Mike Cope's blog

Friday, May 20, 2005

Some of you will remember when the original Star Wars movie came out in 1977. Do you remember wondering, "Episode IV? What about I, II, and III?" We didn't have Roger Ebert to tell us to just wait 22 years for the first one and 28 years for the third one! It's hard to appreciate today how fun the saloon scene in Tatooine was. Great music, great aliens, and Han Solo to dominate the screen. Last night, in preparation for taking THE LAST KID IN AMERICA TO SEE "SITH" to an after-school showing, he and I watched Episode II. Once I again I was wondering this: If Star Wars is the story of the fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker, wasn't there ANYONE ELSE Lucas could have gotten to play Anakin/Darth Vader? Hayden Christensen is so weak in Episode II. He's sullen; he seems weakest when he's trying to portray strong; and he seems to have the ability accent the wrong word in every line. (Surely no one was coaching him to do that. "Hey, let's throw them for a loop. Let's shoot for emphasizing the wrong word in all your lines.") Maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised tonight. Well, Star Wars hasn't really been about great performances, has it? Or great dialogue? It has been a well-imagined and well-told story that has spanned three decades. And it has been a great musical score and great action scenes. And above all, it has been Yoda! Entertained us well he has.

15 Comments:

  • I went to see "Sith" last night. I was pleased. However, at the same time, I was trying to watch the movie through the eyes of an 8-year-old boy (which can pose a challenge to a 26-year-old woman!). I had informed my sister-in-law that I was going to see it and she told me that my brother was taking my nephew to see it the next day. I raised an eyebrow at this because I had heard about some of the aspects of the movie and wasn't sure it was appropriate for a young 'un. She told me to report back once I'd seen it.

    I'm not a spoiler, but I'll just state the obvious that the movie is very dark...and for good reason, as the movie is about Anakin's choosing the "Dark Side" over good. (I'll just say it was well done). However, now I don't know if my nephew should see it. He would NOT BE HAPPY if he knew his favorite Aunt Sarah told his parents that he shouldn't see this long-anticipated movie. I know he just won't understand.

    Any of you parents or others out there who have seen it...would you suggest an 8-year-old see this movie? (I'd like to remain in good standing with my nephew though!)

    My take on Sith: answered all my questions it did.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 5/20/2005 04:44:00 AM  

  • We saw it last night as well. Every time I see one of the Star Wars movies, I think, "boy, that was hokey". (Well, I guess I didn't think that when I saw the first one in the 70's, but I was young.) Strange thing is, though, I still line up for the next one when it comes out.

    I would concur that Hayden Christensen was not the best choice for Anakin/Darth Vader. What surprised me was that there were a couple of times when Ewan MacGregor sounded sort of off, too.

    Sarah: I don't think I would take an eight year old to see it.

    By Blogger reJoyce, at 5/20/2005 05:32:00 AM  

  • I'll weigh in today. I went to the 12:02 movie Wednedsay night with a bunch of BU Theology School students. Couldn't go to sleep afterward. I wasn't able to function yesterday, so I'm on today.

    I just read everyone's comments from yesterday, so here's my take . . . and some responses. I was not disappointed!! The movie sufficiently anwered all my questions about tie-ins . . except for 2 (won't elaborate yet because evidently SOME people haven't seen it. :-) I think that any true Star Wars fan will be happy with this movie!!

    Mike, Anakin was a whiney TEENAGER in Episode II. I've read interviews with Lucas and with Hayden -- both of them say it was deliberate that the character be immature. Episode III is where "it" all happens. I disagree with you . . . and I think one other person who was negative about Hayden. I thought he was amazing.

    Yes, it is dark. I'm one who can't watch certain kinds of movies. I told myself that I would not close my eyes at least the first time I saw the movie . . . and I survived. However, it definitely should be PG-13. The "situation" with why the suit is necessary for Vader to be alive is certainly gruesome. But, there is another thing (won't elaborate because of spoiler) that I think is the most troubling. In answer to today's first blog, PG 13!! is a good rating. And I think all "young" people should see it with parents (or older sibling or relative) so they can TALK about all of it together.

    Have to think about that "enabler" comment from Matt. My initial reaction is disagreement. I think the main thing is the fine line between good and bad, that EVERYONE, walks that line. This is the most spiritual . . . and political . . . of all the movies.

    Yoda amazing. Obi-Wan amazing. Padme amazing -- how did they make her look so much older? Palpatine AMAZING!! Those who know anything about ancient Roman history will love it!! Less laughable dialogue (but it wouldn't be right unless there was some!! Right?) Wookies amazing. R2-D2 is the comic relief in this one (I thought the scene in the hanger at the beginning was hysterical!!)

    Music AWESOME. Not a lot of new, but one new theme is great!! The use of the individual themes of all the characters (and I mean ALL) is brilliant -- and the ending -- WOW!! The music will be my main focus when I see it the 2nd time. (James hasn't seen it yet so I'm going back this weekend.) Will look for that ET reference this time. :-)

    Even now I really don't feel like I can "review" the movie adequately. I was satisfied -- and overwhelmed with emotion. Emotions and passions can lead to a distorted view of what is good and bad, so I'm going to wait to give the definitive review.

