Monday, 31 October 2011

Across the Blogosphere...

I've been busy this Half-Term. Covering a few films at The London Film Festival, continuing the Star Wars posts for Man, I Love Films, managing to watch a special screening of The Matrix and even squeezing in an analysis on the new Tintin film! I have also tried to re-organise some of the scroll-down menu's if you wanted to see some analysis of some other films - in fact, I wanted to re-release the analysis of the Saw films, but decided against it.

But, blogs continue to build with posts coming from every angle so of course I have been reading a few and I thought I'd highlight a couple...

Sunday, 30 October 2011

We Have A Pope/Habemus Papam (Nanni Moretti, 2011)

*This is part of my London Film Festival 2011 coverage. Four Films, Four Days ...


My parents brought me up as a Catholic. I vividly recall the weekly services, reflective Homily and transubstantiation. What I have no recollection of is the excitement and tradition of an election of a new Pope. Pope John Paul II began his papacy in 1978 - six years before I was even born - and by the time he died in 2005, and Pope Benedict X began his, I was finishing my University degree and Catholicism had taken a back-seat in my life. Having said that, what made Dan Brown's Angels and Demons novel interesting was the context of the conclave the film was set within - that and the Bernini art references in Rome littered throughout.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (Steven Spielberg, 2011)

"We can't go back, not now!... Not now."


I have wrote many posts on Tintin. I have listened to the semi-positive press about the film - and some of the negative press. Critics comparing this film with E.T. and how "that film had emotional depth" without even considering how this is an adaptation of someone's work and not Spielberg's story - as E.T. was. More importantly, I believe Spielberg and Peter Jackson have been attempting to build up the publicity by going on the press junket's alongside Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis - detailing how Spielberg could only release this film using this medium of mo-cap tehcnology whilst Peter Jackson creates humour to highlight his own passion for the quiffed-character: "we wouldn't change his trousers...". My own attitude has remained supportive - only the nay-sayers worried me, but deep-down I knew that when a film bombs, it royally bombs. I vividly recall hoping Quantum of Solace to be amazing and then seeing the barrage of abuse the film got in the press ... could it really be that bad? Indeed it was. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn got no such negativity - the odd few Tintinologists claiming it just "wasn't the same" as the comics, whilst cynical critics would argue that "though my nine-year-old self would enjoy it, the cynic 30-year old wanted more...".

How did it truly stack up ....

Friday, 28 October 2011

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)

"If you end your training now - if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did - you will become an agent of evil"


It is the sequel to the most successful film of 1977. Star Wars was inevitably going to spawn a sequel and ironically Lucas - a man who was almost as obsessed with control as Vader himself, handed the directorial duties over to Irvin Kershner. Though credited for the "story", Lucas even handed over screenplay-writing duties to Leigh Brackett (who died shortly after writing the script in 1978) and Lawrence Kasdan (Someone Lucas was impressed with through his writing on a project called Raiders of the Lost Ark). This would give the impression that Lucas became less involved - but in fact he was more involved as every penny which was put up to support the production was from his own pocket. $33 million dollars from his profit of Star Wars and what he found through loans provided the foundations for The Empire Strikes Back - who would've known that this was an independent film? Not to mention how such a huge franchise was bred from decisions that rebelled against the usual studio practices - but Lucas did it to gain complete control of the franchise. And, financially, it was worth every penny.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Art Of Love/L'art d'aimer (Emmanuel Mouret, 2011)

*This is part of my London Film Festival 2011 coverage. Four Films, Four Days ...

"Je t'aime, je t'aime, je t'aime" 


I think, as I have only managed to see a handful of films at this years festival, I had to choose carefully which films would - and could - appeal to me. My thorough enjoyment of Little White Lies last year ensured that I would hunt down a product of French Cinema ... and again, it seems to star actor François Cluzet. More importantly, this film owes a huge amount to Woody Allen, but whether it stacks up against Allen's finest work or fits neatly into his Woody-Allen-without-the-depth work, we shall see...

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Trishna (Michael Winterbottom, 2011)

*This is part of my London Film Festival 2011 coverage. Four Films, Four Days ...

"Can't you do this one thing for me... after all I've done for you..."


Michael Winterbottom has now adapted three Thomas Hardy novels. In 1996, Winterbottom directed Jude starring Christopher Eccleston and Kate Winslet, adapted from Hardy's Jude the Obscure. In 2000, he directed The Claim with a screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce adapting The Mayor of Casterbridge. This is his third venture into Hardy's literature - and it is one of Hardy's most critically-acclaimed pieces - Tess of d'Urbervilles. This was a controversial novel in it's day - 1891 - with lots of censorship and recieving intially mixed-reviews. But Winterbottom is no stranger to controversy as only last year he directed The Killer Inside Me, a film which portrayed scenes of extreme, relentless violence whilst in 2004, his film 9 Songs  courted controversy as it included multiple scenes that included the lead actors having sexual intercourse and scenes of ejaculation. Trishna may not appear controversial but, upon closer inspection, the idea of portraying an unmarried couple in India having passionate-sex within traditional Indian palaces whilst wearing - and taking off - cultural clothes, created to decorate the woman but crucially, to hide the female skin ... it seems we are in controversial territory again. The question is whether it has purpose.

We are in safe hands as our two leads actors are Slumdog Millionnaire's Frieda Pinto and Four Lion's Riz Ahmed. Pinto chosen for her young, innocent look - that demands attention as she becomes deeper and further involved with Ahmed. Ahmed chosen as, akin to his role in Four Lions, he is playing a role that, though distasteful, we appreciate how likable he is, and why Pinto is attracted to him.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Sean Durkin, 2011)

*This is part of my London Film Festival 2011 coverage. Four Films, Four Days ...

"If you're ever going to have a meaningful relationship ... you need to let your guard down"


The film was first shown at Sundance earlier in the year, and through positive press from other festivals including Toronto, Martha Marcy May Marlene became a film I quickly became very interested in watching. How can people, in the first instance, join a cult and then become part of it and fundamentatly ensure the cult continues to corrupt others. Martha Marcy May Marlene does capture all these aspects and more - as we also see the contrast this small cult in the Catskill Mountains has with the affluent and consumer-nature of others.

