The Sunbaked King

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

It’s all about expectations. I expected WALL-E to be as fantastic as its direct predecessor Ratatouille, and it disappointed me. While the hype surrounding it wasn’t as phenomenal as, say, The Dark Knight, the hype I built for it was. Lesson learned (and learned again): Do not keep your expectations high.

And now we have Star Wars: The Movie That’s A Hybrid of Sorts, of Little Worth to Marketing Moguls Everywhere. Apparently, it wasn’t just I who had low expectations for the movie. Even George Lucas seemed to agree. Think about it. When I think of a George Lucas film, especially one with Star Wars in its title, I immediately think of three things: extensive media coverage before and after the movie’s shown, tie-ups with several food/beverage companies and fast-food establishments, and at least one reincarnation in console form. As far as I know, hype surrounding it was sparse (it’s definitely not E! News material); it’s not in any Happy Meal or Jolly Kiddie Meal I’ve seen; and the video game about it won’t be coming out until end of this year, months after the movie was first shown. 

It’s almost sad and pathetic. Almost, because I pretty much didn’t care. I wasn’t going to watch it, anyway.

Except that I did, upon the insistence of a roommate who thinks anything Star Wars must be good. Grudgingly, I went inside the theater, thinking I was in for a heartbreak.

For the first few minutes, I was smirking. Everything was happening as expected. First off: the way the characters were drawn didn’t appeal to me– the lines were drawn too sharp, and there were more angles to one’s face than there were in a duodecagon. Furthermore, despite their attempts to recreate the atmosphere of the “real” Star Wars films, it still felt like the movie was going another direction altogether. The dialogues were injected with humor uncharacteristic of previous installations; once this got going, the villains seemed out of place. Finally, there’s Ahsoka Tono, Anakin Skywalker’s Padawan. What an annoying character. Couldn’t they have come up with someone less irritating?

While Ahsoka failed to endear herself to me as the movie progressed, I found myself endeared by other things. Like the hooded Ewok-like creatures. Like the deadpan utterances of the droids. Like the adorable young Hutt the Jedis had to rescue. Once I let go of my early prejudices, I realized that I appreciated this film more than its “real” counterparts. For one, letting go of the dark undertones (the one which haunted Anakin Skywalker and Episode III so chokingly) proved to be a great move. It shifted the focus away from the characters (or should I say, that character) and back to the story. For another, the story itself was presented coherently. It was simple and concise, clean and well-polished.

Expectations, expectations. What I wanted to avoid watching turned out to be a good way to end a wonderful Friday night.

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Filed under: Cinema, The Couch Potato

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