Captain Antilles, I Presume


93824_R.jpg As observant readers might have noticed, I had a bit of subliminal Star Wars on the brain over the past week. Yesterday I tromped off to go see the latest (last?) installment in the franchise—a just reward for surviving my finals (Civ Pro in particular).

I liked it, and I liked it a lot.

It’s certainly not a great film, and, A. O. Scott notwithstanding, it’s definitely not the best film in the series. It is, though, the third-best movie in the franchise, brought low only by Lucas’ leaden ear for dialog and some unfortunate acting. The action sequences are spectacular, yet they never break down into incoherence (apparently, Steven Spielberg had a hand in designing several of them). Most importantly, the downfall of Anakin Skywalker is invested with Shakespearean depth (but, alas, without the Shakespearean language); he is undone by his own ambition and overreaching.

By far the best acting in the film is done by Ian McDiarmid, who plays the evil Palpatine; second honors go to Ewan MacGregor, doing his best Alec Guinness accent. Frank Oz, voicing an entirely computer-generated Yoda, more than holds his own, and even the much-lambasted Hayden Christensen manages to have some moments of his own. Natalie Portman, however, doesn’t have much to do in the movie other than look like she’s got a pregnancy prosthetic strapped to her belly.

One theme that ran through the entire film was how it was a transition to the the world of the first three films. The design of the artifacts in the film, particularly the spacecraft, look forward to what we’ll see in Episode IV (keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by the Millennium Falcon very early in the film), and the dialogue echos famous lines from the original trilogy, creating thematic bonds and resonances for the later films.

Overall, it’s not quite a masterpiece, but a very satisfying conclusion nonetheless. I just might have to go see it again.

Two side notes: near the end of the film, a character called “Captain Antilles” makes a brief appearance. Captain Antilles is presumably the father, or perhaps the uncle, of Wedge Antilles (aka Red 2), the only non-starring character in the first trilogy to appear in all three films. Denis Lawson, the actor who played Wedge, is the uncle of Ewan MacGregor… who, of course, plays, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

And second, Global Voices is tracking international reaction to the film. It’s truly a global phenomenon.

Now to get started on the $%@! writing competition.


Good luck with the competition. Although I am paid a bit to write, I'm often edited to death. Onward & Upward.....

See, I thought McDiarmid was terrible. Why exactly did he need to start imitating Gollum's voice halfway through? I thought he did a good job in Eps 1 and 2, and started off well in Episode 3 but by the end was just god-awful.

I thought the acting as a whole was bad, the writing was atrocious, and the fall of Darth Vader was actually really weak. It would've been much more satisfying had he made the conscious decision as an adult to turn to the dark side, for whatever reason (whether it was the thought that he could have saved Padme, or out of lust for power, or whatever). Instead, he acted like a petulant child throughout the entire movie; not once did we get a glimpse of the power and majesty that would be associated with Darth Vader later. When they finally strapped the helmet on and suddenly we hear the old Vader voice I almost laughed out loud; the transition from whiny high-pitched boy voice to deep sinister man voice was just too much for me. There was no real sense of his inner goodness or nobility; he was just a spoiled child.

I enjoyed the movie more than Episodes 1 and 2, definitely, and the fights and battles and special effects were mind-blowing, really. But I also found the plot and character development and dialogue to all be weak and really disappointing. After Episodes 1 and 2, where nothing useful happens, he had to cram so much into Episode 3 that he just lost so much of the power he could've generated had he covered it adequately... or at least that's my opinion. :)

Captian Antilles is NO relation to Wedge Antilles. The Captain is from Alderaan and Wedge is from Corellia.

I do not yet know if or when I will see this thing, but I thought the review (eviceration, really) in the New Yorker a couple weeks ago was side-splittingly hilarious. And true.

My 5-yr-old snuck off to see this with his dad--his only complaint-not enough wookiees. He thought there would be a much bigger army.

Okay, I saw it. Mildly amusing. More of the same. This experiment has now run its course. Alas, there is no success story, here, although Lucas has added several hundred million more dollars to his coffers with which he will doubtless produce Star Wars television programming for years to come, and probably crank out at least one more tepid Indiana Jones sequel. After all, he has to do something to pass the time. If Star Wars is going to have legs, it will be with today's kiddies. But as for us -- the so-called "Star Wars generation" -- I suggest it's high time to say sayonara, get off this bus, move on.

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