The Matrix at The Royal Albert Hall

Yesterday morning, I noticed that The Royal Albert Hall had a very special screening running in the evening: The Matrix "Live".

I have never seen a live score accompany a film. I know The Prince Charles Cinema and the BFI provide multiple screenings of Silent Cinema accompanied by a live musician - but the idea of a film so modern as The Matrix with a live score seeemed outstanding. I listened to a little of the score before making the booking - eerie, almost scraping across the strings to provide an unnatural sound. Think back to the stand out moments in the film - shots that could be paintings: When Neo first wakes up in the 'Real World' and looks at the pods, when Neo realises he is 'The One', etc. Now think about the score - at all these points, Don Davis created a sound that was epic and grand whilst we saw The Wachowski's vision - a profound retelling of Plato's 'Allegory of the Cave'.

We arrived just in time and the crowd applauded as the NDR Pops Orchestra from Hanover, Germany walked on stage, and another applause when conductor Frank Strobel arrived. Musicians in place, the film began. I cannot explain clearly the feeling as the entire orchestra swells to provide the sound to the film - on screen we hear and see the dialling tone of the phone, but on stage reed instruments set the underlying current as music suggesting a change continues. In some instances you would see the pianist stand up from his piano and arch over to the strings inside the piano to ensure he gets the single, piercing noise of a single string being gently tugged at. Even the end of the film was changed slightly - rather than Rage Against the Machine closing the film, I would assume Strobel decided to end the film in an orchestrial manner and use excerpts and the closing music to the sequels to finish.

The film ended to a standing ovation, whereby Strobel led on stage Don Davis himself who joined usin applauding the Orchestra.

Already, videos are surfacing online and I feel that this one best represents what an experience it was. I will keep my eyes peeled in future to attend these screenings because they are truly unforgettable.

Friday, 21 October 2011

I Am Now A Jogger ... And You Can Be too!

For the last seven weeks I have begun jogging. I am generally the last person who considers fitness. The following reasons forced me to make the decision:

1. Playing football at friend Richard's Stag Weekend tired me out within the first few minutes. I was out of breath and had to hide in the background whilst I caught my breath ... which took ages. Then when I started to get into it again, I was knackered soo after. Clearly, this establishes my lack of fitness in the first instance.

2. A friend from work jogged into school. He jogged 8 miles. 8-fu*****-miles. Before he even taught a single lesson. This amazed me and inspired me. He never gave the impression that he was obsessivly fit ... he just enjoyed it and improved week-on-week, to the point that he could run 8-miles in the morning before a day of teaching. Amazing.

3. I was recommend by a friend the NHS Couch to 5k podcast. Only a few podcasts which you listen to, generally, the same one, three-times a week and then week-by-week you up the pace. Starting on 1-minute running, 1-minute walking - times by eight - you run eight minutes the first week. By week 7, you get to 25 minutes solid running. That's where I am now.

As it is 25 minutes, it seems a little useless to listen to the same podcast when I can just put together a playlist of songs to jog to. I always warm-up with a 5-minute "brisk walk" and finish on a 5-minute "brisk walk", with the 25-minute run in between. With this in mind, I managed to hunt down the playlist from Forrest Gump and I use tracks that Forrest ran to as I do (the source-tracks are bookended by music from Silvestri's score). It wasn't easy to find, but I did fill the 25-minutes effectively.

This is what I will share with you film folk - the playlist for my evening jog. Not to mention how much I advise you to do the same!

5-minute Warm-Up

Hold My Hand (UNKLE) - 5.00

25-minute Run

The Crusade (Alan Silverstri) - 2.01
Running on Empty (Jackson Browne) - 4.58
It Keeps You Runnin' (The Doobie Brothers) - 4.22
I've Got to Use My Imagination (Gladys Knight and The Pips) 3.29
Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac) - 3.38
On The Road Again (Willie Nelson) - 2.33
Against The Wind (Starshine Orchestra and Singers) 3.52
The Crimson Gump (Alan Silvestri) 1.08

5-minute Warm-Down

Vision One (Royksopp) 5.00

So what about you? Do you run? And if so - do you have any amazing playlists you could share?

I'm hoping that as I continue and change my playlists, i'll share them with you guys and maybe you could join me!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (George Lucas, 1977)

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."


Originally released under the title Star Wars rather than Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope it is worth noting that the context this was released within was completely different to every other Star Wars film. With this in mind, I will be ignoring the prequels in the first instance and focus more upon the idea that this was the "one that started it all". Lucas had made THX 1138 with Robert Duvall in 1971 - the idea of the clean, sheen of mechanical processes controlling the man. American Graffiti in 1973 showed a completely different side to Lucas as the characters were teenagers, chatting about girls and cars. Star Wars managed to pitch these two worlds against each other - the clean, mechanical nature of the Empire versus the rebellious group of teenagers Luke, Leia and Han. Star Wars was genereally considered a complete change in style for Lucas - as if his art-house sensibilities and experimental nature of his shorts and directorial debut had now been completely replaced by the financially motivated box-office figures that American Graffiti generated. In fact, this one film manages to show a combination of differing ideas ... it was the cult-following and worldwide success that followed this film that changed Lucas. This film itself, highlights multiple facets to Lucas that are ignored today.

Multiple Influences

As the first film made in the franchise, you have to ask yourself "Where did this idea come from?". Lucas, an experimental filmmaker and fine artist looked to films as diverse as Hidden Fortress, The Searchers, Metropolis and Casablanca for references. We are introduced to a world that has passed - the worn-and-torn clothing of our Rebels and the world of Tatooine is highlighting a past of glory. A culture, language, Universe and Galaxy that we do not know. Will Brooker* notes how Lucas, an avid fan of Kurosawa, watched international cinema as an American himself. He automatically found himself, on a regular basis, watching films with established cultures, languages and history that were not his own - and during the films, he would understand the culture better. Lucas then created Star Wars, a galaxy "far far away" with it's own cultures, languages and history that are established before the film begins. Much like Samurai's in Seven Samurai, the time of the Jedi has passed - and it is technology and the opposing cleanliness of modernity that has eroded away these cultures.

