Yeah. I’m gonna ramble about SW3.
First of all, at one point in the movie (SW III) Obi-Wan actually addresses a clone commander whose name is “Cody” (at least it sounded that way). So yeah, at one point he actually says, “Commander Cody, blah blah blah blah…” well, there’s some orders and stuff there, not blahs, but you get my drift. “Commander Cody” is (or was…hell maybe I’m just old, even though it was before my time) the name of a space-hero from movies in the 50’s. See here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0045382/
This, to me, is a key for understanding why SWIII is a mess. (A glorious mess, but I’ll get to that.) Lucas is full of pieces and parts of things he wants to do all at once, but not especially adept at cramming them all together so that they work dramatically. Tons of what he does amounts to little homages to things he loved growing up and since. So this bit of dialogue is cute, in that sense. He would’ve seen the movie linked above when he was about the age I was when I saw the first SW movie. The problem is that it’s stuck in a spot where there’s a lot of action and tension, a sense of deep foreboding in the threads of the movie. It’s just misplaced, and ends up sounding like pastiche. (Another misfire is when Darth learns of a tragedy and holds his arms out and yells “Noooooooo!!!” — and it sounds and looks so much like a parody, that it’s hard not to burst out laughing.)
Basically what I’m getting at is that there are tons of things going on at once — political and philosophical introspection, incredible design, a “love” story written by a third-grader (which is like that, I think, because Lucas *had* to tell that story but would prefer to skip it altogether — he’s said before that he prefers designing things to writing scripts), Campbell “hero of a thousand faces” mythmaking, wicked cool and fast spaceships and things that are essentially floating racecars (another of his obsessions), excellent swashbuckling, etc etc.
He manages to put it *all* in this movie, and somehow, amazingly, I wasn’t completely appalled. I was actually touched at certain moments — mainly because of Ewan MacGregor’s superb acting (his swashbuckler twinkle-eyed pluck is fun as hell, and such a lovely throwback to Errol Flynn and the like, and his reaction to Anakin’s deceit and defeat sort of jut out of the movie to say “look this is what acting looks like”). But the clutter means that some scenes feel amazing, others feel like they’re from a wholly different movie.
I’m more impressed with the actor (forgot his name and no time to look it up) who played Anakin now — though with the dialogue he had to work with, it’s interesting how he’s more convincing as an actor when he’s silent than when he’s trying to say anything Lucas wrote. But when he is silent and smouldering, it’s *very* convincing, chilling even.
One fun part was seeing how the ‘look’ of the older star wars movies gets gradually folded into the sets and costumes in this one. It still doesn’t make sense — all that elegant and rich design evolved into duplo-block widgets?? Whatever… but still, because I saw the first movie at the age of 10, seeing it brought kid-feelings up that overwhelmed any 90% of my adult jadedness.
And off to my meeting …