June 7th 2005
Well, now that exams are over, I can turn my attention to weightier matters: the Dude List. Have you ever felt the inclination to make a list of people who are dudes? It's a tough criterion to measure, much less fulfil, and I can't help but feel that it's subjective... however, it's important to note that these people are chosen because (I think) they are dudes: not because they're talented, or I admire them, or anything along those lines. In fact, Angus Deayton and Tony Hawks were bumped from the list because, although I like them both, neither are really dudes. Anyways... there are four rules: must be a dude, must be alive, must be non-fictional, must be famous. The list (so far) comprises (in alphabetical order);
Michael J. Fox
Sir Jack Hayward
Sir Paul McCartney
Sir Cliff Richard
Thomas F. Wilson
June 8th 2005
There are many unanswered questions in our world today: philosphers, scientists and milkmen spend their days and lives pondering the great unanswerables, and even in the past 24 hours, frequent readers of this page must be asking themselves what possessed me to add Sir Cliff to the dude list... but today two film-related questions occurred to me. You may or may not know that this year Both the Lion/Witch/Wardrobe and Pride & Prejudice are being released on the big screen, one sooner than the other (Tall Andy is in P&P... wow!). But why? They will not be as good as the versions the BBC showed back when BBC still showed good programmes, rather than Cutting It - there is little in the way of TV drama that comes close to matching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice, and the Chronicles of Narnia, feeble special effects though they were, is ingrained enough to surpass the 2005 version. But this morning I watched trailers for both films, and although I saw little wrong with LWW (they appeared to have matched shot-for-shot some of the BBC stuff, and added in panoramic shots and battle scenes a la LotR) I saw little in P&P to enthuse about. You see, the BBC got almost every - no, scratch that, every - character spot on. There can be no other Mr. Bennet, Mrs. Bennet, Jane, Lizzy, Mr. Collins, Darcy, Bingley, Mr. & Mrs. Gardner... the list goes on. From what I saw of the trailer, Matthew McFayden (sp?) doesn't come close to that other dude list resident, Colin Firth, and comparing Mr. Bennets is like asking which Mandela brother made the most impact. But Lizzy... I pity Keira Knightley, because she seems to make a fantastic Lizzy Bennet, and if she was up against anyone other than Jennifer Ehle, she'd win - but Jennifer put in the performance of a lifetime, and even Keira's eyes don't compare... those eyes...
June 10th 2005
I'm currently catching up with the rest of Western civilisation by watching the original Star Wars trilogy - the aim is to watch all five before seeing Episode III on Wednesday. Well, I'm about half an hour into Episode V, and I can't really see what all the fuss is about. Once you lower your expectations, accept C3P0 (who is clearly in love with R2D2), and realise that Princess Leia is about as attractive as the big hairy thing (Chewy?), it's not too bad. Trouble was, I was led to believe it was some of the greatest stuff in cinematic history... and I would say that I prefer Help!, the latest Beatles film I've acquired. Hmm... in case any medical students are reading, I thought the other day that I broke my toe, but having hobbled along to the medical centre today, I'm told it's probably just bad bruising, and I should be okay in a couple of weeks - not ideal for end-of-term madness, but it means I get to watch Star Wars a lot. By the by, Dick Van Dyke was today added to the Dude List... it's his work as Bert in Mary Poppins that won him his place.
June 11th 2005
Okay, I finished the original Star Wars trilogy, and I still feel that it doesn't deserve the hype that it got, but I like it, and will definitely watch them again (I rewatch films manically)... through some interweb research, I'm pretty sure I saw the 1997 version of the film - for those not in the know, the original trilogy was when it was, then there was a 1997 special edition with a bunch of stuff changed, then there was the 2004 specialer edition with some more stuff changed (and, indeed, some stuff from 1997 changed back). Of course, fans being fans, they hate new stuff, and ideally I'd have gone for the trilogy in its original state - indeed, with a newer version made, the 1997 version is in a strange position of indifference. Hmmm. I'm currently trying to find someone who has episodes I and II (legally) so that I can properly prepare myself for seeing the final installment. But the superior trilogy of Back to the Future is being watched later today... I can't wait.
