crowning achievement of suck lies not with the Star Wars franchise...but with Indiana Jones, which suffered the same fate as the SW flicks. It started out serious ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") and got dark ("Temple of Doom"), with some appropriate bits of humor. Then it got silly. I had serious problems with "Last Crusade," which went out of its way to be irritating. Sean Connery did some good stuff--but by this point Indy is just a cartoon character. And Denholm Elliot and John Rhys-Davies (Brody and Sallah) should be ashamed. Their characters are just caricatures of the originals.
Which brings us to the utterly shitty "Crystal Skull." I have seen it only once and will never watch it willingly again. I started hating it within a few minutes, when Jones is blowed up in a noo-cue-lar explosion and rides a freaking refrigerator from launch to touchdown. How convenient that it was lead-lined. It was good to see Karen Allen, but she's just the Bitchy Ex-Wife for her entire set.
Cate Blanchett as the psychic Pinko was just...I don't know. The giant ants, the obligatory Tarzan moment...I don't see Spielberg or Lucas ever committing to film anything that's worth a shit for the remainder of their careers.
That said, Lucas is dead to me. I used to be a devoted "Star Wars" geek. I got the books, the toys, the first-run of "Star Wars: The Role-Playing Game." I even endured several months of reading the entire series of "New Jedi Order" novels. But that was then.
I skipped the animated "Clone Wars" flick. Knew it would suck. Apparently I was right.
Don't look anytime soon for any "Star Wars" book reviews.
Alan Partridge (2013)
21 hours ago