Star Wars: Attack of the *snnnorrre*: I saw Star Wars "II" last night. God, how awful (and before you launch into an attack similar to mine against you for your late viewing of LOTR, let me say I purposely didn't see it until now). When you think of Episodes IV, V and VI, a smile probably develops on your otherwise hardened visage. Maybe they weren't the best movies, but they were fun - Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher had crackling chemistry, all the characters were fun and neat to look at, and there was a good balance between silliness and somberness. The last two (well, the first two) are as fun to watch as drying paint. I know that the first three are meant to be ominous as we anticipate and watch the development of Darth Vader, but holy lightsabers, can't we have some fun? Episode I tries to offer Jar Jar as the comic relief, which in comparison to the second episode, is a rousing success. Only when viewed by itself (or in comparison to IV, V or VI) do you cringe everytime that character is on the screen.
In II, Darth (played by whatshisname) and the Princess/Senator (played by the usually likable and awfully cute Natalie Portman) have nothing going on between them. R2 and C3 have a far, far superior rapport (although their clever banter in II is nothing compared to what it becomes in the later episodes). Ewan McGregor is our hero, and he's a capable enough actor, but when a Jedi Knight (who pride themselves on being emotionless) is the center of the action, you better hope for nothing but lightsaber battles and cool telekinesis type action. There are a few cool action scenes, with Yoda's duel certainly being a crowd-pleaser, but this is all about technical prowess - not emotional connection. There's no "there" there. The only dramatic tension comes when you see the beginnings of the emotional outburts young Darth (or as they insist on calling him, "Annie" - could it get any worse?) and you get an idea of why he becomes what he becomes. Still, I was praying for a young Han Solo to show up and wake up that emotion, you know the one...it's called..ummm, oh .... got it..."interest"...in me. Sadly, all we got was more cool CGI battle droids, flying machines, and pieces on the ground.