June 13th 2005
So yeah, we watched the BttF trilogy - only about 5.5hr, so nothing much (especially since we're planning to watch the LotR trilogy - extended - at some point in the next week) but what a trilogy it is! Seeing them all together, I'm now pretty certain that BttF1 is my favourite, although 2 is fantastic, and 3's pretty darn good. The stuff in the future is a bit clumsy in BttF2, especially when compared with the scenes in which they go back to 1955 again, which are pure class. Anyhow, as well as myself, the viewers were Christine, Tom, Anthony, Richard, David, Becky (1 and 2) and Guy (just 1) - several people said they would and didn't, but overall it was a pretty decent turnout, even if twas only Chris, Tom and myself who remained in the room for the entire trilogy. In other news, let me spend some time looking over the history of blogs. When I began, I was (unknowingly) following in the footsteps of Ben, whose intermittent updates made for entertaining reading, even if they focused a little too largely on Karen... also out there on the ether was Dockery's webpage, perhaps the first to bring mine to the masses. Sadly, blogging is a dying art - Dockery's fell early, and Ben's bit the dust a few weeks ago, around the same time that Doug's frequently-redesigned journal finally threw in the towel. Others to come and go with predictable rapidity include Dearlove's and Justin's, and this week heralded a new arrival: the blog of Anthony, imaginatively and inexplicably called Footnotes. So if you yearn for the days when everything I wrote was also to be found on the webpages of Messrs. Parsons and Earnshaw, now you can discover much of today's content over at Anthony's... if the design looks familiar, that's because it is. In further news, this coming week is Project Pete here at Warwick (Post-Exam Training and Evangelism) which should be rockin', even though I'm not entirely sure what it entails - prayer for that would be appreciated, in any quarter. Good night all.
June 14th 2005
First of all, a retraction and an apology, to Mr. Justin Crosfield (I've never felt like the Daily Mail before... this is a new and unpleasant experience). It turns out that his 'blog' is alive and kicking, and to be reached at jcros.8k.com. He even writes about Neighbours, which can't be bad. In other news, I lost my wallet today, which can be bad... in fact, it would take unusual circumstances for it to be anything other than bad - perhaps if there's a small bomb in it or something... anyhow, by the time I'd gone through the rigmarole of cancelling my HSBC card, all the other banks were closed, but when I returned to campus I discovered an email telling me that some lost property of mine had been handed in to the Union Reception: sadly, it was closed by the time I got there. So my quandary is this - do I continue cancelling cards? Because if the lost property is my wallet (and I can't think of anything else I might have lost) then I don't want to cancel more cards, but if it isn't my wallet, do I really want to wait until tomorrow morning before discovering that fact? Well, I've emailed them back asking, and I'm going to phone the bus company, and I'll let you all know how I get on. Some time I'll say a bit about the quiz we entered, as well.
