The Truth about The Phantom Menace 5/20/99

Dear Mr Steele

What the <expletive deleted> is with all this <expletive deleted>ing censorship!!?? I mean it's a free <expletive deleted>ing country and I'll be stuffed in <expletive deleted> before I'll put up with these <expletive deleted>ing right wing famly <expletive deleted>ing values <expletive deleted>holes put the pressure to stop speaking my <expletive deleted>ing mind!!! I wish they would all just bend over and take a good <expletive deleted> up their <expletive deleted>!!

As a matter of fact maybe AOL needs a big <expletive deleted>ing <expletive deleted> up it's cyber <expletive deleted> before it get's it thorugh it's wimpy <expletive deleted> of a head that there is more to this scum <expletive deleted>ing <expletive deleted> eating <expletive deleted> <verb deleted because it gives away the expletive> <yeah these two words hadda go too> world than a few <expletive deleted>ing words that everyone decided were bad.

Yours truly

Some looser

Today I learned a valuable lesson ... nothing makes you feel as Cheap and Establishment as editing all the good words out of a letter.

However, there is something of greater importance that I must discuss this day. I must talk about Episode I.

If you're anything like me (and I suspect that most of you are Misogynists at Large with your own web page from which you can spout your hateful sarcastic venom) (or not) you grew up with Star Wars. Even if you weren't a fan you knew that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father. Even if you weren't a fan at one time or another you had a 'bad feeling about this.' Its popularity invaded our culture like a bunch of Ewoks taking down an Imperial Shield.

Those of us who knew, knew that there would be a second series of movies. A few of us even knew that it would entail the fall of Anakin Skywalker. So most of us have been anticipating this fourth Star Wars movie for fifteen years. Which isn't to say that I was one of those freaks on the street for a week ... let's all remember it's only a movie. But I was really looking forward to this movie, despite the fact that I was rational about it. Which is the reason that I've been in a media black-out for a month now. I didn't want to hear what the actors had to say. I didn't want even the smallest plot-point to be given away.

Therefore -- before I talk about the movie -- let me just say that I'm not going to give away any plot-points. Homey don't play dat. I stopped reading movie reviews because I got sick and tired of having the critic hand me the end. So that won't be happening here.

Let's start with the writing. Not bad. Fairly formula stuff ... it's about what you'd expect from a Star Wars. Lucas is still strong in that regard, no question -- and that's all I can really say without giving anything away.

Now to the acting ... also very good. Mostly. A few of our younger actors (we won't mention any names) just haven't had much practice at this sort of thing. For most of the movie, the fact that he's only doing mediocre acting (relative to the rest of the cast) doesn't hold up the story at all. It's just those one or two scenes when -- darnit -- we could have used a nice performance in there. Seeing the disregard for the acting by the director in this one really gives me new-found respect for the actors in those first three -- and for the actors in this one as well.

Which brings me to the directing, doesn't it? Excellent special effects -- as one would expect. And the fight scenes were extremely well-thought out and extremely well executed. It was all the stuff we always knew could be done with light sabers and never saw before. The Asian influence wasn't overstated and it added a dimension to the Jedi that was only hinted at in the first three films.

I only have two real complaints: the first was that the boy could have used a bit more attention. I'm sure with a Spielberg behind the lense those aforementioned scenes would have been just great.

Here's what I picture in the editing room:

'Gosh ... that scene ... just doesn't ring very true does it?'

'No problem. Just turn up the music. No one will know the difference. Hmm. A little louder. Okay, just a little louder.'

'I can't hear what they're saying ... '

'Can we go just a tad louder?'

The second was Yoda. In The Empire Strikes Back you could see the love that went into creating him and bringing him to life. They did an excellent job of rendering a 'younger' Yoda this time around -- and then they molded that into a rubber head and shoved a hand up inside it and expected us to buy that it was Yoda. This Yoda was not the same loveable Jedi Master that we saw in Empire and Jedi. I couldn't see the love.

Soundtrack: John Williams' best ever. Two parts Star Wars one part Jurassic Park with a dash of 'Whoa! I didn't know John Williams could do that.' I just had to buy that sucker on the way home from the movie.

Just as an aside, I really hope people don't line up for a week to see the next one. Nothing like a theater jam-packed with unclean bodies to really ripen a movie-house. I could smell those long-gone freaks the moment I hit the door. Don't let this keep you out of the movie though -- you'd be surprised how quickly you get used to it. What kills me is that I saw the movie a scant nineteen hours after those weirdos -- no line, plenty of seating, Everything Good. Oh, and I highly recommend the Weekday Matinee Experience in general -- there wasn't a laser keychain to be seen. And people even applauded when ...

Oops. Almost gave that away. ;)