Lucas feeds into this world droids which hark back to Metropolis - which, as a silent film of 1927, it managed to communicate it's message to the world: language was no barrier. C3P0 is a droid who is "fluent in over six million forms of communication"... much like the film itself was. Luke, Obi-wan, C3P0 and R2D2 set forth to fight the Empire on the basis that Luke's family are murdered - much like in The Searchers, whereby the film opens with the murder of the entire household of Ethan's (John Wayne) brother Aaron - this set Ethan, amongst others, to search for the two missing children. The dusty landscape is akin to the Western world John Wayne inhabits and certain shots are repeated in the Star Wars universe. Even Han Solo, as an outsider in a bar within a colonised territory seems to echo Rick (Bogart) in Casablanca. These intertextual references show how Lucas was making something that managed to merge multiple histories and ideas for the benefit of a cult following - Umberto Eco defines a cult film as a film that is "a completely furnished world so that its fans can quote characters and episodes as if they were aspects of the fan's private sectarian world". By rooting these films in a world that imitates and pays homage to so many cultures, genre's and ideas, fans already feel as if they know this place - and can almost relate to it.

Not to mention how, by ticking so many different generic boxes, it appeals to multiple audiences members with differeing preferences for genre. On the surface it is Science-Fiction, but it has a Western world of gun-fighting and a Samurai-style in the lightsabre duels. Han Solo owes money to the 'gangster' Jabba the Hut and we see dogfights between the spaceships end the film which Lucas modelled on World War II movies. A bit of Romance between Leia, Luke and Han - and some comedy from C3P0 and R2D2. You have to question which style of filming did not influence him. It even touches upon the differing social classes between our characters - as Leia and C3P0 are from the palaces of Alderaan opposed to Luke and Han who hail from the slums of Tatooine. Even their clothing dictates their background - Leia fitting in perfectly with the storm troopers, whilst Luke is at home with his Uncle and Aunt on the farm.

Faith and "The Force"

The spirituality in Star Wars is much more to the forefront of the themes. When we see Luke, blindfolded, and wholly "trust" the force you inevitably compare this to the idea of blind faith. The "Empire" do not believe in the legendary nature of the force - assuming it is outdated and remains as an archaic faction of the old Republic. We have contradicting characters that challenege the very nature of "the force" in numerous ways - Han Solo, as an allie, does not believe in the force whilst Darth Vader, as the enemy, does believe in the force. Whether you have faith in the power of the force or not, this does not determine your morals. It is how you use this power. I vividly remember someone explain to me how if you replace the word "force" with word "God" - or even, in a very overt Christian sense, "Lord" - then you are preseneted with an exceptionally religious film: "May the force be with you" becomes "May the Lord be with you" or even "May the grace of God be with you". You have to "believe in the force" becoming "you have to believe in the Lord". What is equally fascinating is how it seems that this original film is the only film that is so overt in this meaning - and the prequels completely destroy this meaning as it simplifies "the force" into scientific reasoning as "midichlorians".

But, this "power" of the force can be used for good and evil. Even now there is a more sinister element to the martyrdom of Obi-Wan. In a time whereby suicide-bombers and terrorists kill thousands of people "for God", Obi-Wan comfortably dying and making a martyr of himself could be construed as maybe going too far - and considering the very nature of 'blind faith', by definition, is trusting something that may have no evidence, you have to wonder how these morals and belief's may be outdated in this post-9/11 environment.

Updated and Remastered

Suffice to say, I have watched the Blu-Ray versions - adapted films that have been developed since 1997. Specifically in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope there is a definitive change in tone as, on Tatooine, we see CGI creatures walk the desert, poo-poo jokes by robots preceding scene's and awkward body language as Han Solo walks behind Jabba the Hut. I think you cannot get away from the dated nature of these films. This is not to say that it makes the film weaker in any respect, but inevitably these clearly computer-gernerated creatures seem out of place and jar with the environment. John Jansen on The Hollywood Saloon 'Star Wars Podcast' made a very good point about how, in some sequences, your attention is distracted by busy CGI additions in the background. When your attention should be on a Storm-Trooper, instead it is taken by a robot-joke in the background. As Jansen said, it is simply "bad directing", but it's bad-directing after the fact.

Horror and Reality 'for kids!'

As noted when analysing Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, this film is strong on the grounds that it truly manages to bring incredibly dark subject-matter into a family film. Despite all the multiple-genre references that ensure that it appeals to the widest possible demographic, it also depicts an army that is clearly modelled on the German-Nazi Fascist movement, or at the very least the Japanese Army Uniform. There is an automatically ingrained dislike for the villains - and I would even go further to note how Peter Cushing's gaunt, slim Governor Tarkin seems to be modelled on Nazi Propoganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Akin to the horrors of World War II, we see entire planets destroyed and human corpses strewn on the ground - and not characters who are unimportant, they are the protaganist's only family!

To conclude, it is worth noting how Luke is very much a teenager in Episode IV, with an argumentative nature and almost-lazy approach to life. We can relate to him as he dreams to join the Star Fighter's and, maybe we cannot relate to his clearly mysterious birth and direct family, we know that this film charts the change as he moves from being a child on Tatooine to become a young man who is much more aware of the galaxy. He is a farmboy, with little experience of anything outside of his current situation - he is completely unaware of the universal problems that he will directly face. He is aware enough to dislike the situation, but his reluctance to assist in chore's on the farm is something that we understand.

The story itself is on a very small-scale - unlike every other Star Wars film. The film shows our group get together, with very little exposition on the wider situation - we find out more about the Jedi via Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, and other than a small appearance in Empire, even the "apprentice" stature of Darth Vader to the Master Darth Sidious is not discussed. It is simply good-guy Luke versus bad-guy Vader ... it is only through the following two films (and the prequels) that we get much more scope on how big a galaxy, and how rich the history, truly is. As a historical 'classic', this film has much to offer - but it is equally fascinating to highlight how so much was hinted at in this film without any exposition. Imagine, in 1977, watching the film and dreaming about the days whereby the Jedi existed ... imagine discussing at length what Vader and Obi-Wan's relationship was like "back in the day". How lucky we are that, with the technology and special effects we have today, we can actually see these moments that, up until 1999, everyone could only dream of.

