Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
CC2K’s Tony Lazlo imagines how George Lucas’ Star Wars prequel trilogy could have rocked.
When I left the theater after seeing Attack of the Clones, I was already pissed off and devastated. I felt this way because the movie sucked, and even if the then-untitled third episode was a perfect, sloppy, wet blowjob of a success, two-thirds of the new Star Wars trilogy would still suck.
Well, things didn’t improve much after seeing Revenge of the Sith. To be sure, it is the most effective of the prequel films, but it’s still a hour of boredom followed by some pretty great storytelling capped with an embarrassingly bad ending (“Noooooo!”).
Ladies and gentlemen, I have an important and science-related announcement to make.
I have built a time machine.
Yes, we here at CC2K are so maniacally committed to excellence in cinema that we will travel back to the dawn of time to take a shit in the primordial ooze just to prevent George Lucas from mouth-fucking his fans the way he has. Well, maybe we won’t go to that extreme – wiping out humanity would wipe out all large-breasted women, too – but we will travel back to the early 90s to kidnap Lucas and replace him with a doppelganger who will do the prequel trilogy the way it should have been done.
This will involve us taking a few key steps.
STEP ONE: Retain Lucas’ stories, but do not let him direct or write the movies.
By now this is conventional wisdom for Star Wars geeks. We’ve all accepted that Lucas, though brimming with great mythology, is a hack, and that the best Star Wars movie – indeed, one of the greatest movies ever – is The Empire Strikes Back, the one he had the least creative influence on. Again, there’s nothing wrong with the stories in the prequel trilogy, just the execution.
STEP TWO: Recast the lead.
Lucas, unfortunately, fell in love with a completely miserable piece of shit actor to play his lead character, Anakin Skywalker. (Yes, Jake Lloyd sucked, too, but you’ll see later why his performance is irrelevant to my massive rewrite of the new trilogy.) OK, having just called Hayden Christensen a “miserable piece of shit actor,” let me temper my language. He’s actually a pretty good actor – just not for Star Wars. Watch him in Life as a House or Shattered Glass, and you’ll see a perfectly capable, if odd, young actor who is quite at home in modern material.
The prequel trilogy, unfortunately, is classical material, and not just because the dialog is complicated and language-intensive. Watch any Shakespeare play, and you’ll see a divide between the royalty (who tend to speak in verse), and the lower-class (who tend to speak in prose). The heroes of the original trilogy included a farm boy, a crazy old man and two criminals – they would be speaking in prose in a Shakespeare play.
The new trilogy, however, features senators, chancellors, queens and knights. This trilogy resoundingly involves the royalty of the Star Wars universe, and its upper-class, urban settings – a great deal of all three movies takes place on the mega-globo-lopolis Coruscant – reflect this … as does the overall classical tone of the movies.
Hayden Christensen was at a disadvantage to begin with, being a human being tasked to deliver Lucas’ unspeakable dialog.
But more important, he was screwed from the get-go because he is a contemporary actor dealing with a big, tough, classical role that’s packed with archaic language and hampered by a clumsy character arc. Anthony Hopkins made Thomas Harris’ shitty dialog work in The Silence of the Lambs – but then he’s Anthony Hopkins. That’s what he does. Alec Guiness and Harrison Ford both made it work in A New Hope (the original Star Wars flick), and Ewan MacGregor proved just as adept at deciphering Lucas’ gibberish for the audience.
Christensen simply does not have the training or personality to pull off this role. Now that we’ve traveled back in time, let’s relegate him to modern roles in modern-styled movies. He’ll be fine. And instead we’ll cast someone with more classical training and not such a drony, brain-numbing, WB-male-ingénue voice. (OK, I admit: I think Christensen is at best a very limited talent. His good looks and droniness served him well in Shattered Glass, where he was playing an emotionally absent, chronic liar – but he should stay in that neck of the woods and away from important leading roles like Anakin Skywalker.)
There are about a jillion-zillion-xillion better actors out there than Christensen, but top choice would be Aaron Standford, who played Pyro in X-Men 2. Standford, with a much smaller role in one far-better-written movie, showed us an essentially nice guy who turns to the dark side for a lot of seemingly good reasons. Christensen couldn’t show us that with more than two and a half hours of screen time.
Now that we’ve dealt with the two most obvious steps for fixing the trilogy, let’s address the nuts and bolts of how we’d tell the story differently.
And don’t worry – George is very comfortable in his uniformly blue, futuristic prison cell. Al is keeping him company.
Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer
Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.