Two Cents for Six Titles
Not to be confused with Two Mules for Sister Sara -- great flick, that. No, this is about the recent title release of the sixth and last Star Wars film in the saga, Revenge of the Sith. Exciting times, these -- nowhere else will you get as much hype and anticipation over the title of a film that won't be out for 294 days (estimated). Nor has there been as much angst about title choices. I've been alive and conscious for every title announcement, and, the classic trilogy included, this is the first time that a title has been, more-or-less, universally praised.

I have this CNN video-clip of Ewan McGregor's (with Nicole Kidman) reaction to the naming of Episode II, and it is priceless. I don't have a link to it anymore, but here's a transcription:

    EWAN and NICOLE are at a Moulin Rouge promo. A reporter is in mid-interview.

    Ewan, did you hear the title for the new Star Wars movie?

    Yes, yes I did!

    NICOLE (to Ewan)
    What is it?

    It's called 'Attack of the Clones'.

    NICOLE takes a beat to absorb this. Then:

    NICOLE (disbelief)

    EWAN (nearly bursting into laughter)
    It is!

    They look at each other and laugh.

Not too good when you have the actors in the film reacting that way. The reaction was different for The Phantom Menace; not so much ridicule as confusion. It didn't sound like a Star Wars title. Another criticism was it was too confusing and vague of a title -- what did it mean? Ironically, this was in tune with what happens in the movie.

Even the vaunted Empire Strikes Back was ridiculed for its Saturday-afternoon-matinee cheeseball title. It hardly even seems like the title could be questioned these days. [As for the original, hardly anyone (who wasn't a fan) even knew the real title of the film, so that one doesn't apply here.] Return of the Jedi was originally titled Revenge of the Jedi (see below), but realizing that emotion wouldn't be part of being a Jedi (rightly so), Lucas changed it a few months before the premiere. Fans liked the more menacing 'Revenge' title because it sounded cooler, and there was a lot of negative fan response. Now, two decades later, they finally get their wish.

The Force.Net noticed that ESPN this week, on the Daily Quickie, ranked the top 5 Star Wars names as thus:
    Empire Strikes Back: How gutsy to use for a sequel
    Revenge of the Sith: How nasty does THAT sound?
    Attack of the Clones: Meant what it said
    Return of the Jedi: Originally “Revenge”
    A New Hope: How innocent it was!
In keeping with this ranking, and looking for something to do on this slow work day, here's the REAL rankings:
  1. Return of the Jedi: Even though the film isn't my favorite, I think it's a great title. Snappy, accurate, and bonus points for having the word 'Jedi' in it.
  2. Revenge of the Sith: I agree with the fan reactions; sounds bad ass. Much better than 'Birth of the Empire' would have been. Plus, 'Sith' factor.
  3. The Empire Strikes Back: Classic and menacing. Like 'Sith', you know it's going to be a dark film.
  4. The Phantom Menace: I admit it. I like the title. But not good enough to beat any of the big three. It's only just a bit better than...
  5. Attack of the Clones: Because Ewan McGregor has ruined it for me. Love the movie, but I can't say the title without sometimes slipping into his Scottish accent. And giggling.
  6. A New Hope: Limp.
And that's the way it is.

AND ANOTHER THING: Just in time to capitalize on the frenzy of the title release, the official site is offering a Revenge of the Sith t-shirt, styled in the same manner as the rare Revenge of the Jedi t-shirts that were distributed in 1982 before the title was changed. Please don't order me one; it's already on the way ;). DORK ALERT!!

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