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ATTACK OF THE HOLLYWOOD CLONES - PART TWO

 


I know someone in Hollywood will one day pay for having made me sit through excrement like Pearl Harbour, The Patriot, The Mummy Returns and Tomb Raider . . . all of them Children of Star Wars . . . [Read Part One of this article]

Now the Attack of the Clones trailer: has Lucas seen Titanic once too often? Will we have to sit through a teenage holiday romance? Already the sullen, pouting pretty boy playing Teenage Darth Vader seems annoying. Sure, he's supposed to be the villain, but we are supposed to hiss the villain for other reasons - not because the actor playing him reminds me of an expression of my dad's: "he reminds me of a bicycle pedal - when I see his face I want to step on it!" Then there's the imperious princess whose grating voice just seems to slice through one's very soul. Ewan McGregor seems to be as bored as he was in the first movie. Oh sure, the effects are good-looking, but so are the special effects in cell phone advertisements.

So, no, the thought of actually taking the day off to go see Attack of the Clones didn't exactly occur to me. Neither does it seem to be a good idea: one has better things to do on one's day off; going for a hike, reading a book or just relaxing listening to some music. Sure, I'll end up seeing Attack of the Clones - how can I not? But I am not particularly excited to see it. Am I the only one here? We expected Phantom Menace to be like the original Star Wars at best and Return of the Jedi at worst. It was worse than both movies, easily the worst in the expanding Trilogy (I take back whatever comments I made about Phantom being better than Return.) Now we expect Attack to be like Phantom - not an enticing prospect . . .

What is the problem here? The original Star Wars films, while definitely having carved their place in film history, aren't exactly great cinematic works of art. Despite being nostalgically nestled into a corner of my generation's cultural heritage (the generation that saw the first movie as kids), when viewed objectively the acting wasn't really good, the plot and dialogue was ludicrous. Sure, they have a pulpy charm to them. However, it is only Empire Strikes Back that really attains some sort of greatness as a film. In 1977 Star Wars lost out Best Picture Oscar to Woody Allen's Annie Hall. Fans might boo and hiss, but I have both the Trilogy and the Allen pic on video and to be honest the one that I have rewatched the most often was Annie Hall. Maybe this is because Annie Hall offers what so few of the Star Wars films' heirs, meaning today's bloated Hollywood blockbusters, offer. It has genuine pathos, comedy, likeable characters, fantastic one-liners, insights into the human condition, and above all intelligence. Intelligence is the one ingredient missing from most of today's Hollywood fare, and will most likely be missing from Attack of the Clones as it was from Phantom Menace . . .

Recently I saw Swordfish, a typically brainless Joel Silver action flick starring John Travolta. The movie starts off with a monologue by Travolta who in it refers to Dog Day Afternoon, a mid-Seventies hostage drama starring Al Pacino. I don't know why they did this: all it made me do was think of what a great movie Dog Day Afternoon was compared to the drivel I was watching. Swordfish has a loud pulsing soundtrack by techno wiz Paul Oakenfield. Dog Day didn't have one at all - except for a song that played over the opening credits. Lots of things got blown up in Swordfish. Nothing in Dog Day. Dog Day had Pacino before he became all overbearing and bombastic, Swordfish has Travolta being both. And so on. Strangely enough Annie Hall didn't have a music soundtrack at all (despite Allen's predilection for pre-bebop jazz) while Star Wars featured a huge full orchestra score derived from 19th century classical romanticism's most clichéd moments.

Am I getting too old for this shit? Probably. I originally wrote this piece as a rant for this site's message boardroom so you'll have to excuse its worst grammatical and other excesses. I wrote it after I tried reading Harry Knowles' "review" of a rough cut version of Attack of the Clones on his popular Ain't It Cool News? web site. Halfway through it I stopped myself, reminding myself of how Knowles wrote that that pile of crap about to hit Earth cinemas Armageddon was as moving as Citizen Kane. Or maybe it was just the line "this is the best Star Wars movie ever" that sort of made me doubt Knowles. Maybe his enthusiasm is genuine. Or maybe he gets fat pay cheques from Lucasfilm. Who knows? But the people frequenting his web site seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of Attack of the Clones. Maybe it's just me. Maybe they only like Hollywood blockbusters because that's all they have ever seen. Maybe they'll hate Annie Hall. I don't know. But I know someone in Hollywood will one day pay for having made me sit through excrement like Pearl Harbour, The Patriot, The Mummy Returns and Tomb Raider . . . all of them Children of Star Wars . . .


 



 

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