Tuesday, May 31, 2005

WCBE 90.5 FM: "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith"

It's Movie Time
Co-hosts: John DeSando & Clay Lowe
Special Guest: Dan Mushalko, WCBE
Producer/Director: Richelle Antczak, WCBE 90.5 FM

Reviews: “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith ”
Taped: May 25, 2005
Air Time: 3:01 pm and 8:01 pm, May 27, 2005
Streaming live on the web at http://www.wcbe.org .

The Script:

"Star Wars” is a stellar addition to the Lucas empire . . .

“Star Wars” Lucas' latest entry proves that the franchise is far from Sith and tired . . .

“Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” is the second movie I’ve reviewed this year that journeys through Dante’s Inferno . . .


Richelle Antczak
"It's Movie Time" in Central-Ohio special “Star Wars Edition 2005” with John DeSando, Clay Lowe, and WCBE’s Science Editor, Dan Mushalko . . .


I'm John DeSando

I'm Clay Lowe

And I’m Dan Mushalko

John (“Star Wars”)
George Lucas’s Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith is second for me to the original now called Episode IV—A New Hope; the original has a clarity, innocence, and spirit even this estimable installment can't eclipse.

More interesting than my nostalgia is the allegorical commentary even Lucas admits is underneath Sith. When Darth Vader tells Obi-Wan, “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy,” no aware adult can miss the echo of George Bush’s similar challenge. Obi-Wan’s response is a liberal’s rejoinder to the 21 st -century neocons' streamlined mantras: “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes.” Lucas himself, while admitting he started this line of thinking about Nixon and Vietnam with the notion that “the senate could give itself over, could surrender to a dictator,” said recently, "I hope that situation never arises in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to this danger."

What makes Sith superior to all other sci-fi films, even others in its own canon, is the special effects that are themselves OTHERWORLDLY.

Dan (“Star Wars”)
There's a lot to praise in Episode III of the Star Wars canon, gentle sirs, but there is a lot to be buried, too. At last - at looooong last - Lucas has written a script that lets the wondrous acting abilities of Ewan McGregor and Ian McDiarmid shine as Obi Wan Kenobi and Emperor Palpatine, respectively. These are masters of the force of acting.

Sadly, though, the fulcrum scenes for both play them against Hayden Christiansen as Anakin Skywalker - Obi Wan trying to stop Ani's metamorphosis into Darth Vader and Palpatine trying to bring it on. And Hayden's flat, whiny acting pulls down those scenes enough to pull this audience member out of the fantastic fantasy world Lucas has otherwise created. Seriously, John, Clay: Christiansen makes Keanu Reeves look like Laurence Olivier in comparison!

Some of the science flaws burst the suspension-of-disbelief bubble, but we've gotten enough of that from the Kansas and Ohio education boards lately that it's not a major fiction flaw. This resident geek's conclusion: Lucas finally got it right.

Here is a movie that stands on its own, with or without the other Star Wars films. It's a solid story of a destined descent into darkness with a new hope waiting just around the corner. This is a visual treat with archetypal storytelling that's not to be missed, one actor notwithstanding.

Clay ("Star Wars")
Folks, from the walnut groves of California, to the editing rooms of USC, to the film sets of Francis Ford Coppella, George Lucas has learned to harness his boyhood visions to the most awesome visual technologies in the world.

He’s also a story teller in the tradition of Jules Verne, H. Rider Haggard and Jack London who were all masters of spinning a good yarn. What movie in the 20th Century told a better adventure story than his original “Indiana Jones”? And what movie, with apologies to “Woodstock,” better captured the musical excitement of the sixties than his “American Graffiti (1973).”

But when it comes to dramatic depth his critics have persisted in insisting he’s over his head. His “Star Wars” sagas have never scored as high intellectually as has his intergalactic “Star Trek” rivals who did their sailing into space on TV.

Thus, Dan and John, my final rhetorical question is: Will this final “Star Wars” venture into political allegory raise his stock among America’s egghead critics or will it merely add his name to the lists of Hollywood luminaries conservatives love to hate on the web? Or do his audiences really care?

But enough of spaceships, robots, and wrinkled little rodents, Dan and John, because it’s grading time.


“Star Wars” earns an A for its ANTI-BUSH ALLEGORY . . .

"Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" gets a B for bad acting from bad boy Hayden Christiansen. . . .

“Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” gets an “A” because it does what it does with a genuine APPRECIATION for AWE . . .

Clay and Dan: Hayden Christensen, who lamely plays Anakan Skywalker/Darth Vader, is thinking of leaving acting to become an architect. We can only hope he may inspire another “gifted” actor, Paris Hilton, to leave and become an oral surgeon.

I’m outta here.

Well, John, all I know is that I’d rather be in Paris than here in Columbus with you.

I'm outta here too.

See you at the movies, folks.


The Award Winning "It's Movie Time" with John DeSando and Clay Lowe is produced by Richelle Antczak in conjunction with 90.5 FM, WCBE in Columbus and 106.7 FM in Newark.


© 2005 John DeSando and Clay Lowe