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Well, I finally saw AOTC last night


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I know -- some fan! The fact of the matter is I wasn't expecting much after the last go-round, with TPM. Besides, my girlfriend was out of town on opening weekend, and I wanted to see it with her so I would have someone to bitch at. So attitude and events conspired to let a couple of weeks pass and the crowds die down sufficiently that we wouldn't be distracted by a theatre-full of geeks shouting lines at the screen. As it turned out, we wound up sitting right in front of an influenzal old man, but he was far less unpleasant than the trailers we had to endure! Holy man, what a lot of crap is coming out!

Anyway, I have not read any of your detailed comments about AOTC, since I was trying to avoid spoilers, and again I would like to thank most of you for being good about alerting the rest of us to their appearance in your posts. Needless to say, there may be spoilers in what follows, but since I am probably the last one here to have seen the movie, I don't think it's really a problem. Quickly, before getting on to the topic at hand, I would like to ask your indulgence for starting a new thread, which must seem like an act of hubris after so many AOTC topics. Who cares what I think about AOTC? Who, indeed?

Okay, in the first place, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although my girlfriend absolutely hated it. She turned to me during the end credits and said, "That was worse than 'A.I.,'" but when I called her bluff, she had to concede she was overstating herself, as "A.I." was one of the worst films either of us have ever seen in the theatre, and AOTC was not quite in that league. But just because I didn't think it was bad, doesn't mean it was good.

What impressed me about the picture, surprisingly, were some of the visuals. The city scapes were breathtaking, absolutely gorgeous, and the spaceships, most of them, actually looked good. But that all changed as soon as things starting chasing each other, or when "humans" began to interact with CGI. At times like those, AOTC was just like any other half-baked summer piece-of-crap. The scene where Ani surfs on what my girlfriend and I have dubbed the piss tick, a swollen livestock creature that grazes in the meadows of Naboo, could easily have been done using a G.I. Joe, it looked so bad. And I'm surprised some of you here deride Harryhausen, since the arena sequence toward the end of the movie (one of about five false endings) was lifted right out of a Sinbad picture or "Mysterious Island."

What really sucked, though, was the acting, and I don't care what you apologists have to say, there is no way the acting in the original trilogy ever approached the depths of pure awfulness that is on display in the current film. Mark Hamill may not have been John Gielgud, but he was never so exposed as the two completely uncharismatic leads who are supposed to carry the insipid and totally unconvincing love story at the heart of AOTC. John Williams tries hard to disguise their shortcomings with some genuinely achey love music, but the vacuity of the actors, the total lack of passion or even rapport between them, only stood out the more for it. What's worse, they actually managed to suck the life out of the rest of the film.

Ewan MacGregor was fine, with what he was given to do. At least he could deliver his lines convincingly, and there's something to be said for any actor who can acquit himself in so thankless a role. The Obi-Wan supposed-Phillip Marlowe thread was otherwise a bore, told with a complete lack of suspense or mystery, and I have to wonder by the time we first see the clone army what we the audience are supposed to feel. There was certainly no surprise, no twist or turn, much less the requisite heart of darkness self-discovery, which any gumshoe worth his weight in cynicism is inevitably forced to explore. What does Obi-Wan's quest tell us about his character? Were there any characters even on display in this movie? Personally, I could have cared less if they had all died. It would have all been part of the light show.

And how many times are we going to return to Tatooine? That's been done to death. Enough already! Lucas may be getting his jollies off of all this "secret origins"-type backstory, but so much of it is unnecessary, hinted at sufficiently in the original trilogy -- and tossed off with elan, as opposed to being hammered out laboriously over the course of three more films. Okay, I guess this was his idea of another "revelation." Vader is Luke's father; Leia is Luke's sister; Threepio is Vader's creation; and now Anakin is Uncle Owen's, what, nephew? Does that make him Luke's cousin as well as father? Hello? Can anyone else hear the sound of scraping at the bottom of the barrel?