*Many aspects of this analysis are credited to Will Brooker and his BFI Film Classics: Star Wars book which can be bought on many websites.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

American Graffiti (George Lucas, 1973)

"Someone wants me. Someone roaming the streets, wants ME... Will you turn the corner?"


This was one of my first posts on my blog and it has a very special significance. Shortly before I became a teacher, I applied for one-month work-experience for BBC Films. Amongst many other application procedures, I was asked to write a review of a film - and this was it. What is important is how I was offered the placement! Unfortunately, I had to review my funds and check whether it was possible to pay rent in a flat in London - having just put down a huge deposit - work unpaid for a month and buy food to live. Turns out, that ain't cheap - and I had to turn down the work experience. Again, this feeds nicely in the build up to the analysis' I am writing on Star Wars on Man, I Love Films. Not long now and, considering how the band of teenagers in Star Wars - Leia, Luke and Han - contrast nicely with the teenagers in American Graffiti, it is worth noting how American Graffiti and THX 1138 together shaped what became Lucas' masterpiece: Star Wars.

Early Days Lucas

Through reading Peter Biskinds Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, I have recently watched George Lucas' American Graffiti.The film focuses on the story of four teenage boys following their recent graduation from school - Steve, Kurt, Terry and Milner. The film is set over one night in a homely, small town (influenced by Bogdonavich’s The Last Picture Show perhaps?). We watch, and follow, each character as they change during this single night.

Kurt is the character that we primarily follow through the movie - as he starts the night considering whether he will go to college the following morning. Steve and Kurt have planned 'for months' the travels to University. Steve is keen to go to college and discusses with Kurt why - contrasting at the climax of the film, whereby Steve decides to stay for his girlfriend and Kurt decides to continue on to begin college alone. Terry’s plot begins as he is given Steve’s car. Terry – the cliché geek - picks up a girl who realises Terry just might be the man for her. He comes up against problems such as vomiting after drinking and dealing with the theft of the car throughout, concluding with the girl explaining how the night was 'really good'. Ironically, Milner who is seen as the class stud with his fast car and 'unbeatable' track record of races ends without a girl at the end of the film. Milner, without planning, picks up a young teenager called Carol. Her attitude to life strikes Milner and a bond is formed whereby it Milner realises that he himself is getting older and should begin to consider how he should tackle the next roads of life - this is made more apparent by his realisation that he was losing the race at the finale of the film.

The Influence on Me

The 'coming-of-age’ programmes/films that I watched were Dawson’s Creek and American Pie. American Graffiti has the fascinating 'small-town' element of Dawson’s Creek, while having a comedic tone - akin to the American Pie films. The use of a small-town in American Graffiti contrasts with the contained and lonely aspect of teenage life. The range of characters also meant you could relate to different aspects of each character. These aspects pulled me into the film and got me personally involved.

The film was made hot-on-the-heels of Mean Streets and the soundtrack carries the narrative throughout the 99 minutes run time. The opening of the radio sounds scrolling through the various stations - before stopping on 'The Wolfman' - reminding me personally of Tarantinos Reservoir Dogs, whereby the characters keep harking back to K-Billys super-sounds-of-the-seventies throughout the film.

I felt that the roles of Kurt and Steve could have been more passionate as the two characters appeared to be ‘drifting’ along with no real sense of direction. This may have been the intended case – Steve telling his girlfriend that they should see other people when away did see quite thoughtless. Milner and Terry’s stories were more involving as the two had clear ideas of what they wanted – and although it did not necessarily pan out – the characters would act accordingly. The focus on cars and vehicles is another aspect that I personally didn’t enjoy - even though I am quite sure that these cars are a strong metaphor for the characters stories. Kurt appears to be the only character that does not drive and I feel that this might be an important factor to bear in mind – as he is the only character who gets out of the town and reaches his dream goal of writing.

Originally Published on 2nd June 2009 alongside THX 1138 and republished on 25th May 2011.  

Monday, 17 October 2011

A-Z #101: Insomnia

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#101 - Insomnia

Why did I buy it?

I didn't buy it actually - it was a present when I turned 19. Don't get me wrong - a bloody good present, but I have always felt that my parents, when they buy me DVD's see it in a strange way. I think they look at a DVD and think "Well, Simon likes DVD's..." and just select one at random from the DVD aisle. One year, in my Mum's wisdom, she bought Seven Years in Tibet... I have not interest in watching it and, in fact, never did. Selling it before even attempting to watch it. Call me ungrateful, but this is why I write these posts - I simply don't have space for all the Seven Years in Tibet films that I have been bought in the past!

Why do I still own it?

It's Chris Nolan. I haven't watched it for years, but it I am desperate to watch it again. I remember feeling like it was shot in a way that vividly recalled that tired-feeling, without actually making you tired. Not to mention, it has Al Pacino in it - and that already places the film on a pedastool. The worry is whether the reality that I have not watched it since that first watch says how apathetic I am about it ... the films you own need to be the ones that you will watch and rewatch time and time again, and this film I have found difficult to watch again ...
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, 16 October 2011

THX 1138 (George Lucas, 1971)

"I just feel that I need something stronger."


With the recent posts on Star Wars, I have recently completed the next post on Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (due to be on Man, I Love Films this Thursday). In the process I have been reading the BFI Film Classic on Star Wars by Will Brooker. He defends Star Wars by arguing how, in many ways, it is a natural progression from THX 1138 and American Graffiti. This got me thinking back to THX 1138 and how, even though I enjoyed it, I always felt it seemed a bit too similar to 2001: A Space Odyssey. At any rate, the film was experiemental and art house and, considering the sh*t Lucas has to contend with, it is worth highlighting how good this film is.

Bargain Bin

A friend and I had an afternoon to kill and we decided to select one of the £3 DVD's in HMV each and conduct a double-bill. I selected THX 1138 and he selected Sexy Beast and, with very little correlation between the two, we nevertheless found parrallels between them. For one ... they both had a central protaganist trying to 'escape' ... both concerned characters who were uncertain about their future ... and the people who, to some extent, controlled them. Anyway, they are not the same, and I doubt Jonathan Glazer looked to THX 1138 for influence on Sexy Beast. Having said that, Jonathan Glazer chose UNKLE to do the soundtrack to Sexy Beast, while UNKLE used excerpts from THX 1138 in their music - specifically on 'I Need Something Stronger' on UNKLE's 'Never Never Land' album.

