Ain't It Cool News (www.aintitcool.com)
Movie News

Alexandra DuPontReviews BothSITH And SERENITY!!HER FINAL AICNREVIEWS EVER!!

I am – Hercules!!

Who is Alexandra DuPont? Imagine Morena Baccarin crossed with a pre-Billy Bob Angelina Jolie and a 19-year-old Monica Bellucci. Your dream girlfriend, only taller, smarter, skinnier, cuter, more scantily clad and without the crazy.

Convinced for a time that her breakthrough experimentations with coherent light and the human genome project were somehow more important than reviewing movies, young Lexy for a time appraised only projects tied to her oldest and most reviled archnemesis, George Lucas. But it appears that, for her last Ain’t It Cool News appearance, she’s expanding into Joss Whedon territory as well.

You heard me right: this is her last AICN post ever, and it’s a bittersweet day for those of us who have long labored beside her. DuPont started here in 1999 and turned out to be such a gifted wordslinger (some, myself included, regard her as this site’s all-time best) that she now enjoys (under another name entirely) a major career as a highly paid, nationally published entertainment journalist.

And, as a consequence, she is done writing free stuff for our sorry asses. But least she’s going out reviewing two (in my view) spectacular big-screen entertainments, to say nothing of the year’s most talked-about.

Entirely too many mainstream reviews of this film will use the headline 'Return of the Jedi':
ALEXANDRA DuPONT's SPOILER-PACKED 'REVENGE OF THE SITH' FAQ

Q. So you saw "Revenge of the Sith?

A. I did.

Q. Give us a four-word review.

A. Bloody hell! It's good!

Q. You're not one of those prequel apologists, are you?

A. Please:

My "Phantom Menace" review, 1999: "Those of you waiting in line for Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace are, in my opinion, setting yourselves up for a grave disappointment. Either that, or you're about to brainwash yourselves into the short-term, delusional embrace of a sub-par cinematic product - which is even worse."

My "Attack of the Clones" review, 2002: "If these last two Star Wars movies have taught me anything, it's that all my prior rantings about Star Wars needing to be mythologically and thematically coherent and profound no longer apply. Those rantings were, in retrospect, most likely the justifications of a young adult who wanted to explain why she'd liked a pulp sci-fi/fantasy series so emphatically - and who gleefully adopted as her own the 'Power of Myth' mental gymnastics handed to her on a platter by Joseph Campbell and the Lucasfilm P.R. machine."

Not only that, but I'd read the "Revenge of the Sith" screenplay and thought it was one of the worst piles of over-expository, ill-structured offal I'd ever read. Some "favorite" quotes:

SUPER BATTLE DROID: Don't move, dummy. Ouch! Zap this.

or

MACE WlNDU: Aarrrrggghhhhh . . . Aarrrrggghhhhh . . .

Or even what read, on the page, as maybe the single most abrupt transition to evil in the history of movies:

ANAKIN: What have I done?

ANAKIN sits.

PALPATINE: You are fulfilling your destiny, Anakin. Become my apprentice. Learn to use the dark side of the Force.

ANAKIN: I will do whatever you ask.

I mean, really: "Anakin sits"?! Why not just hand him a latte while you're at it?

Between that and the dull footage from the Trivial Pursuit "Star Wars" edition that came out a few weeks ago, I walked into the "Sith" preview screening expecting to be appalled, insulted, bored and almost suicidally depressed over my misspent youth - which would have led, frankly, to a much funnier review than the one that follows.

Q. So you liked "Revenge of the Sith"?

A. I may have even loved it a little.

Q. What, were you bribed?

A. Only by quality, dear reader. Only by quality.

The bottom line is that "Sith" has a discipline - an aggressive discipline - missing from Episodes I and II. It is just repeatedly not-embarrassing at nearly every turn. Most of the flabby expository walks to landing pads have been neatly snipped. Important things are said with images instead of words. The special effects are better, but draw less attention to themselves.

Putting it another way: The first two prequels are what I call "landing strut" movies. Before digital effects, showing a spaceship extending its landing gear and plomping to the ground with any sort of believable physical weight was difficult; you only see it a few times in the original trilogy, and most of that turns up in "Return of the Jedi." But the prequels are just chock-full of landings and gear-extending and dust kick-ups, and a landing sequence was actually lengthened in "The Empire Strikes Back Special Edition." Is this because showing these landings was somehow crucial to the advancement of the story? No; it's because ILM now had the technical ability to show them. And of course, in narrative terms, it plays like a movie full of people parking their cars. "Revenge of the Sith" mostly avoids that, despite featuring an unholy amount of commuting - more than in the previous two prequels combined, I think.

Putting it yet another way: Jar-Jar Binks is in two crowd shots in "Sith." And he never says a word.

Q. But I was hoping Jar-Jar would have a redemptive character arc or be killed by Anakin! And what about that rumored guest appearance by Quinlan Vos?!

A. Maybe you should stop reading this review. One of the best things about "Revenge of the Sith" is that it jettisons every supporting character or subplot (with the exception of General Grievous and some nice-looking stuff involving Wookiees; more on them in a second) that doesn't move the story forward.

Here's another example: Remember Padme's bodyguard, Captain Typho? He has one or two lines. In a single long shot. Thank God.

Q. So how is it that this movie is so much better than the last two?

A. I have my suspicions. First of all, there was just more mandatory story that had to be told: The Clone Wars had to end, Anakin had to be seduced by Palpatine and the Dark Side of the Force, the Anakin/Padme romance had to end tragically, twins had to be born and hidden, Darth Sidious' co-conspirators and the Jedi Knights had to be wiped out, and there had to be an absolutely bitchin' lightsaber duel, preferably with lava, that ended with Anakin being set ablaze.

Q. So that's the story of the movie, then?

A. Pretty much. It's actually a little less Gothic than that in its overall vibe. And it moves. There are scenes that consist, in their entirety, of people walking down a hallway and talking urgently for 10 seconds, with transition wipes on either side - very "New Hope." (It's especially "New Hope" considering that, in one instance, said hallway is in the Rebel Blockade Runner Tantive IV, which was just geektastically wonderful to see.) The movie can be divided into four fairly tidy sections:

(1) An opening space-battle / rescue / lightsaber-melee / crash-landing that more or less captures the scruffy fun of "A New Hope." After the title crawl, we pan down to a Star Destroyer and a wicked opening shot. It feels like an announcement: "Please relax and feel free to giggle, as we'll be kicking it old-school for the next 20 minutes."

(2) Then the film crash-lands on Coruscant for a little while as everyone has trysts and meetings and conspires a bit. These scenes are considerably more compelling than their counterparts in the last two films, but there are still a few too many of them, and I was beginning to get nervous. And then:

(3) Anakin's final seduction is intercut with Yoda and Obi-Wan off having jaunty adventures that serve little purpose beyond getting the two of them away from the soon-to-be-set-ablaze Jedi Temple. That said, these are relatively fun diversions - and certainly no more silly than having Han and Leia land in the gullet of a giant space slug.

(4) And then Anakin turns. And the movie turns into a surprisingly moving opera. There were tears at my screening; the scene where The Mask is dropped on Anakin's head as he's vacuum-sealed into The Suit produced horror-movie chills. Spielberg isn't spinning you this time. It's that good.

Q. So back to the previous question, because I'm still having trouble believing your turnaround: How is it, again, that this movie is so much better than the last two?

A. Well, second, and this is just a pet theory, I think Spielberg and Coppola - possibly the only two guys on earth in a position to tell Mr. Lucas when he's doing something wrong - rode him early and often on the subject of "Sith"'s pacing and structure and its desperate need to lack robots who call each other "dummy."

(BTW, that "dummy" moment is in the Trivial Pursuit footage, but it's nowhere to be found in the final edit - marking possibly the first time a "Star Wars" prequel's sneak-peek footage has been improved upon by the final edit.)

Third, Lucas hired Francis Ford Coppola's dialect coach, and it shows. All "Star Wars" dialogue is vaguely formal and/or silly - been to Tosche Station lately? - but delivered with proper conviction, the words have, at times, taken on an alien, timeless quality that feels a bit like myth. In "Sith," there's a lot less of the cloying, stalkerish love-prattle between Anakin and Padme that nearly unmanned "Clones," but what little there is is delivered in the zip-code of believability - even by Natalie Portman, a great actress who couldn't have sounded more embarrassed during the preceding four hours and change.

Fourth, and even better, vast swaths of story are told without words - with tons of Coppola-esque cross-cutting - backed by a John Williams score that now sounds deeply, powerfully sad where it sounded kind of dull to me just a few days prior.

Two of my favorite examples of this involve, incredibly, Anakin and Padme.

We first see Padme in this film standing in the shadows behind a pillar, in that ridiculous but weirdly nostalgic cinnamon-bun hairdo, watching Anakin walk away from his latest feat of derring-do. She has a look of nervous longing - she's about to tell Anakin she's pregnant - and this silent moment says more about their relationship than the entire previous film. Then, later, as Anakin sits alone in the Jedi Temple, wondering whom he should be helping - Palpatine or the Jedi about to arrest Palpatine - he looks across the city at Padme's apartment. At the same time, she's looking across the city at the Jedi Temple. The calm, wordless connection that follows - all of it accomplished with special effects and digital cameras and a couple of discreet zooms - may end up going down as one of the great "Star Wars" moments.

The floor is now open for questions.

Q. Is this the greatest "Star Wars" movie ever?

A. Not even close. That honor still belongs to "Empire," followed closely by "A New Hope." Both those films have an urgency to them that "Episode III" could never muster. But "Sith" edges out "Jedi" - if only because "Sith" lacks Ewoks, and because "Sith"'s Emperor comes off as more than a cackling, flour-dipped prune who speaks in sound bites while lightning spews out of his fingers.

Q. So Ian McDiarmid gives another great performance, does he?

A. He surpasses every expectation I had for the Palpatine/Emperor transformation. This is not said lightly. In "Revenge of the Sith," you actually understand where he's coming from.

You actually, in a way, kind of like him.

Mr. McDiarmid - even in the very awful "Star Wars" movies, of which there are two - has demonstrated a gift for rolling silly lines around in his mouth and making them sound like Shakespeare. (I'm a huge fan of the way he says "I love democracy!" in "Clones.") He's one of those classic, classy actors who actually seems to relish delivering his lines, without embarrassment, like he's facing off against Basil Rathbone in a 1930s serial. When Palpatine finally emerges in all his evil, lightning-scarred glory, sound designer Ben Burtt gives McDiarmid's line deliveries a sort of deep-bass echo - as if every word were traveling through Palpatine's larynx after being sung by a chorus in the bowels of Hell - and it is just wicked to the ears.

But in "Sith," McDiarmid also gets to lay out a coherent philosophy to Anakin during one of their many confrontations. "Anakin, if one is to understand the great mystery, one must study all its aspects, not just the dogmatic, narrow view of the Jedi," he says, quite sensibly. "If you wish to become a complete and wise leader, you must embrace a larger view of the Force. "

You know, who wouldn't get behind that?

Please notice that I keep bringing up the non-action bits as great moments in the film. Given what's come before, do please note how incredible that is. One of my favorite scenes is the one where Palps begins working his seductive magic on Anakin in an opera house. It's like something out of "The Godfather," and McDiarmid knows precisely how much fun to have with every melodramatic syllable. (Nor is this the only blatant Coppola reference in the film; there's a moment where a grim-faced Yoda is talking to Anakin in front of some closed shades, with sunlight slatting the wee Jedi Master's face in chiaroscuro, and I half-expected Yoda to mutter "Fuckin' Saigon." Someone has actually Photoshopped "Apocalypse Now Yoda" somewhere - I vaguely recall seeing it in a Fark.com comment thread - and I'd love to see it linked in TalkBack.)

Q. But what about that horrible scripted moment, reproduced earlier, where Anakin does this one-sentence flip from good to evil?

A. In the telling, it's a bit more complicated than that. It's still not perfect, but it's at least worthy of debate. Some of the onscreen flip is non-verbal, but it's also just a long time coming, and there's never really a clean or immediate turn to evil. The overall sense in "Sith" - which doesn't necessarily come across in the text - is of a set of tumblers clicking into place, locking Anakin into his destiny. It's surprisingly tidy and kind of merciless.