June 15th 2005
Wallet update: it's back. Some lovely, lovely person found it on the bus and handed it in to the SU - the power of prayer in action, ladies and gentlemen. Well, that's all over, then. And now, as promised, a little something about the quiz we entered... Rob decided that it would be cool to enter the 'pub quiz' happening in the Students' Union, although he wasn't sure where it was, when it was, what it was... etc. Never letting practicalities stand in the way of entertainment, Anthony, Iain and myself gladly accompanied him, and it wasn't long before we found ourselves sitting at a table, pen in hand, ready to answer as many questions as they could throw at us... unfortunately, our capabilities seemed to be few when, after the first round (General Knowledge) had come and gone, we had scored a meagre four points, and sat in 30th place (out of 52, which would later rise to 53). Well. Up next was Sport, and Iain - not for the last time that evening - amazed us with his knowledge (do you know whom Brazil beat in their first World Cup final victory?) so much so that we Jokered on that round - for some reason, the quiz allowed you to place your joker after having completed the questions, unlike any other quiz I've ever been in. The table of positions then scrolled up, but we were so busy - I dunno, maybe we were congratulating Iain still - that we missed the first seven names, then watched to see where we'd come... as the names kept coming, we felt worse and worse, until we realised that we couldn't be below 30th, surely... surely... but then, that meant we had to be someone in the top seven. Okay, we'd played our joker already, but still, top 7, that's good stuff. As soon as 53rd place had been shown (team name ???) it flipped back to the top, and there, sitting in first place, was Ricky and the Red Stripes. Yes sir, that's my baby. Why Ricky and the Red Stripes? Well, when the Beatles were breaking up, Paul put forward the idea of touring again, but under the pseudonym of Ricky and the Red Stripes (I may be wrong about that, actually, since I searched for it on Google, and found only one website... but I'm sure I've read it in a least one place)... this meant that our team name was one of the few non-crass, non-obscene ones listed. Anyhow, we were first! That was worth savouring, and we were still first after the next round (Geography, I think... cheers Iain!), and although we fell to second after that, we remained in the top five for the rest of the competition, and ended up in fifth place, which isn't bad for a first try, out of 53 teams. I realise I've spoilt the exciting ending of this entry... sorry... anyways, other rounds included Film (which we were given 5.5 for, although we figured we'd scored 1...), Disney, the Letter round (all answers beginning with the letter M... I was particularly chuffed with getting 'what was the surname of the brothers who made the first practical hot air balloon?'), the music intro round (first ten seconds or so of songs... Rob excelled here, although I chipped in with Wouldn't It Be Nice by The Beach Boys). The interval round was a picture round - in which we had to name Mr. Men and Little Miss from their pictures!! I couldn't have been more pleased... except, I - er, we... cough - only got 9/10. Before Simon explodes with indignation, I would like to point out that the quiz included two new Little Miss. New Little Miss! Those of you not in the know will not be aware that in the 90s (in fact I think they're still doing it) someone decided to capitalise on the success of the fantastic Mr. Men by making new books, either with characters who were clearly rehashed proper Mr. Men (eg Mr. Grumble) or absurd (eg Mr. Cool). They also went and did it with the Little Miss, who were never as good as the Mr. Men in any case... so excuse me if I can't get Little Miss Busy, because in my book she doesn't really exist - she's a pathetic creation of money men. I'm almost glad I didn't get her - after all, I got Little Miss Somersault (Somersault? I ask you) and that's enough for me. There was one team that decided to play their Joker on this round - and only got one answer right, which confused me greatly: it wasn't like it was the last round, so they'd have to play the Joker, and because of the strange rules, they could answer all the questions before playing the joker - so surely they must have known that they didn't get the answers right! Naming Mr. Men isn't the kind of thing you can (easily) get lucky on by guessing - you either know or you don't, and they clearly didn't. Well, no skin off my nose, I just think it's strange. I think that's about all I'm gonna say right now, except to bemoan the fact that there was only one Beatles question - 'which band were George Harrison, Paul McCartney and John Lennon in... other than the Beatles?' Well, I disagree with the answer, in as much as they played under several different names, including the Silver Beetles, but I knew what they wanted, and after groping around in my memory bank for a while, came up with the answer - The Quarry Men. Thank-you very much.
Dude List update: Richard Whiteley has made the cut. Currently pondering Gary Lineker.
June 17th 2005
Latest Dude List addition: Ross Noble. Can't believe I forgot him in the first place. I need a new CD player. Gnight.
