Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Star Wars - Revenge Of The Sith

The short review:
Why, young Padawan, lack of patience you have! Still if know you must what to do then let me advise you. See the movie, you must. A great event, it is. Now go your way, you can. May the force be with you!

The "fan in me" version:
Go, go to your theatres immediately. Watch the movie make Lucas richer. The movie is great, in fact it is stupendous in its scope of the Star Wars Universe. Well worth the watch. Well worth buying the DVD. So what are you waiting for!!!

The long version:

Well no great surprises here! The story is exactly as we expect it to be. However there is one problem. At times it feels that the movie could easily have become two movies. Many parts of the movie seem to have been rushed through. Maybe some of it should have been put into Attack Of The Clones. Well! Whatever! The end result is that the story sticks to the canon, is not overtly complicated and is as expected. So it gets a 5/10. {After seeing all the parts I think storywise the best movie seems to be The Empire Strikes Back - especially with it's "I Am Your Father" twist in the tail.}

This is where the movie really shines. Were you amazed by Coruscant, the Kamiya system and the Gungans underwater city in the last version? You have not seen anything yet. This time around Coruscant really comes to life. The buildings, the vehicles, the space battles, the opera everything is at a completely different scale this time around. Not to mention the details in which other planets have been rendered. This one factor is the main reason you want to watch the DVD version. Believe me you will never catch all the details without having the ability to playback:) Well done Mr. Lucas, well done. I give this a score of 9/10

As expected the sound is Superlative. The background score is rich as ever. Add to that the climatic sounds and you have a winner. One of the best parts is when Anakin slowly moves to the dark side and you hear the heavy breathing of Vader in the background. Really really spooky. This gets an easy 8/10

The space battle scenes are very well detailed and executed. Please watch out for the cannons firing on the battleships, reminds you of pirate movies. All the action sequences is a pleasure to watch. Many of the clone squads remind you of the SWAT or the Navy Seal movies. Actionwise I would give it an 8/10

Lightsaber action:
Action scenes of lightsaber duels deserve a rating of its own in any SW movie. This movie has some of the best one-one action sequences. Some of the highlights are the Jedi fights with Count Dooku, Capt. Grievous and Palpatine.
Again one more reason to get the DVD when it comes out as the action is so intense that there is no chance of getting it all in on the first try. Easily takes the rating of 9/10

Not the greatest! There are some cool lines for Yoda and Obi Wan Kenobi has some humorous stuff but on the whole not the best of scripts. I give it a tepid 5/10.


I cringe to write about this. Yoda is cool and Palapatine is great. But that about 90% of the acting right there. Surprising really considering that Lucas had Samuel L Jackson, Ewan McGregor and Jimmy Smits to work with. Granted Ewan has his moments, some of them really funny but he has largely been reduced to an action figure. {The ladies might say that he makes quite the sexy action figure but that is another story. Aside: All the ladies were rooting for Obi Wan Kenobi throughout the movie;)} Also granted that Jimmy Smits really did not have much screen time but what happened to Samuel L Jackson. The only time he seemed to have some life was when he went into his Shaft overdrive to whoop some Sith Ass. Mace Windu's character was a disappointment to me.
However all of the above were still acting. Which brings us to people who weren't? Spot Quiz: What is more boring then watching grass grow? Answer: Watching Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman "act"!!! They were appalling. And considering that the whole movie revolved around them it is a wonder that Lucas managed to captivate us inspite of this. Bad acting by Hayden and the hurried script did cause the move of Anakin to the dark side quite unbelievable to the new entrants to this universe. It took my full mastery of the Force to convince them of the logic behind it all .... I don't think they bought it all. Damn you Anakin and Amidala! Damn you! {Aside: Hayden was quite OK as an action hero and looked positively evil after embracing the dark side}
Of course all is not bad. R2-D2 and C3PO are excellent as always. I must say I have sorely missed a figure like Han Solo in the prequels.

Please check out point 2 in my review of Clone Wars to get a persepctive about the acting.
So for overall acting the movie gets 5/10 thanks largely to the animators of Yoda and to Ian McDermid as Palaptine..