I love that Anakin is caught by both pride and a lie. He wants to learn the Dark Side of the Force to give Padme eternal life, but he's also fooled by Palpatine into believing there's a genuine Jedi conspiracy against the Chancellor. When Anakin bursts into the room at one crucial moment, all he sees is Mace Windu holding a lightsaber to an unarmed Palpatine's throat - and after what follows, no one really gets a chance to dissuade him from the notion that Mace was about to assassinate the man who runs the galaxy. For all I know, when he meets Obi-Wan again on the Death Star a couple of decades later, Anakin still thinks the Jedi hatched a plot to kill his boss.

And finally - and this is a credit to Hayden Christensen's performance - Anakin gets a few tender moments with Padme even after he's slaughtered a roomful of children. He's not "evil" in the 2-D, mustache-twirling sense until the final duel with Obi-Wan, and maybe not even then. Again, it's surprisingly complicated.

Q. So how is that final lightsaber duel? Is it wickedly awesome?

A. It's impressive, but not earth-shatteringly great. The Darth Maul duel in "Phantom Menace" had far less drama, but better moves. I also could have done without the "Frogger"-ish bit on the (conveniently platform-like) lava robots, although I loved it when Anakin chased Obi-Wan up a spire that's slowly sinking into the magma. (My life partner saw some footage from The Duel and said it looked like the Burning of Atlanta from "Gone with the Wind," only with lightsabers, and that sounds about right.) But we're in a post-"zowie" era when it comes to special effects and fight choreography, in my opinion; nowadays, moviegoers only tend to be exercised into opinion by effects when they're poorly done. So I was more interested in the drama within The Duel - in the way Obi-Wan is essentially in retreat for the entire battle; in the way he's actually doing a fairly inept job of trying to pull Anakin back from the brink of evil - than I was in how fast or well-choreographed or lava-coated the whole affair was.

This is, of course, exactly as it should be.

Q. Is the film a hard PG-13, like Lucas keeps insisting it is?

A. Eh, Georgie's just spinning. This movie's actually fairly bloodless - most of the worst violence is implied or conveniently hidden by colorful giant mushrooms (you'll see what I mean) - and it's certainly no harsher than "Return of the King." The Jedi who gets set ablaze doesn't even leap off a mile-high cliff afterward!

Q. So General Grievous coughs, huh? Is that as stupid as it sounds?

A. Yeah, it's kind of silly, even if you've seen (and enjoyed) "Clone Wars Vol. 2," which attempts to explain said cough as the result of a final Force fuck-you from Mace Windu. But again, like every problematic aspect of this film, it's just not the deal-breaker it would have been in the last two prequels. You'll see what I mean. Plus, the shot where Grievous is coming at Obi-Wan with four lightsabers - two of them twirling like plasma saw-blades - is one of my favorite images in the film.

Q. Is Chewbacca cool?

A. He's completely extraneous - appearing in, like, five shots during the brief digressions on Kashyyk. If Yoda hadn't said his name at one point, a less-careful viewer might not even notice it was Chewie.

Q. Were there any fun little background details?

A. I caught two:

(1) Keep an eye on the lower part of the screen during an early shot where we're approaching this massive bi-level parking garage, and you'll see a very tiny Millennium Falcon coming in for a landing.

(2) In the delegation that greets Anakin after his crash landing, I swear there were some robot hotties off a "Heavy Metal" comic-book cover, or maybe they were meant to riff on Maria from "Metropolis," or maybe there were simply executions of McQuarrie's concept-art version of Threepio. I'm not sure, frankly, but they looked very Deco and cool.

Q. Is there any great John Williams music that didn't find its way onto the soundtrack album?

A. Yes. Entirely too much music from the opening space battle and the final, wordless montage - which finds Darth Vader on a Star Destroyer and a dead Padme covered in flowers - was left off the album. (Williams geeks will know what I'm talking about here: Unless my memory is failing me, the music from "Qui-Gon's Funeral" actually accompanies the suiting-up of Vader, not Padme's death processional. I was a little surprised at this - pleasantly so, I might add.)

Now, all that said, as in "Episode II" there's quite a bit of re-tracked action music borrowed from previous prequels. This isn't as obnoxious as it was in "Clones," however, and I had no sense of Williams' work being mangled by Ben Burtt this time around.

Q. Does "Sith" make "Phantom Menace" and "Clones" better movies?

A. Not so much. You do see the groundwork Lucas was trying to lay in those films a bit more clearly, but said groundwork turns out to have been almost totally unnecessary - "Revenge of the Sith" is surprisingly self-contained. I'll be pretending that "Sith" is Episodes I-III combined, myself. And I won't be alone in doing so.

Q. Does anyone mention the dreaded midiclorians?

A. Yes. In the opera scene, if memory serves. Palpatine basically brings them up in a way that suggests, fairly subtly, that he manipulated the midiclorians to bring about Anakin's "virgin birth." The Throne Room scene in "Jedi" may be a three-generation family reunion of sorts, though we'll never know for sure.

Q. So they don't explain Anakin's virgin birth in detail? I'm angry!

A. What is this, "Star Trek"? I'm delighted that this - and Palpatine's transformation from regular old guy to yellow-eyed-fright-mask old guy - are dealt with in ways that leave them open to discussion.

It actually ties into why I'm in such a good mood about this film overall: It's actually worth discussing - and not just in those exhausting "did it rock or did it suck?" back-and-forths where everyone's a loser.

"Revenge of the Sith" is, in its simple way, a film of ideas - with a surprising ambivalence about Anakin's evil and the flabbiness of the Jedi bureaucracy. ("The Prophecy of the One Who Will Bring Balance to the Force" takes on some new wrinkles here, because it becomes apparent that a huge part of that prophecy involves tearing down the Jedi bureaucracy, which is in fact too "dogmatic" for its own good. Harsh!)

I had no idea Lucas had a movie like this left in him, and I can't wait to see what he does next. As a much-abused fan who came of age during the first trilogy's original release, I'm overjoyed; after I saw "Sith," I actually stared at a blank Word document for a full day before all these words poured out, because I couldn't figure out a way to put my relief into sentences. (Obviously, I've since solved that problem with a vengeance.) I think you'll feel the same way.

I'll answer any additional questions in TalkBack if I can.


____________________

AND NOW, A LONGISH DISCUSSION OF 'SERENITY'

It's a transitional time for fandom.

Most of the major geek franchises are rolling flaming across their finish lines. "Star Trek" just lolled off the air. "Star Wars" is migrating to TV. The Wachowskis reduced the "Matrix" audience to - what? - the Venn-diagram intersection of philosophy undergrads, S&M aficionados, wuxia geeks and wankers in denial? And the rights to "The Hobbit" are currently being pried apart by the jackals of finance.

Sure, there's hope. "Star Trek" could return as an era-spanning anthology series (with John Saxon finally cast as the starship captain he was born to play). Lucas' throat pouch, fattened with home-video revenue, could produce some exciting new experimental films. And, if there's a God, the "Hobbit" rights will be freed in time for Martin Freeman to play young Bilbo. But still: The geek landscape is about to change. And people, and also studio executives, are mildly curious about what the Next Big Thing is going to be.

And so I've been following "Serenity" test-screening reviews with great interest. And I've noticed that everyone keeps asking variations on the same questions:

Will Joss Whedon's "Unique Vision of the Future"™ be the next big franchise? Can a sequel to a cancelled TV series bring Joe and Jane Sixpack into the theater? Will toy and DVD sales bury Mr. Whedon in a mound of mainstream success and cocaine?

Well, now that I've seen an unfinished version of the film with an audience full of rabid "Firefly" fans, I have an answer to those questions:

Who cares?

Really. I could give two gerbil poops about whether this film has "mainstream appeal" or not. Allow me to quote "True and False," David Mamet's excellent guide to surviving show business: "Do you desire the good opinion of these people? Are not these the same people you told me yesterday were fools and charlatans? Do you then desire the good opinion of fools and charlatans? That is the question asked by Epictetus."

Last I checked, "Serenity" wasn't a pop song. Worrying about its popularity is antithetical to the founding precepts of geekery. The key to "Serenity"'s future doesn't lie in appealing to non-fans, but rather in creating new fans. I want the film to succeed, so I'll be showing the "Firefly" DVDs to as many people as possible in the next five months.

Because "Serenity" - if the studio doesn't royally pooch it in the coming weeks - works as a loving, slightly flawed "Firefly" season finale. And it emotionally slays anyone invested in these characters.

Q. So you're not a prequel apologist - you're a "Firefly" apologist!

A. Oh, God, yes.

Q. Why?

A. I loved the show. "Firefly" didn't give a shit about landing struts, manufactured cool or the preciousness of its own "mythology." It was, first and foremost, a story about people. If "Revenge of the Sith" is about the elites in a galactic society, then "Firefly" - like "The Fifth Element" or "Red Dwarf" - was about the working-class stiffs who take out their trash. To me, that was interesting. And funny.

Q. Let's pretend I've never seen the show and can put aside my knee-jerk snark for a moment. Explain "Firefly"'s appeal in pithy sentences.

A. Well, you can read this very fine summary at Wikipedia, or scroll down if you just want to read about "Serenity." But here goes:

"Firefly" follows the smugglers and passengers on a Millennium Falcon-like cargo ship named Serenity. Humanity is re-living the days of the Old West (if the Old West had belly-dancers and hover-cars) as it settles a new solar system.

Serenity's captain, Malcolm Reynolds - played by Nathan Fillon (whom my life partner calls "Jason Boxleitner" for reasons that become obvious if you've seen Fillion's hair) - was one of the losers in an interplanetary civil war. Now he's an outlaw - robbing trains, smuggling cattle and damn well shooting Greedo first.

He's helped (and occasionally betrayed) by his large, bickering crew. This includes a wisecracking pilot (Alan Tudyk); the pilot's "warrior woman" wife (Gina Torres); a two-fisted hick (Adam Baldwin) with a t-shirt collection you can buy online; an adorable mechanic (Jewel Staite); a preacher with a past (Ron Glass); a courtesan (Morena Baccarin); and a doctor (Sean Maher) who rescued his psychic sister (Summer Glau) from a government program that turned her into a lethal schizophrenic.

Q. It sounds like an overstuffed "Cowboy Bebop."

A. You're in the ballpark. Take "Bebop"'s crazy East-West blend. Add the shaggy adventure of '70s-era "Battlestar Galactica" and "Buck Rogers." Remove every scrap of idiocy those last two additions imply. Stir in a hearty dose of classic Westerns and Brian Daley's Han Solo novels. And you're starting to get an idea of the show's vibe.

Q. That sounds ... dense.

A. Even Whedon jokes about how it's impossible to boil the "Firefly" pitch down for Hollywood suits. But the cast was usually smeared with grime and dripping with sweat, and dear Lord it may have been the most across-the-board sexy ensemble I've ever seen on television. Even Ron Glass was buffed-out.

Q. So who was the "Firefly" equivalent of Willow? I must crush on her immediately!

A. While Baccarin was the show's official "hottie," I gather that male geeks hold a special reverence for Staite's mechanic, Kaylee - a total sweetheart of vague ethnicity who was about 15 pounds heavier than the stick-figures passing for "sensual" on TV. I was also personally blown away by the unlikely hotness of Tudyk and Torres, who played the ship's married couple; what looked at first glance like an unholy mating of Howdy Doody and FloJo quickly became one of my favorite television couplings ever.

Oh, and the show was funny. My favorite "Firefly" scenes were, I kid you not, the ones where everyone laughed and argued around the ship's dinner table. There were also a lot of weird little grace notes: For example, everyone spoke in this quaint Asian-cowboy patois where they'd say stuff like, "This place gives me an uncomfortableness," then curse in Chinese.

Q. That sounds stupid.

A. It was, truth be told, a sticking point for some viewers. But the actors pulled it off with panache. To me, "Firefly"'s love of language was its greatest joy.

Q. Well, then, it sounds like a total chick show.

A. No. It's more that "Firefly" was aimed at actual grown-ups. (Judging from last week's 10 p.m. screening, Browncoats tend to be college-age and older, though there were a surprising number of female geeks on hand. Lonely young men might consider converting now.) And, as with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Angel," all the grown-up stuff was liberally sprinkled with arse-kicking.

Give it a chance. You won't be sorry.

