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Monday, May 23, 2005

Commando Cody

Posted by: Hammer / 8:15 AM

I suggest a sequel to celebrity boxing: confine Hayden Christensen and Mark Hamill on stage. Who ever can act their way out of a paper bag first, goes home. Todd Bridges deliver a Jedi Kick in the Jimmy to the loser. Morning line has Hamill as the 2:5 favorite.

I really liked Revenge of the Sith, except the parts with the kissing and talking. Christensen, in particular, had developed the unique Force ability to make every other actor worse. He even made the hugely likable and talented Natalie Portman difficult to watch. Of course, she might've just been upset that her character dies of a broken heart. I'm sure most women conclude they have nothing worth living for immediately after delivering twins. Let's see -- their father is hopelessly evil...yep, time to orphan them! "Either those CGI curtains go, or I do!"

The equally likable and eye-candtastic Ewan McGregor was similarly disappointing. While Portman was required to be melodramatic, McGregor's character demanded that he be under-dramatic. Jedi, of course, have replaced human emotional attachment with burlap robes. So, McGregor's Obi-Wan must simultaneously be horrified by the slaughter of the younglings and not really care. McGregor nailed the last half of that equation.

Even Yoda got into the bad acting act. Poor Frank Oz. He's sure to be typecast now.

I digress.

George Lucas answers all his critics about 2/3 through the movie. Darth Sidious gives an order to a Stormtrooper/Clone Warrior. His name? Commander Cody. The only Stormtrooper to have a name in any of the films.

Who is Commander Cody? It's an obvious reference to Commando Cody, star of the 1950s action serials. I'm far too young to have seen the original Republic serials (maybe Jambo saw them projected against the side of a herd of bison where he grew up), but Mystery Science Theater aired many of the Radar Men from the Moon story:

3 years later Republic returns the rocket suit to the screen in another 12-chapter cliffhanger serial with a new rocketman character- Commando Cody. Cody, who is employed as a scientist with a top-level government agency doesn't wear a uniform or a mask but somehow has obtained the flying suit. Cody & his colleagues become aware of some suspicious atomic activity taking place on the moon as well as several mysterious incidents of sabotage on earth that appear to be related. Cody & his assistants develop an atomic powered rocketship to explore the moon where he quickly finds out about the existence of a race of moonmen & their evil scheme. Cody takes 12 chapters to defeat Retik, the Ruler of the Moon & his radarmen ultimately preventing them from launching a wide-scale invasion of the earth. Stock footage from "King of the Rocketmen" is used for most of the flying scenes. Clayton Moore, TV's Lone Ranger, appears as a henchmen working for the alien force.
George Lucas is telling the audience (and, I think, Jambo specifically) to relax. Forget that the only thing he loves more than adding "M'lady"s to the script is a diagonal wipe. This is an action serial: full of Jedi battles, exciting chases, ridiculous dialog, and groaning plot holes. It is what it is. In the immortal words of Bazooka Jerm: Learn to love it.

16 Comments:

maybe Jambo saw them projected against the side of a herd of bison where he grew up

I'm so glad you said "bison" instead of "buffalo."

I grew up there, too, and can tell you that the rare albino bison is the only decent screen for the talkies.

By Blogger Joseph, at 8:40 AM  

You learn a few things after 1,000 trips to the MN Zoo.

By Blogger Hammer, at 9:29 AM  

After the movie, you get to slaughter and grill the screen. So very delicious.

By Anonymous D, at 9:38 AM  

It's nice to return to such simple pleasures. It's so easy to get caught up in the fast-paced city life of Sioux Falls.

By Blogger Hammer, at 9:39 AM  

I have to go to Bismarck for a funeral this week. There's a cafe that has an excellent bison burger with cheese. Mmm, tasty bison.

By Anonymous Jerjo of Adderall, at 12:09 PM  

Hammer, Natalie Portman is a pretty gal, but hugely talented? Really? I think Natalie's performance was plenty bad, even without assistance from Hayden (see cornball scenes with Ewan McGregor).

By Blogger lmb, at 12:29 PM  

All right, upon further review, perhaps "hugely" was modifying only "likeable". I can deal with just talented.

By Blogger lmb, at 12:34 PM  

Yes, "hugely likable" but merely "talented". I don't know if she's had a performance as good as The Professional in the last 11 years, but at least we know she's capable of acting.

By Blogger Hammer, at 12:45 PM  

I have it on good authority that Hayden's performance in Shattered Glass does not suck. It is in my queue.

By Blogger lmb, at 1:20 PM  

There's no question that Lucas has no idea how to direct actors. He deserves a share of the blame for the performances, as well.

By Blogger Hammer, at 1:34 PM  

Now, I don't want to make excuses for the bad performances, but let's also remember that they are often acting in nothing but blue space, talking to themselves. Without a good director and in the absence of any real surroundings to help them, well, you'd have to be Steve Burns to not suck.

By Anonymous Mrs. Hammer, at 1:54 PM  

Steve Burns is to Donovan Patton as Trace Beaulieu is to Bill Corbett.

By Blogger Hammer, at 2:04 PM  

"let's also remember that they are often acting in nothing but blue space, talking to themselves. Without a good director and in the absence of any real surroundings to help them, well, you'd have to be Steve Burns to not suck."

I think the emphasis should be on the words "without a good director". The cast of the Lord of the Rings worked in front of blue screens and did fine. Oh what a difference a director makes.

In the "making of" disc of the Star Wars DVD box, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher have quite a laugh over George's direction of actors.

By Anonymous Jerjo of Adderall, at 7:44 AM  

Is that the seal bit? Where Lucas's only directions were "faster" and "more energy"?

By Blogger Hammer, at 7:49 AM  

I think you are thinking of the photo shoot in Lost In Translation.

By Blogger Jambo, at 11:48 AM  

Similar, but different.

By Blogger Hammer, at 12:14 PM  

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