STAR WARS Sucks, Anthony Lane, He Thinks

1 06 2005

There is nothing funnier (and sadder at the same time) than a film critic who unsheathes his “humor pen” to slam a movie that he/she thinks blows chunks.

Anthony Lane, in THE NEW YORKER, rips into STAR WARS with the same avid relish that a jackal rips into the carcass of an animal that he has just killed. Lane does just think this movie was bad, he feels that he needs to destroy it with his complete cleverness. In the process, he unleashes humor that Jay Leno would be hard pressed to control. After spending a few too many sentences trashing Lucas’ naming of people and species (he especially doesn’t like the name “Sith”) he proceeds to trash plotlines.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor of the Republic, Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), is engaged in a sly bout of Realpolitik, suspected by nobody except Anakin, Obi-Wan, and every single person watching the movie. Anakin, too, is a divided figure, wrenched between his Jedi devotion to selfless duty and a lurking hunch that, if he bides his time and trashes his best friends, he may eventually get to wear a funky black mask and start breathing like a horse.

He then makes the general proclamation about the relative merits of this film amongst the STAR WARS hierarchy:

The general opinion of “Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement o the last two episodes, “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones.” True, but only in the sam way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion. So much here is guaranteed to caus either offense or pain, starting with the nineteen-twenties leather football helmet that Natalie Portma suddenly dons for no reason, and rising to th continual horror of Ewan McGregor’s accent. “Another happy landing”—or, to be precise, “anothah heppy lending”—he remarks, as Anakin parks the front half of a burning starcruiser on convenient airstrip.

Later on, he gets off a barb at the manner in which Yoda talks (he obviously hasn’t been playing around on any STAR WARS web sites, which are full of funny gags about this):

Also, while we’re here, what’s with the screwy syntax? Deepest mind in the galaxy, apparently, and you still express yourself like a day-tripper with a dog-eared phrase book. “I hope right you are.” Break me a fucking give.

It’s funny, really funny. Not fair, at times, but comedy isn’t pretty, as they say. Sometimes, it’s downright nasty. And (to be honest) even though I liked the film, many of Lane’s points hit the mark (though he does make his points a little less valid by the vigor of his venom).

And, with that alliterative flourish, I sign off for the night.

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