Absolutely the best of all six Star Wars movies. I’ll give a more detailed review later in this post, but for now I’ll say that while the dialog was still not stellar, at least the main characters learned how to speak using the occasional contraction.
We got our tickets Monday for the 12:01 showing at the New Camelot Theater, which boasts one of eight digital projection screens in the nation. I was a bit worried about the crowds of dweebs in robes with fake light sabers, but the carnival atmosphere turned out to be a huge part of the fun.
The evening started with a viewing of Episode II on DVD just to set the stage. By far the worst acting of all of the movies, we figured that by seeing the worst, the new could only get better. As we got ready, Laura lamented cutting her hair a month too soon, because it would have been long enough to put into “honey buns” again. It’s the “again” part of her comment that has me worried. Our plan was to rendezvous at the Camelot at 10:15, armed with “line food” for the long wait. We arrived at the theater at 10:00 to find a significant line already forming. Of course, the media was there, and there were enough attention-hungry characters in costume to give them something to film. I heard one guy in front of us say, “Don’t make eye contact with them.” I wasn’t sure if he meant the dudes with the light sabers or the folks with the cameras.
By 10:20, Chip had not arrived with our tickets, and a rumor had just started down the line that the doors were to open at 10:30. Faced with the possibility of losing our coveted spot, I gave him a call to find out that he was on the road – a call which was quickly returned, stating that he had been pulled over for an illegal lane change. Here’s the story as relayed by Crawford…
He (Chip) said the dumbest thing you could say to an officer who had pulled you over. “I’m in a hurry to get somewhere.” The cop thought he was drunk, but Chip told him we were just on our way to the Star Wars movie. The cop asked, “Which one?” Which one ,what? Which showing? Which theater? Which movie in the series? The cop took Chip’s license, then rushed back to their car, tossing the license through the window and shouting, “I gotta go.” As the cop hurried away, Chip leaned out the window and asked, “Does that mean I’m free to go?”
…so once again we were worried about losing our place. Suddenly, I heard a group of guys behind us – one on a phone saying, “Chip just got pulled over.” Figuring there couldn’t be two Chips pulled over on their way to this theater, I introduced myself and found out they worked with him. When Chip & Co. finally did arrive (before the doors opened, fortunately), he was worried about cutting the line to join us. I said, “Don’t worry. Apparently everyone in the line now knows we’re waiting for you, and that you got pulled over by a cop.”
The owners of the theater were greeting folks at the door. I’d hate to have this pressure – this crowd was rowdy, and this was one time everything had to go perfectly. We eventually made it to our seats – further down front than we might have liked, but still good, nonetheless. The next hour passed quickly, and after a brief word to roust the crowd into further frenzy, we were ready to begin – with tons of previews. It seems every SciFi movie coming out in the next two years had a preview. The crowd of nearly 600 was getting even more rowdy, and I wasn’t sure if a riot was in the making. Eventually, the familiar LucasFilm logo appeared, followed by “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…”
As for the movie itself, I’ll give away the ending. Anakin Skywalker turns into Darth Vader and Padme Amidalla has twins named Luke and Leia. The effects were spectacular, especially on the huge screen with digital projection. The image was so clear you could see Obiwan’s nose hairs with no problem. This is one movie where you know where the plot has to go – it’s in between two other movies. How it got there turned out to be quite satisfying. Again, part of the fun was watching with devoted fans. At one part, Anakin kneels before Palpatine to take the name Darth Vader, and someone from the back yelled, “Noooooooooo!”
Episode III, Revenge of the Sith does a fantastic job of bringing closure to the series, and it seems like they tied up most of the plot points. We were left with only a couple of questions.
- Why couldn’t Obiwan ever remember owning droids in Episode IV?
- Who was Sypher Dias, referred to in Episode II?
- Is the gestation period for humans on Naboo shorter than that of Earth? Either the events in this movie are spread out over several months, or Padime has those babies REAL fast.
- Can’t the Jedi use something with a stun setting? I mean, every time they confront someone with a light saber, a limb gets hacked off. “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age” – yeah, right.
- Why is Leia a “princess?” Was it just a nickname? Was her adopted mother royalty (her adopted father being a Senator)? Or was it because her real mother was a queen at one point (albeit an elected one)?
I’m sure these earth-shattering questions will remain. As for me, I’m not too worried that Lucas has decided not to do episodes VII – IX. After this, I don’t think the series could do any better.
We are watching the original Star Wars. Some things are amazingly consistent. For example, in Episode III Obi-wan’s robe gets burned by lava on the right shoulder. In Episode IV, there is a patch in the sames spot. Interesting that he would have the same robes after all this time, but it does show the attention to detail.
However, there are some MAJOR inconsistencies. The timespan, for example. Even if Luke Skywalker is in his early 20s at the start of the movie, Owen and Veru Lars, as well as Obi-wan, look like they are now in their 50s and 60s. OK, maybe, if Luke is in his mid-20s, which would put Obi-wan right at about 60, but Alec Guiness looks closer to 70 in this film. Laura thinks that people on Tatooine age prematurely due to the double-star system.
Then there is the matter of the Death Star. Episode III shows it under construction. Did it really take 20-25 years to build it? I don’t have a problem with that, since it’s supposed to be the size of a small planet, but Laura think it wouldn’t take that long.
“You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany.”
Reflections on Episode IV:
In the summer of 1977 I was 16 (do the math). I went to see the original at the Bijou on Wade Hampton, located about a mile from where I live now. My girlfriend at the time lived less than half a mile from where I do now. The circle is complete on many levels. At the time, she had an 11:00 PM curfew (which we didn’t make that evening) and my mother didn’t want me going to ANY movie.