Dystopian Future?

Set in a dystopian future, it is not about the future. We watched a directors cut and I believe it is the only one available  on DVD. At any rate, it is a short film clocking in at roughly 90mins. We follow THX (Sounds a little like Sex?) played by Robert Duvall, a mundane worker whose "partner" stops him taking his medication (medication to keep him, to some extent, as a drone) and he begins to develop emotions. He develops the emotion of 'love' and makes mistakes. Something that his nuclear profession does not really accommodate - and once a mistake is made, it is all about 'Big Brother' trying to track him, capture him and control him.
The film was made two years after 2001: A Space Odyssey so there are shots that I cannot help but connect to Kubrick. The white-sets and tonal duality to this future seems to reek of Kubrick - maybe there were only so many options on how-the-future-looks in the 60's and 70's. THX's love interest is LUH (sounds like Love?), played by Maggie McOmie. This is the partner who stopped THX from taking the medication. She is played with intensity that shows the fear the human feels when they are not drugged-up. All characters are bald so female characters are telling despite the initially androgynous look; they show feminine grace shots of LUH and THX are organic and graceful, completely at odds with the technical and angular backdrop. The police poke characters with sticks and THX and LUH hold each other for emotion and a car chase sequence looks flawless despite the limiting special effects available in 1971. The overall viewing experience is inevitably enhanced on repeated viewings and - akin to Blade Runner - the story becomes second-nature as the dialogue and fascinating environment is what you keeps you engaged. You can spend time dipping into this futuristic world which, in this case, is terrifying.


Its interesting to note that Lucas and Murch wrote the film in three acts - each one focussing on some form of escape. The first act highlights THX escaping the controlled world that he lives within. The second act is more abstract by focussing on THX escaping jail: a jail whereby there are no walls or locks, and is an an open space whereby choosing to be free is all that is neccessary - thus THX alongside the sinister and mad SEN (Donald Pleasance) escapes. The final act is action-orientated by including car chases that are purely down to some exceptional lighting and cinematography. Lalo Schifrin composes the score, which though eerie and expressive I recall it to be quite minimalist - nothing too overbearing.
It is a good film and, if you like Star Wars and the Sci-Fi genre as a whole, then I strongly advise you to watch it, but if not ... well, I wouldn't 'steer clear', but be aware that it can, at points, feel a little too abstract. This is George Lucas playing with cinema as the artist within breaks free. There is nothing about this film that appeals to a broad-demographic, it is merely an exploration on a theme of control and escape - an experiment by Lucas building upon the short he created in THX 1138 4EB in 1967. We can only dream about how Lucas would've developed if he stuck to this type of filmmaking - or whether he may even go back to this type of film at all. At least now he has the money and the freedom to do whatever he wants,  like THX in the prison of freedom, it is a question about whether Lucas chooses to go back to
what he clearly loves to create.

*This post was originally published on 2nd June 2009 and, like Lucas and his changes to Star Wars, has been improved dramatically since that initial post.

A-Z #100: Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#100 - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Why did I buy it?

Let's just clarify - remember that in all this A-Z writing, I am not covering boxsets - Alien Quadrilogy, American Pie Trilogy, Cape Fear Boxset - these have not been included. Following the A-Z thread, I will then cover the boxsets. This is why, suddenly, it feels like we are on the fourth Indiana Jone's film - Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But it is fitting that at this moment - with the release of Tintin - and the fact that this is numero 100, we have a controversial choice. I bought it because I had the other three and, at the time, I had not seen the fourth one. It was only a couple-o-quid, so I thought I should at least watch it out of respect.

Why do I still own it?

The completist in me doesn't have the heart to throw it out. The film is shockingly lower in quality in comparison to the other films - but only so much as the use of SFX is a little bit too much. I wasn't a big fan of Raiders of the Lost Ark so I'm not the best to judge, but I will stand by the simple fact that: we wanted a sequel, we got a sequel and they need to make a fifth. Indiana Jones' is like James Bond and they should continue making the films. Its not untouchabale, because it is - and always has been - summer fun and games so you will get your good one's and your bad ones. This is a bad one. C'est la vie. Let's hope the fifth is better.
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Saturday, 15 October 2011

Tintin Reviews Coming In ...

I'll keep my stuff brief but, suffice to say, the reviews are coming in now thick and fast with Europe's release date next week...

Empire giving it a 4/5 star review and noting that "the script struggles to be out-and-out funny" especially regarding Thomson and Thompson but ultimately "Action-packed, gorgeous, and faithfully whimsical: Hergé thought Spielberg the only director capable of filming Tintin. He was onto something"

Total Film rating it 3/5 and specifying how "older viewers may feel there’s not enough lift in the quiff." and the comparison to Indiana Jone's is re-stated when they state "It’s very busy and yes, very Indy". Got to admit, the Total Film clan do not seem to be ovewhelmed by it.

I have had a gander at a few others - Wikipedia noting the European Press Le Soir, Le Figaro and La Libre Belgique - and, the basic argument is that it is a technically brilliant film but, understandably, pitched to a young audience with slapstick humour and funny-dog jokes. These little nuggets will help me go in expecting a film tailored to my inner-child rather than expecting something more sinister.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (George Lucas, 2005)

"So this is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause"


Star Wars Episode III is what everyone was waiting for. The title "Revenge of the Sith" already had the Star Wars fans excited for the final prequel. Hopes were dashed in Phantom Menace and they were further corrupted by the love-story of Attack of the Clones ... now we were to see Anakin truly become Darth Vader. The teasing of Anakins "medochlorians" through to the arrogant Anakin we saw in Attack of the Clones was now to come full circle as he turned to the Dark Side. Apprently, many things were changed during the production of this film as Lucas had planned this film even before Attack of the Clones. The focus had to be fully upon Anakin - nothing else could distract us from his fall from grace. Plot-points that involved understanding the deletion of the galaxy Kamino and showing Han Solo at the age of 10 were scrapped so that we would be fully immersed in Anakin. There is a side to me which would have had a kick out of seeing Han Solo as a child ... but, considering how much I enjoyed Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith I don't think I would want to change anything at all. Who knows - maybe in ten years time, Lucas will add the Han Solo scene in anyway. And he will scream "No-o-o-o-o!" as little Han see's Anakin for the first time.

