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Having a touch of the flu I spend a lot of time doing nothing, that is nothing new, but in this case is justified. And since there are -5 degrees outside and the snow that fall last night has frozen in a white sheet of ice nothing is better than stay at home and do jack nothing. So I decided to watch some tv, grabbed a video from my pile and shove it in. And for a chance I got The Phantom Menace. Now, why the fsck did I bought that thing I'll never understand. Probably because sometimes I suffer minor brain malfunctions, which is a good explanation since I bought it after discovering that was a huge turd.
Well yeah, I'm one paragraph into this and I've already said that I consider the first (or the fourth) movie in one of the bigger franchise of the last twenty years one of the bigger piece of shit ever produced by a studio. And his status has been surpassed only by the other sequels.
Now, before I'll start my usual whining, let me state that I FSCKING ADORE STAR WARS! And with 'Star Wars' I mean the first 3 movies alone, the originals ones, without all the crap that George Lucas shoved into them later to "make them better" ok? And I don't adore them just because I saw them when I was 12 and then I spent a week jumping my big brother brandishing a broomstick painted green and making lightsaber noises with my mouth.
Anyhow, after spending more than one hour watching this huge piece of crap I decided to write about it before stuffing the disk in the microwave.
A good movie should have 3 good elements: a good story, some well-defined characters with (at least) one protagonist that is supposed to 'carry you' into the story and then it should be well told, that means to be able to present all the elements correctly. Now TPM doesn't have any of these.
Now, the original S.W.: the 'rebels' have stolen the plans for some kind of super-space-base-super-gun-thingy, the 'evil empire' (in the person of Darth Vader and associates) is trying to get them back, in the process it will piss off a young crybaby pushing him to join the 'rebels' bringing the plan with him, the rebels will attack the space-base-thingy and, thanks to the plans, blow it up.
Now, this is, in short, the story after S.W., let's try the same with TPM:
All right then... there is some kind of tax disputes about... whell that's not really well explained, and some politicians of the Galactic Republic is trying to get advantage of this because.... even this is not really explained. Then there is some kind of 'evil guy' that is sort-of pushing some kind of association called 'the trade federation' to block a planet because ... hu.... and then the Republic decide to send a couple of 'jedi' to talk to this 'federation' because... hunnn...
Why the fsck the Jedi (that are not particularly bright and certainly are not expert in intergalactic commercial laws) are sent to talk with that federation peoples? And why a "trade federation" should block a planet and prevent trade with them? And this 'evil guy' how the heck is he commanding around the whole fscking federation? They have a fscking armada! Why are they following his order? None of this has any fscking sense! And this is even before the movie begin! Then, after a confusing and useless part, we arrive on Tatooine (or how the heck is written) and then we are treated with that bullshit PodRacing thing... It's like formula one, but the 'cars' are made with dental floss and chewing gum and while you race somebody is shooting at you! No, seriously, what the fsck???
What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a text book case of Idiot Plot which was defined by Roger Ebert as a plot which can work only and only if everybody in the story is an idiot. And this bring us to the characters of this POS.
Let's try a little experiment, I'll say the name of a character and you'll try to define him or her without referring to the physical aspect, just how he or she is defined in the movie.
Han Solo. I'm almost certain that everybody thought "arrogant", "dashing", "reckless", "the jerk with an hart of gold" and so on. Obi Wan-Kenobi. And here I espect things like "the old wise man", the "wizard mentor", "tactician and strategist" and so on.
Now let's see something more modern: Queen Amidala..... nothing? Juan Qin-Jin or what the fsck was his name. .... still nothing? And no, "long hair" is not acceptable. I'm almost certain that if I say "Jar Jar" everybody will yell "I hate that fsckers" but this is way too easy.
The point is that the characters are so flat and shallow that if you look at them sideways they will disappear. And then we have HIM! The "star": Anakin Skywalker! Now, we could argue that a chracter that is introduced 43 minutes into a movie can't be the protagonist of the same. Especially when he is introduced after no less than 3 super-bombastik fights.
