I love Mike Stoklasa’s video reviews, though perhaps “video reviews” isn’t a generous enough term for this man’s borderline heroic work. Stoklasa uses carefully selected video clips, smart observations about the language of cinema, and deranged humor from his videos’ narrator — a grumpy and cruel old man named Harry Plinkett — to critique the movies he hates. His eviscerations of “The Phantom Menace” and “Star Trek: Nemesis” are the stuff of Internet legend. Just in time for New Year’s, Stoklasa released his astoundingly in-depth “Revenge of the Sith” review. It is over 100 minutes long, longer than some feature films and almost as long as the film it is critiquing.
Stoklasa’s videos are crude, and the Plinkett storylines interwoven through the commentary of some of them play masochism for laughs in a way that makes me uncomfortable. Still, there is some legitimate and very perceptive film criticism. The final montage in his “Revenge of the Sith” review ingeniously juxtaposes the famous “Use the Force, Luke!” moment from the first “Star Wars” — where Luke chooses human feeling and emotion over computer assistance in order to blow up the Death Star — with behind-the-scenes footage of Lucas on the set of his lifeless, CGI-driven monstrosities. It’s a brilliant and utterly damning argument against not only “Star Wars: Episode III” itself, but against the entire computers-first approach Lucas pioneered and that most of Hollywood now uses to make their big budget action films.
This is easily Stoklasa’s best review yet: his most thorough and his least sidetracked by queasy Plinkett sketches. Here they are, for your viewing pleasure (assuming your name isn’t George Lucas):
With all the “Star Wars” prequels’ reviews complete, I’m not sure where Stoklasa goes from here. There’s a couple sideways jabs in the “Sith” videos at Michael Bay and “Transformers,” a film that seems to fit the mould of Stoklasa’s targets: soulless, overblown visual spectacles devoid of emotional content or compelling human characters. But I honestly don’t care what subject he tackles next. I’ll watch any review he makes. You can find all his work on his website, RedLetterMedia.com.