Monday, January 28, 2008

Phantom Hourglass One Day... Phantom Menace The Next

It's official... The Phantom Menace is a really dull film. Actually, just because I say so doesn't make it officially dull. There have been way more qualified film critics before me who have declared it such.

What brings this on? Well, I've been going through the Star Wars films with my 3 year old daughter over the last few weeks. She loves the original Star Wars with Luke, Leia and Han (back when Luke and Leia were in love in a romantic way, not a creepy uncle-dad/aunty-mom sort of way).

She sat through Empire Strikes back and was entranced by Han being frozen. She even tolerated the boring set up of Return of the Jedi on Tattooine that seemed to last an eternity and ends with Boba Fett being done in by Han Solo in a piss-weak manner. Being accidentally knocked into a Sarlacc pit by a blind space pilot is second only to dying by accidentally falling over in the shower and being impaled on a jumbo size bottle of shampoo. On second thoughts that would might have been a more noble way for Boba Fett to exit the series...

Anyway, watching the Star Wars films every week or two unfettered by the Rose Colored Glasses of my youth it became painfully obvious that I was right. Star Wars is awesome, Empire is great, Return of the Jedi is kind of boring and The Phantom Menace is a snooze-fest. All this talk of trade routes and taxes and blah-blah-blah and the wooden acting and the over explanation of everything - it's just wrong. Not to mention all the fan service with the Hutts and Threepio and the introduction of Artoo - it feels like it was made by a bunch of fans with access to ILM and name actors.

Another thing that struck me about The Phantom Menace was how new everything looked. I watched the making of documentaries on the re-release of the original trilogy and everyone from Peter Jackson to Ridley Scott rave on about how the "used universe" inspired them. They seemed to have forgotten that concept in the new series - it's as if the Star Wars universe was created 40 years before the first films. Or rendered digitally on a blue screen.

Well, I'll stop ranting now. I'm only adding to the already billions of hours wasted by internet geeks on this topic. Next week we'll be tackling Attack of the Clones. From memory I enjoyed that one. I'll let you know how it goes.


Anonymous said...

Hey John,

That's what I really liked about Joss Whedon's Serenity universe (FIrefly and Serenity). That aged/run down look really makes for a much more realistic setting.



Brendan B. said...

Hi John,

Boba-Fett really was cheated out of an honorable death. The books and comics that take place after Return of the Jedi talk about how Fett escapes Sarlacc, and he is rescued by the incompetent Dengar. Hope I'm not nerding out too much here.

Anyway, the point of my reply is that if you and your daughter enjoyed Episode IV, V, and VI, you should check out the Clone Wars Cartoons (25 mini-episodes released by Lucas, via Toonami), and maybe check out the Thrawn trilogy of books, which are set after Return of the Jedi.

They are written by Timothy Zahn, and feature, Han, Luke, Leia, and all the rest. No wooden actors in sight.

Brendan B.

Passfield Games said...

It's impossible to nerd out too much when it comes to Star Wars!

I have the Clone Wars cartoons on DVD and am just waiting until my daughter's a bit older before we watch them.

Thanks for the wiki link!