I saw Episode III last night with The Spork, who disliked it more than I. The most maddening thing about the recent Start Wars movies -- and recent sci-fi movies in general -- is that they don't even make sense within the context of their own fantasy. The rest of the post contains spoilers, but should I bother warning you? Who hasn't seen it yet?
First off, the pre-natal care in Star Wars is atrocious. How could they not know that Padme was carrying twins? Don't they have ultrasounds? Plus, medical care in general is pretty bizarre. If you fall into lava and get dismembered, don't worry, we'll fix you right up; if you "lose the will to live" and give birth to twins, you're doomed. Haven't they heard of therapy?
Second, everything looks too high-tech. One of the coolest things about the original series was that the spaceships looked like someone built them in their garage. The Millenium Falcon was sweet because it was falling apart. All the ships in the new series look like they were designed by Dr. Seuss.
Third, the war-fighting just doesn't make sense. Why would you ever attack on the ground when you've got spaceships in orbit? Just bombard everything -- particularly when you're fighting giant ewoks with crossbows. (Were the little people too busy filming Willow 2?) Plus, why would Jedi ever get into a spaceship? They're nigh-invincible on the ground, but helpless against vacuum. The easiest time to kill a Jedi is when he's in space, so naturally they spend all their time flying around in tiny helpless spaceships. Why? Because...
Fourth, Jedis are stupid. The Light Side is supposed to eliminate all attachment to anything? Sounds like nihilism. The Dark Side seems much more practical, and if its users weren't murderous maniacs they could actually craft a much more just and useful social structure than any Light Sider could. The problem with Force-users in general is that they're so individually powerful that it's hard for the political process to balance their influence. Philisophically, I'd rather have a Dark Lord of the Sith for Chancellor than some annoying Jedi always pontificating at me; practically, Force-users would be way too powerful to co-exist with regular humans. Further, why was the Light Side so loyal to the Senate and the Republic? I thought they weren't supposed to care about anything. Whatever; it's stupid.
Fifth, George Lucas cannot write dialogue. Everyone knows this. I could ad lib more poignant and humorous scenes opposite a plaster bust of Adam Weishaupt. Maybe Lucas isn't doing as much drugs as he was in the 70s. That being the case, the prequels could have been done as silent movies with letterboards flashing on screen to indicate speech. I'm pregnant! Cue dramatic organ music. That's great! Dun dun dun! Computer generated actors could be used to give the characters a more lifelike appearance.
Sixth, where was Jar Jar Binks? We only got one tiny shot of him walking in a parade near the end. Holy crap, he should have been heeling Anakin every step of the way for a little hilarious comic relief.
Seventh, the part at the end with Darth Vader screaming "Noooooooo!" with his arms in the air was really stupid. C'mon.
Eighth, Qui-Gon Jinn was the first Jedi to become a ghost, but we never see him in Episodes IV through VI? That makes total sense. Plus, if it's something you have to learn, who teaches Anakin/Vader in Episode VI?
Ninth, the whole lightsaber fighting gimmick is done wrong. Robots can't use lightsabers, or at least not effectively against a Jedi. The reason Jedi can use lightsabers and other people can't is, supposedly, because they can use the Force to look slightly into the future to see what their opponent is going to do. They can block blasters not because their arms are fast, but because they know in advance where the blaster bolt is going to be. Robots can't use the Force, so they can't compete with a Jedi using lightsabers.
Tenth, eh, whatever. Time to go watch the originals again. I'm disappointed, but no more than I expected to be.