There's a lot of currency nowadays in suggesting that critics are out of touch when they brand a film a piece of shit and then the film goes on to make an ungodly amount of money anyway. It's a popular column topic (the sort of thing undertaken, for instance, by entertainment writers for major daily newspapers who have somehow been promoted into the second or third reviewer spot)--and it's as destructive and asinine as any popular trend in the field. The chance that esteem for film criticism will ever enjoy a renaissance in the United States is hobbled by hobbyists, junketeers, and idiots inclined to ask George Lucas if he anticipates a Best Picture nomination for Episode III, most likely before they've even seen the film. But worse are people who actually enjoy some level of credibility, such as Roger Ebert. He's written one of the most trenchant dissections of the film, one of the most ambivalent and disenchanted treatments of it from the popular press, only to gift it with the second-highest rating possible according to his paper's star system (3.5 stars out of four).
When people talk about critics being "out of touch," they're not referring to Ebert. A smart man, smarter than me, he hedges his bets in this way: according to him, the movie has bad dialogue ("To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion"), perfunctory special effects scenes ("The special effects are more sophisticated than in the earlier movies, of course, but not necessarily more effective "), dull and familiar fight sequences ("The thrill is gone"), and terrible performances ("Sometimes their readings are so flat, they don't seem to believe they're really in the middle of amazing events")--BUT, "the Force is in a jollier mood this time, and Revenge of the Sith is a great entertainment." Three-and-a-half stars. See, what Ebert seems to be grading is not the film but the amount of business the film is going to do and, perhaps, the level of veneration it's going to attract from its most ardent supporters. It's a way of deflecting irate feedback, of maintaining his popularity while only slightly sullying his credibility in the public view, and of avoiding an argument over something that he probably doesn't care that much about.
So here, for the record, is me saying that this film is bad and that it's probably going to earn, in the United States alone, in excess of three-hundred-and-fifty million dollars. (Million Dollar Baby is also bad, and I predicted, correctly for once, that it would win the Best Picture Oscar.) How that makes me the one that's out of touch, I have no idea, especially when, as you peruse this fine selection of hate mail from the saddest of Lucas' audience of proverbial beaten wives ("This time he'll change"), consider that we received the majority of it ten days or so before the film opened from readers without first-hand knowledge of that which they were defending.-Walter Chaw
Esoterically mindless film noir lackey blather. That wasnt a review sir ... but it was one of the longest self serving word masturbation sessions I've ever read. A complete bore that only a college education could be to blame.
Boy after readying your review i hope you dont have any SW movies at home. Its sad to see some one that cant have a good time at the movies. I hope you can find some one to help you with your personal issues.
Nathan, a fan of film and a fan of dreaming of worlds far far away
You refer to yourself as 'Old School' in your review of Ep.III.....if you were truly that, you'd not have criticized (i.e. failed to understand) some of what you did. I'm not going to take up much of my time or yours going into details, but in case you're might be interested in one example of what I'm talking about, I'll oblige you.
The part where you criticize the Jedi for abandoning their values and trying to murder Palpatine instead of taking him to trial is absolutely ludicrous. Why the hell do you think Palpatine had to devise his plan in such a way that it would be such an overwhelming surprise for the Jedi? Palpatine's plan was set into action behind the scenes back in Episode I. Clearly the only way to overtake the Republic and completely reverse the control of power would be in one massive, sweeping action. In short, this took the Jedi completely out of their game. They were shocked and unprepared, and THIS is why they failed to adhere to certain aspects of their code.
Why do you think the tone of the film changed so much from the first half to the second?? Lucas was giving you the sense that this was like the outer space version of Pearl Harbor. Think about it.......It's brilliant. I'm very disappointed that someone who considers themselves as 'Old School' would fail to see so much of these prequels. Anyway, that's just my $.02. Thanks for reading. Sincerely,
If you hate the Star Wars movies so much, then why even screen it??? You are so single-minded on your hatred of Lucas and his franchise that you fail to enjoy a movie that the greater majority of your critic counterparts seemed to enjoy immensely. Maybe you're more of a Bridget Jones Diary franchise fan. Laughable review in light of everyone else's.
