Monday, May 23, 2005

Best Use Of An Easy Target Award

I have not bothered to see Revenge of the Sith -- shoot, I haven't even bothered to see Episode II yet. It's been vastly more fun just to read the reviews of what I have just seen called some "of the most successful wretched films in history," which sums it up just about perfectly.

Here's the best of the bunch, a review which (a) skewers Lucas mercilessly and yet (b) makes me want to go see the film for something other than the special effects. It's from Orson Scott Card, who has written some very interesting science fiction novels (the Ender series), and therefore knows a thing or two about both science fiction and writing. I think my favorite stretch of his pan job -- though you should certainly read the whole thing -- concerns the wretched actors whose agents got 'em contractually obligated into having Lucas's dialogue come out of their mouths in front of half the human beings who are now or ever have been alive. The actors can take some solace, of course, in knowing that much of the viewing audience won't know English and will depend on the subtitles, and since your average Japanese third-grader can write more convincing dialogue than Lucas can, we can be confident that the foreign subtitles are much less embarassing to the actors than are the English lines they're actually uttering.

...The actors are heroic... To be handed a script with dialogue like the lines Mr. Lucas wrote for them is one of the worst nightmares actors have.... Yet these actors took those lines and made them into something. I think they must have seen Episode I and realized that the lines really were as bad as they thought, and their director had no clue. So if anyone was going to save them from humiliation, it would have to be themselves.

As a result, they all worked hard to create line readings that took some of the curse off of Mr. Lucas's leaden ear for heroic speech. And most of the time they succeeded. At times it was almost possible to believe that humans might have spoken that way. Maybe. Somewhere.

There ought to be an Oscar category for Best Acting with a Desperately Bad Script. I'd give it straight off to Hayden Christensen, because despite all he made the brooding Anakin Skywalker's [sic] a vigorous, compelling presence on the screen. And we almost never laughed at his lines, which is quite an achievement, considering that Mr. Lucas meant almost all of Annakin Skywalker's lines to be in deadly earnest, which practically guarantees they'll get a laugh.

But Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ewan McGregor, and Jimmy Smits are close runners up....

Hat Tip: Vodkapundit


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