And Threepio -- how much more tiresome can he become? Are the stupid, anachronistic, slang-and-idiom-based puns in the arena scene the best Lucas can do? I'd be curious to see how these will be translated overseas. I imagine there are a lot of interpretors racking their brains for appropriately lame culturally-relevant groaners. And since when can Artoo fly? Or Yoda move? I'm sorry, but the showdown (another false ending) between the little green one and Count Dooku (octogenarian Christopher Lee!), which has rapidly become such a fan-fave, reminded me of Chucky in outerspace.

Taken on a level of pure cheese, the film can be entertaining for brief stretches, but I can never tell if Lucas is trying to evoke the jargon-heavy stiffness of the original "Flash Gordon" serials, or not. I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt, but I don't know, it all seems so serious. And if he is winking at us, then why devote long stretches to supposed exposition about Republics and Senators and Jedi and Federations? The only genuinely humorous moment in the entire film comes when one of those creatures in the arena, being prodded on by a mounted wrangler, knocks him off his steed and eats him. Other than that, if there was any wit, either it was too heavy-handed (Threepio) or the cast wasn't in on the joke. And if this is supposed to be such a good time, then why torture us with entire scenes devoted to the soporific lovers, with the lame dialogue perilously exposed?

Thinking about the casting of Portman and Christensen -- and again, I'm probably giving Lucas too much credit -- I struck upon the idea that the director may have INTENTIONALLY selected really bad actors to make the CGI supporting cast seem more realistic. Sorry, George. Yoda and even Jar-Jar may benefit from the juxtaposition, but take it from me, I had to suffer through the thing, and IT JUST WASN'T WORTH IT. The leads should have been fired and replaced. Ten years have passed since TPM. Another actress could have credibly been chosen to replace Portman. As it is, I find it very hard to believe she could ever inspire any kind of following, whether she be Queen (elected!) or otherwise.

A lot (although not all) of the effects looked great. I was amazed by some of the Vietnam-type footage at the end (or one of the ends). But the picture is fatally overlong, with a really, really flabby middle. And, truth be told, I found myself at one point trying to remember what planet we were supposed to be on at the moment. At the least the original trilogy was careful to set up two or three major settings per film, and all of them were always clearly delineated for the audience -- desert planet, space station, snow planet, swamp planet, cloud city, jungle planet. There was a moment of disorientation during the current film when I suddenly wondered which desert planet I was supposed to be on. And Naboo looked great, but was it really necessary? It was just one more planet to have to sort out. Wouldn't it have been simpler just to have Anakin sense a disturbance in the Force while en route and divert their course to Tatooine? Anyway, nothing much happened on ANY of the planets, so I suppose it's just a matter of choose-your-poison. The whole second act was a tremendous bore, no matter how you slice it. Let's hope that if Lucas pulls the multiple-intercutting-stories approach next time, with Episode III, that he at least makes one of them compelling. Or that he has the good sense to keep it under two hours.

The conveyor belt scene would have definitely been more effective with the music as Williams conceived it. Either way, it was still -- like too much of the movie -- a superfluous set piece.

So, two stars, or two-and-a-half (out of four), at best. I don't care what the rest of you have to say about the supposed redemption of Lucas, neither this nor its predecessor was as good as "Return of the Jedi," despite that film's numerous shortcomings. At least it had the original cast, concluded the original story (however shoddily), and left one feeling as if he had just seen a "Star Wars" movie. I'm curious to know how Lucas thinks he is ever going to be able to convincingly integrate the two trilogies. Despite a welcome continuity in some of the creature make-up, the two series look nothing alike. Even if he pulls off a masterpiece with Episode III, there are still two clinkers now marring the "Star Wars" saga. And I doubt any amount of tinkering is ever going to change that -- unless it is to drag the originals even further down into the mire that is Episodes I and II.

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Wow, it must really suck to be you. Bye, Roald

Okay, in the first place, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, although my girlfriend absolutely hated it.  She turned to me during the end credits and said, "That was worse than 'A.I.,'" but when I called her bluff, she had to concede she was overstating herself, as "A.I." was one of the worst films either of us have ever seen in the theatre, and AOTC was not quite in that league.  But just because I didn't think it was bad, doesn't mean it was good.

