Thursday, June 02, 2005

Don’t believe the hype

From the Guardian’s review of Revenge of the Sith:

"Henceforth you will be known as Darth Vader!" These dire words, addressed to a tormented Anakin Skywalker as he crosses the threshold to the much-mentioned Dark Side, mark the definitive moment of his Luciferian journey, which will end with him in a black, neo-Wehrmacht helmet-mask, with incipient emphysema and a walk that makes him look as if he has had concrete hip replacements.

It supposedly forms the mythic heart of the gigantic Third Episode of George Lucas's colossally inflated Star Wars prequel trilogy. Yet when this moment happens - after what seems like seven hours of CGI action as dramatically weightless as the movement of tropical fish in an aquarium - I looked blearily around the cinema and sensed thousands of scalps failing to prickle. We had all been bored into submission long ago.

And their review of Don’t Believe the Truth

“Every time a new Oasis record hoves into view, band, fans and sympathetic critics collude in the myth that all they need do is rediscover their Britpop Eden and the nation will once more sing along with one voice. It's this disastrous thinking that has reduced the band's concerts to bathetic exercises in 1990s nostalgia.”

New Star Wars films and post-Morning Glory Oasis albums have followed a similar pattern.

The first time around, the hype, expectation and sheer goodwill to both projects meant that even though everyone knew they were rubbish, we all kidded ourselves that we enjoyed them.

The second time around, this effect was weaker. Hope definitely replaced expectation. ‘This time it really will be good”, we prayed. We sat through them, looking desperately for something to like, then heaved a sigh of relief that it was all over and carried on untroubled by any desire to sit through the movie or listen to the CD again.

Of course, there are only so many times you can fool yourself like this.

I won’t bother with either this time around, and I feel a strange sense of elation about it, as if I’ve managed to bunk off a particularly dull school field trip.


martpol said...

Interesting comparison. I've not bought any Oasis albums since Be Here Now, which was so awful I thought anything more would be a waste of a tenner. I mean, even Morning Glory isn't that good.

However, we did succumb to watching Revenge of the Sith. Like the previous two, it's a not-that-bad film with a mixture of exciting and dreadful bits. But I can't forgive Lucas for the most catastrophic bit of plotting: Anakin Skywalker rejects and destroys the Jedi, turns to the Dark Side and causes the collapse of the entire Republic purely on the basis of a bad dream about his girlfriend dying. Now that's poor.

Tommo Peaceful said...

or at least an incentive to eat less cheese before bedtime.

Can't agree more about Oasis - Noel Gallagher said, after Definitely Maybe, that Oasis were only good for three albums. Pushing it, but more or less true.

martpol said...


I've always been impressed by Noel's bluntly honest appraisals of his own band. I think he calls Definitely Maybe a classic, says there's a few excellent songs on Morning Glory but some filler, and slates Be Here Now. Which is just about accurate, in my opinion. I haven't bought an Oasis album since 1997.

Brit said...

Tommo -

Welcome to Think of England, and thanks for your comments.


I didn't get out of the field trip after all, as under peer pressure I went along to watch Star Wars last night.

As expected, wonderful visuals, dire film-making. A movie can survive with terrible dialogue, daft plotting, with taking itself too seriously, even with characters you don't care about.

But you have to have some kind of dramatic tension, or it's just boring. Which it is.

Duck said...

It is amazing how much interest you can generate through the power of anticipation. The facts of this story have been known for almost 30 years, with only the one question needing to be answered: why did he turn to the darkside. People will go just to get that one nagging question answered.

Brit said...

Yoda's funny, then annoying grammar-mangling aside ("The sector Z main power alternator turn off, you must" etc), the nadir for me was the piece of editing whereby the most exciting bit - Annakin, newly Darth Vadar, hacking the 'younglings' (sic) to bits, storming off to kill the 'separatists' etc - was intercut with a scene from that bloody council thing, thus slowing what should have been a crescendo down to a crawl.

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