Considered very recently to be the last Star Wars movie we’d ever see (until that little Disney transaction occurred, of course), Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was the third and final film in George Lucas’s prequel trilogy.
For as much hate as the prequel movies get, most fanboy and girls would likely agree that Episode III was by far the best of the trio, hitting on some dark notes that created some redeeming qualities for the trilogy. Still, one wouldn’t think that opinions of that film would rise much higher than that.
Enter Camille Paglia, a known and noted art critic who has a new book coming out called Glittering Images. In this book, Paglia makes quite the stunning statement: Revenge of the Sith is the greatest work of art in the past thirty years, of all mediums.
When asked about her bold statement, Paglia explained. Here’s the question and her response:
Well, what about Revenge of the Sith? You say it’s the greatest work of art, in any medium, created in the last 30 years. It’s better than… uh, Matthew Barney or Rachel Whiteread or Chris Ware or Peter Doig?
Yes, the long finale of Revenge of the Sith has more inherent artistic value, emotional power, and global impact than anything by the artists you name. It’s because the art world has flat-lined and become an echo chamber of received opinion and toxic over-praise. It’s like the emperor’s new clothes—people are too intimidated to admit what they secretly think or what they might think with their blinders off.
She also later added ” I had considered using Japanese anime for the digital art chapter of the book, but it lacked the overwhelming operatic power and yes, seriousness of Lucas’ Revenge of the Sith.”
I, for one, am not art savvy, and thus cannot tell what qualifies as great and what qualifies as junk. I liked the movie the one time I saw it, but could think of a slew of other films since then that feel much more like works of art. Nevertheless, whether you agree with Paglia’s statement or not, she clearly understands the art world far better than I ever will, so who am I to dispute such things.
You can check out the full interview with Paglia, which covers all aspects of art, then and now, over at Vice.
What do you think of Paglia’s statement? Cool nod to geek culture, or ridiculous?