Q. Fine. I'm a convert. How's "Serenity," already?

A. Well, writer-director Whedon takes all of the above and vacuum-packs it into 130 minutes - only with better lighting (by Eastwood cinematographer Jack Green), and, oddly, what felt like slightly clunkier action photography.

I really, really want to praise the film's opening 10 minutes. Whedon manages to explain the backstory of the "Firefly" universe in the form of a school lesson. Then he flash-forwards to Simon Tam's (Maher's) rescue of his sister River (Glau). Then he introduces The Operative (Chiwetel Ejiofor), the nameless assassin who finally explains why the government wants River back so very badly. And then - in an absolutely splendid bit of filmmaking - he introduces the Serenity, Capt. Reynolds and his entire crew in a single, witty tracking shot that takes us through the entire ship as it buckles on re-entry. These first 10 mins. are mostly artful and succinct, and were probably murderously hard to write.

Q. So why is the government so anxious to get River back?

A. This comes to light almost immediately, so I guess there's no harm in sharing: It turns out the doctor experimenting on River was showing her off to key members of Parliament. Apparently, the government is worried that River may have read the minds of those visiting officials - men who knew some very alarming state secrets.

Q. What are the very alarming state secrets?

A. To borrow a phrase from my dear colleague Hercules: That would be telling. And you'll never guess what they are. But once they're revealed, Whedon blows his TV universe wide open. - finally giving the disillusioned Mal something to believe in - as the film ....

(a) more or less resolves the whole lethal-schizophrenic-sister storyline;

(b) tackles this new (and sort of out-of-the-blue) conspiracy; and

(c) spends quite a bit of time with the "Reavers," spacefaring rapist cannibals who string bodies to the sides of their ships and howl like the zombies in "28 Days Later" (which leads me to wonder how they can get it together long enough to build and fly spaceships, but still).

It's a very generous movie. When the film ended, everyone sort of blinked, clapped and gushed about how far the film had traveled - a feeling I relish after any well-told adventure story. Serious fans were literally shaking with emotion. There were, in many quarters, tears. The story would have played wonderfully (maybe even better than "Serenity" does, frankly) as a multi-episode TV-series arc - which I'm sure is what Whedon originally had in mind.

Q. There was crying? Oh, God - does someone die?

A. Again, that would be telling. But anyone familiar with the Buffyverse knows that Mr. Whedon can be a bit cavalier with the human life.

Q. SERIOUS "FIREFLY" GEEK QUESTION No. 1: Which episode of the series does "Serenity" most resemble?

A. The first half plays quite a bit like the two-hour pilot - also titled "Serenity" - only faster-moving. Any scene where The Operative is chasing (or roundly kicking the collective fanny of) the crew feels a little like "Objects in Space" - though Ejiofor is playing a character who's saner, cooler, smarter and far more dangerous than Jubal Early.

The middle - with its crucial revelations about River and its unfamiliar environs - bears the faint whiff of "Ariel," my personal favorite episode. Any bits with the Reavers are logical extensions of "Bushwhacked." And the final showdown plays like a cranked-up version of the space-station siege in "War Stories," only crossed with one of those highly caffeinated modern zombie movies.

Q. SERIOUS "FIREFLY" GEEK QUESTION No. 2: Who in the cast gets short-shrift?

A. It was, of course, a profound pleasure to see everyone onscreen again - though both Maher and Fillion take darker, crankier approaches to their characters this time around.

But, as with any nine-person group that isn't a jury, someone was bound to get ignored.

Tudyk, Maher and Staite all get off some good lines, but they also tend to recede into the background in favor of Fillion, Torres, Glau and Baldwin. (Glass and Baccarin aren't even on the ship when the film begins - Glass in particular is almost a "special guest star" in "Serenity" - and Baccarin all but disappears in the over-edited final siege, during which she wears a very cute top.) Also, the Tudyk/Torres marriage is reduced to a couple of "honey"s and "Yes, dear"s, though this is hardly unexpected.

Q. SERIOUS "FIREFLY" GEEK QUESTION 3: Is there sound in space?

A. In the print I saw last week? Sometimes there was and sometimes there wasn't. Universal appears to be testing it both ways. With the right music, I'd personally prefer the final, largish space battle to play out in scientifically correct silence; it might be a little less geographically confusing that way. That said, I'm not holding my breath (as it were).

Q. What else is good?

A. (1) River is considerably less annoying than she could occasionally be on the series - there's a focus to the way she's written here that I personally appreciated. She also does some nice damage with her weird, silly brand of ballet-fu; someone should drag Kurt Thomas out of retirement and cast Glau against him in "Gymkata 2: Dancekata!" post haste.

(2) The scene where Mal and the Operative first face off at Inara's Companion school is terrific - filled with comedy, cool menace, and some very amusing beatings of Captain Tightpants, who takes his whole "Han shoots first" ethos to ridiculous extremes throughout the film, God bless him.

(3) The "Firefly" wisecracks? They're here. Some might say they sound "a little too TV"; I say they sound "funny." Baldwin in particular delivers some smashing one-liners as the vaguely mutinous Jayne Cobb - even with a spear through his leg. He's just hilariously tough and stupid, and there's a great scene where he chews out Mal in the dining room during which I swear to God I thought he was going to get shot for lipping off.

(4) The show's essential humanity is intact. This was, by far, my biggest concern.

Q. What's not so good?

A. Now, before I get into this, I want to say that the movie works overall, and that this 10 p.m. "Serenity" sneak-peek screening will stand as one of the finest moviegoing experiences of my relatively young life. There was singing. There was bonhomie. There was a touch of that good-natured Southern courtliness that was such an infectious part of "Firefly," only tinged with the light Asperger's of the serious fan - qualities I find passionate and real in controlled doses. There was, in short, an utter minimum of jackassery, and being in that auditorium summed up all the best reasons I've written for AICN off and on for over half a decade.

This was especially true given that Joss Whedon had filmed a rather lengthy, hilarious and emotional monologue - specifically addressed to us - that was shown before the movie (and if it isn't on the "Serenity" DVD, I fear pitchforks). "In Hollywood, they call people like you and me unrealistic and quixotic," he said, more or less. "In my world, they're called Browncoats."

This was, of course, met with cheers and maybe even a light collective choking-up.

"In an unprecedented way, it's your movie," he continued. "And if it sucks, it's your fault."

"Serenity" doesn't suck. Not by a long shot. But there are a few spoiler-y and occasionally nit-picky problems I want to point out, because I'm of the hope that they can be at least partially addressed over the next few months:

(1) As mentioned earlier, the Reavers don't entirely make sense as spacefaring zombie idiots. Their ability to rappel and plan attacks and, presumably, maintain and navigate largish spacecraft seems at odds with the howling, face-carving, suicidal-throwing-yourselves-at-bullets tendencies exhibited late in the film. This could be fixed if I witnessed one Reaver saying or doing something vaguely intelligible - just once - that didn't involve the throwing of spears. Pushing a button on the bridge of their ship, even.

(2) Along those lines: It's kind of a shame that the offbeat, quirky charm of the first four-fifths of "Serenity" gives way to the sort of armed standoff we've seen in genre pieces before - up to and including, without getting into too much detail, an obstacle-course showdown between hero and villain that includes dangling and leaping in a massive technological Macguffin Resolution Device that is, inexplicably, abandoned and well-lit, a la the climax of "I, Robot." This may be an unavoidable casualty of both budget and subject matter, but there it is. All this was mitigated by my concern for the characters, but still.

(3) There is a character in "Serenity" named "Mr. Universe." Mr. Universe apparently lives with his lifelike sex-doll in a vast telecommunications complex manned by him and him alone. He is surrounded by artfully arranged monitors, and he is a silly, silly character in ways that break down under even the slightest analysis. How does he afford all this equipment? Why is he alone? Who mops all those floors? Why is he on an obnoxiously first-name basis with the crew of the Serenity? He seems at odds with the realistic desperation of other characters in the "Firefly" universe. There are a few ways to tone him down - chiefly by making exterior shots of the complex in which he resides a little less vast and slick, or by offering a one-sentence explanation that he's a deeply eccentric billionaire, or something. He's not a story-killer by any stretch, but he doesn't work.

(4) A certain crucial information-revealing hologram was just a little too cleanly shot and composed for my tastes. The person revealing the crucial info is under siege, angry, remorseful, alone and desperate - and yet here this person stands in clean, tidy clothes, framed in a perfect camera view, as well-postured and bland as if she were a character in a "Phantom Menace" hologram. Please.

(5) Some of the action editing could be a bit more geographically sound. I was disappointed, for example, that the final space battle and Reaver siege were a jumble of quick-cuts that seemed, to me, less impressive that the solid action geography on "Firefly" and the Buffyverse shows. Again, not a buzz-killer. But nevertheless.

(6) More crucially: Something unspeakably surprising and awful happens to one or more persons you love during the course of this film. I have absolutely no objection to this. What I do object to is the utter lack of catharsis that the editing currently affords the audience after it happens. A couple of fans were complaining that it hamstrung their ability to laugh and thrill joyfully for the remainder of the film, and I can't say I blame them. This could be fixable with a single close-up, or a private moment of grief. I'll leave it at that.

(7) And finally, and very vaguely for those who weren't there Thursday: An ending dialogue exchange in the cargo bay where Gina Torres is wearing this ridiculously high-collared shirt needs to be re-written and re-shot. For one thing, the emotions expressed during said moment are nowhere near up to the events that preceded it - wells of anger and resentment go unmarked, regrets are unexpressed, and it just emotionally short-shrifts several characters at once in ways that made me feel like I was being slapped about the face and neck with a large salmon.

But even worse, that ridiculously high collar looked incredibly stupid on Torres.

(BTW, Ms. Torres would make an absolutely merciless Wonder Woman, if Whedon and Joel Silver have the courage.)

And, on that note, I retire.

Warmest, Alexandra DuPont










E-mailyour hate, praise, and book deals to dupont@dvdjournal.com

Arm yourself to attack my critical judgment! It's easy and fun! Visit The DuPont Bibliography!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • May 9, 2005, 4:40 p.m. CST

    I post on all of these "Sith" articles, even though I don't read

    by rev_skarekroe

    I don't know why. Sorry to see DuPont go, but actually I can't remember the last time I saw one of her reviews here anywya.

  • Hooray for me. Now I feel like I truly fit in with the rest of you kids, as I have posted (almost) first. Today is a grand day.

  • May 9, 2005, 4:43 p.m. CST

    yawn....

    by payton 34

    what the hell was that all about?

  • May 9, 2005, 4:44 p.m. CST

    "Serenity" works as a loving, slightly flawed "Firefly" season f

    by Daddy Tones

    Get out.

  • May 9, 2005, 4:45 p.m. CST

    People who post about being 'first' in a talkback...

    by slone13

    ...have small genitalia. And a rathe low self esteem. Like most fanboys.-------------------------- On a somewhat related note, do we really need any more Sith reviews? I mean seriously. Is ANYONE who is reading this review going to be effected in any way? Hans't EVERYONE already decided whether or not they are going to see Sith?

  • May 9, 2005, 4:47 p.m. CST

    Heh

    by TheDukeOfCool

    Fuck you

  • May 9, 2005, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Standing ovation for Ms. DuPont

    by ZakChase

    And so walks away the best writer AICN ever had. Her reviews -- what with all the insightfulness and correct grammar -- often seemed from another galaxy on this site, but it's for that very reason I so looked forward to them. Glad to hear about "Sith." REALLY glad to hear about "Serenity." And since no advance screening has come to my city, I haven't seen Whedon's filmed introduction to the movie. That needs to hit the Net now.

  • May 9, 2005, 4:54 p.m. CST

    :(

    by BurlIvesLeftNut

    By lady. I liked your stuff.

  • May 9, 2005, 4:56 p.m. CST

    After that description in the intro...

    by herow/1000faces

    ...does anyone else want to see of photo of Alexandra? I know I do. Can anyone supply?

  • May 9, 2005, 4:56 p.m. CST

    I have small genitalia

    by prevert

    And I'm way down in 12th! Yay for me. Oh, and this article rocks if only for coining the phrase "final force fuck-up" which I want on a bumper sticker.

  • May 9, 2005, 4:57 p.m. CST

    What is her problem? She says she likes it and it's one of the b

    by Daddy Tones

    Jesus Christ, man. I fear she was scared of being branded a Browncoat or Whedonite herself and ended up putting in lots of negative stuff because she was scared. God dammit, reviews like this won't do anyone any good.

