Monday, May 23, 2005

Uncomfortable Analysis

That cursed Ith! She notes today the Revenge of the Sith review by Orson Scott Card, of Ender's Game fame. Mr. Card's review is both brutally honest and a welcome read; catch it and let me know what you think. Ith also says something that lands close to home: "So I'll redo "Revenge of the Sith" in my head, pretty it up, and then I'll go see it again and mesh the two together." That's interesting, now that I know that other people do it. For the sake of discussion, I'll call it "compression". Defined, it's the process by which one takes a movie and selectively edits it in memory so that only the good---as defined by the individual---parts are retained. To personalize this: Star Wars does not suffer from compression. The whole thing's an enjoyable ride, from "There'll be no escape for the princess this time" to "Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!" This was amply demonstrated to me over the weekend; I saw this movie in its original VHS release cut with a friend and his wife. She derived great amusement with the fact that she caught me either mouthing or mumbling lines throughout the entire movie. The Empire Strikes Back operates much the same way, with only a little fudging around the Dagobah sequences. I've never placed any faith in Yoda; I don't like the cut of that fuzzy little hunchback's jib. To inject other examples, The Hunt for Red October is almost compression-free. From chunks of Marko Ramius' discussion with Borodin to "Welcome to the New World, Captain", I remember this movie. Ditto RoboCop; I've only seen it a few times in eighteen years, but I still pretty much remember large chunks of the film. Admittedly, the dialogue isn't supremely complex, and much of it can be handled with random expletives and "I'd buy that for a dollar!", but that Dutch degenerate Verhoeven managed to make an impression. I haven't had to redo the first three movies in the Star Wars series, and I haven't had to redo HFRO in my head, either. This is, in my viewpoint, an example of good film-making. Not so The Lord of the Rings and the Matrix series. FOTR is the least compression-free movie of the bunch to me, but even it can be cut down to whatever happens in Lothlorien. That, and perhaps Boromir's demise, 'cause I really liked that character. Subsequent movies in the series have failed to make much of an impression on me. Note to future directors: If you wish to do so, then I suggest using Cate Blanchett in white. The Matrix films worked the same way. The first one had some rather memorable moments, and I've fumblingly tried to normalize use of snippets out of that movie into routine conversation. Unfortunately for the Wachowski Twins, they failed in their efforts for more memorable scenes in later films. Reloaded's been cut to a single sequence or two, mostly involving Agent Smith. Revolutions got cut to the Bane v. Neo/Trinity sequence, Trinity's little tantrum in the S&M club, and Neo's disgusted exclamation while in the subway tunnel. Considering that I made those cuts pretty much an hour or two after seeing the movie, that's pretty bad. Of course, I was disgusted with the whole thing, but never mind. So where does Revenge of The Sith fall? I don't expect to remember enough of it to start reeling out chunks of dialogue, but it's certainly a pleasant memory across several scenes, unlike The Phantom Menace. Ugh. I really need to get busy with the work of the day.


At 7:45 PM, Blogger Ith said...

Cursed!?!?! Hey!

At 11:25 PM, Blogger The Country Pundit said...

It's true! I was trying to get away from the computer and get back to some real work, but you kept posting worthwhile entries, unlike me.

To wit, I respect OSC's opinion on things in sci-fi. Y'know, Ender's Game being what it is and all. It was more of a friendly cursing, if you will.

Thanks for commenting!


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