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  1. The Fantastic Prequels

    Posted 1 Oct 2006

    My prescription for a better PT:

    If only.

    1) Anakin acted like a noble hero/intergalactic space knight/Buck
    Rogers type to begin with, and not like a worst-parts version of
    every other character who also happens to be visibly on a water slide to the Dark Side from day one.

    We'd applaud at just how heroic and good he is and have a real
    hero through three movies...a fully developed hero, with
    occasional, SUBTLE hints that all is not right within. We would
    all be enamored with just how brightly shines the star of Anakin
    Skywalker. He'd have a charming and strong wife we all adore who
    has a character and a life all her own. And the Jedi would NOT
    have a problem with that.

    As is, he is sort of like a droid someone cobbled together on a
    junkyard desert planet and we have to wait three movies to at
    least see "the Maker" finally put his covers on. He's got the
    cockiness of Han without the charm; the whininess of Luke without
    the compassion, and the skill of Obi-wan without any of the
    wisdom. Oh, and the romantic flair of the psycopath in Silence of
    the Lambs (It puts the lotion on...) and the maturity of Jar Jar.
    I wouldn't care how many plot inconsistencies there were if only
    the prequels were real movies with real characters that we care about.

    Making Anakin a TRULY heroic character from the start would make it so much more tragic to see him finally fall. And would lend so much more weight to Luke's attempt to save the good man he once was.

    As is, I don't see much worth saving. Only a whiny, annoyingly talented kid who even at best puts his own needs above those of everyone else, including those he cares about.

    2) The Timothy Zahn idea of Padme dying in the arms of a masked Vader would have been incredibly powerful if visualized and acted correctly. This scene could single handedly have made Star Wars into art again. Heck if they released just this one three minute scene alone--if done correctly, there wouldn't even have been a need for the prequels.

    Instead of Padme dying of a broken heart--the most trite and cliche BS I have ever had the misfortune of seeing--imagine a masked Vader with this frail little form gathered up in his arms--and all of us knowing that tiny woman was a character we had all come to love.

    And that the masked, hard-breathing figure was once another character we had loved, now "seduced" to the Dark Side and twisted out of his original shape.

    Maybe it could have been played something like the opening scene from Bram Stoker's Dracula, when D becomes a vampire. Incidentally that scene has a NOOOOoooooo!! that is about 10x more powerful than the one we got, because Gary Oldman utters it. I felt far more pathos while watching that scene, even though we only had about 2 minutes of exposition on Dracula's character up to that point. Even with a minimum of dialogue, we really feel this noble knight named Dracula has lost his true love. Having fallen to the Dark Side as a result, he will henceforth be known as COUNT Dracula.

    Instead, in SW we got the two characters kind of going their separate ways before both of them "die."

    I sort of had the impression that Padme "broke up" with Anakin in a very Melrose-place fashion before she went unconscious. They never even got to say goodbye in a tragic, heartfelt manner, it was more like,

    Padme: Anakin, things aren't working out between us. You're going down a path I can't follow. I need time.

    Anakin: It's my best friend, isn't it! When I followed you to the pool hall the other night you were with him!

    Padme: *sigh*

    Obi-wan: *poses in doorway of ship and hip-thrusts*

    3) The Jedi should not have been such pricks! They were supposed to be the noblest, most valiant, and most powerful warriors/knights in the galaxy! Instead we get Yoda acting like he's on vacation in the Hamptons, a toned down Samuel Jackson who thumbs his nose at everyone and in my opinion FULLY DESERVES his death, a couple of hot council members, and a bunch of ones with nasal deformities that might have been interesting to know better had they had more than 1 line per movie. It's sad when only the villain can offer a logical basis for his philosophy, and the Jedi seem interested only in self-preservation.

    Oh, and note to George Lucas: in the original films Yoda didn't ALWAYS reverse the order of his sentences. It wasn't like EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE must now be painfully forced into this trademark way of speaking. It was more like an "old sensei" accent, not a complete language unto itself.

    4) A more minor point. In the OT, people were always fixing things. Han and Chewy work on the Falcon, Luke is always fishing around in his X-wing, putting together camps; even Leia gets in on the action in ESB welding the Falcon's supercharger back together or something. Everything had tons of sparking wires and conduits everywhere, including both Luke and Vader's hands. Stuff had feel and texture.

    I can't recall a single instance of anyone working on anything in the PT. Everything was shiny and new and apparently the Empire didn't yet have a monopoly on aerospace manufacturing, because everything always seems to work perfectly. I guess that is because CGI models don't break down.

    5) Speaking of broken things, Vader in the PT is NOT "more machine than man." He is a guy who lost his arms at the elbows and his legs at the knees. I dunno about you guys, but I always envisioned him more like Robocop. Perhaps even just a head with a brain and spinal cord and small fragments of his body left, not just some guy with major stumps left. It completely eliminates the reasoning behind the scene where Vader lifts the Rebel Captain off his feet in ANH because he'd have to do that using his "still human" shoulder and biceps muscles...oh I know, he was using the Force.

    To quote a line from Robocop, "Lose the arm."

    Wouldn' t it have been so much cooler if Vader were really this tortured, truly cybernetic, entity who wasn't really much more than a few pounds of flesh on a table without his suit?

    ***

    " Around the survivors, a perimeter create."

    Okay, I feel better.

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