Star Wars, Episode III
My husband, however, is a huge fan of "Star Wars"--due in part to the portion of his childhood in Portugal when the only thing he could watch and understand on TV were the family's "Star Wars" videos--and so the decision was made.
I admit that I really liked the old "Star Wars" trilogy, with Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. They were plain good, adventuresome fun. Unfortunately, the most recent two episodes left me disappointed for the reasons everyone has already complained about (took itself too seriously, too much reliance on computer graphics, shallow characterization, etc.). But what aggravated me the most was the sulky, mumbling West Coast teenager, who we were expected to believe, in a single episode, was suddenly going to start articulating like James Earl Jones. I know Anakin was supposed to be young, but why did they have to cast someone who looked like any minute he was going to stomp his foot in a hissy fit before taking off on his skateboard?
I figure that anyone who really cares about this movie must surely have seen it by now, but just in case: spoilers coming up.
To be fair, "Episode III" was definitely the best of the new trilogy. Though I wonder if my judgment was slightly softened by a sense of sentimentalism (it doesn't take much; I'm a sentimental sap) that the movie stirred, especially at the end, when you see the two babies in their new adoptive homes. I also thought Ewan McGregor did a good job as the gentle Obi-Wan, and his confrontation with Anakin at the end of the movie was rather moving (no, no, not the cutting off of limbs part, but the "You were like a brother to me. I loved you." part.).
This time round, I was most exasperated by Natalie Portman's character: a dithering, tearful girl, perpetually distraught in uncomfortable-looking nighties. I have no idea what the point was of making her a senator. Well, "A young, powerful Jedi knight and a wimpy crybaby" doesn't have quite the same impact as "wimpy crybaby senator." Since her only purpose seemed to be that of mothering Anakin's kids, I guess she had to be a good little broodmare with strong lineage.
Anakin was no slouch in the annoying department, but, on top of it all (quite literally), he was also sporting a maddening hairdo. I know this may seem like a ridiculous thing to zero in on, but in a movie that paid so much attention to detail, what was the deal with Anakin's long hair being all limp and plastered to the back of his head? I kept hoping a good, stiff intergalactic breeze would come along and fluff it up a bit. But no go. Needless to say, it was a distraction.
All those petty details aside, what baffled me the most about Episode III was Anakin's abrupt leap from "Must save my darling Padme!" to "I want to rule the universe!" It was a total huh moment for me, and made his transformation into Darth Vader that much more unnatural. What the heck was he so angry about anyway? I wish the character was given more reason for having all this supposed darkness inside, or at least given more chance to exhibit said darkness, rather than what appeared to be nothing more than teen angst.