Episode 3's mixed reviews, Sith leaked, DRM fails

by Mike Shea on 19 May 2005

Today is the day we can finally sit back and say "yeah, I saw all the new Star Wars movies and they all sort of sucked."

The reviews have been mixed. Metacritic currently gives Revenge of the Sith a 68.

Rolling Stone Magazine's review said "To hail Revenge of the Sith as a satisfying bridge to a classic is not just playing a game of the Emperor's New Clothes, it's an insult to what the original accomplished. To paraphrase Padme: This is how truth dies -- to thunderous applause."

The New Yorker review quotes a particularly nausiating bit of dialog:

"You're so beautiful." "That's only because I'm so in love." "No, it's because I'm so in love with you."

Ebert agrees in Ebert's review of Sith:

"To say that George Lucas cannot write a love scene is an understatement; greeting cards have expressed more passion."

Those are just the bad ones, however. Kevin Smith, writer and director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, and Jersey Girl, had this to say in Smith's review of Episode 3: "Revenge of the Sith is, quite simply, fucking awesome. This is the "Star Wars" prequel the haters have been bitching for since "Menace" came out, and if they don't cop to that when they finally see it, they're lying.".

Other interesting news, according to Boing Boing, a bootleg of Star Wars Episode 3 was leaked from Lucasfilm proving how little digital rights protection really matters. We suffer every day under the oppressive thumb of huge corporations and their armies of lawyers. They pay lobbyists who whore for politicians to pass laws that prevent older work, the work of dead men who wished nothing but to have their voice heard, from surviving. Disney got Senator Sonny Bono to pass a 95 year copyright extension that prevents books like Orwell's 1984, H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos, and Robert Howard's Conan stories from falling into the public domain where they belong.

Instead we can buy our music for 100x the cost of them to produce it. $1 for a song is far above and beyond a reasonable cost. We suffer with DVD copyright protection that won't allow us to view these DVDs legally on opensource software. We cannot back up our own copies of our music or movies to preserve it for our children. Instead they rot on platters of silver and aluminum, slowly oxidizing every day until twenty years from now they cannot be played at all.

Wired online (where I was recently quoted) just posted an article titled Give Your DVD Player the Finger. Researchers are working on ways to require fingerprint scans to watch your own purchased DVDs. Sure, it sounds far fetched and it probably is, but its the direction things are heading.

None of these oppressive customer-hurting protection techniques does any good when it comes to protecting movies. Star Wars Episode 3 has been released on the internet and it was leaked from the master copies at Lucasfilm. All of their lawyers, all of the copyright protection they wrap around their paying customers like a lead coat, all of the "you're hurting the little guy" propaganda they feed us between ads for coke and honda after we paid our $15 to sit and watch their shitty movies, none of it works.

Will Lucas lose any money? Nope. The amount of money changing hands on promotional tie-ins alone paid for the production costs of the movie. Lucas could give the movie away for free and still turn a profit.

So go wait in line for two hours to sit in bad chairs drinking watered-down $5 cokes and watching the M&M ads you paid $15 to see. I'm going into the Virginia mountains to go read a book.