Despite the bad acting and the hasty script the movie still rocks. As a Star Wars fan(atic) I really love this movie. The defects I point out above does not take away from what the movie is - if it were not there the movie would just have been that much better. If you like Star Wars, if you like Indiana Jones and if you hate George Bush(;)) you will love this movie.

For those of you who are not Star Wars fans, I will still recommend watching the movie. Just make sure you do see it in a good theatre and don't buy tickets in black. Approach it as an action movie and you will not be disappointed.

Now having taken a very measured look as a normal person I can now revert back to the fanatic that I am. How to convince my better half to see the movie once again? Any advices:)

P.S: Don't miss the Harry Potter shot at the end:)

Star Wars: Clone Wars

I love Star Wars and I love the cartooning style of Genndy Tartakovsky(The creator of Samurai Jack). However an amalgamation of the two! I was not sure of that one. In fact, to be completely frank, I was quite apprehensive about it. Anyways rest assured true believers - the result is worthy!!!

The short review - The Clone Wars is a must watch. It is FANTABULOUS. Now go on surf away;)

The longer version.

Before I go into the review itself I thought I would first take on the people who have issues with watching their favourite stuff as cartoons. After all Clone Wars was shown on Cartoon Networks and the general attitude is that no, I repeat no, adult watches Cartoon Network unless it is to give company to a youngling. Furthermore even Cartoon Network India officials think the same due to which they kept this series at 6pm rather than a more accessible slot of 8 -10 pm. I strongly oppose this attitude. None of this ignoramuses seem to know about how much progress ahs happened in animation from the days of Hanna-Barbera and Early Disney work. Serious characterizations, gripping stories, emotional depth - all of this can be found in today's animation. You want proof - check out any episode of "Batman - the Animated Series" or "Samurai X". Check out one of the most fantastic and underrated material connected to the Matrix - "Animatrix" (Material so good that many Matrix fanatics believe that this is the only material, alongwith the first movie, which should have ever existed. I personally like all the Matrix movies but that is another story.)

Anyways the point is that the cartoon medium is as legitimate a medium as 70 mm cinema and the work done in this medium is of equal calibre. So please, please do not go around slagging it!!! It is best put by Kamal Hassan in an old interview. He said that he sees himself as a storyteller and in today's world a storyteller cannot be narrow and see only cinema as a medium. The storytellers medium is the whole Audio-Visual space and he has to play with it seeing what fits best.

Now let us come to the matter at hand - The Clone Wars!

This series has been given the treatment and styling of the Samurai Jack series. The treatment is an amalgamation of the manga style of the east and the more fluider cartooning of the west. The key point is that it works. It worked for Samurai Jack and boy, does it work for Clone wars. I saw it in one go and it was a gripping tale one, one with the same underlying theme, tone and treatment expected of any Star Wars story. It has managed to capture a war of galactic proportions beautifully. Yes, it is true - I was well and truly bowled over.

It is a must see. The reasons follow:

1. It is canonical. In layman terms it connects the movie "Attack of the Clones" to "Revenge of the Sith". We left AOTC with the beginning of the Clone wars and enter ROTS with the climax of the war coming up. What happened in the interim - the answer is in the Clone Wars. Hence to completely appreciate the cinematic saga that is Star Wars, one HAS to see Clone Wars.

2. It is a very well made piece of work in it's own right. Well written, well drawn and well acted. The characterizations are strong with lots of emotional depth. Especially noticeably (a plus point of using this style of cartooning) is the great emotions shown by simple gestures and facial expressions. I repeat - the expressions are so great that in many places dialogues are unimportant. In other words the acting by the cartoon characters is superlative. Why am I labouring this point? Come back after you read my next review to fully appreciate this point.

3. The lightsaber action is out of this world. Beautifully fluid and operatic. It is so accurate that we even come to know the different styles used. I am already salivating over the fact that once the DVD comes out I will be able to see it in slow motion.

4. The depiction of the squad-based movements of the Clone Troopers were out of this world. Reminds of cool SWAT games and Navy Seal movies. Too Cool!!!
So all - in- all I give Clone Wars 9/10 {My English teacher always used to say that one can never give an artistic piece 10/10 :)}