ATTACK OF THE HOLLYWOOD
CLONES - PART TWO
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
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 . . .