:roll:

What impressed me about the picture, surprisingly, were some of the visuals.  The city scapes were breathtaking, absolutely gorgeous, and the spaceships, most of them, actually looked good.  But that all changed as soon as things starting chasing each other, or when "humans" began to interact with CGI.  At times like those, AOTC was just like any other half-baked summer piece-of-crap.

Non-sense, I thought Jar Jar looked almost as real as a puppet. And they were all better than what stop motion could do, except maybe yoda, I didn't like the CGI skin complexion he had.

The scene where Ani surfs on what my girlfriend and I have dubbed the piss tick, a swollen livestock creature that grazes in the meadows of Naboo, could easily have been done using a G.I. Joe, it looked so bad.  And I'm surprised some of you here deride Harryhausen, since the arena sequence toward the end of the movie (one of about five false endings) was lifted right out of a Sinbad picture or "Mysterious Island."

Well, I agree that fx was bad, but bad fx were very rare in this film. And I shall be renting Sinbad then, The Arena part made the film seem worth it to me.

What really sucked, though, was the acting, and I don't care what you apologists have to say, there is no way the acting in the original trilogy ever approached the depths of pure awfulness that is on display in the current film.  Mark Hamill may not have been John Gielgud, but he was never so exposed as the two completely uncharismatic leads who are supposed to carry the insipid and totally unconvincing love story at the heart of AOTC.  John Williams tries hard to disguise their shortcomings with some genuinely achey love music, but the vacuity of the actors, the total lack of passion or even rapport between them, only stood out the more for it.  What's worse, they actually managed to suck the life out of the rest of the film.

I thought Hayden did a decent job. I suppose the lack of chrisma argument is valid. I thought Portman did a poor job.

Ewan MacGregor was fine, with what he was given to do.  At least he could deliver his lines convincingly, and there's something to be said for any actor who can acquit himself in so thankless a role.  The Obi-Wan supposed-Phillip Marlowe thread was otherwise a bore, told with a complete lack of suspense or mystery, and I have to wonder by the time we first see the clone army what we the audience are supposed to feel.  There was certainly no surprise, no twist or turn, much less the requisite heart of darkness self-discovery, which any gumshoe worth his weight in cynicism is inevitably forced to explore.

We get to see the clone army finally. That's all. I some what liked this part of the film.

What does Obi-Wan's quest tell us about his character?  Were there any characters even on display in this movie?  Personally, I could have cared less if they had all died.  It would have all been part of the light show.

True, for Anakin and Padme at least. Dooku and Obi-Wan were great.

I'm sorry, but the showdown (another false ending) between the little green one and Count Dooku (octogenarian Christopher Lee!), which has rapidly become such a fan-fave, reminded me of Chucky in outerspace.

What is wrong with false endings? And Christopher Lee makes anything enjoyable.

The conveyor belt scene would have definitely been more effective with the music as Williams conceived it.  Either way, it was still -- like too much of the movie -- a superfluous set piece.

I agree 100% with that. But what a set piece The Arena was. I found that part a lot of fun and quite funny. Most of the film is not great, not horrible, not that good, not bad, not a bore, but not that fun, most is pretty much average. Except for a few great set pieces a little bit here and there. It just doesn't come together.

So, two stars, or two-and-a-half (out of four), at best.  

My rating as well.

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Wow, if A.I. is the worst movie you've ever seen, I'd love to see what your Best movie is! That film had more artistry and craftsmenship than 99% of the usual Hollywood fare. I really feel bad for you that you couldn't see that. You misssed out on a fantastic film.

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no, I believe Figo and I saw the same picture. A.I. was abysmal. I wouldn't say it was the worst movie I have ever seen,CAPEFEAR, but I thought it the worst Spielberg film ever, not worst film ever,BLAIRWITCH. To me the worst films are usually a-list films that lie or cheat the audience,JACOBSLADDER, or pull out redherrings at the end,FIGHTCLUB, either way the audience loses.