  • May 9, 2005, 4:58 p.m. CST

    trivial

    by supergenius

    Did anybody else catch the shameless endorsement for SW Trivial Pursuit? And why hasn't Harry posted any pics of this "babe"? Is he gay?

  • May 9, 2005, 4:59 p.m. CST

    I can't help but wonder ...

    by New in NY

    If TPM came out w/o the Star Wars mythology already established ... if it were just some movie that came out of Hollywood w/o all the hype ... would we be talking about "Episode III"? Or would it have just been another piece of mediocre eye-candy that, fifty years from now, Harry's grandson would be digging up for novelty purposes only. I think the latter, and that's what is so sad about the prequels. All these so-called "apologists" never seem to review the films themselves but rather project their fondness for the films onto the screen, while treating what actually appears before them as more-or-less superfluous (Harry, I'm looking in your direction) ... "okay, so the acting, the dialogue, the backstory, the plot aren't so great - BUT IT'S ANAKIN SKYWALKER! WHOOPIE!"

  • May 9, 2005, 5 p.m. CST

    The talk about Sith makes sense

    by just_hamish

  • May 9, 2005, 5:03 p.m. CST

    I can't believe I read the whole thing.

    by Voice O. Reason

    "Please relax and feel free to giggle, as we'll be kicking it old-school for the next 20 minutes." God, I hope so.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Brava!!!

    by docfalken

    Great interview. Sorry to see her go.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Newsflash: The Sith review was only there as a way to make anoth

    by Daddy Tones

    It was filler material. Serenity is the movie that everyone is talking about. Star Wars is for geeks - Serenity is for cool dudes.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Wow! That was fucking fantastic. Alex, you will be missed

    by JohnnyBlueJeans

    Later hottie

  • May 9, 2005, 5:07 p.m. CST

    My Sith Review (mild spoilers)

    by Bugaboo

    I saw it last Thursday in NY and MAN I wanted to love it so much. Its good...Its better than the last two, but it falls short of even Jedi because of some real "Cringe" dialog moments. Done get me wrong, the actions great, and I even enjoyed the falll of Anakin (hurried as it might seem) But I was even taken out of the excellent ending when I heard the fully armored Darth Vader speaking "whiny" Anakin lines.... Or Padme's desperate, death throw moaning/naming of her children. Sigh... or Bail Organa's casual, shrugged shouldered...."well my wife has always wanted a baby girl, Ill take her". I tried so hard to LOVE it... maybe too hard, but the magic wasnt there. Still worth your time and money to see, but if possible watch with realistic expectations...

  • May 9, 2005, 5:08 p.m. CST

    AICN's Best Writer? Have you READ Neil Cumpston?

    by Dannychico

    No one slings words like he does, Herc. Alexandra's like a fine caviar, but Neil's like a full mouthful of semen.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Could she be Lisa Schwartzbaum?

    by Dannychico

  • May 9, 2005, 5:24 p.m. CST

    I consider myself a Browncoat and...

    by Wungolioth

    I really appreciate Ms. Dupont's comments. We know that Whedon reads this site on occassion, so maybe if he sees a real fan's critiques he might be able to fix these things before the movie is released.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Bravo Miss DuP. You will be missed

    by RenoNevada2000

    But please, if you can let slide a hint, some of us would love to continue reading your work in your "civilian" ID...

  • What is this, 1994? Too funny. Although Alexandra's Phantom Menace review is an all time classic, so she makes me want to give Revenge of the Sith a bit more respect. Although the fact that it has midichlorians and barely edges Return of the Jedi are still causes for concern.. how a film with Jar Jar could ever be better than a film with Han Solo will forever be beyond me.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:36 p.m. CST

    GIS "Alexandra Dupont"

    by rev_skarekroe

    http://www.futurallia.com/2001/images/photo_alexandra_dupont.jpg

  • May 9, 2005, 5:46 p.m. CST

    i can't wait until Sith and Serenity have come and gone

    by HypeEndsHere

    so we can actually read about real films. just for a change of pace.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Nice reviews

    by AeroB

    I'm looking forward to RotS, and another trustworthy vote of confidence is good. And the part where she deftly parries the devil's advocate attacks on Firefly was great. Let that stand against all these trolls who bash every topic that Serenity comes up in. By the way, Daddy Tones, I'm guessing you're Jossisgod. Just stop, man. You're embarrasing all of us and turning nonfans into haters of all things Whedon.

  • May 9, 2005, 5:51 p.m. CST

    And on that note

    by Larry Jay

    The stuck up little cunts retiring? GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

  • May 9, 2005, 5:56 p.m. CST

    We don't find out who Anakin's father is???

    by -guyinthebackrow

    WTF?

  • May 9, 2005, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Wow

    by TheDarkShape

    Very nice reviews, Ms. DuPont. Your Revenge of the Sith bit fills me with hope, and the run-down on Serenity is brilliant... excellent film, though I agree with you on certain emotions in the final moments. A few more tears were needed, I think (but how was that exchange between Kaylee and Zoe in the bunker, eh?).

  • May 9, 2005, 5:58 p.m. CST

    Life-Partner

    by InZodWeTrust

    She said Life-Partner... She said Life-Partner... Dyyyyyyyyyyyke. Ok, kidding. I can't wait for this!

  • May 9, 2005, 6:03 p.m. CST

    is it a one time movie?

    by Silver Shamrock

    something you see once and say, "that was cool" and never find the gumption to trek out to the theaters and see it again?

  • May 9, 2005, 6:17 p.m. CST

    Baccarin

    by CatVutt

    Morena Baccarin really does do a disappearing act during the finale in the current cut of Serenity. She was off-camera so long at one point, that I forgot she was there and it was jarring to see the camera finally cut back to her. She needs to cut back into the final sequence. Scantily-clad would be nice. She was at the Boston screening and, well, Damn. She's legitimately stunning.

  • May 9, 2005, 6:20 p.m. CST

    Answering questions by Dannychico, uyinthebackrow and Silver Sha

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    (1) Dannychico: "AICN's Best Writer? Have you READ Neil Cumpston?" I happily agree. I'm also a huge "Vern" fan. (2) Silver Shamrock: "is it a one time movie? Something you see once and say, 'that was cool' and never find the gumption to trek out to the theaters and see it again?" I will be seeing "Serenity" and "Sith" multiple times. I think "Sith" is going to do MONSTER business. (3) "We don't find out who Anakin's father is??? WTF?" It's totally irrelevant in context, and won't bug you when you see the film; frankly, he never should have been a virgin birth to begin with.

  • May 9, 2005, 6:28 p.m. CST

    i've seen serenity too (BIG ASS SPOILERS AHEAD!!)

    by darthchase

    there's something i don't get about the climax...i thought mal paralyzed the Operative by breaking his neck. but in the very next scene, the Operative is walking AND helping mal fix Serenity? WTF? and why did mal show no signs of his being stabbed?

  • May 9, 2005, 6:33 p.m. CST

    More Serenity - Unavoidable Spoiler

    by CatVutt

    And I agree with the analysis noting a lack of reaction to the demise of a major character. Shockingly poor resolution. I think it would be great to lose that scene with Mal at the end altogether, and just have Gina walk silently to her room, take a knife, chop off her ring finger, bandage it up, and go about cleaning her gun or something. No words, and it would totally fit with her endshift to Soldier mentality.

  • May 9, 2005, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Good reviews

    by Mafu

    Thanks, Alexandra. I'll miss your creative, well-written critiques on this site. I'm glad to hear "Sith" and "Serenity" are both worth seeing, in your opinion, which means I can breathe a little easier. Good luck with your new writing career... speaking of which, to what publication will you be contributing? Maybe I and other talkbackers could tune in to your mind once in while.

  • May 9, 2005, 6:36 p.m. CST

    The new villain might be saner, smarter, and more dangerous

    by Gheorghe Zamfir

    But I dunno, he's got pretty big shoes to fill if he's gonna be cooler than Jubal Early, I mean the name alone!

  • May 9, 2005, 6:51 p.m. CST

    This is a proper Serenity review

    by ChorleyFM

    Not just mere hyperbole without any criticism and not a vitriolic attack on Whedonites either. No film will be as good as some people were saying it was, whereas this review makes clear some problems but overall appears to be very congratulatory.

  • May 9, 2005, 6:54 p.m. CST

    It is clear to me that you are all, without exception, GAY.

    by IndianaSolo

    What a bunch of sad homoerotic haters. This movie (ROTS) is going to butt-rape you. Not only is your childhood going to be raped, but also your adulthood AND your dotage. In fact, Michael Jackson, George Lucas, AND Bryan Singer are going to repeatedly ass-violate you at Superman speed. Your arse is going to look like a polo mint at 48* magnification.

  • May 9, 2005, 6:57 p.m. CST

    repeatedly not-embarrassing at nearly every turn"

    by bluebottle

  • May 9, 2005, 6:57 p.m. CST

    "repeatedly not-embarrassing at nearly every turn"

    by bluebottle

    i hope that goes on a poster somewhere.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:01 p.m. CST

    OMG Natalie Portman NUDE!

    by IndianaSolo

    Fooled you you sad hater. Hulk Hogan for Yoda in Episode VII! 'Use the Force you must, BROTHER'

  • May 9, 2005, 7:02 p.m. CST

    life partner

    by stvnhthr

    I think is a subtle way of saying she has a Wookie who owes her a life debt. Don't jump to sexual conclusions, there is always a reasonable explanation.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:12 p.m. CST

    WAR OF THE WORLDS TRIPOD

    by Metallicant

    http://www.cgchannel.com/gallery/viewimage.jsp?imgID=8234

  • May 9, 2005, 7:12 p.m. CST

    dude.duuuude

    by DocMcCoy

    when they say chewbacca's name,i'll cheer and pour nacho cheese down my pants to cool me off.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:16 p.m. CST

    and that makes us mighty

    by chiahead

    I think it's worth mentioning that the phrase 'life-partner' does not implicate any kind of gender specificity. Ms. DuPont could either be gay, or just be exercising journalistic courtesy for gays by not implying a heterosexual relationship. I do, after all, know many fans of both the Firefly series and the Star Wars franchise who are gay, and as such, shouldn't be unnecessarily excluded from identifying with a writer's point of view. Either way, I neither think it's any of my business nor its ultimate truth has any effect on what I think about her reviews. Thrilled that she's writing for money, sad to see her go.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:17 p.m. CST

    Miss DuPont...

    by Squarejawhero

    Are you available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and parties? And why hasn't Harry promoted you to official Head Female Geek yet? Great reviews. I now want to see both movies when previously I didn't. If this doesn't show what impact a well-written, intelligent review has on the average schmoe then I don't know. Harry, learn from her! Or be smittened! Smited! Whichever!

  • May 9, 2005, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Fair thee well, Ms DuPont...

    by Quintus_Arrius

    .... 'tis indeed true... I will miss your gems of wisdom. Hail DuPont!

  • Your welcome.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:23 p.m. CST

    ROTS will 0wn you all in 10 days...

    by Lamerz

    Bring the diaper. You will shit your pants, guaranteed.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:24 p.m. CST

    Tired it may be, but that doesn't stop it turning up on EVERY Ta

    by IndianaSolo

    And you're welcome. None of this changes the fact that ROTS is going to enlarge your a-hole to BREAKING POINT

  • May 9, 2005, 7:26 p.m. CST

    HypeEndsHere - Talkback crapper extraordinaire !!!

    by Lamerz

    When ROTS does $400+ million at the US box office, and break $1 billion worldwide, I will laugh. Enjoy the hype, it's here for a couple of months!!!

  • ROTS will enlarge your a-hole? Maybe Lucas' a-hole, when he shits on the haters as he rakes in the cash.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Miss Duponts Trachea

    by IndianaSolo

    Skurge you have more chance of being blown by the pope (the new one, as if it matters). Miss Dupont would scorn your tiny 2 inch dick, but not before she takes a quick polaroid to show her girlfriends for a cheap laugh. Your fetid little package would be a fine reminder to her why she went lesbo in the first place. She wouldn't touch your shrivelled, wrinkly little meat+2 veg with the heel of her shoe.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Lamerz both our A-holes have been enlarged - by Lucas, as he rep

    by IndianaSolo

    Lucas has been shitting on us from a great height, haterz and all, since 1984. Roll on the Holiday Special : Special Edition! Now that is going to OWN!

