Today's Blogs

Anakin Skywalker, R.I.P

Bloggers discuss the new Star Wars movie and mourn the end of the series. They also discuss a New York Times report on detainee abuse in Afghanistan and an imprudent comparison by Rick Santorum.

Anakin Skywalker, RIP: Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge of the Sith opened yesterday, the final installment in George Lucas’ beloved space epic. Almost 3,000 midnight screenings nationwide grossed an estimated $16.5 million—more than twice the midnight revenue of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in 2003.

Revenge of the Sith “is in scope, story, and spectacle, everything ‘Return of the Jedi’ should have been, but wasn’t,” praisesVodkapundit’s Will Collier. “It’s also something the first two prequels ought to have been: story-rich and emotionally engaging.” Collier, like most bloggers, thinks the “political controversy” is just a lot of hot air. “If you get offended by this movie on political grounds, you probably also go into a frothing rage when the car in front of you turns on its left-turn signal,” he writes.

“The last half-hour was as thrilling a piece of filmmaking as I’ve seen,” says freelance writer Ed Driscoll. “And it’s all largely for naught, because … like the other two Star Wars prequels, the dialogue … is wooden and inert, the acting only more so, and only the lighting fast pacing manages to mask those sins—and then only slightly.” At One Hand Clapping, Tennessean Donald Sensing agrees. “I could never get passionate about the movie as a viewer because the actors never got passionate about the movie as, well, actors,” he writes. “They just recite lines and go through motions. And, I say again, you already know where they’ll wind up at the end of the movie. Unfortunately, there’s no suspense in learning how they’ll get there.” On his Live Journal, an “infuriated” Metalknickaz blames the directing, not the acting. “George Fucking Lucas,” he moans. “Star Wars: An excellent timeless story created by a man with absolutely no significant filmaking talent—at least not anymore.” 

Newbie LoveLain calls the final episode “the passion of the christ for star wars fans,” and, as with that movie, most fans and critics alike see exactly what they expected to see in Revenge of the Sith. Plenty of fans are saddened as well as pleased by the final episode. “Wow, it truly is the end of an era,” writes Michael Gallaugher. “[I]t is a bittersweet feeling. In a way, it feels like my childhood is now officially over.”

Read Slate’s Star Wars primer, review, and discussion group.  Read more blog posts about the movie.

The Bagram report: A front-page New York Times story recounts in graphic detail the deaths, by torture, of two prisoners at the U.S. Army’s detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan. The story was drawn from a “2,000-page confidential file of the Army’s criminal investigation” into abuse at Bagram, a file the Times calls a “narrative counterpart to the digital images from Abu Ghraib.”

“Seriously, set aside a little time and read the whole thing.writes moderate liberal Jack O’Toole. At the Washington Monthly, liberal Kevin Drum says these new violations aren’t ” ‘close calls’ and not ‘gray areas,’ either, but routine, horrific treatment.”At Tom’sIrrelevant Musings,the progressive Texan agrees the new revelations are enormously important—and dangerous. “If the Times story gets circulated, you’ll see far more riots then what the Newsweek story supposedly caused,” he warns.

Pixy Misa at Ambient Irony condemns the reported abuse. “But note the source for the New York Times’ report: A military investigation,” she writes. “And recall that Abu Ghraib was also the subject of a military investigation before it was a blip on the radar of the media. Our military is imperfect, but it does police itself, and it does hold itself accountable. There’s a lesson there, for those willing to learn.”

Read more about the New York Times report.

Blustering over the filibuster:Republican Sen. Rick Santorum yesterday made the mother of all hyperbolic comparisons, saying of the Democratic strategy to block judicial nominees by filibuster, “It’s the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942: ‘I’m in Paris. How dare you invade me. How dare you bomb my city? It’s mine.’ ”

“The precise nature of the equivalence with Hitler, I regret to say, escapes me,” writes estimable legal blogger Eugene Volokh. At The QandO Blog, a “Neolibertarian” group journal, Jon Henke marvels at Santorum’s statement. “You know, aside from the temerity necessary to invoke Hitler for such minor issues, shouldn’t everybody involved be thoroughly embarrassed at their thin grasp of history?” At A Tiny Revolution, a satirical Jonathan Schwartz has Hitler himself praise Santorum’s injudicious comment: “I am audacious, yes. But I foresee a day, far in the future, when my audacity will be matched by another man—A MAN NAMED HARRY REID.” 

Read more about Santorum’s comment.

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