At the End of the Clone Wars...

Revenge of the Sith begins three years into the Clone Wars as Jedi's defend the Republic in the face of the separatists that continue to rebel against them. We see the Jedi meetings whereby multiple Jedi's are not physically present as they defend their own planets. But at least, unlike Attack of the Clones, we see Obi-Wan and Anakin on a mission together. They are more confident and know exactly how to use their strengths. This is what Attack of the Clones should've shown more of - our two lead characters "kicking ass". What is strange is how we already know that the leader of the Republic - Supreme Chancellor Palpatine is a bad guy - we know he is Darth Sidious. The entire farce about Palpatine being "taken prisoner" is even more interesting - as an audience, we virtually know more than every character on screen. Grievious doesn't realise who Palpatine truly is, Anakin doesn't realise how he is being used, Dooku doesn't realise how expendable he is ... as we know Anakin is who Palpatine really wants as an apprentice.

This first action sequence sets in stone the downfall of Anakin - Dooku, the anatgonist in Attack of the Clones is murdered, by Anakin, in the first action sequence. Anakin is challenged by the direction to kill him, but comfortably does so - especially as Palpatine reveals how he knows about the sand people. It reminds me of Scar in The Lion King telling Simba - "It's our little secret".

Anakin and Palpatine truly come out of their shell in this film - the best scene in the prequels, possibly in the entire franchise, portrays Palpatine discuss the 'power' of the Dark Side during an opera. "It's a Sith legend. Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith who lived many years ago. He was so powerful and so wise that he could use the Force to influence the midichlorians to create life... He had such a knowledge of the dark side that he could even keep the ones he cared about from dying".

Hayden Christensen is widely considered the major flaw in these films - but the dialogue between Christensen and McDiarmid is incredible - you can see the cogs turning in Anakin's head. He is desperate to save Padme, he believes he is stronger and superior to all the Jedi's. It is Palpatine's flattery and obsession that creates such ignorance and arrogance in Anakin. The two are a force to be reckoned with and you can see how the two complement each other so well.

Righting the Wrongs

In The Phantom Menace we discussed the 'duality' of life, whilst in Attack of the Clones we are presented with confusion and corruption. Revenge of the Sith categorically fights the definition of good and bad. Despite all the corruption in the senate, the ignorance of a the majority is what gives Palpatine strength. As Padme stated: "So this is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause". On a galactic level, it is unclear who is good and who is bad - the separatists fight against a corrupt Republic, the Jedi's fight to represent the corrupt Republic ... the Jedi hold back information and skills from others whilst the very nature of democracy appears to be what is continuing the Clone Wars.

We know from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that the Jedi lose their power and respect - and become outsiders to the galaxy. I think the parrallel's to Fascism and the rise of power that Hitler had, feeds well into the saga. It is difficult to comprehend such corruption managing to slither its way into a position of authority - but Lucas manages to not only show how true evil manages to creep in, but also how that same evil distorts and damages others. Moreso, how Luke is then born into this world and knows no other truth. Through these prequels, we have seen the glory days of the senate and galaxy - whereby Jedi's protected the universe. Not only is the growth of power to Palpatine fascinating to watch - but it is incredibly believable.

In Attack of the Clones, Anakin killed the Mothers and children of the sand people through his hatred for them - in Revenge of the Sith he murders all the Jedi. The "younglings" are murdered by the character we have sympathised and understood since The Phantom Menace. Lucas is not attempting to cater to an audience who just want action - he is trying to show us something we haven't seen before and explain how anyone can be corrupted.

Corrupted Motives

One thing which I believe is very difficult to clarify is the motives Anakin has for turning to the Dark Side. He becomes obsessed with saving Padme - this obsession makes him ripe for blackmail, which Sidious exploits. Add to this Anakin's distrust in the Jedi - rooted in his own arrogance and desperation to be accepted as a Master. The changes we see in this film are heart-breaking - though we follow Anakin and concern ourselves deeply with his struggle to protect his family, follow his feelings and desperately do what he believes is right (which, unfortunately, is wrong), we realise that on a larger scale Anakin is single-handedly what ensures the defeat of the Jedi.

By far, the most memorable sequence is when in Sith Lord guise, Palpatine orders the storm-troopers to kill all the Jedi. We see characters who are protecting one-minute, and the next murdered by an Army they assisted. The devastating affect Anakin's decision has had on the fate of thousands is truly epic - almost on a par with the destruction of Alderraan in A New Hope. One thing Star Wars does not shy away from is epic-scale tragedy - genocide and murder. Considering we are watching something primarily for "kids", it is facinating to see how Lucas manages to squeeze in allegories of historical events potentially as diverse as the holocaust, communism and the cold war. We even see the terminal end of the Democratic Republic becomeing the Galactic Empire. This is equally facsinating as we know A New Hope provides that hint of a line whereby a general states the success of destroying the last remnants of "the republic". It is about complete power and destruction.

Who Are We Really?

Lucas stated in an interview that he was interested in "the deeper psychological movements of the way we conduct our lives" and these deeper psychological movements are clearly the focus in Revenge of the Sith. This film depicts the deep hatred Anakin has for Obi-Wan - and by the end of the film it is too much. He burns on the lava and, in agony, calls out "I hate you", you truly feel the pain he feels - his anger towards the choice he has been had to make and anger he believes Obi-Wan is responsible for. Both Sidious and Anakin, as their faces are scarred deep by the evil within them, hark back to The Exorcist, even as Palpatine continues to sell himself to the senate - and people seem to still support him.

Connection to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

But it doesn't end there - we see the birth of Luke and Leia and how her "broken heart" is the reason she died. I cannot help but think that, narratively, we would gain much more insight if we clearly saw how Anakin was directly responsible for her death. At any rate, a nice reference to Millais' Ophelia is a nice touch as Padme's funeral begins in Naboo.

