Star Wars — why bother waiting?

Jeff Overstreet beat me to it, but yeah, like he says:

Doesn’t it take some of the fun out of OPENING DAY to know that the novelization of Star Wars, Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith is already available at your local bookstore?

Jeff asks rhetorically whether the Academy will honour the climax of Lucas’s trilogy after snubbing the first two films, the same way they honoured the climax of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings after doing the same to his first two films. Except the parallel there isn’t all that exact, really. The Academy did, in fact, honour Jackson’s first two films with Oscars for cinematography, music, makeup, sound editing and — of course — visual effects, before they finally decided to bestow even more awards on the third film. And then there were all the other nominations that never turned into actual awards, such as the acting nod for Sir Ian McKellen.

In contrast, The Phantom Menace (1999) and Attack of the Clones (2002) had only four nominations between them, all of which were in the sound or visual effects departments, and they lost three of those to The Matrix (1999) — gosh it feels so long since that film was considered the cutting-edge mythology of a new generation, doesn’t it? — while the other one went to The Two Towers (2002). (FWIW, I have always been disappointed that the Matrix sequels, which came out the same year as The Return of the King, were never even eligible for the visual effects awards; I was hoping to see a showdown between the two trilogies that had beat George Lucas at his own game, but alas, it was not to be.)

Of course, with the Matrix and Lord of the Rings trilogies out of the way, and with the Spider-Man trilogy on hiatus (the second film won the Oscar for visual effects in 2004), the way could be clear for Revenge of the Sith to claim the prize that has eluded Lucas’s earlier prequels. But it would be very interesting indeed if Lucas were snubbed yet again.

Incidentally, I saw the Sith trailer on the big screen for the first time on Monday, and didn’t like the look of it. As a download, it’s fine, but on the big screen, you can really, really tell that it was shot on video — and call me a film snob, but I think the video look sucks. I actually have nothing against digital video when it’s done right — Robert LePage’s The Far Side of the Moon is an especially bee-yoo-tee-ful example of what can be done in this regard — but these Star Wars prequels just don’t look right. Maybe it’s just another sign of how they suffer from over-tweaking.

Oh, and check out this Variety story on how certain Star Wars fans are insisting on lining up outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre even though Sith appears to be the first of the six Star Wars films that will be opening at some other theatre. The emperor has moved his capitol to Constantinople, and the true believers still insist that Rome is the centre of the universe. It is especially interesting how some fans “have discovered that standing in a ‘Star Wars’ line is actually more important than seeing a ‘Star Wars’ film.” There’s some comment to be made here about the parallels between cult followings and certain religious trends, but I haven’t got the time to come up with something appropriately clever.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).


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