Friday, June 10, 2005
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Clayton News Daily
By the time the opening sequence of Star Wars Episode III kicked off with a dizzying and visually bland space battle I already had a headache from the twenty-plus minutes of punch-your-face-in-and-blow-your-socks-off previews of the other movies that are headed our way like an endless barrage of missiles. However, most of these assaults on our eyes and ears turn out to be duds, fizzling out after the opening credits.
Have summer movies always been this bad? Have I just been around long enough to notice the recycling of ideas in action film plots? Take a look at a few on the roster this summer: Batman Begins, yet another Batman movie; War of the Worlds, a remake; and Stealth, a film in which an automated military fighter plane develops a mind of its own and threatens the world's existence. The latter film's plot is essentially like the Terminator movie, except a plane becomes self-aware instead of a robot. The new Star Wars is also the sixth installment in the lucrative franchise. Oh, and I forgot Mr. & Mrs. Smith in which Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are married spies who don't realize that the other is a gun-toting, bullet-dodging, secret agent. This plot is merely an extension of True Lies where the husband hides his secret agent status from the wife.
I used to judge my favorite movies by the number of explosions that occurred in the film. Rambo III still holds the record with an excess of 128 fireballs to the best of my knowledge. Now I could care less about cars flying off bridges and falling onto oil tankers below, causing maximum destruction and cheers from a puerile teenage audience.
But I don't think it's just me, I believe the quality of these summer movies has gone downhill. For instance, George Lucas just did not know when to savor a moment in the new Star Wars Episode III. During a "lightsaber" battle one of the characters pulls out a glowing stick for each mechanical hand. Let me be clear here, this was a very cool moment. The problem is Lucas does not follow through but instead treats this as another grab-bag gimmick and continues the battle with a chase that involves what looks like a dinosaur and a giant hamster wheel. Is he thinking of the integrity of his own great creation or appeasing an audience that just wants more, more, more. "Clouded his judgment is", Yoda would say.
How many more times will I sit through a movie where the aliens come or the world is on the verge of extinction? Probably until the day that the world really does.
Zach Porter is a photographer with the News Daily. He can be reached at (770) 478-5753 ext. 248 or firstname.lastname@example.org .