The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. You can see the move ripping at the seams. There’s a lot of story to pack in here. Lots of it feels clipped, rushed, off-kilter. Romances are un-earned. Jarring shifts in tone. Gimli has a lot more to say. Legolas slides on a shield? It’s a mess, but may have the best landscapes of the trilogy.
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Appreciated the soundtrack more this time around. Pretty sure it’s borrowing from Dvorak. Also reminded me of The Last of the Mohicans in mood. Great work with the suspense and setting the sense, and such a great ending. Not a teaser, but a promise of adventure.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I don’t know how you could watch the prequels and pick anyone other than Obi-Wan Kenobi as the coolest guy in the galaxy. I also appreciate that it undercuts the Jedi a bit. They are powerful and try to do some good, but they mess up a lot. I really dig the psychological battles and manipulation in this one. Great stuff. While Christensen is not a good actor, I buy into his tortured melodrama because I believe in Darth Vader’s arc. You’ll forgive a lot if the story is worth believing in. Would have loved more of that. Meanwhile, who the hell is General Grievous? (Know what’s cooler than two light sabers? Four light sabers!) Yeesh. Better than the other two prequels, I think, and a good way to close things out.
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. One of my major complaints of the prequels is that everything looks so nice, and nothing really feels lived in. Very true in this one. I like that we get to hang out with Obi-Wan so much, doing private eye stuff, chasing down assassins. Overstuffed and scattered, though, and there’s just no way that Anakin & Padme fall in love. Teen Anakin is a nightmare. While I don’t see him in that relationship, I can start to feel for him here, just tragicomically buffeted by his emotions, absolutely at their mercy. The soundtrack is in peak form here, too.