Saw episode III yesterday with my wife and our young friend. I feel the same kind of disappointment everyone seems to feel with these first 3 episodes of the long saga.
Sure, my formative years were shaped by the original trilogy. I was 5 when the first Star Wars came out. Saw it three times in one week in the theater during its re-release a few years later. My Lego adventures revolved around Luke and Han Solo.
The thing that helped make the first 3 so myth-like and epic was that I felt dropped into the middle of something much bigger than I was. There were many unexplained things just presented as part of the story: the robots escaping to the planet in the middle of a battle; a mysterious princess asking for help from an even more mysterious magical man in a hood; a simple farm boy told his father was someone special but killed by an evil lord; a quest; a rebellion; the Force. Nothing was explained; everything mattered.
In these latest three episodes, everything is explained, and nothing seems to matter. It’s a tragic story, how one wounded man wounds everyone around him, and finally the whole universe. But we know it ends happily. Everything is explained; and so, nothing really matters. No mysteries are left lying about to confuse or mess the tidy universe of Lucas’ making. All questions are answered in the end: how Anakin becomes Vader; what the Force is, exactly; how the Jedi die; even down to how Obi Wan can commune from beyond the grave.
Don’t get me started on the dialogue. So wooden.
I realized that part of what made the first 3 so good was the chemistry between Han Solo and Leia. I’d go so far as to say that Harrison Ford made the first trilogy as good as it was. He had a great character and he played him really well, made him breathe. He wasn’t a comic book caricature; Solo was a scoundrel, and a believable, lovable one.
I’ll watch them all again; and I’ll remind myself that it’s a good story, a comic book story. I’m disappointed, like everyone else, because I wanted Star Wars to explain something more about the world, my world. Instead, it explained everything very tidily about its own world. I guess I shouldn’t expect more. And because I do, that’s why I’m disappointed.