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[ 3 ] May 20, 2005 |

Walking argument against nepotism John Podhoretz argues:

It opens next week. I saw it, and here’s the thing: It’s unbelievably bad. O I’m telling you this because movie critics won’t. So far all the early reviews — all of them, from Variety to the Hollywood Reporter to Time magazine — have been favorable. Why? Because while the movie critics of my long-ago youth were middlebrow snobs suspicious of populist entertainment, today’s critics have turned into toadies. They are afraid of being on an audience’s bad side, afraid that a movie they will pan might really strike a chord. Since it’s a foregone conclusion that the final Star Wars is going to make a jillion dollars, the safe thing for critics to do is say nice things about it.

Well, if anybody should know about this phenomenon, it’s L-Pod, as you can see from his review of The Phantom Menace. (“Forget the hype, and the backlash. The Phantom Menace is captivating.”) I can’t really respect a belated discovery that George Lucas is a fourth-rate filmmaker because of political objections (and ones that even Instapundit basically admits are spurious in any case.)

It must be admitted, though, that the positive reception given to the latest episode doesn’t compel me to see it for the reasons I’ve discussed before. Although this has been largely forgotten in retrospect, the contemporaneous critical and fanboy reception to The Phantom Menace was quite positive. I have no doubt that this one is better, but that’s not enough for me to particularly want to see it. Obviously, the kinds of shitty movies one likes and doesn’t like are among the most personal and irrational distinctions, but my disinterest in the Lucas-directed Star Wars pictures is captured well by Stephanie Zacharek. Pretentious New-Ageisms really rub me the wrong way, I don’t feel much desire to get back in touch with my ten-year-old male self, and the vacuous grandiosity of the whole project isn’t really want I’m looking for in a popcorn movie. (“Revenge of the Sith might be tolerable if it weren’t designed to be taken seriously” rings true to me.)

But hey, most of you will see it and enjoy it, and that’s great. Just don’t reduce your pleasure or lack thereof to crude political reductionisms…

…and, of course, the man Podhoretz aspires to be offers a roundup of idiotic attempts to read ROTS as a political essay, and asks his fans when they’ll see the film: The week it opens, the month it opens, on DVD, or “never because of the left-wing political slant of the film.” I would say to distort the poll to torture Michael Medved, but really, isn’t being Michael Medved torture enough?

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