So here we are, in 2011. I've just finished watching the Red Letter Media review of Star Wars 3, and while it felt a little over-padded at 1 hour 50 minutes, it was good, entertaining stuff.
Plinkett has made watching the star wars prequels into something more than a waste of time. they now seem like an investment, without which, i could not have enjoyed his feature length reviews.
And then this comes up on the internet - a response to the SW1 review. It misses the mark so tragically in so many ways.
So why do i think so much of plinkett? Firstly - it's so internet. it's so now.
these things simply could not have existed 15 years ago. the technological advancements which george lucas claims he has waited for so that he can get his vision directly from his head onto celluloid (do they still use celluloid?) are the same ones that allow some bedroom filmaker to mercilessly take him to task for his lack of vision. sorry to use 'vision' twice in that sentence. and better still, it's free - you couldn't sell something that steals so wholesale from someone else's work anyway, but it's freely distributable. I'd happily buy a boxset of these reviews, but it's not even an option. of course, there's red letter media's feature films, and you can donate...
secondly - the framing device of 'being plinkett'. plinkett's a good character; a balanced mix of humourous idiot and insightful critic. furthermore, the pornocidal maniac side of him that comes out gradually sweetens the irony - because what kind of a madman would honestly spend this time and energy nitpicking his way through these reviews? and yet you agree with him - reflecting the joke back on you. and you enjoy laughing at yourself, because you like Star Wars.
The humour is so important to the reviews - it makes it all worthwhile. But by comparing the prequels to not just the originals, but to everything from citizen kane to the last starfighter, he shows up just how many specific mistakes lucas makes in his films.
all these qualities are entirely absent from Raynor's response to Plinkett - attempting to parody his obsessiveness by nitpicking _his_ way through 108 pages of pdf.
The first thing that strikes me about Raynor's analysis of Plinkett is you thought SW1 was a GOOD FILM? i had the same response to this post on io9 about going cold turkey from star wars: i can't sit here and read an article by someone who can sit through the prequels and not feel traumatised, especially if that person was partly responsible for Lost.
Raynor argues that by using the written word to criticise Plinkett, he's helping us - we can skim it, we can search through it, it's handier. But it's completely retrograde. Plinkett is brilliant because it's a film, more entertaining than the film he's criticising. It's content and form - he's telling us where Lucas has gone wrong, and showing us how to do it right. What's Raynor doing? an extended, poorly-formatted diatribe in defence of a bad film. This isn't entertainment.
He responds to almost every point Plinkett makes, often with a withering comment, sometimes agreeing with him. But his responses are usually not addressing the point Plinkett is making, and Raynor's obviously having an argument with his monitor, and suffering from the illusion that because he can respond to his monitor and not vice versa, he's won, no matter how weak or inconsequential his remarks are. His attempt at explaining the actual plot of the film still leaves me confused as to who is doing what to whom and why, which just backs up Plinkett's whole point more. "Stoklasa has time to make all this silly speculation, but he doesn't mention the easy explanation that actually works: That the Trade Federation is reliant on trade, and the taxes on trade routes are negatively affecting them. They're blockading Naboo as a protest to the Republic government." wtf? when lorry drivers protested about petrol prices, they blockaded petrol stations. wtf has naboo got to do any of their space taxes? Raynor is right when he calls the space taxes a Mcguffin, but a mcguffin is supposed to be something you understand the importance of - like, hey, the plans to a battle station with the power to destroy entire planets.
I'm becoming Plinkett here, because what he does best in criticising the prequels is make me really appreciate how great the original films are. Every comment he makes, he backs up with a comparison to something that does it well. Raynor's idea of a good film is SW1, so he's onto a loser. By trying to explain the plot, he just highlights how chaotic and/or complicated it is.
Most of all, Raynor reminds me of a bible fan who can't cope with criticism and is just lashing back without actually considering that his opponent's arguments have already taken his responses into account. He just comes across as nasty. the more of it I read, the less tasteful it gets; Raynor seems to have taken Plinkett's attacks as both real and personal, and is responding as such.
So did you see what I did there? I compared Plinkett to Raynor, to show how had the review is and how good the original is, which is like an analogy with what Plinkett did - reviewing the one thing, to remind you how good the older thing is.
It's like it rhymes... yeah?
anyway, let's remember the good times: