George Lucas is as important as everyone thinks he is, even if he would have done nothing but the first Star Wars. I focus on what he directs here, but we shouldn't forget that he's at least half responsible for Indiana Jones and a handful of other great movies (not to mention the two Star Wars movies he didn't direct).
TXH 1138 (1971) -- A crappy version of 1984. D
American Graffiti (1973) -- I'll have to see it again, since it's been awhile, but I'll review it anyway. I remember it being an interesting ensemble movie that uses a rock and roll soundtrack like every movie does these days because of it. B
Star Wars (1977) -- It's Star Wars, ladies and gentlemen, in its purest form. There's a whole universe of stuff surrounding this movie, of course, but when you sit down and watch the movie, you'll be treated to an action-packed space adventure movie that will probably always be fun to watch. In many ways, this simplest version of the movies was never surpassed. The 1997 Special Edition was, on the whole, a bad idea. People watching this movie for twenty years suddenly had someone taking computerized dumps all over it. There's no way to watch the new stuff without thinking "this is new stuff," which detracts from the experience. Having said that, I don't really lose sleep over it. (See Irvin Kershner for the sequel, The Empire Strikes Back.) A
The Phantom Menace (1999) -- Actually the first thing Lucas directed since 1977's Star Wars, there are many great things about it. The story of Anakin and all the interweavings of the characters is great, the pod race is the most exciting part of the movie, we get to see real Jedis in action (in fighting and in thinking) instead of the fogies and wannabees the first trilogy had, and of course it looks fantastic. Unfortunately, lots of it seemed like it was aimed for the Kindergarten (Jar Jar and company) and Generic Prepackaged Joke ("That's gotta hurt!" etc.) crowd, which takes away from the otherwise fantastic movie. I still liked it a great deal in spite of its junk. (See Richard Marquand for the predecessor, Return of the Jedi. See below for the sequel, Attack of the Clones.) A
Attack of the Clones (2002) -- Gone is the Jar Jar stuff, but we'd almost like someone as lively as him in this one. Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman are really awful in the movie. The CG characters (especially the new Yoda) have lots more life, and that's not me making an exaggerated joke. There will be a lot of unintentional laughter in this movie, or just bad feelings. But... it's a pretty cool movie. It's got a lot of action and fun and in the end there's nothing much wrong with it. (See above for the predecessor, The Phantom Menace. See below for the sequel, Revenge of the Sith.) A
Revenge of the Sith (2005) -- First the problems (every Star Wars movie since Jedi has had them, so why should this be different?). The acting still sucks from Christensen and Portman. In place of unbelievable love is unbelievable anger, etc. Anakin simply sucks in general as a character. In the first trilogy, it was interesting to find out that Darth Vader was human under there after all. In this trilogy, we learn that he was pretty much always an asshole since he was a teen (he was fine as a kid). Even the "noble" reasons he turns to the dark side are stupid. He wants to save Padme, so then he starts choking her? Anyway, yeah, some problems. But (again) overlook those and all the action is here and the Emperor really gets a chance to shine in this movie. Ian McDiarmid was the best thing about the new trilogy, and he gives a performance in this episode that's both studied and giddy. A nice ending to a fun romp. (See above for the predecessor, Attack of the Clones.) A
Copyright (c) Jan 2001 - Jun 2005 by Rusty Likes Movies