Movies Q&A: Count Dooku & Groucho

By George Thomas

Q: Regarding your thoughts on Star Wars.'' The movies hit me at the about same impressionable age as you, and I agree with your assessment as to George Lucas' lucky’’ casting in the original trilogy. One thing I have not seen addressed in any review of the prequels is the issue of a bad guy. I bring my 9-year-old to the prequels and I just don’t see her hiding behind her seat from Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) as I did from Vader at the same age. - M., North Canton, Ohio
A: I understand what you mean. I find myself in the strange position of defending George Lucas after spending parts of the past couple of years criticizing him in assorted columns.
I think the lack of a definitive villain was intentional with the prequels. The prequels have all been about Darth Vader’s descent into his own personal hell, and I don’t think Lucas wanted anything in the prequels to usurp that. After viewing Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith,'' I can see why that would be the case. Except for a couple of moments, the most compelling story is loss of self. As for villains, in this one look for Gen. Grievous, a droid who wields five light sabers at a time. As for the film itself, you may want to see this before taking your 9-year-old daughter. While I'm not aware of her maturity level, I will tell you that Sith’’ is extremely intense with some definite issues regarding violence, and by its end there is little doubt as to who the villain is.
Q: I live in an area well south of the nearest theater with a digital projection system. I will be taking my son to see Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith.'' In your professional opinion, is the 40-mile drive (80 miles round trip) to that theater worth it to see this movie in digital? In other words, is the digital experience worth an extra $7 in gas and an extra hour or so of driving? - T., Clinton, Ohio A: That is a tough question that depends a lot on you as a movie fan. Unfortunately, the area critics' screening of Sith’’ wasn’t shown digitally. However, I can tell you that the theater you mention recently upgraded its system. I did see Sin City'' there and, in short, it was breathtaking. Digital presentation has come a long way since I saw a bits-and-bytes version of Bicentennial Man’’ years ago. Considering that is the medium Lucas shot ``Sith’’ in, I’d dole out the extra cash to go. Look at it as DVD for cinema. Kick back and enjoy.


Q: Years ago there was a movie, The Milado,'' starring Groucho Marx. I am unable to find it anywhere. Thanks - J.R., via e-mail A: You may have been having problems because you had the title wrong. What you are looking for is The Mikado,’’ which aired as part of the Bell Telephone Hour'' in 1960. Normally I do not handle TV questions, Jim, but I have special dispensation from Akron Beacon Journal TV critic R.D. Heldenfels on this one. I called Video Artists International, the current rights holder for the Bell Telephone Hour,’’ and was told by one of its spokesmen that Marx’s version of the comedic operetta by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan is one title it ``definitely’’ wants to release. The company suspects it would be its most popular title to date. However, it has run into issues getting the Marx estate to clear it. The spokesman suggests you keep your fingers crossed for a release in the future.