Nate & Jennifer
Dude...its just a movie. You're analyzing it like the Catholics should analyze the bible.
how come the movie is getting rave reviews.one critic said its the best movie to come to the big screen in 25 years.so just wondering why everyone else but you thinks this is a great film? at least say it was better than the last 2 star wars movies?do you like any of the film?
Who are you again? Oh, that's right...No one. Film Freak Central? Was it your aim just to write senseless dribble and hate the movie because almost every other critic has loved it? Cynical writers disgust me. You're no fan of Star Wars, or you'd understand the points about the movie that you question. I guess that's what Film Freak Central is all about though, being overly hip and silly to the point of obnoxiousness. I don't know why it even troubles me, very few will see this review anyway. I'm not even sure how I stumbled on to it. Get some imagination. THIS is the film true Star Wars fans have been waiting for.
Hello, Out of about 30 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, you're the only one to have given Episode III a negative one (the only other "rotten tomatoe" -- by Slant Magazine -- was neutral, objective and admits that the film has a lot of good points). The fact that everyone is calling this new film a sensation, and the top critics (Variety, Hollywood Reporter, etc.) are hailing it, makes it look like you simply don't know what the heck you're talking about. You have been discredited as a film critic.
You couldn't critique paint drying! You haven't a clue. You are missing out on the greatest experience of a life time all because you probably thought you were to cool for these films. You are a dork with a pen who couldn't become a real writer so you thought I will just pick on other people's writing. You are incredibly dumb if you think the magic died years ago. I bet your a closet fan that in the back of your mind you really love these films and wish you could say so. Pathetic!
You know you're the only person to give episode 3 a bad review. You must have your head up your ass because I would rank this movie ahead of Return of the Jedi. You should give up reviewing movies because your worthless at it.
Hi, Im so glad your review of Episode 3 is in the minority. Its kind of funny to see all these wonderful reviews from other sources only to see your ugly review of it. I guess in the future if I see a bad review again from you I will most certainly SEE the movie. If you dont like it IT MUST BE GOOD. :)
2 things. 1. Your review sucked. In fact you need to be banned from becuase I sometimes accidentally read your sorry-ass reviews. 2. Why do you bother reviewing movies if you are so fucking bad at it. 83% fresh and you didn't like it??!?!?!!?!? Get a clue, people like you should stick to flipping burgers.
Where did you pull that one out of? Your the only one with a negative look on star wars on rottentomatoes. com. The other review that showed the negative still said great things about the video and gave 3 out 5 stars. That's wierd! So really your the only fool to be cool and crap on George Lucas and star wars. Who the hell picked you anyway to rate this movie. I'm glad you dont decided if we get to see the movie in the theater, if that was so we be watching "A billionare dollar poo baby" over and over again. Please think before you type next time. Sincerely,
David, a talented movie critic.
Do you go to the same movies us audience members see? Because your reviews are so incredible poorly written and off base that I'm amazed you are still allowed to write for this site.
I saw "ROTS" at a special screening and was blown away by this epic film. The story was heartbreaking, the characters well developed, and the special effects mind-blowing. "Star Wars" movies always had "Buck Rogers" like dialogue and a space opera feel to them.and yes the dialogue was sometimes corny. But this movie is so much better than the last two prequels. It has all the right ingredients to become a classic. And your poorly written review will soon be forgotten. As it should!
I guess you feel superior to these types of films because they do not meet up to your high artistic standards. But they are meant to be fun popcorn eating summer flicks and they certainly succeed in their goal to entertain and take us to a galaxy far far away! No other movies in our history have had so much influence on such a large portion of our population. Why? Because people love to see the redemption of a person who is struggling to overcome their dark side. We all face that in real life and can relate to Darth Vader in that regard.
