I must confess, I stole that headline.
I know I should probably not waste space on this blog, or seconds of my finite time on this planet, on anything Revenge of the Sith-related. But somewhere inside me is the kid who listened to the casette-with-book set of the original Star Wars incessantly, being too young to see Star Wars in the theater the first time around, and those being the dark days before VCRs. I can still probably play back the whole thing in my head, from the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare to the snippets of actual film dialog to the closing music.
So, first, two reviews. First, Anthony Lane slashes the whole thing with his lightsaber prose. He’s always so much fun when he out and out loathes a film. I’ll have to wait until I see it to decide if he’s being too harsh (I suspect so), but as if you’ve been reading this a while, you probably have noticed that I pretty much value contrarianism for its own sake. Second, Roger Ebert. He’s not afraid to enjoy the kind of thing Anthony Lane calls (sincerely) “vulgarian”, so he’s quite positive. And he points out something I’ve been thinking, too:
Note: I said this is not necessarily the last of the “Star Wars” movies. Although Lucas has absolutely said he is finished with the series, it is inconceivable to me that 20th Century-Fox will willingly abandon the franchise, especially as Lucas has hinted that parts VII, VIII and IX exist at least in his mind. There will be enormous pressure for them to be made, if not by him, then by his deputies.
I have to agree. There’s a very farewell-tour disingenousness about how much Lucas is making about how this is the last one ever, ever, really, so you better go see it while you can! That, and the fact that Lucas has built a production empire which can make movies faster and faster, with less and less filming of actual physical objects. They’ll be able to whip those last three off in a few months and string out their release over another ten years. Lucas will be a shrivelled cackling man in a dark hood by that point.
Another thing that I’ve been thinking is that the whole renumbering of the first trilogy that the second trilogy introduced ex post facto is bogus. The whole thing only makes sense if you start with Star Wars (which I have decided I will always only call Star Wars, never A New Hope or Episode IV) first. Who cares which happened first in the chronology of the fictional universe? Audiences since, oh, The Odyssey have accepted the fact that when you’re telling the story, you don’t have to tell it in chronological order. That temptation seems to be there particularly with fictional works that spawned whole imaginary universes. I feel similarly about editions of The Chronicles of Narnia that re-order the books chronologically, which ends up putting most of the worst books first and actually throws off how the narrative’s supposed to work.