  • May 9, 2005, 7:39 p.m. CST

    Good luck, Lex!

    by BarrelRider

    I'm trying to avoid spoilers so I only read some of your responses from the interview - and it is more of an interview than a review, but I enjoyed it anyway. A shame you'll no longer post on AICN, surely the odd post wouldn't kill ya? Or is it some contractual thing? Thanks for your past work anyway, and take care of yourself...

  • May 9, 2005, 7:44 p.m. CST

    waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Wa Wa Waaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    by Shawn F.

    LUCAS RAPED MY CHILDHOOD! FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You whiny cunts should actually SEE THE FUCKING MOVIE BEFORE SHITTING ALL OVER IT! Jesus Christ, you balogna and feet smelling bitchalots need to chill the fuck out and enjoy life a little bit more instead of crying about it all the time.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:46 p.m. CST

    i didn't say it wouldn't make money. i said i want this crap to

    by HypeEndsHere

  • May 9, 2005, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Shawn F. - your ass, speak out of it you do

    by IndianaSolo

    Lucas has repeatedly attempted to rape our childhood for the last 20 years. Young Indy? Check. Phantom Menace? Check. Veto-ing Frank Darabonts script for Indy IV? Check. If ROTS is fantastic, that will just be the equivalent of a post childhood raping Lucas turning on our night light and reading us a story. Doesn't remove the need for the vaseline.

  • May 9, 2005, 7:48 p.m. CST

    Miss DuPont, what exactly leads you to believe Palpatine is tell

    by Fatboy Roberts

    Because he isn't. He's lying. Lucas is sort of allowing for the same sort of speculation that had fanboys thinking "obi-wan" was a clone ID number.http://www.millenniumfalcon.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?p=93617&highlight=palpatine#93617. Also, is it really a no-no to let anyone know what your real name is, or would it be potentially damaging at your workplace if it was known you were "That girl" from AICN and DVDJournal? What would it hurt?

  • May 9, 2005, 7:49 p.m. CST

    WHO????

    by prajadhipok

  • May 9, 2005, 8:08 p.m. CST

    This is why i hate Aint-It-Cool Talkbacks

    by Sakurai

    You all suck.

  • May 9, 2005, 8:24 p.m. CST

    Easily the most fascinating and interesting Sith Review yet! Tha

    by Orionsangels

    Yes, I'm ass kissing. She's a woman, heck, i'd kiss her ass, but i'm also serious. That was a great review.

  • Is this your pathetic nerd way to flirt her in the vain hope that one day you'll end up meeting her at the Egyptian theater and suck your cock during a screening of Star Wars 9???

  • May 9, 2005, 8:27 p.m. CST

    Because she's a good writer RoboFAG!

    by Orionsangels

    and she's a woman and flirting with a woman is fun, but you wouldn't know that. Would you RoboHomo? Your name says it all. Now get in your fucking corner and do us all a big favor and SHUT THE HELL UP!

  • May 9, 2005, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Lamerz

    by one9deuce

    Revenge of the Sith is NOT going to break 1 Billion at the worldwide box-office. I am probably classified as a Star Wars "Hater" on these boards (even though Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi are among my favorite films of all time, but sorry the Prequels just......aren't), but even if I was a blind fan-boy to the Prequel Trilogy, I wouldn't think it's going to make that kind of money. It has only been done twice, and by films that had that one key element that will make a film's box-office go through the stratosphere. Episode III is missing that, and a whole lot more.

  • May 9, 2005, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Alexandra...

    by Warcraft

    ...how is it that I've never seen any of your reviews before? I've been comming to this site since 99. How tragic in a most shakespearian way that the first review I read of yours, is the last one you'll write for this site. sigh...yoosa peepol gonna die?

  • May 9, 2005, 9:11 p.m. CST

    it can't be rape if it's consentual....

    by slappy jones

    so unless lucas forces you at gun point into screenings of the prequels it aint rape cos you are all begging for it.......

  • May 9, 2005, 9:12 p.m. CST

    In defense of Robofag, Orionsangel, let's be honest about Alexan

    by Triumph poops!

    No matter what you think of her reviews (pro or con), let's be honest: they DO lay it on pretty thick about how utterly amazing Alexandra supposedly looks in real life, as if she'd be standing in a room next to Catherine Zeta Jones and Angelina Jolie and Racquel Welch in her prime as well as all the Miss Universe pageant winners past and present and your eyes would still ONLY zero in on Alexandra. Sure, fun hyperbole is one thing, but here at AICN they've perpetually pumped and played this aspect up about her soooo much that it really has become a bit groan-inducing and has definitely taken on the air of of guys who never get out of the house and actually meet girls OR reeks of the fact that Alexandra is really a 260-pound woman complete with a unibrow. That said, what I don't get is why this is her last article. I mean, she only rarely sends in a review -- it's not like she's a weekly or even a regular monthly contributor -- so I don't understand why she can't continue to send in things sporadically unless at her "journalistic job" its now become a real professional conflict of interest to her actual employers. And if this is her last column, for all the hype we've had to endure, what would have been the big deal about just finally running her picture as part of the big send-off? Oh, that's right -- because then the curtain would be pulled aside and we'd learn that the person behind the curtain really isn't all that. Then again welcome to the Internet age: where you can be anyone under any ID and "look" any way you want to claim to be.

  • May 9, 2005, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Hahaha ---> Triumph poops!

    by Orionsangels

    I don't plan on dating or having a long-term relationship with her. Perhaps we ass kiss her mind, ever think of that? She's leaving anyway. So what does it matter? The Dupont haters got what they wanted.

  • May 9, 2005, 9:34 p.m. CST

    "Coppola-esque cross-cutting"

    by blondeman

    Look bag on Lucas all you want, but the man is an expert editor. And that "Coppola-esque cross-cutting" - well you really mean LUCAS-esque cross-cutting. Some of the most memorable scenes in the Godfather movies are only there because Lucas put them together including the whole "horse in the pillow" scene and the "baptism scene". Lucas had to argue with Coppola to leave in the cross cutting between the deaths and the baptism scene at the end of the Godfather. Damn!

  • May 9, 2005, 9:43 p.m. CST

    Hahaha ---> Orionsangels

    by Triumph poops!

    Sorry, Orions, but give me a break. An OPENING PARAGRAPH to a movie review that BEGINS by defining the validity of the reviewer by stating (and I quote): "Who is Alexandra DuPont? Imagine Morena Baccarin crossed with a pre-Billy Bob Angelina Jolie and a 19-year-old Monica Bellucci. Your dream girlfriend, only taller, smarter, skinnier, cuter, more scantily clad and without the crazy" is NOT 'ass kissing her mind' as you suggest, nor is it playing up her actual INTELLECT. Kissing her mind, you say. Riiiiiiight. Because we all read soooooooo many reviews by Richard Corliss in TIME beginning with "Who is Richard Corliss? Why he's buffer than David Hasselhoff in his speedo and hunkier than Tom Selleck picking you up for a spin in his red hot Ferrari, shirt undone! He's the man of dreams that you touch yourself to in bed and that you'd run off with to Europe on a carefree sex-crazed vacation if you could! In short, he's the man's man of the ages! And now that we've justified his creditentials, here's his review for REVENGE OF THE SITH." Yes, you're right, Orions. I see that type of opening hyperbole in sooooooooo many journalistic venues. (Rodney Dangerfield eye roll)

  • May 9, 2005, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Me and Alexandra Du Pont have something in common

    by The guy

    We both like POONTANG!!!! (it's an acquired taste)

  • May 9, 2005, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Lady Alexandra

    by glodene

    Thanks for your final review, i'll savor it with A wild passion that'll burn hotter than the very sun. So in Closing: MISS U BOO.

  • May 9, 2005, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Skurge2005 eats shit

    by Metallicant

    who the hell are you????!!eat shit and die Skurge2005

  • It took him three swings before he really crushed the ball and somewhere we have Linda Rondstadt and some fat adopted kids to blame for Episodes I & II. . . This movie (ROTS) is going to butt-rape you. Not only is your childhood going to be raped, but also your adulthood AND your dotage. In fact, Michael Jackson, George Lucas, AND Bryan Singer are going to repeatedly ass-violate you at Superman speed. . . Your arse is going to look like a polo mint at 48* magnification. None of this changes the fact that ROTS is going to enlarge your a-hole to BREAKING POINT I have massive cock that would fit snugly down your trachea. You hope that one day you'll end up meeting her at the Egyptian theater and suck your cock during a screening of Star Wars 9???

  • May 9, 2005, 10:14 p.m. CST

    If DuPont is really that hot, why doesnt she post a pic?

    by Rant Breath

    Dont be such a cock tease.

  • May 9, 2005, 10:25 p.m. CST

    Great reviews!

    by browncoat13

    That was the best Serenity review I've read. As far as the problems you identified, I strongly agree with numbers 1-3 and just as strongly disagree with numbers 4-7.

  • May 9, 2005, 10:27 p.m. CST

    you'll see what i mean

    by whatyoufear

    you'll see what i mean

  • May 9, 2005, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Only one thing that interests me when it comes to "Serenity"

    by thevisitor

    And that's Chiwetel Ejiofor and his role as The Operative. Unfortunately, unless I missed something, you didn't write much about him or that character. Figures. Also spare me that bullshit about hoping Joss has "the courage" to cast Gina Torres as Wonder Woman. Last time I checked Diana Troy was of Greek ancestry. Courage has nothing to do with it. Common sense and being true to the material does when it comes to casting an actress in the role. The funny thing is the only time some of you psuedo progressives ever think its a good idea to go with a different race with the main characters of these comic books is when its a woman. Lets make Catwoman black (don't bring up Eartha Kitt's three eps on Batman; outside of that Catwoman was always portrayed as caucasion up until that disatrous Halle Berry flick). Lets make Sue Storm Latin or at least get a Latina to play her. Lets give serious consideration to Lois Lane being played by a black pop star, Beyonce. Real courage would be casting a black, asian, hispanic guy as Superman. After all Krypton is a made up planet so it doesn't really matter, (totally different from Wonder Woman's situation because the last time I checked ancient Greece did exist). I'm sure the fanboys would go ballistic over such a thought. Let me make it clear that I'm not asking nor have I ever wished that Superman be played by an actor of color. That would be dumb. Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

  • May 9, 2005, 10:42 p.m. CST

    WTF??? "The key to "Serenity's future doesn't lie in appealing

    by Big Dumb Ape

    Boy, talk about slicing hairs with words, Alexandra to try and simply prop up something you like. No, actually it DOES need to appeal to non-fans or it's toast, plain and simple. By pure definition, non-fans WOULD be new fans. As for her claim that "I'll be showing the FIREFLY DVD to as many people as possible in the next five months", I guess she's planning of going on a road trip and knocking on the doors of about 20 million homes. I wouldn't count on all of them letting you in though, Alexandra. Or that they won't watch the start of your DVDs and turn to you and say "Isn't this that shitty show that got cancelled? Why the fuck are we watching this? I didn't watch it when it was on for FREE, and now you think I want to spend 10 bucks to see it in a movie theater???"

  • May 9, 2005, 10:44 p.m. CST

    Thanks Alexandra

    by Darth Thoth

    And best of luck to you. God bless.

  • May 9, 2005, 10:51 p.m. CST

    Serenity - surprisinly good

    by WukkaWukka

    I saw Serenity last week and coming from a non-Firefly fan perspective, it was pretty bloody good. Decent character development, good action and great dialogue - my only concern is that nobody is going to know what it is, and it'll tank at the box office. Oh, and good luck with the real job Alexandra - I'm sure you'll miss the 13 year old morons discussing you as a sex object...

  • "I admire their polish -- their youth is already so accomplished that it seems absurd to speak of promise -- I marvel at the felicity of their style; but with all their copiousness (their vocabulary suggests that they fingered Roget's Thesaurus in their cradles) they say nothing to me: to my mind they know too much and feel too obviously; I cannot stomach the heartiness with which they slap me on the back or the emotion with which they hurl themselves on my bosom; their passion seems to me a little anaemic and their dreams a trifle dull."