I think it's sad that you went into this movie wanting to hate it and your self-fulfilling prophecy became true. There is no way that you went into this movie with an open mind and that reflects in your sarcastic tone. The quality critics are weighing in now, such as Time, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, and they definitely fall in line with the movie that I saw.a fantastic film called "Revenge of the Sith" which delivers a powerful wallop. This movie earns an A. Maybe you should hang out with these critics and learn how to intelligently critique a movie. You ramble on and make no sense. You are overly critical and seem like such a bitter person.
(Editor's Note: The previous author addressed this one to yours truly.) I hope your also going to review "Revenge of the Sith." Word is from friends of mine that this movie rocks. An epic film that more than makes up for the last two prequels. Wow..just read the Variety and Hollywood Reporter reviews and they rave about this film. Now "Time" and "Newsweek" just came out with positive reviews. Finally a prequel that equals the original trilogy. That's good news to all those Star Wars fans out there!
Read Walter's review and was totally disgusted by his arrogant, bitter, cynical review of this film. You could tell he hates the Star Wars films and went into the theater with the intent of hating "Revenge of the Sith." I realize George Lucas is not the best with dialogue, but his movies do have a certain brilliance to them and that's why they are so well received by the public. I think Walter is a poor writer and doesn't explain himself well in reviews. I respect any well written critique of any film, but Walter rambles on in this review with no direction and little substance.
I wish you would have given the official review for "Revenge of the Sith." Your reviews are better written and fairly balanced. Walter just seems out to get attention by criticizing this movie for the sake of publicity. I find that pathetic and do hope you write a more thorough and enlightening review of "ROTS." Sincerely,
It becomes so tiresome to read the repetitive prattle of critics who don't really say anything, but just talk for the sake of talking. I just wanted to write to you and say that I found your review very informative and well written, and the complete opposite of what is usually found. I laughed out loud at many points, plus your honest view of the down - fall of the Star Wars franchise long ago, doesn't go unappreciated. It was very well to read your review. Yours,
Read your Star Wars review. Sounds pretty harsh, but, then, I guess you're the one keeping it real. I've read numerous other reviews that have said that episode III is a good movie just because it's better than the first two prequels. I really don't think that's a good reason to say that a movie is good. I'm like the biggest Star Wars fan I know, but that doesn't keep me from looking at the films in a critical sense and seeing the vast missteps and misopportunities taken with every Star Wars film post-Empire Strikes Back. So, yeah, your review helped me paint a more realistic picture of just what I should expect from the new movie. Thanks for the heads up.
I don't know whether I'll bother seeing Revenge of the Sith, butyour review was dead-on in addressing the general points about everythingthat is wrong with Lucas's moviemaking style these days.
With all the ridiculously effusive reviews so far (98% on the RottenTomatoes tomatometer?!), I am inclined to trust the lone-wolf naysayers.Cynical of me, maybe, but I remember when critics were saying how muchbetter Attack of the Clones was than Phantom Menace, andthat Lucas had "gotten it right this time" with the secondinstallment. Well, I thought AOTC was worse that PhantomMenace, and while I can scarcely believe that it's possible for Lucasto sink any lower the third time around, I'm not counting on himsuddenly, miraculously redeeming himself with this one.
Another reason I am suspicious of all these glaringly positive reviews isthat audiences (and critics alike) seem to have become so acclimated toabsolute shit that anything that's even the tiniest step above the mostmediocre garbage is considered "great." Who ARE these peoplewho seem to be dead-set on liking the lousiest of movies at any cost? I'mperfectly capable of enjoying crappy movies on a "big dumbentertainment" level, but I do have some standards, one of which isthat a movie should adhere to its own internal logic, which Episodes Iand II don't (and which I wouldn't expect to be rectified in EpisodeIII).
