May the Forced Be With You

Star Wars: Episode III-The Tsuris of Binks

Reviewed exclusively by Greedofreak77

Last Tuesday, May 7, at an undisclosed location on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, this correspondent was summoned by a Lucasfilm executive to see a classified, first-ever screening of the long-anticipated, eagerly awaited Star Wars: Episode III-The Tsuris of Binks , not due in theaters until June 2005!!

Let me just begin by saying, for those of us (and there are many) who were disappointed in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace and Star Wars: Episode II-Attack of the Clones , that director George Lucas has, in Episode III , returned to the TOP OF HIS GAME and solves many of the critical questions left unanswered by the first five films. The result is a film that is DARING, BRILLIANT and unmistakably the finest chapter of the entire Star Wars oeuvre !!!

WARNING! SUPER-SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

Many of us thought that, up until now, the worst of the Star Wars films were hampered by bad decisions: too much kid stuff in Episode I , too much gooey-love stuff in Episode II, too many Ewoks overall ….

I am happy to report that in Episode III , George Lucas (may he reign forever!!) gets down in the dirt and gives Star Wars nation what it TRULY CRAVES- craves -a thoughtful, introspective examination of the CONTINGENCY OF HUMAN EXISTENCE, the kind not seen since Albert Camus’ Myth of Sisyphus . This is the most literate Star Wars ever, the kind Lucas fans have expected from the man ever since THX 1138 . Think 81 ¼ 2 meets Passenger 57 : That’s how good this episode is!

As you might expect, you need good actors to pull this kind of thing off, and here there are plenty of top-drawer talents on hand. We were particularly staggered by Tony Curtis’ turn as Moomba Fett, awkward, dyspeptic cousin to Jango Fett, and by Piper Laurie as Zania Streetkreuser, the hawkish leader of the brewing Tatooine Conspiracy Brigade (known heretofore as T.C.B.). Also making their Star Wars debuts are Adam Carolla (Snaggleear), Jenna Jameson (Mish-Mish) and Larry King as the dynamic Hoth viceroy, Earl Jackson Jr.

As for fighting, oooh boy! I don’t know where to begin: the crystal light-saber fight, the Q-Wing fight, the clone fight, the Hutt fight, the bounty-hunter fight, the sand-barge fight, the Mark Hamill cameo- Episode III ruled!

I have to say, I don’t really know how anyone can appreciate Episode I and II without seeing Episode III . For example: I can now say without lying that Jar Jar Binks could be THE MOST IMPORTANT CHARACTER in the entire saga. This became clear during an extended flashback sequence, in which (now Senator) Binks’ patois, mannerisms and gait were explained through a combination of mythical references and special

effects. And you’ll never guess who HE’s related to. (Hint: Is anyone still wondering where Anakin Skywalker’s dad is? Hint: Did you see the way he was eyeing Shmi Skywalker back in Episode I ?) You’ll soon grow to love the Senator’s entire family (except Pip Binks, who is just plain annoying. I e-mailed George Lucas 23,003 times to leave him out of it, but he didn’t listen. Big mistake!!!).

Elsewhere, you’ll tremble as Hayden Christensen transforms into the evil Darth Vader; cry as a tipsy Obi-Wan propositions Buboicullaar for sex in an Af’El cantina; and laugh as Natalie Portman changes clothes over and over and over again. In addition, you’ll meet lots of relatives of the Star Wars characters you love: Mopp Solo, Seymour Calrissian, Tickel the Hutt and Attichitcuk (from whom Chewbacca was spawned). They all help fill in the nagging motivational questions from Episode IV through VI , the original trilogy.

Here are some other questions that Episode III: The Tsuris of Binks answers:

Why did Lando sell out Han near the end of Episode V ? It makes sense when you know Mopp once cheated Seymour during a friendly game of sabacc on Hoth.

How do the Jedi Knights make money? If you’re like me, you’ve probably been wondering this ever since Episode IV . Well, perhaps an appearance by Bodo Bass, keeper of the Jedi Holocron, will answer your question.

Why doesn’t Chewbacca speak English, despite his apparent ability to understand it when others speak to him? Could it have anything to do with his father’s shameful lisp, born of the jungles of Kashyyyk? I’m not going to go any further, but let’s just say this gorilla did not come from the mist!!

Why is Jabba so fat? You’ll discover something about a childhood eating disorder-and a father who ignored it-that may surprise you. You can also expect to learn even more about the Fett family than you did in Episode II -their deep-seated psychological need to become bounty hunters is at last completely clear. It made me want to watch Episode VI again so I could better understand the significance of Boba’s death by the Sarlacc in the Pit of Carkoon on Tatooine.

But the best thing about Episode III is probably the dialogue. Some people say George can’t write, but take this little exchange between Yoda and Mace Windu.

YODA: If you call this a short light-saber, you oppose its reality.

MACE: But if you do not call it a short light-saber, you ignore the fact.

YODA: Now, what will you call this?

MACE: Truly, Master Yoda, I have underestimated you.

YODA: Moo.

Cameron Crowe, eat your heart out!

And can I just say: Jimmy Smits is hot as Bail Organa. Hot, hot, hot. Hallie Eisenberg as a young Princess Leia? Talk about adding depth to the role! Haley Joel Osment as a young Luke Skywalker? Robert Iler as a young Han Solo? He owns this role. In a way that Harrison Ford never quite did. It just gets better and better.

O.K. Let me get my breath here. I was sworn to secrecy on this, so please don’t tell anyone I told you. O.K., O.K., I’m shaking as I write this. O.K. Here goes: HOWARD THE DUCK makes a guest appearance!!! Oh my God, it is so great. He’s completely digital. But it works. Oh, it works. And just wait, oh, just wait till you see how the Death Star plays into this. Did you ever see the last episode of Newhart? ! Well, Anakin doesn’t wake up in bed with Suzanne Pleshette, but you get the idea!

-Ian Blecher

And Don’t Forget Dear John Wayne Brady

This is television’s “upfront” week in New York City, when networks announce their shows for the upcoming fall season. Here are five shows that didn’t make the cut:

Late Night with Louis Rukeyser

Banished from PBS, the former Wall Street Week host takes financial acumen, eyebrows to television’s wee hours. First guests: Robert Rubin, Tony Randall.

Regarding Henry Goodman

Famed British thespian stars as actor who loses plum part in Broadway hit and is forced to take cheap studio apartment, role in Mame at P.S. 1.

Danza Fever

Returning to television for the first time in eight days, former Taxi, Who’s the Boss and Family Law star Tony Danza hosts bump-and-grind talent show.

The Michael Richards Show

Former Seinfeld imp cast as witless private detective.

The Charles Nelson O’Reilly Factor

Ex– Match Game regular enters talk-show circus, pledges “No-Lynde Zone.”

-Jason Gay