Monday, April 1, 2013

Question for the Week of Apr 1-7: The Hellraiser of Dialogue

Were you ever in the theater and found that no matter how awful a movie was, its dialogue could still become worse and worse as it went?
Oh, yes, was I ever...
YODA: Hidden, safe, the children must be kept. OBI-WAN: We must take them somewhere the Sith will not sense their presence. YODA: Split up, they should be. BAIL ORGANA: My wife and I will take the girl. We've always talked of adopting a baby girl.
I walked into the presciently-titled Star Wars RoTS completely uncaring. I was going to not watch it at all, but my generous roommate, Mark, invited me to go. I figured that we didn't hang out enough anyway, and there was always the (slim) chance that it would be not-bad, or simply so horrible as to become fun.

Yet I still winced at the lines; that one up top came so late in the movie that I believed SWIII couldn't possibly do much more to earn my disgust and contempt. I thought I was safe, but I was so wrong. In particular, that dialogue is so incredibly-specific, efficiently conveying the necessary information like a some bad computer villain from an old Star Trek episode.

So what if Mr. Whatever and his wife had wanted a girl. Were they actually talking adopting only babies? Only females from the age of infancy to being a toddler?

The extra-awful thing is that Smits is a good actor. Somehow - probably the fact that every micro-moment of the movie is in green screen - there's no heart in any of the words that the audience hears, so performances that are as stiff as rigor mortis combine with horribly-misguided lines and... And nothing in those prequels is so interesting that I care about any of these characters, beyond, y'know, not wanting to see random innocent people get hurt or killed.

But I wasn't spared that, either.


  1. It's the same damn movie, but I wonder if this one wouldn't have made the point better:

    VADER: Where is Padme? Is she safe? Is she...all right?

    EMPEROR: It seems in your anger, you killed her.

    VADER: I couldn't have! She was alive...I felt it! Noooooooooooooooo!!!

    (Two things: First, I can completely imagine James Earl Jones going "No, really, where's the real script?" when they brought this to him. Second, versions of the script I've found online have the line "It's impossible" before the much-derided "NOOOOOOOOOOO!" which would've at least mirrored the big scene in Empire Strikes Back.)

    1. Oh, no, dude - I genuinely expected that the stupidity was probably over by the time we got to that scene. The fact that it could then fall even further during its very last seconds - that was just the cherry on top. I thought that the whipped cream had already been sprayed on when the baby swap thing happened.

      And yes, I imagine that JEJ felt a whole lot of things when he read that script. Thematic clarity couldn't possibly have saved anything in that picture. Hell, watching "lil Vader" get wrecked didn't save it...


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