Dig that crazy Sith action! - Part II


Think about your average conversation. Despite speaking with a friend or a relative or a co-worker, you're constantly editing yourself. You couch phrases to make them more easily accepted, soften some points to seem less aggressive, sharpening others to make them more persuasive. Probably you're not telling white lies, but you're in a gray zone. That separation between what you mean and what you say is the subtext to your own personal dialogue. And that subtext is what actors thrive on. That's the real art of acting: communicating what's not being said. But if the scene has no subtext, the character can't have any depth. That's part of the reason why Ian McDiarmand, in the role of Palpatine, is so entertaining. He doesn't say one completely truthful statement in the entire movie, and it's a joy to watch him, knowing he's lying his grinning face off.

Interestingly, one of the other really good performances is Yoda. Apparently the animators took a cue from Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies and went back and studies things like the work on facial expressions by Paul Ekman, and used that to craft a more compelling animation than in Attack of the Clones. Plus I noticed that he would rub his head in a manner similar to Kambei from Seven Samurai (my favorite movie, by the way). As it turns out, this was at the request of Lucas as an homage, and I totally dig homages to Kurosawa. It's just a shame that the homage wasn't to Kurosawa's good writing and excellent direction of actors.

In the end, though, I should reiterate that I enjoyed this movie a lot, warts and all. In fact, probably the best thing I can say about it is that they make the prior two prequels a little better. Not much, mind you, but I think I can watch them and apprecieate the broader vision more now that I've seen Revenge of the Sith. Although, as much as I enjoyed it, I really think that you have to consider the prequels as appendices to the original trilogy than a real organic extension of them. Well crafted, poorly written appendices... With some really kick-ass lightsaber action.

One final note: I really, really dug the last shot. At first I kinda thought it was cheesy, but I found myself surprisingly moved by it. I had a different idea about how I would have ended it if I were in charge, but in the end, I think Lucas' way was better. So, kudos, man.