    Let us know what you think, Mike, after you see it.

    May the Force Be With You.

    By Blogger vtc3po, at 5/20/2005 05:48:00 AM  

  • I heard this excellent piece on NPR yesterday, and thought I would post a link to it.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4656886

    Hit the "Listen" button under the byline, and enjoy. He makes a very good case for joining the Dark Side, and makes the Jedi, the "Good Guys" seem pretty ridiculous.

    Go Vader!!! ;)

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 5/20/2005 06:35:00 AM  

  • Sorry, disregard that last link...

    THIS is the real one

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4658382

    By Blogger Greg Kendall-Ball, at 5/20/2005 06:47:00 AM  

  • Greg,

    So, are you ready to become a Yankees fan now (the other Evil Empire)?

    "Go Vader"? Let me quote the son of Skywalker: "I'll never join you!"

    ;-)

    By Blogger Jeff Slater, at 5/20/2005 07:05:00 AM  

  • Watching the movie tonight and I'm very excited. If it's less hokey than the last two then I'm sure I'll be satisfied.

    As for Mr. Christianson, let's not forget how horrible Mark Hammil was in the first movie. He improved a lot over the course of the three, but he was not good in Episode IV. Whiny and obnoxious, much like Hayden in Episode II. I've heard that Hayden got better (we'll see) but it doesn't really matter. Some actors need a director who can bring somthing out of them. George Lucas doesn't do this. It's been said that Lucas would have done without actors all together if he could have. I've heard other actors say that Lucas isn't good at dealling with actors and thus many of the performances are stiff. Especially if the actor is new to the character. To me this is a non-issue. Star Wars' brilliance is in the storyline, the world that he created. (With that said I do hope that Hayden is better in this one)

    By Blogger Kyle, at 5/20/2005 07:40:00 AM  

  • As an Acting Major in college, AND an avid Star Wars fan (see yesterday's Mike Cope post) all I have to say is this: There are 2 different kind of directors - 1 who lets the actors speak how the actor wants it to sound & another kind who gives 'line readings' - esentially some directors say to the actors "Say it like this: The force BE with you." or "The FORCE be with you." I've heard Lucas gives line readings. Not much an actor can do with that except say it how the director wants. The dialogue/acting mostly stinks because Lucas is NOT an actor's director. He is a fight scene/spacecraft flying kind of director. But I'm rambling.

    BTW - There is a church next door to our big Theater & their sign reads "May the force of God be with you." Clever, this is!

    By Blogger Beaner, at 5/20/2005 08:39:00 AM  

  • I'm with Beaner. Lucas' directing and writing skills aren't that great. But I think he is a good storyteller. Thats why Ep V is generally regarded as the best one. It was written and directed by others, based on Lucas' story.

    By Blogger Matt, at 5/20/2005 09:29:00 AM  

  • I had a thought during my workout this morning . . . which Kyle sort of alluded to. Luke is Anakin's son -- remember Luke in Episode IV as a teenager? Like father like son. BTW -- Hayden in an interview said the he wished he could have been "darker" in Episode II, but now, after Episode III has been made, he understands why Lucas wanted him to hold back in II. It is GL's story -- no one else's. Period!!

    By Blogger vtc3po, at 5/20/2005 09:35:00 AM  

  • Oh man! I finally get it. Vader is Luke's father. It really is true. Yes, this one was full of surprises.

    Loved it. Great special effects., Comes full circle.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 5/20/2005 09:56:00 AM  

  • Mike since you blogged about it two days in a row, I did to! All I have to say is that I am a little sad the whole saga is over. I wish Lucas would at least consider making Episode 7 while the primary actors from 4-6 are still alive! It's hard to end a story that has been going on for 28 years. BUT what a great ending! May the force be with us always!

    By Blogger SG, at 5/20/2005 10:23:00 AM  

  • Oh.... so there's a new Star Wars movie out? LOL! Hope you all enjoy it-- for whatever reason, I'm the ONE guy in the galaxy who just could care less.
    Blessings! sd

    By Blogger SkipD, at 5/20/2005 11:01:00 AM  

  • The actors who work for Lucas all say the same thing. He gives them one note, and he gives it often: "Faster and more intense."
    Lucas is definitely not a writer or a director first. But as a storyteller, he's one of the best. I was beginning to doubt that until I saw "Sith."

    Williams' score is fantastic. The costumes are incredible. The effects are probably the best of any movie I've ever seen. But it all comes down to that story, that fight with oneself to do (as Dumbledore would say, to switch genres for a moment) what is right, or what is easy.

    I just think he hit a home run with this one. Speaking of which, is tomorrow the perfect day or what? Drive to LA to see the Angels/Dodgers game at 1:00, then over to a hotel by the beach which just happens to have a theater across the street. Steve is happy.

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 5/20/2005 03:56:00 PM  

  • Well, I have done it. Or should I say Deana has done it. We now have our tickets for Episode III. For the first time in my life I have to set my alarm to watch a movie because Deana, the literalist that she is purchased 9:30 AM tickets when I asked her to purchase tickets for the early show. I should just go in my pajamas.

    By Blogger Chad, at 5/20/2005 06:36:00 PM  

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