Starring: Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Christopher Lee, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Samuel L Jackson, and Ahmed Best.
Directed By: George Lucas
Where I Watched It: Disney Plus
English Audio Description Available?: Yes
Description Provided By: Media Access Group
Narrated By: Miles Neff
The Plot: Anakin grew up into a moody teenager whose strength in the force has harmed his ability to deliver lines of dialogue. He secretly pines for a girl who we last saw was definitely older than him, yet now they look the same age. The Force ages you I guess. Then there’s a subplot revolving around the capture of a Senotar, the nefarious Count Dooku, less Jar Jar, and a clone army with some kid named Boba Fett. He probably won’t amount to much. Oh, and Obi Wan is still here, and he’s got a Disney Plus show coming out soon, which explains my rewatching of these movies.
My Thoughts On The Film: Since this is at least my third time through, I can say that I hate feeling like I have to watch this every time as a completionist. It’s sandwiched between better films.The good cut of the film would require removing any scene where Anakin speaks, dramatically reducing the screen time. When I’m old and near the end of my life cycle, and some young whippersnapper is asking me to review my lifetime in cinema, Hayden Christensen’s performance as Anakin Skywalker will always come up as one of the worst performances ever on screen. He made Natalie Portman worse, which is hard to do, and George Lucas put forth a script that doesn’t do them any favors.
Plus, when you’re blind, you lose all that visual splendor they want you to be distracted by, or his sex appeal (if you want to call it that), and his performance is stripped down to his ability to deliver lines. When you take everything away, he gets worse. I already didn’t like his performance, but now that all I can appreciate is his dialogue, it’s a horrendous experience at times.
There are some amazing action sequences here, don’t get me wrong. And Ewan McGregor is living his best life, trying really hard to be the best damn Kenobi this side of Tatooine. And Lee is always a great foil, so some stuff does work here, in spite of one of the worst casting choices in film history.
Of all the Star Wars films I’m about to review, this has, and will always be the bottom.
The Blind Perspective: Miles Neff is back, and his description, his obvious interest in what he’s describing continues to elevate the project. He makes things better. He would have made a great Anakin, as his reading ability was off the charts. That being said, this franchise still leans heavily on the “you should know who these people are, and if you don’t, then go find some sand to pound” mentality that runs rampant throughout the Star Wars films I’ve made it through so far. The idea that these characters are so instantly recognizable, and have triumphed in the war of pop culture, they need no introduction, and their reputation proceeds them. God help you if you watch these movies out of order, for the first time, because you will not get character descriptions. The closest we come to substantial character description is Anakin’s rat tail, and Padme’s shirt getting torn in the kind of way a straight male would have her shirt torn in the scene where her, Anakin, and Obi Wan are fighting for their life.
That being said, the random alien creatures get some description. In that Coliseum sequence, the three large beasts that come out are all well described. But, if you didn’t catch the inappropriate description for Jar Jar in the first film, there’s no reminding you of what he looks like here. So i hope you saw The Phantom Menace. And the moment he appears on film, his name is used immediately in the description, because like every other Star Wars character, he’s just that recognizable. His screen time is way down, but he’s still hanging around.
Final Thoughts: Still my least favorite in the series, and honestly trending downwards. Because, now I’m stuck just listening to Anakin. If there was an audio book I really wanted. One I needed. It was part of a franchise I was already invested in. And then I saw Hayden Christensen was the narrator for that audio book, I wouldn’t listen to it. I’d rather have the robotic stylings of Siri.
This is basically the one Star Wars movie I can’t ever in good faith actually ever recommend watching.
Final Grade: D+