Masket’s right, ROTS is best

I’ve generally avoided the latest outbreak of Star Wars nerd discussion, which started when Kevin Drum decided to publish his heretical claim that ROTJ was the best Star Wars movie, but I felt obligated to offer my support when Seth Masket put in a vote for ROTS.  Left the following comment at his blog (edited it a little):

Well done – I agree with your estimation – but one thing I note in all of the nerd discussion is that it’s all very subjectively character- and plot-focused. “Characters you can care about” or “dislike,” or, even worse, “characters that audiences can care about.” So what? Audiences are stupid. A major reason that the Ewoks are so deplorable is that they were technically very poorly executed, or well enough executed only if you are six years old – in other words done down to a perceived audience segment level. Aesthetically, Jar Jar was the same mistake, but with the new digital f/x technologies.

Sith > Any of the Others because by the third time working with virtually unlimited budgets and contemporary technology, Lucas finally got it all mostly right, and produced a cinematic Gesamtkunstwerk beautiful to look at and listen to, as well as to “read.” The final Obi-Wan v Annakin fight that you highlight is a scene on the shores of Hell, but it’s led up to by the action of the entire second half, which, beginning approximately at the fight with Windu sweeps forward, propelled by the score, through a series of masterfully choreographed battles/duels – to the finale and epilogue: During the latter, the multi-leveled birth/deaths – Annakin dying/Darth being born, obviously Luke and Leia being born – while simultaneously ending and giving (re-)birth to the entire series as we know it.

ROTS is not flawless, in my view – I’m not really even a big Star Wars fan – but it is a far better work of cinematic art than ROTJ, and the best of the entire series.


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3 comments on “Masket’s right, ROTS is best

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      • That’s fair. Better cinematic art. I’ve always found it interesting that “nerds” are so involved in Star Wars. To me, Star Wars was all about heart, not mind. The original movie is so much better than the rest as to make comparisons on a level of importance and fun ridiculous. The original movie was as important and fun as a Hollywood movie can be. It changed culture. It made an entire culture unconsciously at least aware of Jungian psychology. No small achievement and it did so without being at all artful. I watched the original once, just after being schooled by a senior TV writer who had an actual list of dos and don’ts. One of his biggest don’ts that made sense to me was to never have your main characters ask questions. It weakened them was the point and there was always a better way to get where questions take you. When I watched Star Wars I was struck by the number of questions Luke and Hans asked. There were whole scenes in which they did nothing but ask questions. But the art aspect was so inconsequential it didn’t matter. Star Wars was (is) all heart. Along with the Wizard of Oz, then, and for the same reasons, I consider Star Wars to be the most important movie ever. Why I feel that way is what surprises me about the nerd factor. Is someone really still a nerd if they love a movie because of its heart? Or, maybe you can only be a nerd if you’re all about heart. Certainly, the actual Nerd movies have nerds connected to their hearts more than their brains.

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