By Miguel Mouchess
Monday, May 16th, 2005 was the screening for the Fox Employees here on the Lot.
For everyone else on the planet it opened Thursday, May 19th 2005.
A good way to start today was to cover my fascination for the Saga. I thought about it...took a moment to reflect on 27 years of the franchise following.
Starting with the grand daddy of them all, Star Wars, Episode IV.
In the opening credits Twentieth Century Fox Films plays their trademark jingle and follows it with its old school trademark logo that’s come to be loved by the many movie going audience. There I was sitting in my chair (before they had “Stadium seating”)...barely containing myself from wanting to board my “imaginary” T-65 X_wing Fighter waiting for me outside that movie theater. I was 5 yrs old.
And the crawl read:
“Episode IV: A New Hope”
A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
It is a period of civil war.
Rebel spaceships, striking
from a hidden base, have won
their first victory against
the evil Galactic Empire.
During the battle, Rebel
spies managed to steal secret
plans to the Empire’s
ultimate weapon, the DEATH
STAR, an armored space
station with enough power to
destroy an entire planet.
Pursued by the Empire’s
sinister agents, Princess
Leia races home aboard her
starship, custodian of the
stolen plans that can save her
people and restore
freedom to the galaxy....
Well before I drag you into another of my many long stories/accounts as to how I had the best movie experience... blah, blah, blah..let me just jump right into it:
The new episode (which is now at III) picks up where the first two episodes (Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, respectively) failed. The union of Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman) and young Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has now produced an offspring. The republic is still engaged in the Clone Wars. And a new corrupt politician leads the way for Young Anakin to seek out solace in the Dark Side. I feel the need to go into full detail but I can’t for my reader’s sake of watching the film, themselves. So I’ll now go towards a more technical approach of review.
This Lucas vision/episode, from the beginning, goes where no movie maker has gone before. The graphics are so real so digitally mastered that it makes for proof that from your seat you feel as a passenger in all the transporters flying in space. The plot and CGI go hand in hand in getting you to the Dark Side along the young skywalker. The need for more would only be asking of an overt gluttony of filmmaking. Lucas makes sure every loose end is tied, every last storm trooper is accounted for, and every light speed is traveled.
Everyone from Count Doo-ku, Chancellor Palpatine, Obi-Won Kenobi, General Grievous (who looks like a giant robotic ant-eater), to Mace Windu (played to a “T” by a very stone-faced Samuel Jackson) gets a turn at staking their claim to the future of the last three episodes (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.) Yoda shows why he’s the jedi master of “days gone by,” but manages to still entertain us with the “youthful antics.” Even the cameo appearance by 3-CPO and the Storm-troopers makes the saga more structured than just plugging them in for their graphic creative imagery. And let us not forget that grizzly looking creature (and Han Solo’s sidekick) we all came to know as “Chewbacca” in those later films as he plays a very important role in helping out the Republic from early on. It’s funny too, but somehow I always knew the Ewoks were related in design.
One small detail as most everyone knows: Darth Vader comes to life like no other. The feeling you get from when the mask comes on to the heavy breathing makes for one of the best moments in film history. Think similar to terror you felt watching a swimmer in calm waters right before Jaws unleashed a powerful bite, accompanied to the tune of John Williams (a master in the Scoring business) or even the silence you get from the colossal “Titanic” when it’s sinking upright and the lights go out all at once.
This is by far the best of the first three episodes. Being that the first and second were mere “experiments” by Lucas; you can tell either 2 things after watching this one: 1. Lucas really wanted to stake a claim to the Jedi Master title of film, or 2. He used the first two episodes to make us hungry for a powerful finish. I think a lot of both. You decide?
Besides all the “back to basics” turns this version took us through (including a very cool “20th Century Fox Films” old school logo,) the movie is, in a nutshell, the proof of Lucas’ vision he set for us 27 years ago in a galaxy far, far away... out of this world!!!
May the force be with you...