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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

I Didn't Want To, Now I Must

darth poster

The following is a repost of content I put on Bill True's blog, True Life.

I knew I would have to weigh in on this topic sooner or later so here goes…I held off until I considered myself part of the club, now I feel I can chime in. I did see it on Saturday. Before I walked into the theater I went in with the mindset that I would let it be what it needed to be regardless of any preconceived notions. For clarity, I gave up a while ago. I can even say "Jedi" was the cut-off point for me and yet I've seen them all. "Star Wars" was, well, life altering. "Empire" blew me away. I couldn't believe that the story could go there, into that dark place. "Jedi", elements were in there but then, well, you know, Ewoks. I don't even want to go into the next two installments. The funny thing is I felt I approached it with little invested only to the contrary, I invested numerous hours, hundreds of dollars (tickets, figures, DVD’s, comics etc.). I feel drained and sucker punched much like I did when I rented Kill Bill I and II. Only that was irreversible. At least with the Star Wars chapters I have Episodes IV and V.

So it is the here and now that I speak of, which is essentially the past. "Sith". When it got to the “moment”, the one we were all waiting for, I anticipated that shift in my organs that I usually get when a film has me by the throat. It wasn't there. The moment when the fall is complete and our hero is now an anti-hero. I felt a connection to what would be the next chain of events because it was so embedded in my genetic code. It was my childhood and yet there was still that emptiness.

A question came to mind when I thought of the Almighty creator. No, not God. G.L. I really don't know if a filmmaker should live with the same material for 28 years. I mean, is that natural? With all the changes that can occur over that amount of time in one person’s life shouldn't he try to express that in his art? If you say he has, I just don't believe you.

“Sith” has followed a tradition that it’s lineage helped create. Our favorite, "Star Wars" helped dismantle a system that created a golden age in Hollywood. A decade of truly personal, American filmmaking. Naked truth, bloodied and raw for everyone to see. The 70's. I believe we are living in a time when audiences want that level of filmmaking back except the studios don't know how to give it to them. We've all adjusted ourselves to strive to make and want the blockbuster. To embrace the blockbuster because of what they told us. Or sold us. Those films of the 70's not only had critical success but they made money.

So did I like “Sith”? I did but I think it was purely out of nostalgia and not the material. That is what disappointed me most of all. I wanted it to be the saving grace but it became a somewhat soulless version of what could have and should have been a beautifully operatic and tragic ending (beginning) to a magical experience.

Where does my allegiance lie? Let’s just say when we look back, films like “The Godfather”, “Nashville” or “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” should be considered in higher standing than say, “Attack of the Clones”. There could have been a greater legacy here. He had the freedom and clout to do anything he wanted. Kubrick did. I just don’t think history will be kind to the series other than the fact that Lucas has done virtually the impossible. He has given us something mediocre and we came out in droves to see it. Over and over and over. You may say this happens every time some new horrendous blockbuster comes out. Maybe so. It’s more like the battered wife syndrome, “You treat me like shit and yet I still love yoooooou”.

There was a saying in the music industry that probably existed at one point in time but I doubt does now, “Don’t betray your audience”. I’m sorry my friend, I think you did.

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