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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DVD, 2005, 2-Disc Set, Widescreen)
(206 Epinions reviews)
May 21, 2005 (Updated May 22, 2005)
Review by jswikler
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:The dark Star Wars film you've been waiting for.
Cons:Really bad dialog.
The Bottom Line: --
And so it ends, at least that's what George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars universe, says. Revenge of the Sith is his final installment in his six-part series of sci-fi mega-hits. And I feel this film to be a more than worthy addition.
Recommend this product?
Like any good movie lover, I saw Revenge of the Sith at 12:01 AM on opening day. The long line to get into the theater was full of lightsaber-wielding, Darth Vader mask-wearing, cloak-donning geeks. And this film is likely to be their final hurrah. Fortunately for them, this ain't no Phantom Menace.
As I've hinted at, I found this film to be, perhaps, the finest of the entire series of six. I am not afraid to love it even more than the revered Empire Strikes Back. "How could you?!?" you may ask. Well, for one, it is my opinion and you can't change it. For another, over the past couple of weeks, I have watched all of the Star Wars films and I feel I have close to an adequate perspective to make a rational determination. However, I will let time pass before I make my final decision.
Due to its renown, I don't think it is altogether necessary to give a full explanation of this film. However, I will give a short summary.
The film begins with the classic scrolling text which explains that the Republic is now waging war against a droid army led by General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Wood). You soon find that Grievous, much like the Viceroy (Silas Carson) and Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) in the previous two films, is actually in cahoots with the evil Darth Sidious (Ian McDiarmid). These wars have caused the Senate to continually instill more power upon Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) to make executive decisions for the Republic. The Jedi Council is growing more suspicious of Palpatine, and thus they send Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to spy on him. However, Anakin already has much on his mind as his wife Padme (Natalie Portman) is now pregnant. He fears that she might be in danger. Further, Anakin is slowly becoming suspicious of the Jedi Council, as they are prohibiting him from becoming a Jedi Master. All these events culminate to the inevitable death of the Republic, rise of the Empire, and birth of Darth Vader.
Well, I guess I did have a summary in me. Anyway, this is really a great Star Wars film. Christensen does a magnificent job as he deals with the confusion and the passion that lead him to become one of the greatest villains in cinema history. Ewan McGregor is fantastic in his final turn as Obi-Wan Kenobi. He brings a necessary lightness to an otherwise dark film. McDiarmid is at his best as Chancellor Palpatine. He is more sinister and deceptive than ever before (obviously this is necessary to move the plot). Frank Oz voices Yoda one final time, and Yoda is given one last chance to show his stuff. However, I still did not enjoy Portman. The script gave her very little, but that doesn't mean that I must like her character to balance out Lucas' bad writing. Furthermore, the relationship between Anakin and Padme still stinks. However, the way it plays out would have worked better in this film had the relationship been solidified in The Attack of the Clones. But that didn't happen.
However, this may very well be my favorite Star Wars film. I got what I wanted to see out of this film. I wanted this to be the darkest film, and it is. My favorite part of Star Wars has always been the Jedi, and this film serves up the most Jedi lightsaber and force manipulating action out of all six films. While many Star Wars geeks and other film lovers will never like the new films as much the older ones, I am not afraid to compare them and come out liking Revenge of the Sith more. So, let's compare.
On this point, the original films have the new films beat. The dialog in this last film is especially lame. There were many lines that unintentionally caused audience members to laugh. I realize that the first films are notorious for their dialog as well, but they are not nearly as bad as this one. When Anakin tells Padme about his "new powers," I became embarrassed. The wit and humor of characters like Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Princess Leia are unmatched in this more recent outing.
This is another point that I will concede to the original films. I just can't get into the CGI space fights like I was able to get into the fights in the Millennium Falcon or the destruction of the original Death Star. "George Lucas, cartoon ships are not that exciting." And I never really felt that the characters were in danger. Further, the introductory space fight in this film is one of its more shameful features. Those buzzer droids (or whatever they're called) almost make you want to leave the theater out of disgust.
For obvious reasons, the duels in the newer films are simply unmatched by the originals. Revenge of the Sith is the ultimate example of this. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the lightsaber battles. This is what kids and people who are still kids at heart want to see. They want to see Jedi who are amazing at fighting and are able to throw people around just by shoving their palm in their direction. Unfortunately, if the next generation watches these films in order, they will be very disappointed when it comes time for Obi-Wan and Vader to face off in A New Hope. They have an amazing battle in Revenge of the Sith and now have come face-to-face for one final fight; one final, incredibly whimpy fight. It's a real shame. And if you watch the original trilogy, there simply isn't that much Jedi action going on, even with Luke Skywalker as an up-and-coming Jedi. Now, I realize that most of the Jedi are dead and gone. But the fact remains that the lightsaber duels of Episodes IV, V and VI are greatly diminished now in comparison to Episodes I, II and III. I mean, think of how sweet Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker could have been if the new films were being made now.
I have always considered myself a person who loves films that are driven by characters more than films that are driven by stories. However, this film is very much story-driven, and I love it. And, I guess, there is more character development than the previous two installments, and that is much appreciated as well.
For those of you planning on seeing this film, may the force be with you. It is a great film, and will probably be my favorite from this summer's many offerings. It is a dark tragedy, but there is also hope. Hope that one who has turned from his righteous ways can turn back and be restored. Hope that "the one" may still bring balance to the force. But for that, you'll have to wait until Episode VI.
Last Note: I realize that many people may be outraged at my view of the original trilogy. Understand that I do love those films. I know that George Lucas changed the face of film technology. But I am also realistic. And I know that those films were made over twenty years ago, and film technology has improved since then. However, "if you still feel raw about it," feel free to express yourself by writing a comment.
... And Another Thing: I guess the "Last Note" was not, technically, the last note. However, I must express one more thought. I have now read several reviews (here and from the critics) and I am sick of the word "wooden." What must have happened is that one person decided to use the word "wooden" to describe the acting in this film, and then everyone hijacked the phrase for themselves. I don't blame the progenitor of the phrase. I do, however, blame all of the rip-off artists. Stop using the term "wooden" in your reviews about this movie. None of you have ever used the term "wooden" in a review before, but now it is all over the Star Wars reviews. Stop it! It's not yours. You stole it. Either subconsciously or consciously, you heard or read that word when someone was referring to this movie and you adopted it as your own. Come up with your own way to describe how you felt about the acting. I have much more to say about this, but my diatribe has already gone on for too long.
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