I appreciate that the Star Wars movies have always been made withkids in mind (which always seems to be Lucas's pat answer to anycriticism directed at him), but considering that Lucas himself has beenrambling on and on about how much "darker" (a buzzword I'vecome to despise lately) and more violent this movie is compared to itspredecessors, he'd be hard-pressed to use that excuse with EpisodeIII. Nevermind that he has to know that the movies never appealedexclusively to children and that the whole franchise has a huge nostalgicfan-base. I don't care how much I loved the original trilogy--thatdoesn't exempt George Lucas from further criticism. No one shouldever be above criticism.
You are absolutely right that Lucas seems to have no understanding ofwhat made the original trilogy so good. It makes the success of thosemovies seem like a fluke. I will chalk it up to the fact that Lucas wasyounger, hungrier, and still in touch with outside world during that era.And that he was still willing to let others take over thereigns.
I'm sure you've gotten a good deal of preliminary hate mail, with muchmore to follow after the movie is released. I just wanted to say, keepfighting the good fight.
I haven't seen the "film" (SW3) yet, but I think you've pretty much nailed this one. I think I just about (and unwillingly) agreed with you on about every point. I'm just so sad. I've put a link to your review into my blog--not that that will do you any good. For a good laugh, check out the parody fanfilm of SW3 at the force.net (Called "A Lost Hope") Thanks.
One more thing, did it bother you that Lucas had to squeeze in every single Eps. 4-6 sidekick into the prequels in such unbelievable circumstances (C3PO was built by Anakin!, Owen is Anakin's step-sibling!, R2D2 saves the day and receives an award from Naboo-ites! Now, Chewbacca meets Yoda! Jesus Christ!) Those midi-clorians are at work! I'm depressing myself.
Hello, Just a quick response. You make some very valid points in your review, but I do have to point out the issue of the restoration of balance to the force -- it has nothing to do with making the sith more powerful -- the prophecy is fulfilled when the sith are destroyed --it is not fulfilled in this movie, rather it is in return of the jedi after vader kills the emperor (because of luke's sacrifice giving way to vader's forgiveness and redemption).
That's why it is important that the twins are born. There was no balance in the beginning because the sith (evil) still existed , with or without anyone's prior knowledge (evil=imbalance...good=balance).
This is the single most important thread in the overall plot and you completely missed it by saying that the prophecy was fulfilled in the slaughter -- that doesn't make any sense to anyone who knows structure. So the point that's made is moot. You are part of the unlightened few with regard to that I'm afraid -- (also Lucas has mentioned this many times since Menace).
As far as Leia's memory of her mother, she is remembering her adoptive mother (I assume that is changed in retrospect, but that's the new canon, but it makes sense no matter how you slice it)...that's why she only ever refers to her Father on alderaan in star wars...no mother to worry about. . The rest of your observation, I accept. Thanks,
Over the past few years, I've found myself reading many of your reviews and enjoying the dose of honesty and intelligence in a critical community which (to me) is becoming more of a wasteland.
I completely agree with your comment that Lucas has antiquated attitudes towards women. After watching the movie (at midnight last night), I've come to the conclusion that it's a fairly malevolent attitude that he has. Padme dies despite knowing that there is "still good" in Anakin. So why does she die? It seems that Lucas kills her to make a point. Padme's (in)actions seem to be a direct contrast to Luke's refusal to abandon his father at the end of Return of the Jedi for the same reason.
Luke, the heroic warrior, won't leave his father. Padme has no problem doing it, and does it because "she's lost the will to live." (Which I assume is the line you're referring to as one of the more "unfortunate robot lines") I actually thought the movie wasn't so bad; there were definitely decent portions. Obi Wan's "You were my brother! I loved you!" was fairly poigniant, and was much more convincing than the love between Padme and Anakin.
