Despite being known in my tiny circle as somewhat of a Star Wars heretic – that is to say: I don’t love Star Wars with every fibre of my existence; can see some flaws even with the first three movies; have never said and never will say that Empire Strikes Back is the best of the original trilogy; and I don’t give a Womp Rat if Greedo shot first – setting aside all this blasphemy, I am sufficiently a fan of the original trilogy to return, puzzled, bewildered and chimp-like to the new trilogy to search for some sign amidst the prequels that there could have been at least one decent movie made out of all this squawking, brawling, green-screeny, computer-generated dross.
I was channel surfing recently. I could have moved on through. A lowbrow comedy called BEERFEST was on one of the excellent new digital channels. But the moment I saw Hayden Christensen scowling his way down a corridor, I was hooked again. Christensen aka Teen Vader aka Anakin Skypewalker was headed full-tilt boogie into The Darkness. The Evil Dude in the hoodie, Darth Tedious sent him to kill a group of Jedi children. This should have made Teen Vader irredeemably evil in our eyes. But because everyone referred to the children as ‘younglings’, the horror was diluted by the waves of annoyance that accompanied this sickeningly twee term.
Then there was some malarkey, palaver and brouhaha in the giant Senate Chamber. This scene was probably brilliantly written using many verbs, adjectives and adverbs. No doubt it was a chilling indictment of Bush-era authoritarianism. But all I heard was, “blah bleh blee blee blee bloo blah bluckity blah”. And with no C3PO to help translate, I was lost.
Senator Pulpy Tim used a combination of politics, The Dark Side of the Force and the superior skills of the legal firm Malarkey, Palaver and Brouhaha to turn the constitutional monarchy of the so-called Republic into a vicious totalitarian state not unlike Cuba but without the cigars, classic cars and really cool music. Senator Bail Smits-Organa looked on, shocked, stately. Princess Padthai, who had been listening to a life-changing SHINS album, popped out her iPod earbuds in shock at the injustice being perpetrated before her very eyes. OMG, she txtd on her Blackberry, WTFJH?!
Jedi cops Obi-Wan Kenobi and CG Yoda, the new detectives of Law and Order: Coruscant City went to the scene of Teen Vader’s terrible crimes against the younglings – and acting. Obi-Wan looked a little bored, then nostalgic as he thought back to a galaxy far, far away where he played Renton in Trainspotting. CG Yoda thought about the great old days with Miss Piggy, Fozzie and Kermit. And how much he wished it were Elmo lying dead on the ground in front of him.
Suddenly, as I emerged from a micro nap, Teen Vader was killing those not-at-all-racially-offensive Asian stereotype trade aliens. He was absolutely hammering them. One of them tried to get away in a golf cart, but you know what those Asian aliens are like when they get behind a wheel. Then, CG Yoda appeared unto Darth Tedious the Boss Sith. They have what I like to call a Wizard Fight. Yoda was pretty fair about it all and let Tedious have the first shot without defending himself. Yoda flew twenty feet across the room, ricocheted off a Pepsi machine and face-planted on a Sunbeam hotplate. Even though he appeared to be winning, Yoda eventually slunk off, aware that The Sith Lord’s defeat would remove the need for the following three movies thus creating both a temporal anomaly and a black hole where Hasbro toys used to be.
Cut back to Teen Vader who, post his killing spree, had sunk even further into the inky blackness of The Dark Side. We saw this by his eyes being made all CG glowy-red which covered exactly that part of the face that most actors emote with.
Obi-Wan, the guy who spent two movies denying there was anything wrong with Teen Vader, had a talk with the now pregnant Padthai, the girl who fell for Anakin Skypewalker’s signature brand of whiney douchebaggery.
Obi-Wan: I’m a bit conflicted about this but…
Padthai: You don’t think I’ll lose the baby weight?
Obi-Wan: No, it’s about Anakin.
Padthai: Isn’t he just the best? I thought his Jedi powers would cover it, but he insisted on buying a baby monitor. I think he’ll be great with the younglings, don’t you?
Obi-Wan: Define ‘great?’
Padthai: Loving, caring, warm, wise, patient…
Obi-Wan: How would you feel about disconnected, evil and murderous?
By this time, Teen Vader was light-sabre duelling Obi-Wan in the middle of a river of lava. The pair jumped nimbly between laughably poor CG platforms. “Ass-Munch!” Teen Vader screamed, “You never let me do anything.” Obi-Wan looked a little bored, then graduated to ticked off. “Anakin, you can still choose the Light!” he screamed, “Or Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a fu**king big television!” He then pirouetted off his platform and onto solid ground. “Now you’re f**ked,” he said, a tad smugly, “I’m on higher ground.” Unimpressed, Teen Vader leapt towards Obi Wan, who in one mother of a move, slashed off his assailant’s feet and a hand – snicker-snack!
Then good, noble Obi-Wan, the guy whose last 127 performance reports on Teen Vader were clearly 100% incorrect, started to lecture his former student and tell him how they were like brothers. “A little help,” said the legless and one-armed Anakin, “Slippin on gravel here.” Obi-Wan continued with the longest break-up speech in the history of bromance and apparently didn’t notice when Anakin was ignited by the river of lava. I say “didn’t notice” because most other people would have either tried to douse the flames or put the poor sod out of his misery. “I gave you the best years of my life,” Obi-Wan said, then walked off in a huff while Anakin did his impression of Korean barbecue.
Darth Tedious who had arguably kicked Yoda’s ass, arrived on a personal high and saved the burnt and limbless Anakin. He took him to a surgery/cos-play boutique where they did a shit job of patching up the damaged Teen Vader but a bang up job of choosing him a scary-mother of a fetish uniform. He emerged gleaming from a wax and polish carwash, and asked “How’s Padthai, doing?” No one commented on his deeper voice and different accent. Teen Vader discovered that the he had inadvertently killed the love of his life. He then punched one gloved fist into his other gloved palm. “Drats!” he screamed.
Turned out that while I was channel-surfing, Teen Vader half-killed Princess Padthai and caused her to go into labour. She eventually delivered twins – a boy and a girl called Jason and Kylie, then she expediently died ‘of a broken heart’ according to Wikipedia. Obi-Wan looked a little bored, then sad as he thought back to the days of motorbiking through Africa with his good buddy Charlie. Yoda mentioned some gibberish about communing with the spirit of Obi-Wan’s master, another bored Celt known as Qui-Gone Neeson.
There was a funeral for Padthai. Millions upon millions of her loyal subjects congregated. The procession was followed by a multitude of Australasian extras and actors, including Lord Alvin Purple and the Lady Whale Rider. Then we saw a young Danish architect called Jorn Utzon embark on a twenty-year project called Death Star 1. A dark curtain then descended on the people of the Old Republic and a reign of terror that would last for about twenty-five years, was thrust upon freedom-loving peoples everywhere.
Senator Bail Smits-Organa adopted Padthai’s girl-child Kylie and Obi-Wan delivered the boy-child Jason into the arms of Joel Edgerton. Obviously the best two places to hide Teen Vader’s younglings were right inside a prominent royal family and back on Anakin’s home planet with his relatives.
And that was that. Characters who seemed to made a strong impression in the original trilogy were back-storied into a bland pulp. Vader certainly was rendered neither scarier nor more sympathetic with the revelation of his journey.
Granted, I only caught about half an hour of Episode 3’s story this time around, but even that felt like a load of Sith.