JOE

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That film had more artistry and craftsmenship than 99% of the usual Hollywood fare.

Precisely why it was so bad. It failed so spectacularly. And, for the record, I said it was ONE of the worst. Don't misrepresent me.

Also, I happen to love Christopher Lee!

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The old version is good pulp fun, the new version with DeNiro is a horrid piece of trash. It aims to take a grade b film, make it an A film, but ends up as a high budget hack and slash film. At least Friday the 13th trys to be nothing more than a teen explotation horror/slasher film.

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Figo, you and I will just have to accept being part of the general movie going public who shunned A.I. and for what ever reason, do not see the "greatness" that some here see.

Joe, who really believes Spielberg will redeem himself in 3 weeks.

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Figo,

I guess this means that you won't be watching Episode III, right?

You can bet that you won't be happy with it either, since the principal casts remains the same and I doubt their acting will improve much, to your satisfaction.

I would definitely suggest you don't waste your money on Episode III. Believe me, you'll be very disappointed that of 3 Star Wars saga that are "married". In fact, I dare you not to see it.

It's too bad that some people can't seem to enjoy at least the tremendous efforts Lucas or Spielberg or anyone else for that matter, makes in their art. Both Lucas and Spielberg makes movies to please themselves, and hopefully others would be pleased as well. They're bound to be hated by some. There are many who don't care for Star Wars, Indiana jones and even E.T. Believe me, neither of these artists care, because they're smart enough to know that they'll never be able to please everybody.

Figo, we want to see you make a movie. Perhaps you can break the tradition, and able to please every single soul that sees the movie.

Many artists often are not happy of what they see being produced, either in music, movies, better pain killers, or even in burgers such as McDonalds. But what they do is create better music, movies, or burgers, such as Wendy's. :mrgreen:

So, Figo, do you think you're up to making a movie we'll be happy with?

I'll go and see it if you'll make it.

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Figo,  

I guess this means that you won't be watching Episode III, right?  

You can bet that you won't be happy with it either, since the principal casts remains the same and I doubt their acting will improve much, to your satisfaction.  

I would definitely suggest you don't waste your money on Episode III. Believe me, you'll be very disappointed that of 3 Star Wars saga that are "married". In fact, I dare you not to see it.  

It's too bad that some people can't seem to enjoy at least the tremendous efforts Lucas or Spielberg or anyone else for that matter, makes in their art. Both Lucas and Spielberg makes movies to please themselves, and hopefully others would be pleased as well. They're bound to be hated by some. There are many who don't care for Star Wars, Indiana jones and even E.T. Believe me, neither of these artists care, because they're smart enough to know that they'll never be able to please everybody.  

I see that you wre ready to bitch the movie, even before you see it. You have made your mind up, beforehand.  

Figo, we want to see you make a movie. Perhaps you can break the tradition, and able to please every single soul that sees the movie.  

Many artists often are not happy of what they see being produced, either in music, movies, better pain killers, or even in burgers such as McDonalds. But what they do is create better music, movies, or burgers, such as Wendy's. :mrgreen:

So, Figo, do you think you're up to making a movie we'll be happy with?  

I'll go and see it if you'll make it.

And I won't bitch it, before I even see it.

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And since when can Artoo fly? Or Yoda move? I'm sorry, but the showdown (another false ending) between the little green one and Count Dooku (octogenarian Christopher Lee!), which has rapidly become such a fan-fave, reminded me of Chucky in outerspace.

Wow, it must really suck to be you. ;)

Bye,

Roald

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A.I. had more artistry and craftsmenship than 99% of the usual Hollywood fare. I really feel bad for you that you couldn't see that.

Our opinions have nothing to do whith something "we couldn't see", but with the fact that we are different from each other.

Figo, we want to see you make a movie. Perhaps you can break the tradition, and able to please every single soul that sees the movie.  

So, Figo, do you think you're up to making a movie we'll be happy with?  

I'll go and see it if you'll make it.

I find this comment completely unnecessary and disrespectful.

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Figo,  

I guess this means that you won't be watching Episode III, right?  