June 18th 2005
Why on earth is it that so many people aspire to weirdness? They delight in arbitrary activity, even if it doesn't exist - close to the heart of students and teenagers alike (and some of the less mature adults in the world) is to be perceived as admirably eccentric. The desire for abnormality may be acceptable if it was not always coupled with an unbreakable belief that it has already been attained. The most normal people in the world, mundane to the point of ridicule, will proclaim that they are 'weird', 'mad' or 'twisted' depending on the company they keep and that which they wish they could keep. And how does this abnormality manifest itself? Frequently verbally - choosing any from a selection of apparently hilarious words, and inserting in conversation at equally hilarious junctures - haddock, penguin, monkey, codpiece... whatever word is being used by the masses to proclaim uniquity. Worst is the desire to pursue idiosyncracies - I should know, I've done it often enough. Those who believe they don't have enough to contribute to others through understandable and intelligent actions and conversation will add something 'random' (a word I detest, by the way) to entertain. Being noticed is akin to being loved. So, no - you're not weird, you are Mr. Johnny Average and you can contribute enough through being what you are, not an amalgamation of what amuses you. I realise that much of what I have written is addressed as much to myself as to anyone - you can point to the Friends website, the Neighbours website, the obsessive nature, the Dude List - there's a lot to choose from. But, y'know, I acually made these things because I like 'em, not to set myself apart. I hope. In other news, I understand that Connect 4 has been 'broken' - ie, if you go first, you can definitely win, if you play correctly. I'm sure that it wouldn't be difficult, therefore, to get this into some kind of flowchart mode whereby you could guarantee victory... but as far as I know, no-one's bothered yet. On the topic, I'm pretty good at Connect 4, I reckon... maybe it's because it's a much simpler game than something like chess, or even draughts, so it's not too taxing, and looking forward a few moves is pretty simple when the game you're playing is so simple (or maybe it's just that my brain functions in such a way to be perfect for Connect 4... if so, I can't help but feel my brain's got its priorities in the wrong order). The secret to C4 is to get in a position where you have two potential rows of four (and the lower one isn't a potential row for your opponent) - that way, you get it in a position so that putting a counter in Row 1 (wlog... that means without loss of generalisation in mathspeak. In this case, it means that what I'm saying would apply equally if it was Row 3, or 6, or whatever) will give you victory, so your opponent has to go there to stop you winning - but by putting a counter on top of theirs, in Row 1, also gives you victory. It's a very simple method, but combatting it involves having your wits about you, and it's the method I employ, since I'm a very aggressive C4 player. I've actually just spent some time playing against the computer on a website, and losing. By its nature, it will do the same thing in a certain position every time... but it's good. Next up... does anyone remember Songs-a-go-go, the compilation CD I made myself? Well, the follow up - Songs-a-go-go II - has been made. It's not as good as the original, but there are some great songs there - particularly as I've started downloading songs from Tesco and MSN (legally, naturally) to add to the mix. Here's the track listing:
1. Sunny Afternoon - The Kinks
2. Someday - Nickelback
3. Everybody Wants To Rule The World - Tears For Fears
4. I Get Around - The Beach Boys
5. One - U2
6. You'll Know You Were Loved - Lou Reed
7. The Wind Beneath My Wings - Lee Greenwood
8. The First Cut Is The Deepest - Rod Stewart
9. Run - Snow Patrol
10. Endlessly - Muse
11. Blind Willie McTell - Bob Dylan
12. My Generation - The Who
13. Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
14. Suicide Is Painless - Manic Street Preachers
15. I'll Stand By You - The Pretenders
16. Lola - The Kinks
17. Beat It - Michael Jackson
18. Song 2 - Blur
19. Hotel California - The Eagles