  • May 9, 2005, 11:03 p.m. CST

    "Will Whedon's vision of the future be the next big thing? Who c

    by Commando Cody

    The irony here of course being about Dupont's statement -- coupled with an equally applicable quote from Mamet AND her own self-admission that she loves FIREFLY -- is that the exact SAME logic and rationale can be applied to SITH or the other prequels for that matter. In short: who cares how much SHE rationalizes why she did or didn't like the Prequels (or any other movie for that matter)? The bottom line remains the same: if YOU enjoy them, enjoy your geekdom. As Mamet notes, who cares about her opinion? Unless Dupont's not YOUR "life partner", do you even give 2 craps what she thinks -- and even then, you should still be thinking for yourself. Dupont can drone on endlessly about "why" the prequels don't work for her, or pontificate more about utterly lame ass theories such as "landing struts" (one of the more ridiculous analogies in her review comparing Lucas' work to Whedon's) but in the end I can sum up in 3 simples word why the prequels work fine for me: they're fun. Period. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to simply know what YOU enjoy, haters who would try to convince you otherwise be damned. And I, like others, couldn't give "2 gerbil poops whether the prequels have mainstream appeal" to Dupont or not.

  • May 9, 2005, 11:13 p.m. CST

    The Tomatometer for ROTS is at 91%

    by drompter

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/star_wars_3/. 22 reviews, 20 fresh (100% at "Cream of The Crop" so far), 2 rotten. Looks like a winner so far. So long and thanks for all the shit, haters.

  • May 9, 2005, 11:15 p.m. CST

    HER FINAL AICN

    by Lion Fire

    thank god

  • May 9, 2005, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Matrix comment

    by ColonelMortimer

    "The Wachowskis reduced the "Matrix" audience to - what? - the Venn-diagram intersection of philosophy undergrads, S&M aficionados, wuxia geeks and wankers in denial?" I just want to take a moment to appreciate the sheer brilliance and truth of that phrase. Also, Alan Ruck could come back and make a pretty good starship captain, as he did in Generations. (Cameron in space...)

  • May 9, 2005, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Well this is kinda odd...

    by Lost in Uranus

    Seriously odd. "Sith" is at 92% at RottenTomatoes right now (8:24 PM PDST). Only "Empire" ever went that high. I think...

  • May 9, 2005, 11:30 p.m. CST

    I don't base my like/dislike of a movie on RottenTomatoes

    by AeroB

    Even if I based my opinion on reviews, which I don't (they're helpful in telling me whether to SEE a movie, but not whether I will LIKE a movie), I wouldn't base my opinion on RottenTomatoes. All it counts is "positive" or "negative" (e.g. greater or less than 50% score). I'm sorry but a 6/10 star movie is not worth my money. Even if it has enough positives to be fun it still obviously has a lot of flaws, and I want to see a good movie, not a mediocre movie. But on the TomatoMeter, a movie could get all 6/10s and be at 100% score. Anyway, I'll continue to be a hater until Lucas proves me wrong. I'll pay for one and only one ticket of RotS unless he blows me away with a 8/10 or better movie.

  • May 9, 2005, 11:31 p.m. CST

    And FYI

    by AeroB

    I'm only paying for that one ticket out of some sick loyalty to Star Wars, if it were any other movie franchise I would never give the filmmaker another nickel.

  • May 9, 2005, 11:43 p.m. CST

    Actually AeroB, the avegage rating is 8/10...

    by drompter

    Funny how, with the previous episodes, the haters always relied on the tomatometer to prove that the movies suck, and now it turns out that the tomatometer is not a reliable tool, eh? Thanks indeed.

  • May 9, 2005, 11:55 p.m. CST

    Don't ascribe others' hypocrisy to me

    by AeroB

    I never used the TomatoeMeter to defend an opinion that the prequels sucked. I will see the movie with a glimmer of hope that it won't suck (since it HAS been getting much better reviews). But I have no faith in Lucas' ability to execute here... hence, going because of some kind of sick loyalty to SW.

  • May 9, 2005, 11:59 p.m. CST

    BroncoFan, if that's really her. I think she's cute. she just ha

    by Orionsangels

  • May 10, 2005, 12:26 a.m. CST

    Triumph poops: "Right. Because we all read so many reviews by Ri

    by Big Dumb Ape

    I have to admit, that was some funny shit. With your male-oriented analogy, you hit a grand slam over the fence making your point, Triumph, and I basically agree. This place has repeatedly made it a point to kiss Dupont's tush SPECIFICALLY by over-praising how good she looks without ever posting photo proof to bolster such claims (or show they're warranted). On the one hand you could say "What difference does it make about her writing?", but that only begs the question back "It doesn't, but WHY do you keep fucking bringing it up and beating it like a dead horse?" What, is her ego so fragile she needs all of her lead-ins written this way? Praising not her work, but her looks? Hell, even when Harry talks about his weight, you can find pictures of Harry to see what he's talking about. He'll post pictures of himself, which is then Harry acting is a professional manner I can respect. He brings up an issue, talks about it, even brings photos to the table to back it up. So to that end, Harry gets high marks for simply being HONEST. Which really brings up the bottom line question: If Dupont expects to be taken so seriously as a professional journalist and reviewer, and if we're supposed to value her opinion at all, what the fuck is the reason for all the secrecy over "what" she looks like? Seriously, it's not like Tom Brokaw would read the news from BEHIND a curtain and get away with saying "I'm a SERIOUS reporter, so you should listen to what I have to say. But for the protection of my privacy, I won't let you to see me." I mean, that shit wouldn't fly for one second. And if the identity of "Alexandra Dupont" here at AICN is merely a cover name ID because she does work as a journalist elsewhere, I guess that says something more about the fact that she doesn't want it known "who" she really is because then it would bring into play all her OTHER writing work (and printed opinions) into the spotlight for comparison...which, again, seems rather odd behavior for someone seeking to be taken seriously on ANY professional level. In other words, that you'd be a "professional" over HERE...but much like Darth Vader, you'd then go about putting on a helmet and hiding under it so you can say other things over THERE. So does it matter what she really looks like? Not really to me. However do I find it odd behavior just the same? Yes, but again that's just me.

  • May 10, 2005, 12:33 a.m. CST

    How fucking cares about the Tomatometer...

    by Forestal

    and rottentomatos.com!? I used to lurk around that site like a rabid dog 24 hrs a day. Then I realized, what's the fucking point?

  • May 10, 2005, 12:45 a.m. CST

    Serenity

    by funkyhouse

    Waterworld in Space!!

  • May 10, 2005, 12:48 a.m. CST

    by foreignerbelt

    so..is it 13 year olds talking about throat fucking the writers, or is it, you know, older people. I need to know.. I just.. need to know. plus if this chick is hot AND a lesbian then she is the champion of the universe. Firefly fucking sucks. Really. Star Wars just makes me angry now. Except for the fact that I want to LIVE INSIDE the Knights of the Old Republic game. Issues. krullboy I love your name. Now make me hate it.

  • May 10, 2005, 12:51 a.m. CST

    I hate the term 'life partner'....

    by MattCG

    ....it reduces someone you love to the level of 'vaccuum cleaner' or 'dandruff shampoo'. It implies an accessory and I'd like to see everyone that uses it, grow some balls and choose another phrase that doesn't sound so plastic. Other than, that it's too bad you're retiring. You're probably the one reviewer on this site that truly deserves a career doing what everyone on this site kinda does. This isn't to say that the rest of the site's participants aren't amusing in their own way, it's to say you're the only one with a firm grasp of the English language. Also, you don't make up fake, geeky sounding words that transform your sexual desperation into a 52 line paragraph with excessive exclamation points. Congratulations on your new job and I wish you nothing but the best.

  • May 10, 2005, 12:56 a.m. CST

    Maybe they could pay her to write for the site ...

    by Shan

    ... on the other hand, that might set a bad precedent. Thanks for all the articles in the past Alexandra DuPont.

  • May 10, 2005, 1:13 a.m. CST

    Uh huh.

    by CatVutt

    I love how some mutants on here, who've probably never opened a book, pathetically attempt to berate folks who've actually taken a class or two and, gee, learned a few words other than 'cunt' and 'ass'. Oh, no. It don't make-a no sense dat some folk actually know dem words they be typin. Uh uh. They must be usin' one o' them thesiseaurus thangys, cuz dayum, nobody ebba knows howta read n' write n' shit in these here webbersites.

  • May 10, 2005, 1:45 a.m. CST

    Thanks foreignerbelt. . . .

    by krullboy

    But how do you want me to make you hate me? This isn't some sort of leather bound dom/submissive thing is it? Just kidding. I draw the line on sex acts involving blood, urine, and fecal matter. . .and guys. And just to make an observation, it is amazing, once again, how many post are dedicated to a SW Talkback. I love SW, heck even found Jar Jar funny at times (OK, well once when the eopie in the TPM deleted scene ripped a violent, diaphragm splitting fart at Jar Jar). This reinforces my argument that AICN days may be numbered, due to the fact that everyone who usually frequents this site to bash the hell out of each other like a herd of pachycephalosauruses will not have any other series of films that will enrage their passions. Unless CoCoLopez has a webcam link permanently on AICN, beaming live into his recording sessions of "spoken Word" art in Queens, what will be the main attraction? A lactating "Queen Amidala" doll from sideshow collectibles? Or a Ron Jeremy giz firing sideshow collectible? Uh no (but on second thought, I am sure there is a market for porn sideshow collectible dolls). OK, who wants to sign up for the "Jenna Jameson" w/ action tongue Sideshow Collectible? Any takers?

  • May 10, 2005, 1:54 a.m. CST

    by foreignerbelt

    yo. I was referencing the Chewie cell phone commercial. You must watch tv 24 hours a day to see it.

  • May 10, 2005, 1:55 a.m. CST

    krullboy

    by DarthRicker

    "Pachycephalosauruses" is the longest word I've ever seen in an AICN tb. Be wary: you may be accused of using a thesaurus. And in closing: THESE ROTS TICKETS ARE BURNING A HOLE IN MY POCKET!!!!!!!!

  • May 10, 2005, 1:57 a.m. CST

    I need a simile for "pachycephalosaurus"

    by DarthRicker

    Hey, it was better than my Lando figure joke.

  • And for the record, Jurassic Park 4 will be awful. I don't care if Scarlett Johanson is in it, and she mounts Sam Neill's face like a triceratops. . . Jurassic Park 3 was a disgrace, as was the Lost World. Except for Pete Postlewaite as the big game hunter, that movie was about as amazing as the frothy combination of lube and fecal matter that usually results from anal sex with a non-saltwater enema cleaned skank. . .not that I have ever experienced that or anything.

  • May 10, 2005, 3 a.m. CST

    You know what's better than Jurassic Park 4?

    by Lost in Uranus

    Endless metaphors of any actions that remotely imply penetration of the anus. Now thats sooo much fun! Jk...not really.

  • May 10, 2005, 4:37 a.m. CST

    Matter and Antimatter

    by napalm68

    You would think that some people were under the impression that "Revenge of the Sith" and "Serenity" can not safely exist in the same universe, and will cause some sort of cosmic collapse. They are both just films. They can both exist at once. Some people will like ROTS, some people will like Serenity, some will like both, and some may like none of them. But it isn't going to bring about a collapse of society having both films existing at once.

  • May 10, 2005, 5 a.m. CST

    Finally some freakin common sense

    by Lost in Uranus

    Thank you Napalm.

  • May 10, 2005, 5:13 a.m. CST

    By the way....

    by Lost in Uranus

    Sith is now "Certified Fresh" at TomatesPodridos (2:12 AM PSDT) Am I the only one that finds it extremely creepy and worrysome so early on? Somethings not right!

  • May 10, 2005, 5:26 a.m. CST

    Atta boys, you lay into her real good...

    by Anlashok

    I think you have her on the ropes, a few more barbs and she just might flash us her top. If we're really lucky we might even get a few dry humps...*sigh*.

  • May 10, 2005, 7:12 a.m. CST

    So what?

    by Lord_Soth

    So what.

  • May 10, 2005, 7:51 a.m. CST

    for more on "life-partners" see the Star Wars Holiday Special ce

    by HypeEndsHere

    by the way, people who hate the haters need to realize that the haters actually WANT a good SW movie. there's no "in-your-face, haters!"