Oh, and this might be me reading too much into the script, but did 3PO's comment that he was getting the hang of the driving thing seem like a jab at Padme's driving ability to you? Why does the protocol droid need to pilot the plane again? If you have any time, I'd love to hear comments - I've posted these thoughts and a few more at my blog. Anyway, thanks for reading, and thanks for writing all the reviews.
Just been to see Revenge of the Sith in London last night. Boy, did it suck. People in our viewing started laughing before the movie proper even started when the opening crawl came on and started with the word WAR!-- That must be a 1st for Lucas to have the audience giggling before an actor has even walked on set. After the screening I went on to the fan forums at The Force.Net to see what other fans thought and was disheartened to see so many unenlightened lord of the rings fans just luvvin' that butt kickin' sith action. Have these people ever seen a good movie. The answer is of course, NO. So I was very relieved to find someone who shared my feelings about the whole mess. Your review summed up exactly what me, and the rest of our generation feel about these prequels. After watching the film, I had a drink in the cinema bar (yes, we can buy beer in cinemas in Europe! :-)) and we just felt flat. A series that meant so much to so many just ended not with a bang, but with a whimper. The prequels are among some of the worst movies ever made. Yes, even worse than ed wood films, because unlike ed wood, Lucas has no barriers to the process of making a film... Unlimited budget, no studio interference, the most talented people in the industry dying to work with him.. And these 3 prequels are what he churns out. its my own fault for having semi- hi hopes for this film. I couldn't believe how he fucked up the Vader creation scene. People in the cinema laughed.. I felt like crying... No, weeping. It could have been so dramatic, and for one second it was.. When the helmet got sucked onto his head and you heard his 1st breath.. I thought 'gasp, this scene is about to take off...' Then he does that stupid Frankenstein walk and then the hilarious 'lord Vader, can you hear me?' line from palatine, which was like saying 'knock knock, who's there?' and that 'noooo!' was just appalling. I couldn't believe how much he blew that scene. And Anakin should have killed padme. That would have been unexpected and far more dramatic than her dying from, as you put it so well, a 'ladies' problem. It would have avoided that lame discussion Anakin and obi wan have before they fight where they 'tell the audience' why they are about to fight. And didn't you laugh out loud when she's giving birth and goes gruuuunt.... Luke. Gruuuunt... Leia' what the fuck. With some robot midwife with most likely a speculum attachment on her left hand and a supply of hot water coming out the other. ha ha ha my god, how ridiculous. She should have given birth at home in a cottage in naboo with a handmaiden delivering them or something a little more organic. Lets talk Lava surfing. let's not. The story was a mess, the pacing abysmal. Every scene lasted about 2 minutes. The whole thing was so bitty. And because there were so many scenes, I got tired of seeing the optical wipes that are a SW trademark. And he introduced a new wipe for this film, the 1980's TV 'blocks' wipe. I was sitting there anticipating the wipes.. No, please, I feel a wipe coming on.. Please, please, just do a cut this time for once. And those dreams sequences with the psychedelic fringing at the edges seemed like 1970's tv too and seemed out of place. This one really didn't feel like a SW movie at all. The sound of light sabres and all the other great work ben burtt has done no longer seems to say star wars to me when I watch these prequels. It just says potato chip packets with pictures of jake lloyd or jar jar binks on them. Overstocks of merchandising on the shelves of woolworths and k-mart that no one wants. Has it come to that. Maybe its the era.. In the same way that michael eisner completely fleeced the disney legacy and made the brand mean not quality animation and innovation, but burger king tie-ins.
Profoundly disappointing these prequels are. Indeed, as you say, the magic died a long time ago. Cruelly, and I wonder if this makes george wince, it was all there in the opening dialogue of the phantom menace... I have a very bad feeling about this..
Stay sharp and thanks for being a voice in the turgid ennertainment' wilderness...