You can bet that you won't be happy with it either, since the principal casts remains the same and I doubt their acting will improve much, to your satisfaction.  

I would definitely suggest you don't waste your money on Episode III. Believe me, you'll be very disappointed that of 3 Star Wars saga that are "married". In fact, I dare you not to see it.  

It's too bad that some people can't seem to enjoy at least the tremendous efforts Lucas or Spielberg or anyone else for that matter, makes in their art. Both Lucas and Spielberg makes movies to please themselves, and hopefully others would be pleased as well. They're bound to be hated by some. There are many who don't care for Star Wars, Indiana jones and even E.T. Believe me, neither of these artists care, because they're smart enough to know that they'll never be able to please everybody.  

Figo, we want to see you make a movie. Perhaps you can break the tradition, and able to please every single soul that sees the movie.  

Many artists often are not happy of what they see being produced, either in music, movies, better pain killers, or even in burgers such as McDonalds. But what they do is create better music, movies, or burgers, such as Wendy's. :jump:

So, Figo, do you think you're up to making a movie we'll be happy with?  

I'll go and see it if you'll make it.

I would love to have my shot, Guest. If you can get me the financial backing, I will happily do the rest. There was a time when I thought I would love to make movies professionally. When I was younger, I used to write, direct and edit my own films, which starred my friends and classmates. I think I did a fine job, considering what I had to work with.

In any case, I wouldn't want my first major project to be a "Star Wars" sequel. I imagine it would be absolute hell to work with Lucas, as a director, unless he first agreed to put his unconditional faith in my better judgment (which would never happen). Or unless I happened to be Spielberg. Talk about a thankless job.

If you ever troubled yourself to actually read my posts, Guest, you would know that I have the highest regard for much of Spielberg's output (especially the early stuff), and for Lucas' work on the original trilogy. That doesn't mean I have to follow them blindly and abandon sound judgment to live the rest of my life in denial. The sad fact of the matter is that some of the greatest artists who ever lived said what they had to say at a fairly early age and simply played themselves out. It happens.

Also, it should go without saying that success can spoil an artist. Remove the hurdles and a filmmaker can lose his focus, not rely quite so heavily on creative solutions, and risk becoming too self-indulgent. Lucas has done so well for himself financially that he never has to answer to anyone ever again. But can anyone say in all honesty that it has made him a better filmmaker? Has the utopian vision of Skywalker Ranch as a haven for independant filmmaking yielded anything worthwhile? I'm not taking about the technological innovations of ILM, I'm talking about good, sound storytelling, the fostering of new talent, and a better alternative to conditions under the "bottom line"-obsessed studio system.

If you think Lucas is any different than some fat Hollywood mogul, take the case of Richard Marquand. Do you think he made the movie he wanted to make in "Return of the Jedi?" Or do you suppose he did exactly what he was told? I don't know for certain, but I see little evidence of the director who gave us "The Eye of the Needle." Lucas is interested in one thing -- the vision of George Lucas. Unfortunately, that vision is not so messianic as he seems to think. In fact, other than cranking out another Indiana Jones every once in a while, it seems to have played itself out, more or less, several decades ago. What has he done since? "Labyrinth." "Return to Oz." "Howard the Duck." "Radioland Murders." "The Phantom Menace." "Attack of the Clones." Kind of makes "Tucker" look like an accident. If not for the merchandising, royalties, and ILM, he would be living in a trailer park right now, next door to the creators of Superman.

I will go see Episode III, Guest, and hope against hope that it will be a better picture. (I want to see Lucas succeed as much as anyone, believe me. He and Spielberg were childhood heroes.) That doesn't mean I have to like it, nor that I shouldn't express my opinion if I don't. It is troubling that you seem to think that's the way things should be. Perhaps when you become the dictator of your own country, you will have your chance to control free speech. In the meantime, you can continue to take your potshots under the veil of anonymity. At least come up with a screen name, so the rest of us have someone to attribute your comments to. You needn't be afraid, we won't come looking for you. :twisted:

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