I did it!
Six Star Wars films, 12.8hrs of film (according to iTunes), watched in one day. Okay, so I finished about half an hour after midnight, but that’s just because I overslept yesterday morning. The point is that I watched them all in one go, the only breaks being the necessary ones for food, toilet, and showering.
So what was my overwhelming impression of the whole thing? Just how much better the original three were. I know it’s become almost a cliché in itself to attack the prequels, but it really is true. I watched the prequels first, and as soon as I switched from Revenge of the Sith to A New Hope, the difference was immediately noticeable. The story was better, the acting wasn’t wooden and artificial. That’s not to say everything in the prequels was bad, but they certainly didn’t measure up. And that’s probably George Lucas’ fault.
The idea of the prequels could have been good. It could have rounded off the story, and completed it. As things stand, they just feel like a money-grabbing add-on. A bit of graffiti, maybe. I don’t know. In particular, The Phantom Menace is one of the worst films ever made. And it isn’t because of the actors. Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson, Ian McDiarmid (who was particularly good in an episode of Morse, if anyone’s interested), Samuel L Jackson, Natalie Portman (though I’ll mention her later). All distinguished thespians. No, it’s the story, and the dialogue that let it down, which rests in Lucas’ remit.
Though having complimented the cast, there are some considerations that need to be made. Firstly, Haden Christensen. He really, truly was awful. And maybe it’s the fault of the writing he had to deal with, I don’t know. But he managed to make Darth Vader, one of the scariest film villains in science-fiction film history, into a whinging spoilt brat. He did nothing but complain, and moan about his feelings, and how everyone is unfair. It may be an accurate portrayal of a teenager, but my God it makes for awful viewing. And for the record, Natalie Portman is not a good actress. Everything she said was so wooden it was almost a relief when she died.
But they are still one of the best fantasy/sci-fi series in film. The story is one which grabs readers, the characters are (mostly) are engaging, and the lightsaber is probably the best sci-fi weapon ever conceived of. The older films might look more old-fashioned, but they are good, honest, solid filmmaking. Overall, the films kept me interested and entertained for 12.8hrs, which is an achievement not to be sniffed at. Well done, Mr Lucas, you money-grabbing tit.
So now, as King of the Geeks, I am awaiting my crown of lightsabers. Bow before me, minions!
(Oh, and if you’re interested, I posted my running thoughts on the saga, including a lot more minor criticisms, on my twitter feed, which you can find here. You know. In case you’re interested.)