Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH for the First Time

by     Posted 1 year, 339 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here, and here’s her reviews of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

And this is how the series ends, not with a bang but a “NOOOOOOOOOO!” I can sense in the Force that the fandom probably, rightfully, takes a great deal of issue with Revenge of the Sith, but I think it may actually be the strongest of the prequel movies.

The rise of Darth Sidious was perhaps the best plot of the prequels, since it was cultivated well from the beginning.  Anakin’s development could have gone better, but I blame that primarily on Hayden Christiensen‘s lacking performance (particularly in this movie — he was never as scary or as lording as he should have been in the end).  There was a lot of mythology though that a different kind of film could have delved into more deeply — more about the Siths, the lightsabers, etc.  And though I think that digitalization can be a great boon to movies, I also think it can be used far too much and relied upon too heavily as it was here (and I for one was not a fan of digital Yoda, who was quite the hyperactive gremlin).  Hit the jump for my final thoughts on the series and the watch order.

Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES for the First Time

by     Posted 1 year, 340 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here, and here’s her reviews of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

I found Attack of the Clones to be a much improved installment after the mess of The Phantom Menace, but it remains entrenched as predominantly adolescent fair.  Shoe-horning in characters from the original trilogy doesn’t really do much to repair things, either, particularly since too often the logic quickly breaks down.  Something about R2 and 3PO’s origin stories continues to bother me (including why R2 has a jetpack in the prequels).  It all just feels a bit too try-hard.  Even though in my original trilogy articles I said I wanted to know more about Vader and the Stormtroopers and Boba Fett, and went on and on about how I loved R2 … well, fans shouldn’t always be given what we want!

Attack of the Clones did succeed in making Anakin a lot more interesting than he was in Phantom Menace, though I fear Hayden Christiensen‘s took too many notes from the first 30 minutes of Mark Hamill‘s performance in A New Hope.  Anakin isn’t just cock-sure and arrogant — which is fine — he’s also extremely whiney (and can’t figure out how to speak like a human).  Make a decision to go against Obi-Wan by using his skills with the Force to wrangle bad guys is one thing, but to throw tantrums in front of Padmé is entirely another.  Hit the jump for my relationship advice to Padmé, and my annoyance with how the Republic suddenly turned into America.

Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE for the First Time

by     Posted 1 year, 341 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here, and here’s her reviews of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

Oh heavens, so here we are.  The Phantom Menace came out when I was 14, and out of all of the Star Wars movies I probably knew the most about this one without having seen it.  I clearly remember the gripes about the fiasco of Jar Jar Binks, and even though the prequel series was probably aimed at just about my age group at the time, it still seems (at least to my eye now) even younger-reaching than that.  I thought I would be surprised at how young Natalie Portman looked, but I was far more shocked at how Jake Lloyd as Anakin was only slightly larger than a fetus.  His age, plus the interminable Jar Jar, wiped away the quirky appeal of the original series and turned it into a basic kid-pic without a decently intriguing story.  Hit the jump for my initiation into Star Wars fandom rage.

Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE VI: RETURN OF THE JEDI for the First Time

by     Posted 1 year, 342 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here, and here’s her reviews of Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.

Before the scroll started (and by the way, what a great thing that scroll is — such a simple way to convey backstory exposition, yet you never see it used elsewhere) there should have been a line that said “… and now for something completely different!”

I want to say upfront that I really enjoyed Return of the Jedi, even though for the first time it felt like a movie in a clearly family-oriented franchise, and not one just for the fanboys (and girls).  It had a more direct story trajectory than Empire Strikes Back, but still found time for side-bar narratives, like bringing back Lando in a redemptive arc and introducing Ewoks (which I loved, series infantilization aside). It also had a number of great small victories that all lead up to that final standoff between Luke and Darth Vader.  Hit the jump for more of my take on Jedi and its turn to the Dark Side (family franchise here we come!).

Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE V: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK for the First Time

by     Posted 1 year, 343 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here, and here’s her Star Wars review.

Empire Strikes Back is probably one of the densest genre movies I have ever seen.  Because it embraces its role as sequel fully, the story dives right in and doesn’t need to spend more time on character development.  Even when it adds new characters (like Yoda, more on him in a minute) there’s not a ton of backstory, and yet, they seem to fit perfectly well into the world for their own purpose.  Besides, Empire seems to know now with gusto that there will be a follow-up, and the layers don’t all have to fit into a single feature.  Hit the jump for my take on Empire.

Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE for the First Time

by     Posted 1 year, 344 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here.

First of all, I can see why A New Hope was a surprise hit.  Though there’s a great amount of world-building that could leave room for prequels, and a satisfying, but still open ending that could pave the way (and obviously did) for sequels, the core story is both compelling and entertaining, and introduces a cast of instantly likable characters.  There’s something strange too about how even the non-human elements (the droids) and alien forms (the Jawas) are kinda, well, cute with their bleeps and blips and bloops.  There’s a little something in A New Hope for everyone, and I found it to be a pleasant surprise (admittedly I came to it with haughty reservations).  Hit the jump to explore a slight disturbance in the force.

Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin

by     Posted 1 year, 345 days ago

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Hello, my name is Allison, and I have never seen Star Wars.  Nope, not any of them.  It was mostly an oversight for awhile growing up (and my house was loyal to Star Trek), then a conscious decision at a point I can’t really remember; probably around the time I found out the main spoiler (“I am …”) and was so saturated in cultural references to it at all times that I figured, “why bother?”  My general understanding of the series is summed up more or less by the character Malcolm Tucker from the BBC series The Thick of It, plus a zeitgeist and film-studies awareness of the fiasco of Jar Jar Binks.  But the nuances of the performances, the relationships among the characters, and certainly the obsession over the franchise, is completely lost on me.

It seemed like a decent time, then, with Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilms and rumors of a new movie and this site’s extensive coverage of all things Star Wars to admit to my boss and co-workers that, well, I hadn’t actually seen it.  The idea was then born: better late than never, right?  Hit the jump for the specifics of this journey through space and time. 

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