I have finally seen it. My reaction? The first half drags and the dialogue is rather bad. I’ll leave it to Mr. Filthy, who writes of the dialogue
It stinks like a Shriner Hall men’s room: the old, stale, rancid stench of a lifetime of undigested beef finally making its way out the ass. There are so many embarrassing, stiff lines it reminded of the one time I tried stand-up comedy and ended up using the last two minutes of my five curled in the fetal position at the corner of the stage, crying . And that’s the part that got the most laughs. A perfect example is when Christiansen turns to the Dark Side, while we can get the sense of what Lucas is doing, he makes it happen with corny and trite exchange ending with the young Jedi kneeling and saying, “I will do whatever you say, Master.”
Beyond that, the movie is quite good and visually spectacular. I will say that the ships look very much computer animated. I prefer the original where the ships were actual models and so looked somewhat real — at least to me. Computer animation is overrated. The second half of the movie was so spectacular that it made up for the first half. The transformation into Vader was captivating and tragic. Aeschylus it was not, but Aeschylus would have been proud. The play off of Padme and Anakin was quite good.
Of course, Lucas interjected his politics. The third or so line in the scroll was that “there are heroes on both sides” in the galactic war. Maybe so, but the protagonists are too busy slaughtering the murderous bad guys for us to figure out which murderous bad guy Lucas intended to be a hero. Oh, and there is that “Only Sith deal in absolutes” bit. But, that’s the thing. If Lucas was trying to bash the President, he wound up slaughtering his own side. The Sith come up like some Upper East Side or San Franciscan liberal. Check out this bit of dialogue:
PALPATINE: Anakin, if one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects, not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi. If you wish to become a complete and wise leader, you must embrace a larger view of the Force. Be careful of the Jedi, Anakin. (pausing) They fear you. In time they will destroy you. Let me train you.
Well my stars and garters! MoveOn.org couldn’t have said it better. That is the liberal view of the right, isn’t it? We are dogmatic and narrow minded. We have to be more open minded and be able to view things in morally relative light to really grow. As Josh Trevino pointed out to, a guy at Slate reviewed the movie and it seemed really to be about an old queen in search of a new boy toy — very left coast. If Lucas intended Palpatine and the Sith to be some sort of political caricature, he could have done no better in his typecasting the Sith as the modern left.
Consider also this
PALPATINE: Good is a point of view, Anakin. And the Jedi point of view is not the only valid one. The Dark Lords of the Sith believe in security and justice also, yet they are considered by the Jedi to be. . .
ANAKIN: . . . evil.
PALPATINE: . . . from a Jedi’s point of view. The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power. The difference between the two is the Sith are not afraid of the dark side of the Force. That is why they are more powerful.
ANAKIN: The Sith rely on their passion for their strength. They think inward, only about themselves.
PALPATINE: And the Jedi don’t?
ANAKIN: The Jedi are selfless . . . they only care about others.
Well, there you go. “Good is a point of view” sounds like something Ralph Neas would say. Oh, and in our modern culture who is it thinking about themselves and how to gain politically from tragedy while the right is freeing 50 million people from tyranny and murderous regimes? You guessed it, the left, which has sought to recover political capital from the deaths of our soldiers, much like Palpatine does with the galactic war.
In the end, I do not take Star Wars to be a political commentary. But, if Lucas intended it to be an indictment of the right, he failed.