Perfect, it’s time for the STAR WARS movie that everyone says is their favorite. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been flipping through my TV channels at night, seen the words “STAR WARS,” and said “Yes! I found my channel!” in my head, only to read “EPISODE II” after it and have all of my happiness flushed from my body. I then flip through and end up watching something like BRUCE ALMIGHTY or THE SUM OF ALL FEARS or some other completely “meh” movie that is always on TV. The thing is, even though I don’t love these movies, at least each one forgettable enough for me to not care about it during and after it airs.
Here we come to my biggest problem with STAR WARS: EPISODE II. I do care about this one. Probably because, like you, I’m a huge STAR WARS fan. I grew up watching the old movies, playing the video games, reading the books, playing with the toys. I’m invested in the series, like so many other people are. That why EPISODE II hurts so much. It stays with you, because the mediocrity of the movie so critically hurts a big part of your childhood. It’s like George Lucas knows that he created something people love only so he could sit back on his throne of money and watch as he crushed millions of souls. They just made it so badly. Characters were completely ruined for the sake of selling tickets, and sometimes for no reason at all. Let me dive into that further.
First of all, if any of you have read my review for JUMPER, you already know that I don’t think too highly of Hayden Christensen or anyone who made the decision to cast him in anything. Hearing him utter lines like “I hate sand… It’s so coarse” in his robotic voice makes me cringe. Also, his whole “arrogant, emotional, and whiny teenager” thing doesn’t make any sense, because it really contrasts with Darth Vader’s stoicism and strength. But in his defense, it’s not just his acting that ruins the film. Natalie Portman (yes, ACADEMY AWARD WINNER FOR BEST ACTRESS NATALIE PORTMAN) is equally as bad, which sucks because the whole middle of the movie is just the two of them forcing some of the worst onscreen chemistry I have ever seen. Her most cringe-worthy lines are saved for EPISODE III, but she’s got a few here too. Another character I hate in this is Count Dooku. I don’t necessarily hate the idea of the character, and Chistopher Lee is one of the classic “bad guy” actors, but come on George Lucas. Count Dooku? Why the fuck is that his name? That doesn’t instill fear in anybody. You have Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Darth Sidious, and then the lamest name of all time. Try harder. Actually, don’t ever try again.
George Lucas is the one that the most blame should lie with. As he got more creative control, his movies got worse and worse (except for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, which he didn't have that much creative input on). In this one, he clearly surrounded himself with a bunch of yes men who didn’t have the balls to tell him that he sucks at making movies. Big picture ideas, sure, he’s good. But he sucks at everything else. And somebody should’ve told him. Maybe he just doesn’t care, and he’s just trying to make as much cash as he can. I personally think it’s a combination of both.
OK, now the good parts. I thought Ewan McGregor was awesome, and Sam Jackson specifically requesting a purple lightsaber is pretty sweet. Boba Fett’s dad was cool… that’s about it. I guess the action was good too, but nothing makes up for the forced romance that infected the middle of the story. Say that Yoda was awesome or that big battle at the end were cool, but it won't be enough for me to re-watch those Naboo scenes ever again. For this reason, it is the only Star Wars movie that I actively avoid watching. You should too.