Thursday, May 19, 2005

A good movie, yes... a great movie, no.

I just got back from Revenge of the Sith. And, well, it didn't suck. A ringing endoresement, eh?

It's the best of the three 'prequels', no question. But I can't help but imagine what this movie could have been. I will readily grant Lucas this - the plot for turning Anakin into Vader is superb. And by that I mean realistic, from a psychological and spiritual point of view. A combination of an appeal to power lust, an obsession with order, and playing on an powerful desire for a lesser good (saving his wife's life) against the greater good (the preservation of the Jedi order). By these or similar mechanisms, men and women fall into darkness in real life.

The problem is Hayden Christenson. I'll readily grant that his acting is better in Sith than it was in Clones. But his performance is still too uneven, and ultimately unconvincing. He lacked a convincing portrayal of a struggle against and final submission to the temptation, and the self-deceptions necessary to maintain himself in his choices.

In the hands of a more competent actor for the part of Anakin, Sith could have been a movie that transcended the genre of science-fiction and told a truly chilling tale about a real Fall of Man. Unfortunately, while still an entertaining film (and much better than any of the summer trash we're likely to be seeing), what it could have been it is not. Sad that is.

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