The pull of narrative is very strong. Once I’ve started a story, I need to know what happens next even when the story becomes quite bad or irritating. I stuck with Robert Jordan’s awful, awful fantasy series for six books, which amazes me considering just how wretched they are.
This is all by way of trying to explain why I’m going to see Revenge of the Sith Wednesday night at midnight. I could regale you with tales about how transfixed I was in 1977 and all that (I think I’ll make a separate entry on that at some point) but at this point, it’s just about compulsion. I need to see what happens.
I even watched The Phantom Menace again recently, with the ostensible justification that my daughter might like it, but sort of more on the premise that I might find I liked it better in retrospect. I didn’t. It’s actually worse than I remembered. My daughter only found two things interesting: the pod-race and Darth Maul. Good instincts, yes? Even the very good final lightsaber duel is screwed up by the flabby general stupidity of the whole plot and the intercutting with the other dumb battle scenes. One new thing that struck me is that awful as Lucas’ dialogue, staging, pacing, plotting and everything else is, Natalie Portman is also actively, aggressively bad in the film. You get an overwhelming psychic sense that she was regretting ever having gotten within 10,000 miles of George Lucas. It’s almost as if she’s deliberately sabotaging whatever she can. Even Liam Neeson, who clearly hated the whole thing, puts some effort into it.
With that as the nadir, I suppose “Sith” could actually appear ok in contrast. We’ll see.