  • May 10, 2005, 8:05 a.m. CST

    I think I'm right in saying that ALL the prequels so far have in

    by BarrelRider

    Before the movie is released, the few reviews which appear are almost all positive - let's not go crazy, watch the film ourselves and go back to RT in a couple of weeks and see what the rating is...

  • May 10, 2005, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Thanks for all of the intellignet, well-written reviews Alexandr

    by Sith Lord Sauron

    You really are too good for this crap-hole of a site. Much success to you in your future career, whatever it may be. Now back to Film Threat for me. . .

  • May 10, 2005, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Great article!

    by moviemaniac-7

    And Martin Freeman would be brilliant choice as Bilbo in the Hobbit.

  • May 10, 2005, 9:22 a.m. CST

    Adios, Alexandra

    by TV CASUALTY

    You'll be missed.

  • May 10, 2005, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Duel of the Fates Music in Movie?

    by Darth Busey

    Haven't seen any reviews mention this. Is the "Duel of the Fates" music in the movie anywhere?

  • May 10, 2005, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Did you mean "Inteligent", Sauron? Ahh irony.

    by smylexx

    Stop posting pics of Alex and get me her number. She's just fabulous. I admire her thalamus. Besides, looks like GoldenShowerGirl isn't interested.

  • May 10, 2005, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Answering Darth Busey's question.... YES.

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    "Duel of the Fates" is briefly quoted during the Yoda/Sidious duel, which is intercut with the Anakin/Oni-Wan duel. It's ginchy.

  • May 10, 2005, 10:16 a.m. CST

    "Hans't EVERYONE already decided whether or not they are going t

    by minderbinder

    Believe it or not, I read reviews and talk to people I know to decide if I want to see a movie. Right now, this thing is looking pretty good, it's currently got 22 of 24 "fresh" reviews on RT. Whoda thunkit?

  • May 10, 2005, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Early reviews warning

    by mr jones

    Minor point; Matrix Reloaded got some pretty excellent reviews from the first screenings, and whilst I liked the movie, it didn't stand up to those. As for rotten tomatoes, i find it a useful guide, but there are times when I'll see a 'bad review' which actually seems to like the film, and a 'good review' that makes me think the author really didn't like it, so I'd treat them with care, (in fact, if you look at the phatom menace clips, there's one that says how good the fx are and gives it a negative, and one that says that the fx are amazing and gives it a positive!). Once there are 100 or so posts, then you might get a better idea, but even then, most of the press screenings are going to say it's good.. Just my opinion. Oh, and where's the yoda link that DuPont wanted, people - I want it too!

  • May 10, 2005, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Wonder Woman = Amazon does not = Greek

    by JTylor

    I don't think any of the myths set up where the amazons actually came from. If anyone has any actual ideas, let me know.

  • you are a bunch of morons. "Wow, I typed her pseudonym into Google image search and posted the first profile looking pic I found. I'm a fucking detective, my sleuthing skills are unrivaled." You do know that isn't her real name, so most likely you won't find her image by searching for it that way. Plus, did you even think to look at the site where the pic was hosted? It's a fucking website for an international business forum in Belgium. Why in the bloody hell would her picture be there? It's time for you Sherlock Holmes wannabes to retire.

  • May 10, 2005, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Movies About People Parking Their Cars

    by ZombieSolutions

    that's great! and so dead on right. but to be fair, they did drive them too -- for like 45 minutes in the first one! really fast too! like a video game, but really, REALLY boring. i'm really glad that the haters are loving ROTS, though. i can't wait for May 19th. (btw, i'm glad someone else is finally admitting that FIRELFY is a live action COWBOY BEEBOP which is, hands down, the most underrated and underappreciated anime series ever made. i'm guardedly optomisitc about SERENITY. it'll probably be cool. i love the BUFFYVERSE and COWBOY BEEBOP, so... chances are i'll dig this too.)

  • May 10, 2005, 11:02 a.m. CST

    lol

    by cockknocker

  • May 10, 2005, 11:36 a.m. CST

    by Itchyroo

    Well, I dunno whether this question will be answered since I dunno if Alexandra DuPont's been reading after all the mud that's been slung at her in this talkback, but I'll go ahead and ask. Does a certain jedi from Ep. 1 reappear in a cameo in this movie as it's been rumored he was supposed to (he even mentioned that he'd be doing it in an interview back when Attack of the Clones was released, I think)? I've heard that he doesn't come back, but that's weird considering he was on the cover of that magazine not too long ago with all the other Star Wars actors (y'know, the one that had Jar Jar front and center when you folded it out)?

  • May 10, 2005, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Answering Itchyroo's question re: Qui-Gon....

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    Liam Neeson does not appear in "Revenge of the Sith," nor do we hear his voice. However, he's discussed in a conference room on the Tantive IV in a way that may warm the fanboy heart. Neeson isn't missed.

  • May 10, 2005, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Farewell Alex, and thanks

    by MGTHEDJ

    You were the best on this site. Best of luck.----later-----m

  • May 10, 2005, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Wonder Woman's origins

    by mbeemer

    Princess Diana was formed from clay - she can look like anything they want, although I'd agree a product of the Greek gods would most likely have a Greek appearance.

  • May 10, 2005, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Thanks for the reviews, Alex. You will be missed.

    by minderbinder

    I think you hit the nail on the head - many SW fans will ignore the first two and make 3-6 their "box set". Good news that the movie is self contained, glad there's no reason to ever watch the first two again.

  • May 10, 2005, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Thanks!

    by Itchyroo

    I do think it's a bit of a shame Neeson isn't in it...the cockles of my fanboy heart will most likely be warmed by any reference to him, as he was my favorite actor in Episode 1. BTW, Alexandra, will you review the DVD of Revenge of the Sith as you've done for past Star Wars movies on DVD Journal? 'Cause I've always appreciated your thoughts on the DVDs and their extras.

  • May 10, 2005, 2 p.m. CST

    Alexandra, about Qui-Gon.

    by Warcraft

    That's really gay. Figures an awesome scene from the book would be freaking cut. In the book, Qui-Gon appears before Yoda to console him, and to tell him it was the will of he force that all this had happened. Then, Yoda kneels before Qui-Gon, and says, "Very well, your apprentice, I become." This isn't in the movie? Shame....

  • May 10, 2005, 2:03 p.m. CST

    on that subject,

    by Warcraft

    I do believe one of the trailers, the teaser I think, has yoda bowing down to someone, which suggests the Qui-Gon part was filmed, and cut.

  • May 10, 2005, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Still on that subject.

    by Warcraft

    Al, do you think there is anyway that, when this movie hits it's normal release date, that the cut the public sees will be different from the early screening cuts? Do you think we (the average movie going public) might actually get some extra footage come may 19th?

  • May 10, 2005, 2:48 p.m. CST

    And so AICN's best reviewer lays down her pen...

    by Damitol

    I'll miss you, but until I hear different I'm assuming "Lisa at EW" as I agree with most of her reviews as well. I've always looked forward to your reviews because they were well written, and after I saw the movie, I discovered they were very acurate in discussing the stregnths, flaws, etc. Best of luck in your *real* job. As to the two films at hand, yay and yay. I'm a Star Wars fan from the old days who has been let down by the prequels. It's great to hear that the series will go out with a bang. As to Serenity - great to see an objective, positive review. I became a real fan after watching the DVDs, and can't wait to see what happens next. Since this first round of screenings was meant to pull in the "Browncoats", the reviews have been a little too gushing. It's nice to hear someone who's opinion I've grown to trust confirm it's a really good film and with some tweaking, it can be great. One question - I'm not alone in hoping that a Serenity sequel will shed some light on Book's past. Even though his part is small here, does anything in the movie start to set this up, like the reason he's not on board at first or some "How would a preacher know that?" looks or remarks during a tense situation? Thanks.

  • May 10, 2005, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Thanks, and good to hear...

    by Darth Busey

    Thanks for answering my question re: "Duel of the Fates". That piece of music is amongst my favorite in the saga, and its use as Anakin rode the speeder bike towards the Tusken Raiders' camp was the highlight of Ep. II for me.

  • May 10, 2005, 2:55 p.m. CST

    In fact...

    by Darth Busey

    ..."Duel of the Fates" is intertwined with two of the only "chill inducing" moments of the first two films. 1) When the opening chords hit as Darth Maul switches on the dual-bladed lightsaber, and 2) above

  • I try to imagine how it would translate on the silver screen...but step by step 'cause i've never seen Firefly and i can't wait to see Serenity.

  • May 10, 2005, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Thanks you Alexandra DuPont!!!

    by Right Bastard

    I have always enjoyed your well thought out, and usually spot-on, reviews. Most of you asking "Who is this?" can find her reviews here: http://www.dvdjournal.com/writersites/alexandradupont.html

  • May 10, 2005, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Yoda bows to no one!

    by Lazarus Long

    Warcraft, if I'm not mistaken that shot you're talking about if from Palpatine's office, the same room where Yoda smacks down the guards. He's probably on the floor because the Emperor put him there. Besides, since when do padawans bow down to their Jedi Masters? *** Thanks ADP for another brilliantly written article. Moriarty promised a review yesterday but I guess he didn't feel like following that act so quickly. Having said that, I know we're all eagerly awating his thoughts.

  • It's a condescending thing to do. Old people like Bob Hope used to do that kind of introduction. If they had to introduce a female winner of the Nobel prize they would be very likely to say something about the great sweet potato pie that the woman bakes, or something like that. But the fact that AICN guys fall into the old trap doesn't bother me because that's what I'd expect out of these AICN guys. They're just regular people who like movies. Why should they be much different from the guys on the local news in terms of sexism?

  • May 10, 2005, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Well did you read the book Laz? No? Ok then.

    by Warcraft

    I did. Yoda bows down to Qui-gon. Qui-gon, for some reason, becomes an Avatar of the force.

  • May 10, 2005, 4:08 p.m. CST

    I Always Got the Impression That AICNers Hated COWBOY BEEBOP For

    by ZombieSolutions

    i guess it was just the usual "we hate everything" reaction some talkbackers post because they are bored, angry, or both. I've definately read quite a few negative talkbacker posts on it. but, yeah, a full on official COWBOY BEEBOP live action film would be great. maybe someone wants to throw some money at Ryuhei Kitamura for this?

  • May 10, 2005, 4:31 p.m. CST

    Glad to see you've made it as a journalist. But my teeth will mi

    by Sith Witch

    Thanks for the thoughtful articles the past several years...

  • May 10, 2005, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Re: The "deleted" Qui-Gon scene....

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    I understand anyone's disappointment at this apparent Qui-Gon cameo scene not being in the film, but after seeing "Sith," I have to say: You're so caught up in the story at that point that, frankly, Special Guest Star Liam Neeson would have thrown the momentum off. It was deleted for reasons I fully support.

  • May 10, 2005, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Skurge2005 you wasted your time writing that... good job

    by Metallicant

    HAHAHAHAHAHA

  • May 10, 2005, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Thanks Al.

    by Warcraft

    It's just a shame that ep3 is missing one of the few good actors in this prequel mess. It just would have been nice to have Christopher Lee, Ian Mcdiermand (sp), Ewan Mcgregor, Jimmy Smitts, Samuel Jackson, and Liam Neeson all in one movie.

  • http://chud.com/news/2860 Every review i've read on all kind of mags and Internet sites, those on chud are the best.

  • May 10, 2005, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Splinter of the Mind's Ass

    by vinylsaurus

    ...should be the title of the next SW novelization.

  • May 10, 2005, 5:56 p.m. CST

    You're still wrong, Warcraft

    by Lazarus Long

    Maybe you shouldn't sound such a smart ass about reading the book. Some of us didn't feel the need to spoil every last detail for ourselves. If you remember the FUCKING TRAILER you'd know that location where Yoda is on his knees is the exact same one where Palpatine throws some force lightning Yoda's way. It sure as hell ain't on the Tantive. "Ok then".

  • May 10, 2005, 7:24 p.m. CST

    new 9th tv spot

    by natedalli

    check out a 9th tv Spot( the best one yet..cool music..very gladiatorish)..check it out here at http://www.comingsoon.net/films.php?id=4777

  • May 10, 2005, 9:42 p.m. CST

    Dude, those chud.com reviews suck

    by I Dunno

    They all say the same thing, like one big prequel hating circle jerk.

