Friday, June 24, 2005

Revenge Of The Sith

There is a scene in the mighty Stanley Donen musical Singin’ In The Rain where an early ‘talkie’ is screened before an audience and the sound breaks down. The dreadful villain of the piece enfolds the blousy heroine in a grasping clinch and the dialogue gradually reverses itself so that he is saying ‘no, no, no’, and she is saying ‘yes, yes, yes’. Broog has always enjoyed this scene, but not so much that he wanted to see it replicated between Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu and Ian McDairmid as Emperor Palpatine. The strange echo of tapshoes is not the only bizarre reflection in Revenge Of The Sith. Palpatine grows more Gollum-like with each frame, and Anakin’s open eyes and Jim Morrison hair lend him a distinct touch of Frodo Baggins. Most ghastly of all, however, is the appalling Vader Unbound sequence at the end of the picture. True afficionadoes of cinematic bunkum will recall with fondness the scene in Charlie’s Angels where Matt LeBlanc falls to his knees and cries ‘Damn you, Salazar!’ With the same fearsome emotional intensity, the Dark Lord of the Sith rises from his surgical table to shout “Nooooooo!” It is a long way indeed from the clipped and frosty Vader of the original films.

The true horror of Revenge, however, lies not in its overwhelming awfulness, but in the occasional moments of excitement, which display the potential of the franchise, so indifferently frittered away. This is the arena Lucas should have been playing in from the beginning; a young adult Anakin fraught with fear and conflict, the Republic on its knees, and betrayal everywhere. There was no need for Star Wars I: Vader In Daipers or Star Wars II: The Adolescent. Here at last is a sense of what might have been.

Unsurprising, but still disappointing, Revenge Of The Sith is a stinker. And you can say I said so.