Some of them nearly made the cut last time, some of them come from albums I've bought since, some of them are downloaded, some are other songs by groups that got into the list last time. The Eagles, Bob Dylan and The Manic Street Preachers all had two songs each last time, and weigh in with one each here (Little Andy criticised the excellent Suicide Is Painless when he heard it - clearly a poor taste in music there). Some artists - Muse, Michael Jackson, Rod Stewart - I wanted to have a song by, and the decision wasn't easy, and I might have gone for three different choices quite easily. The rules about Beatles songs, songs by ex-Beatles, and songs from 50 Years... were all carried through. Er... that's probably about it (this has been a long entry, hasn't it?) Actually, might as well give a quick mention to the Allnighter last night, something held by Warwick Student Cinema at the end of every term, where they show six or seven films (including a Mystery Film) throughout the night, and entry is free... last night kicked off with Sahara, which I'd seen before and slots neatly into the 'all right' category of film criticism; nothing wrong with it, but not exactly sequel-generating material. Then most of us went home instead of watching the deeply heretical (so I understand) Constantine, but returned for Melinda and Melinda, a Woody Allen film in which the (doubly) eponymous heroine comes in on a dinner party, and the storyline is adapted as a comedy and as a tragedy, running parallel. It wasn't as good as I'd hoped - for one thing, the tragedy wasn't very tragic - despite attempted suicide - and almost completely emotionless... at times it was funnier than the comedy, which wasn't exactly laugh-out-loud funny. Also, the two storylines weren't particularly similar: they both began with a woman called Melinda bursting in on a dinner party, and occasionally they would have similar themes (available dentists, attempted suicide, directing a film) but the characters were completely different, the scenarios only passing acquaintances with each other, and Melinda herself had a different back history and personality. It was disappointing. Then came the Mystery Film... we weren't told what it was before it started, but just before it came up, we were shown trailers of Star Wars I and II, so we figured that it would have to be III (which I saw the other day... must write about that some time soon)... but we were in for a surprise, when the certificate came up telling us the film we were to see was given a U-Rating... and that it was called Back to the Future! Despite having watched all three a week ago, we stayed to see it through, the first time I'd seen it on the Big Screen. What a film it is, though.
June 20th 2005
Here at Colin's Online Diary I have often pointed you to other blogs, and the latest is Iain's - he's a guy who'll be living with me nexy year, and currently is within spitting distance on the corridor. Feasibly. The blog is probably interesting if you're into politics and stuff... go on, give it a try. Beats reading my archive.
June 22nd 2005
Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all other countries because you were born in it. - George Bernard Shaw
Probably my all-time favourite quotation. But, of course, patriotism here in the UK - where it is unnecessarily rife - is more than simply a belief that England, or Britain if people forget that Wales and Scotland are part of it, is the best nation in the world: it is also an undying wish to pour scorn on France and Germany in particular, and Johnny Foreigner in general. I myself am patriotic only to Ireland, and that extends as far as the sports teams, although I am as much a fan of Tiger Tim as anybody else on this fair isle, which can surprise those who are tired of my 'cynical' monarchy-bashing. Patriotism is for people who have their opinions defined by the Sun, and by extension, talkSPORT... which is the radio station that I listen to. This too may surprise those who've counted my GCSEs, but there are some great people on there - Hawksbee & Jacobs, Mike Parry, Alan Brazil, even Kinghorn & Cascarino, to name but a few... these are all presenters who talk about sport, something you'd think you could take as read on a sports radio station, but no: a large percentage of airtime is taken up discussing anything but sport, whether it be the supernatural, current affairs, or comedy. Today, talkSPORT decided to run with the fact that a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar will feature a red fleet and a blue fleet, rather than the British and the French (er, um, and the Spanish, kind of)... now, I'm sure that I first heard this 'news' weeks, even months, ago, but it commanded quite a large phone-in, with the same illogical argument repeated ad nauseum by pretty much every caller (one phoned in disagreeing with the rest, who looked up from their non-cryptic Sun crosswords in dismay, before angrily texting the words 'brtn rles u frnch git i luv r qn' to the first number that came to mind... in each case, Speed-dial 2, which in each case was Accident Claims Inc). My favourite moment of the phone-in came when they spoke to a Frenchman - who was called Mike, and came free with a thick Barnsley accent. Call me a cynic if you will, but I think he was about as French as mouldy sliced bread. C'mon Tim.