Then the question is: who is the protagonist of this movie? Every movie should have at least one protagonist, a character with whom you can identify that will guide you into the story and whose job is to act as a connection between you (the viewer) and the story. But there isn't one!
So, shallow characters, flawed inexistent story, what do we have more? Oh, right, the presentation, which would be what you see on the screen. There is an old saying that goes: if you can't play, play loud. Well, TPM plays superloud!
Every single scene, every single fotogram on the screen is chocked full of stuff that does not exists. The whole fscking movie seems to be built to show off that ILM can create from nothing every crap that George Lucas think, but this does not mean that they have to!
When a couple of characters appears on the screen we are forced to follow theirs actions and interactions. If the two are talking we'll follow the discussion, but in TPM every single scene is full of stuff that has no sense in the context of the current action, every 2 seconds some crap passes on the screen or activate in the background or something, follow the scene becomes really difficult. Everything looks impressive, that for sure, but nothing makes any sense!
My opinion is that each scene in a movie should have some meaning, some reason to be there, bring the story forward or explain the actions of some character and make the plot more belivable. A scene or element that has no meaning or use shouldn't be there. Sometimes scenes that have no reason are included as "padding", to enrich the movie and make it longer, but most of the time you can just drop those scenes and nothing in the movie will change. Now let's take two examples:
In this scene (that lasts for about 3 seconds) we knows that a) Han Solo ain't easily rattled, b) the guy with the gun knows him, c) they are not friends and d) Han has to think fast if he wants to get out alive. All this is done with two guys and a gun. You can't have more with less. Let's keep in mind that this scene is immediately after Han has been introduced as the "captain of the ship" and had his chance of weaving his XXXX around claiming that his ship has done "this or that in so-and-so", that means nothing but look impressive. So why this scene? To show that Han does not just pretend to be a tough guy, he can back it up with the action. Is the old saying "don't tell: show".
Now in this case we have... well a lot of stuff. There are two "things" walking down from another "thing" and a lot of robots that... what exactly are they doing there? No really, don't they have anything better to do? Now, let's forget for a minute that NOTHING in this scene exists in reality, the only thing that was filmed were (maybe) the two guys in costume walking around in some blue painted studio. But what does this scene tell us? That those are the bosses? We knew that before when we met them on the ship ordering (or being ordered) the invasion thanks! That the "federation" (wathever it is) has a lot of money? We notice when we were shown their fleet! That they have a lot of robots? Already seen thanks. So... a 20 seconds scene for what exactly? To show off that you can do this CGI shit?
TPM is one of the most orrendous movie I have ever saw. If we remove the special effects there is nothing left. The story doesn't have a leg to stand on, the characters are so shallow you can see through them, to be the "origin" of a saga is really bad.
I could ask why has been made? Now, since the movie was produced for 115 milion $ (HUNDREDFIFTIEEN) and grossed almost a billion around the world, we can't say that it wasn't worth it, but whoever saw it (and I asked) commented that it was a big delusion. So, why?
I can only think one explanation: George Lucas can't do anything else.
The original S.W. was written by Lucas in more than a year, and went through several changes and rewriting before being presented to Fox for funding. George had all the time to work out the details and came out with a good story. And we could say that he did not came out with a story. The 'story' behind S.W. has been told since King Arthur times in different settings, this is just a different setting. The fact that Lucas was a rookie as director and producer means that he had to accept a lot of compromises, in most cases there were no money or time to redo things, so he had to accept them as they were or just drop them.
Now, with modern technology and capacity, George can have exactly what he wants and how he wants, money and time are no longer a problem (for him at least). The result is that orrid pod racing sequence.
In the original S.W. there was a scene where Han Solo talks with Jabba outside the space ship, that scene had no sense and it was so bad that in the original was left on the cutting room floor. In the "improved" version of S.W. the scene was re-made with CGI and chocked in. Let me tell you: that scene belongs to the cutting room floor.
