The Deipnosophist

Where the science of investing becomes an art of living

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Location: Summerlin, Nevada, United States

A private investor for 20+ years, I manage private portfolios and write about investing. You can read my market musings on three different sites: 1) The Deipnosophist, dedicated to teaching the market's processes and mechanics; 2) Investment Poetry, a subscription site dedicated to real time investment recommendations; and 3) Seeking Alpha, a combination of the other two sites with a mix of reprints from this site and all-original content. See you here, there, or the other site!

21 May 2005

Dear George (Lucas),

A friend convinced me that your new movie, Star Wars III - The Revenge of the Sith, not only is entertaining and exciting, but a good film, and that I should hurry to see it. So, in defiance of prior experience (your seeming inability to write good, meaningful dialogue or even to direct people rather than sequences of special effects), I plunked down the $9 to enjoy this movie.

Alas, what a dud; neither entertaining, nor exciting. The light saber duels were boring, and the set pieces of special effects merely droned on. Motion does not imply action, just as telling us something is not the same thing as showing us.

And your failure to abide by that last admonition is what really angers me. You chose to make as the linchpin of this movie the conversion of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader, and yet you were true neither to the story, nor its characters, and certainly not to your audience. To wit:

*Anakin's love for Padme: Sorry, but you failed to show their mutual, all-consuming love. Yes, you told us, but you didn't show us. The actors struggled to breathe life into these characters but failed; they were provided with neither the writing nor the direction to rise above the material;
*Anakin's hotheadedness, which leads to poor decisions: Really, he comes across more as a dolt than menacing. (Menace requires more than looking out of the tops of one's eyes...) How stupid is Anakin? Well, he has tested his dual 'loyalties' to the Jedis and the Chancellor; each want him to spy on the other. Rather than have this situation tear him asunder, to add gravitas to his character and the film by, perhaps, his discussing the matter with the one person he trusts - his wife, Padme, which would deepen the story based on who she is - you instead have the character do... what, precisely? Anakin's decisions come from the writer (you), not the character.

And what is with Anakin's nightmares? They never come true, so isn't everything Anakin does and will do predicated on a self-told lie? And yet you fail to investigate that inconsistency, which deprives the character of added complexity. And why the hell did you not have Obi wan Kenobi and Darth Vader cum Anakin talk to each other during their duel? Their relationship is purportedly one of mentor/student, friends, even brothers, and not until duel's ends do their arms stop flailing and their mouths start flapping. ('Tis but another wasted opportunity to provide deeper layers of character, complexity, and meaning.)

This is all so stupid. When Mace Windu battles Darth Siduous, you have Mace utter, "You will be tried before the Senate!" but when Anakin is in the room, this changes to 'I will kill you now!' What prompts this change? I can only guess that it provides motivation for Anakin to cross over to the Dark Side but nothing that comes before this moment prompts the characters (nor us, the viewers), to know this change is coming. The term for this is deux ex machina - the machinery of the gods; in this instance, the god is you, and you make this inorganic change in character for the sake of dramatic expediency. Except it is anything but dramatic or expedient. And a mistake you foist repeatedly on us, the viewers.

Fiction (especially fantastic fiction), requires the willing suspension of disbelief. I am willing to suspend my disbelief but you must provide the reason; which reason, in this movie, is characters who make decisions, good or bad, because those decisions are consistent with their motivations and the tale's own sense of internal logic. You defy this logic (a logic, btw, that you created) whenever it suits your whim. Like how the hell are those humans breathing on that molten world without the aid of any apparatus -- wouldn't the atmosphere be noxious, if not toxic?

This movie got made due to your wanting to complete your vision, and with the best of intentions. And yet you seemingly are surrounded by nothing other than 'Yes men' who cannot deny the glories of your vision, and thus were reluctant if not afraid to say, "No! This is stupid and needs work!" In turn, we all become complicit as your 'yes men' by paying to see this movie, thereby enriching you at the cost of impoverishing our wallets -- and our minds.

I do not wish to be another 'yes man'. Therefore, I request you refund the cost of my admission ticket. I will forward privately my mailing address.

Thank you,

David M Gordon

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