You may remember that on April 1st I sent out April Fool emails to some of my friends under the pseudonym (spelling?) Lirpa Fuhal - some were less fooled than others. Well, I've tentatively kept the name going, and this week Lirpa won the Warwick Boar crossword competition! Having won it in my own name three times already, it was getting dull...
June 23rd 2005
June 25th 2005
So it's all over. How can I be erudite, how can I write what I feel? It's the end of an era, an era that I will never be able to imitate or encapsulate, an era that has boiled down to something fantastic. I'm not going to go through a list of people, like Anthony, a newbie when it comes to blogging, did: it couldn't be exhaustive, it could be offensive by omission or inclusion, and there is little or nothing I could say against anyone on my corridor. Some I still don't know very well, and will fade to nothingness in time, recallable only as a name on a door, but almost all will be much more, and some of my best friends in the world have just vacated P3rd. It says a lot that the house next year will be filled with corridor residents - Rich, David, Ant, Iain. But it wasn't just the people on P3rd who are close to my heart: although inferior, P1st has its own band of people with whom I'd gladly sip a martini. Sorta. I'll still see a lot of my fellow residents - the "Girls' house" of Becks, Chris, Tom and Sarah will be in close contact, I'll see the likes of Tall Andy at 10.25, Rob at maths, etc etc. In my first year, I have also tried to make some people role models, to a certain extent - Ben, Guy, Becky and Steve are all people I've taken inspiration from, and that list is by no means exhaustive: the CU has been fantastic throughout. I still feel like I'm trying to describe the ocean and only getting as far as a puddle, but what can you do? To conclude... I haven't loved every minute, but I've loved enough to make these 30 wks the best of my life. Thank-you, everyone. In other news, I got my first year results back on Thursday, and got a first - 88%, so I'm dead chuffed. Christine also got a first - although wouldn't tell anyone for ages - Ant and Rob shared the same mark for a 2:1, and David didn't reveal his mark... I don't understand this at all, and no reason was forthcoming. I mean, I respect his desire not to say what he got, and will try not to pester him to reveal it, but I can't for the life of me understand... but no matter. Moving house in a couple of weeks, or something, so must get sorted to see people as much as possible before upping sticks and going to Zummerzet.
June 27th 2005
This is probably the first time that I've actually been saddened by the death of a celebrity - Christopher Reeve, maybe, but the news yesterday that Richard Whiteley has died after being in hospital for a long time with pneumonia, is a real kick in the teeth. A lot of people didn't like him because they said he wasn't funny, but they were completely missing the point: he knew he wasn't particularly funny (although in reality he was vastly more funny than many so-called comedians who made it big) and he knew he didn't have a great taste in ties. He was unique, he was an icon, he was the first face on Channel 4 and managed to hold his own even when the channel descended into the worst depths of depravity. Big Brother might be on throughout the night, Graham Norton might hit after the watershed, but you could always be confident that at tea-time you'd be able to sit down to a more innocent time, a blend of fascinating ability and charming incompetence. That I liked Richard was evident from his placement on the Dude List, and it saddens me that I will almost certainly be in the minority in greeting his death with a respectful attitude - already I can picture lesser comedians than he thumbing their thesauri in search of a nine-letter word meaning 'death' that they can pack into the routine. But my routine has changed forever.
June 30th 2005
Well, I believe I promised you a review of Star Wars episode 3 some time ago, and haven't got round to it... I think I'll go for a somewhat unusual approach by reviewing each character separately, since Star Wars has always been supremely character-driven... it's Han, Luke, Jabba, Darth, Obi-wan, etc etc who really stand out in the original trilogy (known from now on as swot... Star Wars Original Trilogy) - I'm not going to try and justify this belief much, but to me it is clear that the characters are far more important than the plot, setting, SFX (especially now)... or anything else, really. WARNING: contains spoilers
Obi-wan Kenobi - Ewan McGregor's Obi-wan is very cool, perhaps more so than Sir Alec Guinness' portrayal in the original trilogy... actually, Alec had very little time onscreen, given the impact he had, but Ewan has had the chance to give a much more 3-dimensional character, and hasn't disappointed.