I just wanted to let you know that your review of Episode III was absolutely perfect. I wish all the blind followers of Lucas would read this and realize he blew a great opportunity to rectify the damage done since I and II (and VI, to be honest). One point I would add - I don't understand why Lucas never stays on any one scene longer than 20 seconds. This prevents any character/relationship building and ultimately prevents us from caring about the characters or investing any emotional currency. I'm really, really bummed out...I saw A New Hope when I was 9 and saw it 26 times in the theater. I guess he caught lightning in a bottle. This makes me want to write my own saga just to get satisfaction. ;) Anyway, again....perfect review and take it easy. :)
I just recently read your review for Episode III (an hour ago, specifically) after having seen the movie in theaters, and I'd like to thank you. Not because you echoed my opinions, but actually because you made me realize just how much I was willing to ignore in order to convince myself that I'd enjoyed this final installment. It is far better than the last two Episodes, to be sure, but it not only fails where in better hands it ought to have succeeded but pales in comparison to the Original Trilogy. I agree with almost everything you said: Lucas contradicting himself (or his past works), the absurd contrivance of Padme not believing Obi-Wan, the insulting way women and, perhaps, races are treated (it wasn't lost on me that the "Asian" species whose names I don't feel like looking up were first represented in this movie by a character whose accent was clearly American; the most self-conscious PR move since Eminem invited Elton John to perform with him at the Grammys if you ask me), my disappointment with how vigilante the Jedi (even Yoda) come across as, all of it, but especially that feeling of how weightless and inconsequential the whole affair was (Yoda's loss to Emperor Palpatine, for example, was so anticlimactic that it took me a moment to realize what had actually happened). I was willing to delude myself into believing that Return of the Sith was a return to form for George Lucas; that this whole "Prequel Trilogy" was actually justified and not just the work of an obsessive-compulsive hermit (to be fair, I'd say that this movie makes Return of the Jedi more cathartic -- although I never really thought that Vader vanquishing the Emperor was all that heroic to begin with since he says on numerous occassions that he wants Palpatine dead anyway). I returned home thinking that, and then I read your review, and I honestly felt ashamed. I was ashamed. I'd duped myself into glossing over a movie's quite glaring flaws; there were things wrong with the movie, and I knew there were things wrong with the movie, and I just brushed them off, looking for some sort of fulfillment where there was none. And so, I want to thank you for making me see that. This movie is what it is, I guess: disappointing. I don't now plan on writing furious letters to Lucasfilm or storming Skywalker Ranch strapped with nines. I'm just terrified by how easily I let my partiality get in the way of my seeing the truth. Talk about being clouded by the Dark Side; that sort of bias is never good. What I'm thanking you for is this: being the voice of reason. Being sensible. I'm sure you'll get plenty of death threats in the next few weeks and beyond, but it's good, necessary even, that there are differing opinions out there. Yours certainly made me realize how ugly a forced smile is. It's just so darned hard to help sometimes. The brilliant thing about Star Wars is that people, especially stupid fanboys like myself, are so well-versed in what's at stake that we can understand the significance of an event even if it's not established well in the film at all; it's like a missing ingredient: Just Add Weight. I only wish that Lucas had put the franchise in the hands of someone capable of doing the same. Peace,
P.S.: There were parts of your review that I believe (emphasis on believe) were unfair. While the melodramatic "NOOOOO!" is something that I've hated ever since I was a nine-year old kid reading Goosebumps, it's probably not significant enough to lambast. It's no secret that the dialogue in Star Wars has never been realistic (personally the anachronisms -- "Plan B," "good call," etc. -- irk me more), but I've seen you give four-star reviews to movies that do the exact same thing (Spider-Man 2, for example). As for Yoda's "miss you, I will" to Chewbacca: seriously? I just took it as a sign of respect. Par for the course as far as Yoda goes if you ask me. Whatever. Things to consider (or not), but I thought the rest of your review was pretty accurate and fair. Once again, peace. Or "miss you, I will."