There’s a good debate going on between some political bloggers about Star Wars. I say ‘good debate’ with reservations, though, because it implies that there are legitimately contestable opinions here. Which is not exactly the case here. Kevin Drum lays out as convincing an argument as can be made for Jedi as the best film, but ultimately falls short. The problem is that the Ewoks are not nearly as inoffensive or skippable as he implies. And the whole Endor plot is really pretty much a black hole. It’s the background against which the very good scene with Luke, the Emperor, and Vader can take place. But that’s it. Really, Jedi is two very good sequences in the middle of 90 minutes of a decent movie.
Still, nice effort. The far crazier position is Seth Masket’s claim that Revenge of the Sith is better than Jedi. I mean, sure, Sith is the best of the new trilogy. But that’s like saying that a blow to the head is better than pancreatic cancer or a wolverine attack. That is a slight exaggeration–Sith is actually a modestly successful film. But come on. It still has many of the lumbering incoherencies of the other two prequels. Plot elements layered upon plot elements with absolutely no reason to care. Not to mention a lack of explanation for those elements. Which weirdly makes it both way too long and way too short. Who in the world is Grievous, why does the film open with him considering he’s never been mentioned before, and why is this of interest? There are stupid action scenes (though none as aggressively stupid as the video-game crawl from Attack of the Clones), annoying references back to the original series (hey look! Chewbacca. And he’s carrying Yoda. LOLZ), but none as aggressively ridiculous as the idea that Vader built C-3PO.
Ultimately, though, there are two overwhelming flaws. First, the scenes with Anakin and Padme are just gut-wrenchingly terrible. Second, the whole premise of the prequel series was the anticipation of watching the emergence of Vader. Of him tracking down the Jedi and killing them. That’s what was supposed to make this cool. Instead, the Jedi are basically all killed in ten minutes or less. And it’s mostly done by drones! And, um, haven’t we seen countless examples of the Jedi deflecting laser fire with ease? WTF changed? Ugh.
The decisive element in the battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin involves Obi-Wan stating that he has the ‘higher ground.’ Double ugh.
‘Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo.’ Triple ugh