MSNBC – Can Star Wars: Episode III be saved?

Today someone on our local message board posted a link to MSNBC – Can Star Wars: Episode III be saved?, a story that suggested that if one could fire George Lucas, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman and put in more Christopher Lee, you could hire some real writers and salvage the entire script.

Not a bad notion.

Star Wars III
I had high hopes when Phantom Menace came out. I grew up with the whole Star Wars series, and they were easily some of the most entertaining movies of the last twenty five years. The stories were good. The plot was simple, but compelling. Lots of great special effects and an absolutely bold approach to making movies. Kudos to George.

But then I think George lost his way. He has admitted to being a very visual story teller, but the original trilogy at least had the benefit of some story. Sadly The Phantom Menace had precious little of that, and what little it did have it frittered away the franchise by inventing silly things like “mitichlorians” and odd CG characters like Jar Jar. Eesh. You would have thought that the considerable acting talents of Liam Neeson and Ewan Macgregor could have pulled something out of the hat, but even Sir Alec Guiness would have been flummoxed by this material.

The next problem is that it only got worse from there.

Even after Phantom Premise, I thought the franchise could have been saved. I had the perfect plot line fleshed out. The key unanswered question for Attack of the Clones had to answer one question: "Why did the young Annikan turn into Darth Vader?"

The answer seemed obvious to me: the Jedi had to have been responsible for his mothers death. Yes, a plot ripped right out of Greek tragedies or Shakespeare, but really the only one I could dream of that would play out. It was the only excuse that I could see that would turn the child of Phantom Menace into the killer of the Jedis.

Well, I got it half right. His mom does die, but because of events completely unrelated to any events that we care about. Yeah, he wastes a bunch of Sand People, but he mostly seems to be turning bad because deep down he’s just more or less a self absorbed teenager with, pardon me, delusions of grandeur.

I haven’t been keeping up with the gossip about Episode III, but I can see no way out of the tepid plot that Lucas has painted himself into. I’ll go to the movie, but with expectations of a dreadful plot to link the trilogy that I love to its lesser children.

The eye candy will be sweet, but as we say at Pixar, “it’s all about the story”.