As depicted in the comic, I did my nerdy duty and attended a midnight showing of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith. And, as a result, only got three hours of sleep before I had to be up for work the next day.
What was really interesting about coming into work on Thursday was having everyone ask me "So, how was Star Wars?" when I don't recall advertising that I would be at the midnight showing. Either my co-workers we able to take one look at me and could tell I was shot or they just expected this kind of devotion to the franchise. Probably a little bit of both.
As far as attending the "event" goes, I had mixed feelings. It was great that I got to see people waiting in line that I hadn't seen in a while. Ironically, both of the people I had gone without seeing in a few months told me that they were soon having kids. That was kind of weird.
But the event was somewhat sad as well. I'm not anticipating any further opportunities to stand in a movie theater parking lot, loiter about the premises for another 4 hours, and then soak in a midnight showing. If my body's inability to bounce back faster than it did for The Phantom Menace (or even Attack of the Clones) is any indication, my fortitude against this time-honored tradition is dwindling.
At any rate, standing in line and waiting for the movie to start invoked an odd sense of nostalgia - even before the evenings festivities had concluded.
Our theater started letting people in around 7:30. We were kind of toward the back of the line, but we still got okay seats. We were sitting to the right of the screen when I would have preferred sitting in the middle of the auditorium, but that's the obsessive compulsive in me talking.
The theater hired this kind of multimedia entertainment group to distract us from the 4 hour wait by engaging the audience in trivia contests, door prizes and costume contests. The trivia sessions were a hoot because our M.C. totally sucked. He was reading questions from the cards they packaged with the Trivial Pursuit edition of Star Wars and was screwing up the pronunciation of every alien race, planet and name. He was heckled mercilessly.
Intercut between these sessions, we were treated to a handful of Star Wars fan films. We would watch them in clusters of three or four. By the end of the night, I'm sure we watched two hours of fan films.
And while these films are an entertaining diversion when you're surfing online and looking to waste some time, bundled together in a giant package is a little overbearing.
It's also a little insulting to a degree. It's kind of like saying "We know what you're REALLY here for, but endure the impostors for a while instead." How cool would it have been for them to show a triple feature with The Phantom Menace, followed by Attack of the Clones leading into Revenge of the Sith at midnight? A MUCH better use of our time. The theater probably would have tripled their concessions.
Awkward "merry-making" aside, what were my thoughts on the film itself?
I really don't want to say too much, mostly because I think even if you felt burned by the last two movies, you still owe it to yourself to see how things end.
Personally, I was very pleased with how things laid out. All of the action scenes were expertly staged. The opening siege to rescue Chancellor Palpatine was gripping. The scenes with the spider droids and those in the elevator shaft were very taught action pieces.
The elements of the film that don't work shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who is familiar with the franchise. The dialogue is as D.O.A. as ever and the acting very stiff. Hayden Christensen shows some glimmer of charm in the opening scenes, but it is eschewed by his need to scowl and look sweaty through the rest of the film.
There are some problems with logic, especially concerning the heart of Anakin’s worries and rage. I felt there was a disconnect between what Obi Wan lead us to believe was Anakin’s downfall in the later chapters versus what we're exposed to on screen.
In the later movies, we're told Anakin’s lust for power is what drove him to the Dark Side. When really, it was his Mommy issues and his fear of loss. There's one line of dialogue at the end of the movie after Anakin is transformed into Darth Vader that rings very false in this context. All along we were led to believe that Darth Vader was the apex of pure evil. When it turns out his genesis was a very pedestrian (if misguided) fear - the fear of losing those close to us.
That said, I think there are some very fine performances in the movie. Ewan McGregor owns the movie with his light, clipped impersonation of Sir Alex Guinness as Obi Wan. Ditching that chucklehead mullet from Episode II was a good start in the right direction.
Sir Ian McDiarmid also hits one out of the park as Chancellor Palpatine. You really get that reptile vibe off of him as he manipulates the powers that be. When he reveals himself as Darth Sidious, things slide a little - only because the script requires him to play the character's malevolence so over the top.
I think the strength of the movie is that Lucas and company must have REALLY listened to what fans wanted to see because a lot of awesome visuals are crammed into this movie. I can think of about a half dozen things that R2-D2 does in the course of the film and I kept thinking to myself "Now why couldn't he do that in Episodes IV, V and VI?"
I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to see more of General Grievous. I think watching the Star Wars: Clone Wars mini-series on Cartoon Network has spoiled me. There's stuff Grievous does in those cartoons (especially Volume 2) that would have been great to seen animated for the big screen.
The one thing after the movie that I wondered was how quickly crap garage bands all around the nation changed their name to "Order 66" after a chilling scene in the film's final act. That sequence hits with especially brutal potency. You'll have to see the movie to know what I'm talking about. I won't spill the beans as to what it is.
Overall, there's certainly a lot to look at in the film. I read a figure that the movie only took 55 days to shoot, but had over 2,200 effects shots. It shows. There's a lot of ILM blood, sweat and tears in the celluloid. That's the big reason to go.
I'll probably see the film again this weekend. Cami is actually asking me to take her. I think her curiosity may have gotten the best of her. And since reviews have been generally kind, it won't feel like a total sell-out, I'm sure. I'm looking forward to it - at least so I can soak in all the little details I missed.
Yeah, seeing Episode III was worth it. Even if I felt "half there" the next day...