Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Sith did make to Sài Gòn...

... as I predicted. At work, one of my fellow teachers was raving about seeing a DVD for Revenge of the Sith. Her point of emphasis was not the quality of the movie; she liked it, but not too much. It was the fact that she now owned a copy of the flick - a mere two weeks after it came onto cinemas in the states. What was better was its quality: it stuttered a few times, but the resolution was pretty clear throughout. No one had been pointing cameras inside a theatre.

Yesterday night, I too have a a "copy" in my hands. I was at the Saigon Tax Centre looking for some shaving creme. They also have a DVD section downstairs, with lots of pushy sales assistants ready to attract your attention. I'm now about 43,000 dồng poorer. One small aerosol can of Gillette: 26,000 đồng. One DVD of Revenge of the Sith: 17,000 đồng. You can even exchange your disk if you're not satisfied.

Now these are some thoughts about the movie; please don't mistake it for a real review. There are too many on the Internet already to add another one. For real reviews, you could please try the eviscerating Ruthless Reviews, whom I quote 'And yes, they spelled "shit" wrong'. For a more positive view, there's the Filthy Critic. So what did I think?

  • Firstly, the script was shocking. It was eerie in how it took accomplished and much-lauded actors like Samuel L. Jackson, and transformed them into chipboard. For example, there were the three uses of "younglings". It may be Jedi jargon for their multi-racial trainees, but couldn't the script have used "children" instead? It allows more emotional rapport from the audience, especially as by then, said kiddies had been slaughtered by Anakin Skywalker.
  • Never the less, some actors were able to transcend this. Hayden Christensen changed from irritating (not enjoyable) to evil fanatic (enjoyable). Ewan McGregor - who is a GOOD actor - actually seemed human throughout, and was even believable in his "you were my brother" dialogue after slicing a few limbs off Mr. Skywalker.Yoda was great, but Yoda's always great, and his performance was strictly CGI.
  • Natalie Portman was just pathetic.
  • The only person who seemed to be enjoying himself one hundred percent was Ian McDiarmid. He was the man behind Supreme Chancellor and then Emperor Palpatine. He was delightfully horrid throughout the whole flick - from sinister but everyday bureaucrat at the start to the ravaged visage and methadone teeth we remember from Return of the Jedi. Playing a evil galactic overlord is probably not as easy as it looks, but McDiarmid seemed particularly suited to the role. There were even a few battle scenes where you really believed the "power of the Dark Side". He hated. You could see that when he was flaying around with light sabres and besting his enemies. He was feral.
  • Finally, what about the disk itself? It wasn't too good on the laptop. There were a few times when I had to take it out, turn it a few degrees, and pop it back in again. That was irritating, especially as it always seemed to happen during the good bits (i.e., the battle scenes). Fortunately, WinDVD remembered the position of the disk, so it wasn't necessary to fast forward each time. There were other problems, like the sound falling out of sync with the action.

To summarize: I liked the film, but it fell far short of what it could be. It is better than its prequels, but lesser work than its sequels.