If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it

Uh oh, looks like a sand storm is kicking up. This gives us the perfect excuse to slow the film down even more as our crew takes shelter at Anakin’s slave hovel. As slave hovels go, this one is pretty nice. Here we meet Anakin’s mother, Shmi. This poor woman gets saddled with some pretty lousy dialogue too, but more on that later.

Now it’s time to introduce C-3PO. See, as it turns out, Anakin built C-3PO. Ain’t it a funny ol’ world? I have a big problem with this. Anakin built 3PO? How is it then that everybody who came into contact with 3PO conveniently forgot about it by the OT? I’m sorry, this is just one amazing coincidence too many. Worst of all, 3PO, like R2, serves absolutely no purpose in the film whatsoever. He’s a wasted character, taking up valuable screen time and filling it with nothing worthwhile.

Back at the cruiser, we’re treated to a short scene of that Governor guy from Naboo on the holograph, begging the queen to contact him. A brief discussion amongst the Jedi reveals the possibility that this is bait to establish “a connection trace”, it’s also implied that for such a trace to be established, they would have to send a reply. Luckily, this fact is conveniently forgotten 2 seconds later as we are whisked away to Coruscant, Where Darth Maul and Darth Sidious are taking a moonlight stroll along a deserted balcony. Maul, in one of his few lines of the film Informs Sidious that Tatooine is sparsely populated, and that if the trace was correct, he’ll find them quickly. The trace? The one that you shouldn’t have been able to make without a reply from the Naboo ship? I’m confused, how exactly did you establish this trace when, mere seconds ago, it was established that without a reply, a trace couldn’t be established? Don’t look for the answers here folks, this is yet another issue that will never see the light of day.

During this Scene, Sidious tells Maul to move against the Jedi first. When did Sidious find out the Jedi were with the queen? The Federation guys never told him, so where is this knowledge coming from? I couldn’t tell ya. No worries though, before you can think about it, we’re back in Anakin’s kitchen, talking about slave implants. Truly, Anakin’s delivery in this scene is just atrocious, and one can only wonder why George decided this take was good. Watching the documentary materials on the making of Episode I, it actually becomes quite clear. In spite of everything he’s accomplished, when it comes to directing, George is really lazy. It’s not uncommon for George to do only 3 takes before moving on. Lazy, or easily satisfied, it’s hard to tell. Having seen how much he scrutinizes the little details from ILM, I’m going with lazy, because I truly believe that George is perfectly satisfied with the performances he’s getting.

The kitchen scene exists to give our crew a way off of Tatooine, via the pod-race sequences that is coming up. That doesn’t stop George from throwing in some poor dialogue and more Jar Jar capering though. Jar Jar’s shtick this time, is grabbing fruit from a bowl with his frog-like tongue. At this point, Anakin also refers to a lightsabre as a “laser sword” which just makes me cringe. This is the Star Wars universe, I can understand someone in the real world calling it a laser sword, but in Star Wars, I expect people to call things by their proper names. A small point, but it irks me. Syrupy dialogue follows about freeing slaves, moral lessons about sharing and helping. All very heavy handed. There’s nothing I enjoy more than being pummeled over the head with the point of the scene. George doesn’t exactly have a delicate touch when relating these matters. It’s in your face and blatant, or it’s nothing.

Qui-Gon and co head on over to Watto’s junk shop to pull off the pod racing scam in, what is one of the scenes in the film that mostly works. A few off notes out of Anakin are all that pull this scene down. The exchange between Watto and Qui-Gon is terrific, and the more we see how well realized Watto is, the more we have to wonder out how Jar Jar went so terribly wrong. So, the deal is made, and it’s time to get back to scenes which feel forced and poorly scripted. Enter Qui-Gon and Obi conversing via comlink, about the merits of the pod-race plan, nothing terribly wrong at this stage, but what follows is syrupy and groan inducing. Shmi and Qui-Gon have a conversation about Anakin, how he’s special, how he knows nothing of greed, gives without thought of reward, blah blah blah. Yeah, Anakin sure is a wonderful kid. Shmi gently prods at Qui-Gon, making it clear she wants him to save her boy from his life of slavery, Qui-Gon is non-committal. Also, the “virgin birth” plot thread is introduced at this point. As if Anakin weren’t special enough, now he’s frickin’ Christ. Sorry George, this was a lame duck idea from the get go. There is no reason to go this route, and it really detracts from the story.

Anakin’s friends show up at this point while he’s working on his pod. Anakin’s friends pretty much suck. They’re mean, they’re snotty, they obviously don’t think much of Anakin (save for Kitster) and they’re all really bad actors to top it all off. Luckily, Anakin’s dialogue and delivery in this scene, for the most part, is passable. Moving on to Pod maintenance, it’s time for more Jar Jar capering, this time it’s the old Novocaine gag, as Jar Jar gets his mouth zapped by the energy binders on the pod. So now Jar Jar is not only talking like a retarded baby, but like a retarded baby just back from the dentist. I don’t have the words to describe to you my infinite joy after having watched this scene. There’s some talk from 3PO and R2 about Jar Jar being odd that we could do entirely without, and then Anakin tests out the Pod, but not before giving Qui-Gon an emphatic and hammy delivery on the line “Yes Sir”. The Pod works, and Shmi looks less than pleased.

Her expression reminds of how I feel about this film. Thank goodness I’ve dedicated so much time to tearng it apart.

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~ by Pagz on June 21, 2008.

One Response to “If there was a problem, yo I’ll solve it”

  1. This is pure gold.

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