Totop it off, we see an incredible final shot as we know that the next trilogy is where this leads - Anakin and Padme's love has disrupted the galaxy, but it is their children who bring balance to the system. An incredible film that ensures that this prequel will not be forgotten ...

Large Association of Movie Blogs

A-Z #99: Independence Day

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#99 - Independence Day 

Why did I buy it?

I think its all nostalgia really. I watched it with my sister at the cinema and I remember bibidly walking to Woolworths as she bought the video on the week of release - even spending £2.99 on a Stargate video as an offer. Happy times indeed. Independence Day then became a regular viewing on the rotation of 10-videos we had. Independence Day, Jurassic Park, Casper, The Lost World, The Making of Michael Jacksons Thriller, The LIttle Rascals and Men in Black. When it came on DVD, I was also a little interested in the 'special edition' version of the film too!

Why do I still own it?

I have watched it a couple of times since I bought it, but it's not a big hit. I even visited my sisters house a while ago and watched a little of her Blu-Ray copy and, strangely enough, it looked like a soap with the clarity of Blu-Ray. I think it's dated pretty badly and, though it has the great moments of the sky-fights and the first 40 minutes prior to destruction, it ultimately loses pace halfway in.

Should Independence Day stay? Is it one of the best disaster films still?
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

A-Z #97: The Ice Storm

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#97 - The Ice Storm

Why did I buy it?

For The Film Locker with Ryan. I had never seent he film and I had heard through the grapevine that this was one of Ang Lee's best and I couldn't ignore it, could I?
Why do I still own it?

After only one watch, I knew it was one to go back to. The depth of interest about family and the range of challenges people have which, on the one hand, are explored - but each character is unaware about the other, creates this brilliant balancing act that clearly shows the complexity of family life. I'm from a family of six children - making a total of eight people in the family household. This film highlighted how I shouldn't take advantage of these incredibly close and important relationships.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, 10 October 2011

A-Z #96: Hunger

You can pick up hundreds of DVDs for a round-pound each - it doesn't matter. It's never about quantity, it's about quality. A-Z is my way of going through my collection, from A-Z, and understanding why I own the films ... or you can tell me why I should sell 'em

#96 - Hunger

Why did I buy it?

I watched this at The Prince Charles Cinema years ago after the initial release, whereby Sight and Sound gave the film a huge accolade in naming it the one of the Top 10 Best Films of the year. I watched it, I was amazed and I bought it.

Why do I still own it?

Well, I haven't watched it since that first cinema trip - which begs the question as to whether I should keep it. Michael Fassbender is truly engaging - you cannot take your eyes off him. But, additionally, it is about people who protested by wiping their sh*t across walls and urinating out of their cells. It shows how desperate some can be to make their voices heard - and yet how ignorant others can be in the process. It is a brilliant film - but it is a tough watch... which begs the question as to whether it is worth owning.

At any rate, it is impressive enough for me to remain exceptionally intrigued for the up-and-coming Shame directed by McQueen and starring Fassbender ...  with an added bonus of Carey Mulligan. I cannot wait.
Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Across the Blogosphere ...

I wrote about Star Wars on Man, I Love Films and I have spent all of this week listening to the Nitrate series from The Hollywood Saloon. I paid for it and wrote about why here, but for those who still have yet to experience John and Andy at The Hollywood Saloon you have a new episode, free of charge, available whereby they discuss Tintin and the importance of the foreign market - are we going to get better or worse films now that Hollywood are focussing their attention on winning over the world-market rather than merely the US-territory.

I only watched Drive last night and it seems that Ryan Gosling is everywhere - Drive, Crazy Stupid Love and The Ides of March. In the first instance, Films from the Supermassive Black Hole compared Gosling to another similar actor whilst Ryan reviewed The Ides of March.

I found an older post on Anomalous Materials and, upon commenting, I feel like I have made an enemy in Ben Cooper. He wrote his Top 5 James Scores - and I disagreed ...

On Big Thoughts From a Small Mind, a post summarised why Pete Posthelwaite was so important to Hollywood. On watching a section from In the Name of the Father I was reminded about how great he is too. He will be missed.

One more? Nick has now seen all three Godfather films - and, as everyone, he was underwhelmed with The Godfather Part III...
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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (George Lucas, 2002)

"I'm a Jedi - I Know I'm Better Than This"


Attack of the Clones is renowned for being the worst Star Wars film. Combine the love-story between Anakin and Padme, with busy action-sequences that show a lack of clarity and ultimately too many special effects and you can see why people fall out about this film. It would always be difficult for Lucas to present the middle-episode to the two bookends of the prequels - The Phantom Menace introduces us to the world again whilst Revenge of the Sith is the destruction of the Republic and the Sith taking over the Senate. Attack of the Clones is firmly establishing what pieces of the chess-set are placed in the appropriate positions before Anakin truly turns to the Dark Side. The themes are consistent in this film - indeed they build upon the themes of duality in Episode 1 - but you can see that the problems lie in what films-of-the-time adjusted what may have been a very different story...

Influenced by Others

Wikipedia explains how, due to the mixed critical-reaction to Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, Lucas was hesitant about writing the script for the sequel. In fact, the first and second draft by Lucas only emerged three months before filming, only to be followed by a rewrite by Jonathan Hales (who had worked previously with Lucas on The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles) leading to a completion of the working-script only one-week prior to production. Rather than establishing something new, I believe Lucas turned to cinema of the previous few years to inspire him. As an example, Attack of the Clones features a stunning sequence through Coruscant - the Blade Runner urban-planet - that, through the yellow-spaceship and chase-sequence, seems to vividly recall Besson's The Fifth Element. Unfortunately, the Blu-Ray seems to exclusively focus on the production, rather than pre-production of the films so I could not gain any concrete source as to whether this was indeed the case.

Even the plot itself, regarding clones and "machines-creating-machines" (as C3PO would say) seems to attach itself to the zeitgeist of the moment. Dating back to 1999, the Wachowski's produced, wrote and directed The Matrix. The filming of both sequels, The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions must have been regular discourse amongst the Hollywood elite - and the script must have been easily accessible for someone like Lucas. So it is no surprise that when we reach the planet of Kamino, our ipod-aliens reveal the clones creation: Morpheus told Neo - "endless fields where human beings are no longer born. We are grown". We see this same process on the planet Kamino.

