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Viewed at Pacific Place
Rated PG; running time of 138 minutes
Written by: George Lucas
Directed by: George Lucas
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Pernilla August, Frank Oz, Ahmed Best, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels
WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW.
Before telling you about this installment, I think I owe it to you to not assume that you have seen the previous episodes and explain them a bit. I'm doing this from memory so I may get a few small facts wrong, but the gist of it is correct.
In 1977 a movie called Star Wars: A New Hope - Episode 4 was released. It was a coming of age story centered on the fight between good and evil. Luke Skywalker, a young man whom his aunt and uncle raised and who wants nothing more than to go to flight school.
Obi-Wan Kenobi, a mysterious old man with a mysterious power called "the force." He was one of the only two remaining good Jedi Masters.
Princess Leia Organa who has asked Obi-Wan to help her and the rebels fight against the oppressive rule of the evil empire.
Han Solo who is a two-bit smuggler and his pal Chewbacca, plus two droids - C3PO and R2D2.
In the "Good" category:
In the "Evil" category:
The emperor who also has the force and was a former good Jedi. His power is stronger then Obi-Wan's.
Darth Vader. The emperor's main enforcer. He too is a former Good Jedi with a very strong connection with the force. He makes sure that the emperor's plans are executed.
Star Wars ends with Luke, Leia and the others in a huge space battle in which the evil built and run, Death Star, a space station the size of a planet that can blow up any planet in the galaxy is destroyed and Darth Vader and his space craft are sent swirling into space leaving room for a sequel.
In 1981 Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back is released. The rebel alliance has enjoyed little peace. They are hiding from the evil galactic empire on the ice planet of Hoth. While Leia, with the help of Han Solo, is trying to plan the next move for the alliance, Luke is off to train with Yoda - the last of Good Jedi( in phsyical form) and a Jedi Master who wishes to train Luke to become a Jedi. Yoda and Obi-Wan have determined that Luke has "The Force" just like them and just like Darth Vader. While he is training Leia and Han get into trouble. Bad debts have followed Han and he is captured by a bounty hunter and sold. Meanwhile, Leia is once again in the clutches of Darth Vader. Luke decides to go help Leia, this is risky because he hasn't finished his training, but he must help his friends. He rescues Leia and ends up going toe-toe with Darth Vader. During this battle Luke loses an arm, and gains some disturbing news about his family tree. Now Leia rescues him and they escape. They vow to find Han Solo and help crush the evil empire once and for all.
In 1983 Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi is released. Leia has found Han and is trying to rescue him and she, herself is captured. Luke, now the last Jedi in the entire galaxy, in turn rescues them and they go forth with their plans to destroy the evil empire. They land on a planet inhibited by furry little creatures called Ewoks. With the help of the Ewoks, the turn off the shield that protects the new Death Star and the rebel alliance is able to destroy it. Meanwhile, Luke once again faces Darth Vadar, but this time, his skills are stronger and he gets the upper hand. Darth and the Emperor are stopped and the alliance is free.
In 1999 Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace is released. This movie takes us back in time. It charts the origin of Anakin Skywalker and Queen Padmé Amidala - Luke's parents. It is revealed that the Trade Federation is who began what later became the evil empire. They are lead by Darth Sidious, a person that has never been seen, but is clearly in control. We are given hints that it is in fact Senator Palpatine who is Darth Sidious and it is he who becomes the emperor (we met him in early movies, which take place in later years). The unsuspected senators of all of the planets of the galaxy don't know that they are being manipulated and with each passing year they give him more power. Even though a young Obi-Wan is able to defeat Darth Sidious' henchman - Dark Maul, the innocent people of the galaxy are in trouble they just don't know how much yet. Even the discovery of young Anakin Skywalker, who at 8 shows exceptional talent and has a very strong present of the force, can't save them.
Now we are up to the current movie.
About 10 years have passed and young Anakin (Hayden Christiansen) has grown into a fine young man with a powerful connection to the force. Even his master, Obi-Wan is a bit in awe of Anakin's potential, but first Anakin must learn discipline. He can't just make rash decisions without thinking of the consequences first. He will never become a true Jedi if he doesn't chill out and be patient. Meanwhile, Amidala (Natie Portman) who is now a senator, has come to the planet to vote on an important matter, while there, two attempts have been made on her life and Jedi masters, Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and Yoda (voice by Frank Oz) decide to assign a still smitten Anakin to watch over her.
While Anakin and Amidala are playing house, Obi-Wan (Ewen Mcgregor) is investigating the assassination attempts. He goes to a far away planet and discovers that a outlawed Jedi, Count Dooku, (Christopher Lee) has enlisted the aid of a bounty hunter named Jango Fett (Boba Fett from the first 3 movies is his son) to build cloned warriors to be used for sinister plans.
Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council know that they alone can not defend the Republic and again give more control to Senator Palpatine. All the while not knowing that he is still manipulating them. Still safe on the planet of Naboo, Anakin and Amidala are falling in love. They haven't a care in the world until Anakin begins to sense something is wrong with his mother. What he discovers pushes him over the edge and he takes one step closer to the dark side.
Damn it, I don't want mushy dialogue and kissing in my Star Wars! I thought I was watching Romeo and Juliet and I wasn't happy about that. I believe I understand what Lucas was trying to accomplish. I think he was trying to show us that Darth Vader really was human once and that he was capable of more than just evil. Okay I get that, but did he have to prove it by having him utter some of the most inane lines? I swear it sounded like Shakespeare, which is fine, but not in the middle of a galactic upheaval. And I must admit that it felt creepy to watch Anakin checking Amidala out like she was a tramp from Mos Eisley.
I love the Star Wars series and always have, so I'm not someone who just doesn't get it. I do get, believe me I do. I just was not feeling this one at all. One thing that I'm finding increasingly more difficult to understand is the business with the trade federation and why Amidala is on a hit list. She hasn't done anything yet to warrant getting iced and the whole trade federation bit is just murky to me. Hopefully he'll clear it up in the next one. And he has A LOT of ground to cover in the next by the way. If you watch the first 3 movies, you know enough to see that the next movie is going to either have to be 4 hours long, or some stuff is going to have to get skipped.
Hayden Christensen didn't do it for me. He was cute, his fight scenes rocked, but he seemed to show too much emotion. He was generally over the top. That was a tad annoying.
It was cool seeing Samuel Jackson, with more screen time and this time he does a much better job. He seems to be more comfortable and less in awe over the fact that he has an action figure in the toy store now. Yoda kicked butt – big time. Oh and the scenery was phenomenal. Someone spent a lot of time with the details of the buildings and the atmosphere of each planet. That aspect of the movie left me speechless. I also have to give Lucas props for his mission to show diversity on the screen. I was very please with the representation of people of color. Yes Jar-Jar is back and I hate him even more, but beyond him, I have no new complaints. It's clear that he tried to include everyone.
I've long said that the Star Wars (1977) is the best "2 star" movie you'll ever see and I still stand by that. This is not to say that I disliked the movie or anything like that, I'm just realistic about it and having said that, this episode didn't even live up to that statement. However, like any other true fan, I'm sure I'll watch it on the big screen again and I'll buy it on DVD and VHS.
I can boil it down to being a cheesy love story taking place in the middle of political upheaval, but the last 45 minutes made it worth every penny. Wait for the crowds to die down and check out a matinee.
Attack of the mildly engaging plot.
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Copyright Kamal "The Diva" Larsuel-Ulbricht, 2002
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