Anakin Skywalker - the descent to evil was done almost convincingly: the idea of him accepting the Dark Side because he wanted to save the woman he loved was perfect, and believable, up until the point where it was revealed she had died, where Anakin's 'Nooooo!' didn't have the emotional energy I was expecting. Of course, it was also a strong sense of duty that kept him loyal to the Empire, coupled with the betrayal of the Jedi... how much were they responsible for their own downfall? But even if Anakin's motives were all understandable, I'm afraid that Darth Vader never scared me any more than your average asthma-sufferer who's fallen into a dustbin, so Anakin's switch to the Dark Side didn't have the effect it might have done.
C-3PO - I actually grew to like him in swot, despite his being rather annoying at first, but in 3 he's been reduced to about five lines... also, the CGI version is far, far too shiny, and the walk looks even faker than ever. They don't seem to have made any great effort to keep him in the franchise.
R2-D2 - OK; in swot, I'm sure this guy was next to useless. If you wanted someone to imitate a supermarket checkout or rotate their head a little, he'd be the one you call. But if you wanted him to do something as complex as fetch the paper, you'd make sure it was a straight line between you and the newsagent, and give him a push-start... however, in 3 he can do an incredible amount of stuff; I can't remember a lot of it, to be honest, but I was mightily impressed (he did get kicked over at one point, perhaps in reference to his uselessness in swot).
The girl - I can't remember her name... the one played by Natalie Portman (apparently - she looked different in every scene, to me, and I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd been played by 15 different girls). Now, what's the big deal about Natalie Portman? Answers on a postcard (and that includes you, Jack)... I guess she didn't do anything wrong, but the film wasn't really about her, was it?
Yoda - well, at least he doesn't sound as much like Gollum as he used to. People go nuts over this guy... in swot he moved a bit like Miss Piggy (not surprising, since he pretty much was Miss Piggy), whereas in 3 he jumped about like a creature 600 years his junior.
Well, I think that's more or less the main characters, at least from a forward-looking point of view... characters left over from the first two (which I still haven't seen) can't really be appreciated by me, although Samuel L. Jackson does have a fantastic voice, and Christopher Lee makes up the quota for "every film released this century has an actor from Lord of the Rings in it" (try this game yourself...). Ja-ja Binks, everyone's favourite addition, makes a five-second appearance to boos from the audience, although I thought his performance was spot-on... a few complaints, I have. Swot, although a massive film trilogy, certainly doesn't appear epic today, and I think that its success was based on charm (character-driven, as I said earlier). 3, though, certainly appears epic, and can blow you away in the same manner as LotR - nothing wrong with this, but it does make it a very different film from swot, and given the choice, I'd go for the small-scale original. Obviously in the 70s Star Wars probably was very evidently epic, but I can only speak as I see it. Also, in swot there were frequently wipes between scenes - I don't know if that's the technical term, but it's when the last shot kinda slides across screen, rather than an instant transposition or a fade - but in 3 George Lucas decided to use a wipe pretty much every time there was a change of scene, rather overusing it in my opinion. Well, as I'm not a massive Star Wars fan, I don't think I have anything more to say... it's a good film - a very good film, in fact - but I can understand how fans are feeling about it, since it just isn't the same as swot, and thus doesn't really count. This parallels with Friends - when it came to an end last year, I wasn't that upset, because it didn't really count as Friends - sure, it was often good, but it could simply not be compared with Series 2 or 3 - it went under the same title, it had the same actors, it was supposedly the same programme, but it wasn't... it was exceedingly different, and in many ways that can't really be fully explained. In the same way, episodes 1-3 may be good - indeed, they may be very good - but five seconds thinking about Han Solo, Princess Leia et al will be enough to make you realise that they just aren't Star Wars.