Then as a third example, following Anakin's capture on Geonosis, we suddenly change set from hidden-caves and red-planet imagery to a huge Colosseum of Sebulba-creatures - as if Lucas watched Gladiator and recalled how much we liked Sebulba in Phantom Menace, simply squeezing the two together. Not only does the sequence visually resonate with the Roman-Epic-genre, but also the very nature of their 'extermination' (using creatures to kill our heroes) recalls a deleted sequence in Gladiator whereby Christians were fed to Lion's.

If I think back to The Phantom Menace, I do not remember such obvious connections to blockbusters of the time. In fact, I think it was refreshing to see a new type of blockbuster - no natural disasters feature in The Phantom Menace (as the blockbusters Armageddon, Deep Impact, Dantes Peak and Volcano had proved in the few years prior to The Phantom Menace's release) whilst Attack of the Clones seems to be reliant on these obvious inspirations... unfortunately, the films it imitates are more successful in their themes and styles.

The Crucial Love-Story

The heart of this story is the relationship between Padme and Anakin. This one film, even from its poster, understands how their love is the one thing this film needs to communicate to the audience in preparation of Revenge of the Sith. Ironically, it begins as Padme tells Anakin - as if to stop his advances - "Well, you'll always be the boy from Tatooine", adding another pointless conflict as it becomes a will-they-won't-they situation. Why not shave the twenty-minutes over the two-hour mark and just start the story with the two characters clearly besotted with each other? This focuses the conflict primarily in hiding their love from others. Instead, we see Anakin (in a very creepy way) try and seduce Padme and over many drawn-out sequences, she gives the impression she is not interested (but it is clear she is) before the fateful kiss. This long, drawn-out love story is simply uneccessary when so many other (much more interesting) situations are happening all over the galaxy.

Talking about more-interesting events, we have Obi-Wan's storyline that becomes increasingly less-Star-Wars and more James-Bond in it's nature. Obi-Wan, as a detective, is hunting down the man who is responsible for the creation of an Army - a man who is a Jedi and attempted to kill Padme. This journey, not only seems at odds with the Sci-Fi nature of Star Wars but it crucially separates our two characters. Rather than seeing the clear divide between Anakin and Obi-Wan through passionate and personal arguments that rely on well-written scripts, instead we see Anakin relay his frustrations to Padme and Obi-Wan engage in undercover-agent tactics as he claims he is working for the Jedi that ordered the creation of the Army. Obi-Wan seems lonely and rather than establish the Anakin and Padme love from the outset, we are forced to sit through a pointless excercise in flirtatious behaviour, whilst it could be Anakin and Obi-Wan on a mission.

But it is the rebellious nature of Anakin that leads to providing the foundations of his 'dark-side'. The murder of his Mother by the sand-people place Anakin in a position whereby he needs to confront his demons - the power of a Jedi, the anger of revenge and the justice of capital punishment. We know people who decided to deliver their own justice - an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But you can see that the excessive force that Anakin uses to gain justice - through killing Mothers and children - hints at a much deeper issue and a darker side that we have not witnessed before.

Indeed, we are never expected to truly adore Anakin - he is sullen, grouchy, selfish and arrogant. He holds very little respect for Obi-Wan but this does not make us despise him. This makes him a teenager. Furthermore, he has been told that he is powerful and the teachings of his Jedi Master to "trust and follow your feelings" is a dangerous path if your feelings are, as Yoda says, steeped in anger. "Anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering". We see how Anakin's anger begins at this point and his hatred for the sand-people inevitably leads to suffering.

It is Simply too Confusing

One thing that I believe crucially turns people off this film is the confusion that resides within it. The entire film, we question what Count Dooku's motives are. We are told by both Jedi and Palpatine that Dooku needs to be stopped as he is the leader of the separatist movement. At this point, we accept the Republic is good, despite the corrupt leadership of Palpatine. But we are confused further when Dooku speaks to Obi-Wan and explains how deep the Dark Side resides within the Senate - and how Qui-Gon Jin would agree as Dooku trained Qui-Gon and Qui-Gon trained Obi-Wan. This begs the question as to whose side Dooku is on - because he is arguing that the senate is corrupt. This lack of clarity and difficulty in what is good and what is bad, though a theme that leads nicely into Revenge of the Sith, distances us from the story as we don't know who we should trust. It does all make sense at the end - as the war begins - but it does not change the fact that for at least thirty-minutes, you are a little lost. Its easy to say Dooku is bad - but the fact that his separatist movement is due to a corrupt senate (which we know is true) blurs this narrative thread.

This is one of those films that could argue the case that you are suppsed to be confused as the conflict and anger clouds the judgement in a wide range of characters - Padme is equally conflicted and rebellious as she forces Anakin to save Obi-Wan, despite the dangers that the Jedi Council fear. There is confusion in Jar-Jar Binks as he attempts to help by supporting the non-democratic support of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine only to lead to his first decisive action to create a clone army. When seen in this light, I think we can all appreciate the purpose of this film as an exploration of making the wrong decision for the right reasons. Consider how much Anakin wants to save Padme when she falls out of the spaceship and yet Obi-Wan has to argue his case to justify the greater concern of Count Dooku escaping them. Difficult decisions and confusion as to what is right and wrong.

Mechanical Ethics

What is clear and decisive - unlike humans - are machines. They are programmed to complete tasks. You instruct, they follow. No emotions, no attachments. Machines are the perfect creation. This is what contrasts against the confusing challenge of emotions. As soon as people decide to elect Palpatine as Supreme Chancellor, he decides to create an Army - an army that will follow orders and complete tasks. Much like a machine. It is no suprise that we then cut to a chase sequence within a factory. Padme, Anakin, C3PO and R2D2 are all escaping the grasp and pressure of the controlled, regimented and 'perfected' nature of machines. As Palpatine begins to destroy the freedom of the galaxy - we see the systematic and definitive nature of mechanical power. Palpatine has systematically gained power and his partnership with Dooku proves how the Jedi played into his hands. The Clone War begins, as planned, and Palpatine knows that it is only a matter of time before his power extends. Only the Jedi Council stand in his way ... the Revenge of the Sith is imminent.