In one of the 'extra' in the movie the producer of the original (Gary Kurtz) tells how George had trouble with the brittish cameramen (Gil Taylor), George was starting with "let's put a light here like this" and Gil was cutting him with "That's not your job son. You tell me what you want to see, and I'll figure out the best way to achieve that".
And I think that is the problem: George Lucas doesn't know what he wants to see. That's why he shoot every scene with multiple cameras and then he redo the whole thing on a computer, because this way, maybe, by sheer luck, we will be able to get what he wants, when he sees it.
In the extra with TPM there are some scenes shot during production of the movie. What stroke me are the faces of the peoples involved in the work whenever there was some discussion about it. They all have those "what the fsck are we doing" expressions. There is one in specific, where George is describing which shots have to be made with CGI and which have to be re-made with blue screens to a group of ILM animators (I think) and lots of them have that expression, a mix of confusion and fear that means "what the fsck is going on here???"
And there is to think about it, I suppose that during working there have been some screening of this stuff, and I ask myself, but how is that nobody, I mean nobody has ever had the guts to turn to George and say "what the fsck are we doing?". Because I can understand that when you've thrown 115 million dollars (I mean ONE HUNDRED FIFTIEEN MILLION DOLLARS!) into something you can't just say "Ok, that was a bad idea" and shove it under the carpet, but in the beginning, when you've only sunk a few grand in it, then that is a good time to stop, have a long good look at what you're doing and maybe decide to think a bit more about it. But on the other hand, when a short but strong man decided to invade Russia, in winter, none of his trusty and experienced generals had the guts to look him in the face and say "what the fsck are you talking about?" so I shouldn't be too surprised.
Comments are added when and more important if I have the time to review them and after removing Spam, Crap, Phishing and the like. So don't hold your breath. And if your comment doesn't appear, is probably becuase it wasn't worth it.
Guerre Stellari By Piernicola Comuniello posted 20/12/2009 11:16
Solo By noob posted 20/12/2009 11:44
@ noob By Davide Bianchi posted 20/12/2009 14:28
@ noob By Mallin Shetland posted 20/12/2009 18:44
...sui seguiti By Lisa posted 20/12/2009 13:38
Bella recensione By xsi posted 20/12/2009 15:15
Ordine By johnnymnemonic posted 20/12/2009 17:12
@ johnnymnemonic By Davide Bianchi posted 20/12/2009 17:17
Purtroppo... By Giuseppe posted 20/12/2009 22:39
@ Giuseppe By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 08:55
E Anakin??? By Castore posted 21/12/2009 09:20
con cordo By Guido posted 21/12/2009 10:07
@ Guido By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 10:17
concordo con lisa By WM posted 21/12/2009 11:32
@ WM By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 11:43
Star whores... By TheDoc posted 21/12/2009 15:17
@ TheDoc By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 15:29
@ TheDoc By Anonymous coward posted 21/12/2009 19:10
@ Anonymous coward By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 19:40
@ Davide Bianchi By Anonymous coward posted 21/12/2009 22:55
@ Anonymous coward By Davide Bianchi posted 22/12/2009 08:30
@ Anonymous coward By maxxfi posted 22/12/2009 13:36
Concordo in buona parte By Stéphane posted 21/12/2009 15:32
@ Stéphane By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 15:48
@ Davide Bianchi By Stéphane posted 21/12/2009 16:25
@ Stéphane By Davide Bianchi posted 21/12/2009 17:38
Allora non sono l'unico By Marco Masselli posted 21/12/2009 16:41
Riassumendo By Anonymous coward posted 23/12/2009 14:02
@ Anonymous coward By Anonymous coward posted 23/12/2009 23:01
Ne bastava 1, inutile farne 6 By mk66 posted 24/12/2009 22:52
Totalmente d'accordo su TPM By LastHope posted 25/12/2009 22:27
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