Whew--restored to sanity by filming the first footage of the Fly yesterday afternoon. (Joop is not in the movie, even though he's sporting his show-dog haircut.) We were filming the Fly practicing her dance steps in the alley. All that fresh air blew away the chlorine gas.
(Note Bink's clever costume design: the fly's legs are pipe insulation.)
Then I stayed up till 1:30 a.m. watching Star Wars II and III (Attack of the Clones, 2002; Revenge of the Sith, 2005), which R & S lent me because I had never seen them.
Almost unbelievable, but the movies reminded me why I let the series drop out of my life: George Lucas is fantastic with machines and monsters but well below par with character.
(I'm pretty sure that's not a secret.)
I wish Lucas had found a collaborator who could write dialogue, for instance. Lines such as Padmé (Luke and Leia's supposedly intelligent mother, though you have to take her intelligence on faith) saying to Anakin (the future Darth Vader), as the world falls apart,
"I want to have our baby on Naboo [her home planet]; I'll go ahead and prepare the baby's room," sink to the embarrassing, like when someone you admire has bad breath.
Further, half the actors smell of high school gym class.
Worst of all, some of his non-humans reflect racial stereotypes that make your jaw drop. Didn't anyone notice and tell him his dirty slip was showing? (Maybe so--they seem to be gone in the third movie. But geez...)
Still, you see what Lucas is aiming for--it's familiar myth stuff, after all--and the action is so much fun, I enjoyed the movies a lot.
What kept me up till 1:30, though, was watching some of the "Making Of" features. It was encouraging to learn it took hundreds of people 70,000+ hours to create the final 1-minute light saber battle between Darth Vader and Obi Wan.
According to Wikipedia, the entire movie cost $113,000,000 (and earned 8 times that).
Now I won't feel so bad that Orestes and the Fly looks lumpy. And while I'm no good at dialogue, it won't be any worse than Lucas's.
Watching Star Wars made me want to watch again Akira Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress (Japan, 1958--a good year for movies, it seems). It follows (in photo, left to right) a spoiled young princess being smuggled through dangerous territory by the loyal, self-confident warrior (Toshiro Mifune), accompanied by two bickering commoners.
This is famously the inspiration for George Lucas's first Star Wars movie (1977, now part IV), and I remember thinking it was great (like every Kurosawa movie I've seen). Kurosawa himself loved American movies--it all goes round and round.