Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Literature and life

"Literature is mostly about having sex and not much about having children. Life is the other way round." David Lodge

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A time long ago...

when George Lucas could knock up a decent flick. I saw Star Wars 3 at the weekend and was disappointed. Points I didn't like>

1) Dialogue. Quite the worst i've heard since Before Sunset, which had the excuse of not having a script. Example>
"Why do you look so beautiful?"
"It's because I love you"
"No, it's because I love you."

Or, on hearing that the love of his life is dead, "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!" which was surprising only in its predictability and total hamnation.

2) Acting. Anakin Skywalker is apparently played by a tranquilised high school footballer. It was as convincing a rendition of the internal struggle between good and evil as you might expect from George of the Jungle on Mogadon.

Ewen MacGregor produced some appalling ham. All tally-ho and chocks away.

Lord Sith was never really convincing until he became deformed. Until that point he was too reminiscent of the kindly old gent who plays God in the Time Bandits. And he sounded like he was reading his lines for only the second or third time.

Put simply, Natalie Portman was about the best actor there. Which gives you some idea of the woodenness of the others.

3) Lord Grievous. Quite a good character ruined by an appalling name. Might was well call him Mr Bad Guy. Note to George, "Doctor Evil" was a piss-take.

4) The moment when Obi-Wan finds out that Anakin has gone to the Dark Side. Let's not forget, this is not just the turning point for this film but it is the set-up for the next three films. It is despatched with as much dramatic tension as checking a gas meter.

Nevertheless, and in the spirit of fair-mindedness, it was not all bad. Bits I liked...

1) The set designers were the clear, far-and-away winners of the film. The city-scapes were especially good. As always, in Star Wars the ships were fantastic.

2) The story coming full circle and Darth Vader getting put back together. Very cool.

3) The fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Probably not a coincidence that this was the darkest and most gruesome part of the film.

So there you have it. A disappointment. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is surely the last decent film George has done.

Earning your daily bread

"It's just another form of idolatry, a dog licking the rod that beats it: work." Q, Luther Blisset.

I am inclined to agree; it's been driving me round the bend recently. It was with mixed feelings, then, that I read an article about Somalia's Minister for Tourism. Enticing people to spend their two weeks of hard-earned leisure time in a country which shot to international fame for the death of American soldiers is an unenviably hard task... but on the upside he receives no emails and civil war is a water-tight excuse for failing to drum up much tourism.

'“I'm sure tourists would leave Somalia alive and I'm hopeful they wouldn't be kidnapped,” he says. “At least, we would try to make sure they were not kidnapped, although it can happen.”' The Economist, March 4th, 2004