I’m not sure if this is the prequel to the sequel of instalment number four of the neverending story (yawn), or the sequel to the prequel… or am I getting it mixed up with Star Trek?
As the jolly explosions, destructions and mass killings went on (and on), recent footage from the carnage at Aleppo came to mind. What I remembered most curiously were all those families fleeing the turmoil looking so downcast – don’t they know how much fun this sort of thing is? Or am I overreacting to the disconnect between suffering humanity and the pleasure so many cinema audiences mindlessly take in slaughter? Whatever – good luck to George Lucas, he’s laughing all the way to the bank. And at this point I beg an indulgence – a man does his best all year, but with Chrissie activities in full swing and my absolute inability (through lack of interest) to get a handle on what was going on in this, I am forced to revert to the IMdB summary: ‘The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow’. Really? What I personally find most fascinating about these sci-fi movies is the art direction. It is always a combination of massive satellites and awesome hi-tech weaponry, talking robots (with an Oxbridge accent) and creatures on the street that are either weird and unnatural or escapees from the big biblical flick being shot on the next lot. And they are all thrown together (in the case of the Star Wars saga) in a dusty bustling Jetsons city with golden domes, a souk and towering Mayan pyramids.
It is a world of both holograms and medieval dungeons. As picture books go, it’s hypnotic and dreamily childlike. Apart from that – well, there are attempts at humour that come off occasionally – the blind Asian ‘grasshopper’ guy, having his head covered as he is led away by baddies, says ‘are you kidding? I’m blind!’ Otherwise, the baby meerkats on Facebook are much more fun.