  • May 10, 2005, 9:51 p.m. CST

    ROTS is 93% on the Tomatometer with 27 reviews!

    by HanFiredFirst

  • May 11, 2005, 12:28 a.m. CST

    So what's your point Lazarus?

    by Warcraft

    My original point was, I was upset they left out the Qui-Gon part. Whether or not Yoda kneels anywhere else is irrelevent. So you think the floor looks similar, woop di doo. I never said Yoda bowed to Qui-Gon on the Tantive to begin with. As far as the book goes, Yoda doesn't kneel to Palpatine, he just hauls ass out of there to avoid further ownage. What I DO know, is the basic plotline of the book, which means I DO more then you, ergo I know what the fuck I'm talking about, and all you have is a teaser trailer to back your "arguement". Ok then.

  • May 11, 2005, 12:32 a.m. CST

    sigh, why can't we edit posts?

    by Warcraft

    "What I DO know, is the basic plotline of the book, which means I DO more then you,"*****should read******What I do know, are detailed events of the movie, thanks to reading the book, ergo I DO know more then you, and I know what the fuck I'm talking about, whereas all you have to back your "arguement", is a teaser trailer. And uh, ok then.

  • May 11, 2005, 12:37 a.m. CST

    Ah fuck, I didn't mean to sound so angry.

    by Warcraft

    I'm just upset that ep 1 and 2 aren't as good as ep3. It would have been nice to have a perfect, pg13, badass starwars trilogy. Meh.

  • May 11, 2005, 3:42 a.m. CST

    Picking the best AICN writer is like...

    by Heckles

    picking the best Penthouse Forum letter. If this person is getting paid, take the money and run.

  • May 11, 2005, 5:36 a.m. CST

    WoTW?

    by Metallicant

    http://www.cgchannel.com/gallery/viewimage.jsp?imgID=8596

  • May 11, 2005, 7:13 a.m. CST

    Goodbye from two fellow UK reviewers, hon...

    by Charlie & Tex

    While it is somewhat sweeping to pick a favourite reviewer and hold them aloft as the all-time best, Ms DuPont is certainly ours. Always insightful and detailed, her reviews were those of a fan expressing an opinion rather than just looking to shoe-in the latest buzz word and the tiresome "...owns your ass, your first-born puppy and the crusty stuff you pulled from your momma's fuck factory, etc" attitude than has become prevalant these days. Such debate gently reduces down to a reflection of your own sensibilities and tastes, and the lovely ADP held a mirror up to ours as surely as a bum trip through an unstable wormhole. Writing with such passion takes a lot out of you, as we can attest, and to be knocking the stuff out for free can leave you feeling rather hollow, so for Ms DuPont to have secured a living through her talents is both heartening and well deserved. Making money out of such efforts is one that we have yet to master, but we're working on it...Anyway the Wilson Bros wish you the canniest of luck in your new posting, and our best to you and your other half. Talent this rare deserves all the success due.

  • May 11, 2005, 8:57 a.m. CST

    The Serenity Review...

    by BradP

    Take note she likes the film (Serenity) but notice how much longer her BAD points section than her good points section is. I saw the film in Vegas last Thursday and passed off a fairly disappointed mostly negative review, but this site won't post it (seems they'll only post the positive or mostly positive stuff for films they decide they want to stand behind). As a certified "Browncoat", Firefly and Whedon fan, the film let me down, as it's just a far cry from the whimsy and creativeness of the Firefly TV series. The movie comes across as cold, unfeeling, and not nearly as clever as the series, which was brilliant in my book. So, this is one BIG Firefly fan who was let down by the film. Hopefully this comment won't get censored as well. I can appreciate how fans are so devout that they want nary a negative word to get out there, but when the box office tale is told in September, we'll see the result. Personally, I hope enough negative word gets out that they fix the movie as best they can. Many of Alexandra's negative points are spot-on and should be taken under advisement. They would be steps in the right direction. If anyone is curious to read my full review, I can try and post it up in here at least.

  • May 11, 2005, 10:50 a.m. CST

    People who complain about Ms. DuPont's use of the English langua

    by DocPazuzu

    ...are, without exception, troglodytic fucking morons, doing their best to bleed literacy to death -- or at least to their own level so they won't feel inferior. Pardon my French.

  • May 11, 2005, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Question for Alex

    by InBloom

    - since you seem to be very kindly answering questions; Is the whole Sifo Dyas thing resoved? Is that name mentioned at all, or is the whole creation of the clone army completely ignored? I'd be grateful for an answer!

  • May 11, 2005, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Answering InBloom's questions....

    by Alexandra.DuPont

    "Is the whole Sifo Dyas thing resoved? Is that name mentioned at all, or is the whole creation of the clone army completely ignored?" No, it's completely ignored. And thank God, I say -- it would have been irrelevant to the story at hand, and it's patently obvious at the end that it was all Palpatine's doing, anyway. It's just never said explicitly. Putting it another way: It's not the crime of "Revenge of the Sith" for NOT bringing up Sifo Dyas; it's the crime of "Attack of the Clones" for bringing it up to begin with. As with the Qui-Gon cameo, it would be distracting to bring it up here, given the more immediate concerns at hand. There's no need to explore the origin of someone's alias. Anyway, I believe Sifo Dyas gets his due in the "General Grievous" comic book by Dark Horse.

  • May 11, 2005, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Vader?

    by Trevor Goodchild

    Why is he the only Darth with a surname that isn't an exsisting word or suggestion of a dark word. Grievous. Maul. Sidious. Tyrannous. I like the C.H.U.D reviews. They really should have gone for a Sith Witch.

  • May 11, 2005, 2:09 p.m. CST

    That one's easy, its because....

    by Lost in Uranus

    Vader is special. Plus I think I heard somewhere that Vader means "Father" in german... or in some other obscure evil language.

  • May 11, 2005, 2:24 p.m. CST

    Thank you!

    by InBloom

    Quick response! I definitely agree that the Sifo dyas thing was a flaw in AOTC - it's just kind of annoying that Lucas bothered to set it up, and I always had a bit of a problem with the fact that the Jedi seem to remember Sifo Dyas being a Jedi Knight who died around the time of The Phantom Menace. It may be just as well that it's left out of Ep III, but I think it should have been in all three prequels, or not at all.

  • May 11, 2005, 3:08 p.m. CST

    It's Vater in german

    by Trienco

    There are some german dialects where it's Vadder and I think in Dutch it really is Vader. Though there is although the theory of it being short for invader. All depends on what you want to believe ,-)

  • May 11, 2005, 3:24 p.m. CST

    VADER does suggest a bad guy word: invader

    by minderbinder

    And I seriously doubt GL had "father" in mind when he made the first movie.

  • May 11, 2005, 4:07 p.m. CST

    And with DuPont's passing, the critical IQ of this place drops b

    by mortsleam

    Looking around at the festering piles of sexism and stupidity thatflood these talkbacks, it's amazing she stayed as long as she did. Didn't always agree with her reviews, but they were always an intelligently written and entertaining read. I wouldn't even say that this revieew has convinced me to see ROTS, but at least she gave an interesting, in-depth rundown of her thoughts. And in question form, like a good little Jeopardy! contestant. Good luck on your real job.

  • May 11, 2005, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Later, sister. . .

    by ZeroCorpse

    Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Seriously, I love your writing, but I can do without the dozens and dozens of posts by slobbering geeks praising your beauty and skill and then asking you to marry them, run away with them, or simply stand still while they wank off.

  • May 11, 2005, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Goddamnit moviemack...

    by Uncle_Les

    ...we just want nipples on our Bat-men. Is that so wrong? Peace Out.

  • This TB has hit an all-time low. And that is saying something. I bet most of you miserable fucks are too loathsome to even get pity sex. You wonder why no one responds to your Yahoo Personals post when you reply with a requested pic. Seems like a lot of peeps here could use a little dose of sunlight and a helping hand that is not attached to their own arms.

  • May 12, 2005, 10:11 a.m. CST

    BroncoFan

    by DocPazuzu

    I rest my case.

  • May 12, 2005, 10:59 a.m. CST

    BroncoFan

    by DocPazuzu

    It's not an act. I am too good for you.

  • May 12, 2005, 9:17 p.m. CST

    moviemack.....

    by MattCG

    ...yes, "Crash" is a good movie, if you like some heavyhanded, bullshit moralizing and some of the worst dialogue of the year. Someone said "Crash is like "Magnolia" are morons." and that person was right on the money. This movie is so fucking overbearing and manipulative that only a true fuckwit would consider it intelligent.

  • May 12, 2005, 9:19 p.m. CST

    BroncoFan

    by MattCG

    You have issues. I suggest getting some therapy and then maybe you'll come to terms why you're filled with rage whenever your father stands behind you.

  • May 13, 2005, 11:07 a.m. CST

    "Raped your childhood"? Please.

    by L_B

    I really have to draw on UT for this one. "What exactly do people mean by "he raped my childhood," anyway? What the fuck did he "rape?" How was your childhood violently and sexually assaulted by the release of the prequel trilogy? What the fuck is your goddamned problem, fanboy? Huh? "Raped my childhood." Bullshit. He raped his own story when he decided that Leigh Brackett's wacky notion of "What if Vader hadn't killed Luke's dad, what if he was Luke's dad?" suggestion was "better" than the original idea, and then had to retconn the entire "saga" around making that silly idea work. I really want to know -- in what way do you honestly believe that by making the prequel trilogy, George Lucas "raped" your childhood? I dare you not to be pathetic in your justification. Or, worse yet, selfish." Yeah. And then, just for the heck of it: "exercising journalistic courtesy for gays by not implying a heterosexual relationship" What the hell does THAT mean? We're not even allowed to HINT that we're in a heterosexual relationship because we might insult gay people? Does anyone else see the insanity in this? If a straight person is offended by a gay relationship, they're subjected to a witchhunt (sometimes justified, sometimes not, depending on how they "express" their distaste). If a gay person is offended by a straight relationship, apparently we have to respect that and not talk about our heterosexuality! "The reason AICN guys keep describing women as "beautiful", etc., is that they are trailing-edge conformist sexists" I see. So if I comment on a woman's beauty, I'm sexist. I suppose I ought to go about calling women ugly, then. Bob Hope and the sweet-potato-pie I can see as clearly trying to discredit the woman in question, but commenting on someone's beauty does not detract from the perception of their other attributes - unless you really are THAT shallow.

  • May 18, 2005, 3:15 p.m. CST

    windu gives grievous a big 'fuck-you'

    by mousse

    i just watched genndy tartakovsky's 'clone wars' animation series for the first time when they finally played it en masse on cartoon network this saturday. genndy's absolutely brilliant at action scenes, and the best one was just at the end. grievous spends maybe 10 long, action-packed minutes chasing palpatine and four jedi before defeating them. just as they're boarding their ship, windu's transport is shot down and he jumps to the ground to see grievous escorting palpatine in. then, in a dialogue-less 5 seconds, grievous turns from a hunch noticing windu out of the corner of his eye to a 4-lightsaber-pose akin to a scorpion or cobra about to strike. windu reaches out and clenches his fist as squashing a fruit and grievous's metal chest caves in with a ka-shanggg, sending the previously fearsome and victorious beast coughing and choking to the ground in a single move just as the loading doors close him in. the ship jumps to hyperspace before windu can do more. freaking awesome direction.

  • May 28, 2005, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Farewell, Ms. DuPont

    by Ribbons

    Thanks for all the good reviews. I especially appreciate the way they predict people's questions and react to them while they're being told (not to mention the sense of wordplay and humor involved). Though it's not likely you'll be back to visit this article, nor will I (or perhaps in September...), I enjoy reading your work and felt like I owed it to myself to finally see what you had to say about Episode III after I'd exposed myself to it in theaters. I found it refreshing and a good return to a proper perspective after the milieu of the "NOOO!" debate that's currently been taking TalkBack by storm, and in fact I'm feeling kind of melancholy that you expressed so much enthusiasm about how 'Sith' is a movie worth discussing -- without absolutes, where no one's a clear-cut loser (a notion I agree with, btw) -- only to see the mess that's been made in the aftermath of its release. Eh well. Some people are discussing it, at the very least. My only absolute? An utter fucking waste of Keisha Castle-Hughes. Peace, and much success and serenity (but what am I saying? You're a journalist) in your new profession.

Top Talkbacks