Movie Reviews

Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith

Reviewed by: Blake Wright
Rating: 8 out of 10
Movie Details: View here

Cast:
Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Natalie Portman as Padmé
Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker
Ian McDiarmid as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine
Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu
Jimmy Smits as Senator Bail Organa
Frank Oz as Yoda (voice)
Anthony Daniels as C-3PO
Christopher Lee as Count Dooku
Keisha Castle-Hughes as Queen of Naboo
Silas Carson as Ki-Adi-Mundi & Nute Gunray
Jay Laga'aia as Captain Typho
Bruce Spence as Tion Medon
Wayne Pygram as Governor Tarkin
Temuera Morrison as Commander Cody

Summary:
George Lucas' Star Wars saga comes to a fitting end. While sadly, the same stilted dialogue and bad acting that has run rampant during this latest trilogy is back, Revenge of the Sith brings the action like no other Star Wars film - on land, in the air and to the very depths of Hell.

Story:
War has rocked the Republic. The Separatists, in their never-ending quest to bring the galaxy's governmental structure down, have made a direct assault on the Senate's home world of Coruscant. Not only that, the droid armies - led by Count Dooku and the mechanical menace General Grevious - have succeeded in kidnapping Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Obi-Wan Kenobi and his padawan Anakin Skywalker are dispatched to rescue the Chancellor as warships blast one another in the skies above the planet. In order to do that, the pair must face Dooku again… this time with dire results for the Separatist and in turn young Skywalker, whom at the Chancellor's prompting takes his first steps down the dark path.

When the trio return to Coruscant, Anakin finds Padme hiding in the shadows with a secret to tell. She is pregnant. The news warms Anakin, but soon begins to haunt his soul in the form of visions and nightmares where his love dies during childbirth. Desperate not to lose Padme, as he did his mother, Anakin must now weave through the motives of the Chancellor and the Jedi Council to discern what is the right thing to do for the safety of his future family and the security of the Republic he has sworn to protect.

Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith is rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and some intense images.

What Worked:
The performances in Revenge of the Sith range from wasted to superb. On the plus side, my hat must once again be tipped to Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine. This is HIS movie, and he again delivers a deliciously direct performance laced with just the right amounts of subtle arrogance (as the Chancellor) and full-on hell-fire (as the Emperor) that makes the film a joy to watch when he is on screen. The defining scene takes place at the Coruscant opera when Palpy tells Anakin a story that reveals quite a lot about both men.

Ewan McGregor solidifies his role as Obi-Wan - a wise, unwavering Jedi that holds true to the order even though his heart is clearly breaking at the loss of his apprentice to the Dark Side.

Hayden Christensen is better here than in Clones, though there are still moments of awkwardness - especially with Padme - that seem forced. His furrowed brow and brooding glare work overtime during the second half of the film, and it works.

The effects in Revenge of the Sith get top marks. ILM has made wondrous strides in the animation of Yoda. Where the Attack of the Clones CGI Yoda was very good, the ROTS version is almost flawless. You can really find yourself forgetting he is a digital rendering - even during the frenetic fight scene with Palpatine in the Senate Chamber. Palpy's 'little green friend' shows he can still pack a wallop even after getting knocked on his backside by force lightning.

Grevious was another success. I must admit, I didn't think much of the character or the design prior to seeing the movie, but he won me over. Watching him slink around, letting his cronies get pulverized by the Jedi was all just a set up for when he finally shed his cloak and went to work. Very cool, if a bit too brief.

The space battle was another marvel… although the opening sequence was borderline overkill. The twists and turns following the two Jedi fighters through the maze of lasers and starships are almost enough to move any recently sated filmgoer to lose their lunch.

The fight scenes were all turned up a notch as well… and there were plenty of them - Obi-Wan and Anakin versus Dooku, Palpatine versus Mace and the Jedi, Palpatine versus Yoda, Anakin versus Obi-Wan and so on. Each had there own interest and appeal. With the Dooku battle, it was the finale - with Mace… the transformation - with Yoda… the Force - and with Master versus Padawan… the speed.

The music of Revenge of the Sith was first rate, if only because much of the main pieces were variations on the theme from previous films. Williams still deserves a lot of credit for bringing the extra level of intensity and drama to the storyline.

What Didn't Work:
My main beef was Revenge of the Sith is a bit on the selfish side. It was something that I wanted, but did not get… and that was a revelation… an epiphany. I wanted the 'Luke… I AM your father' kind of jaw-dropping truth to be laid out there for all to see, but it didn't happen. What you see is what you get with this film, which is not necessarily bad, but I was personally in favor of finding out that - for example - Qui-Gon WAS a bad guy. But, he wasn't.

The one glaring weirdness was just how quick Anakin was talked into becoming Palpatine's apprentice. He literally went from preaching the Jedi code and the remorse of 'what have I done' to going down on one knee for his new Master… in seconds! It would have been nice to see a lot more conflict there, but I suppose time is money.

Another beef is the real wastes in this film. Christopher Lee comes to mind… on screen just long enough to get 86'd. Then there are the Wookiees. There is no real reason for them in this film other than the fact that it was the original intent of Lucas to have them in Return of the Jedi. He couldn't do it then, so he did it now. The time spend on Kashyyyk does nothing to move the story forward and appeared solely for the purpose of getting Chewie in the movie… and that's too bad.

I remember back to one San Diego Comic Con after Clones came out. McCallum showed up to talk Episode III and promised the eager crowd that 'all of the questions would be answered.' Hardly. The Qui-Gon issue was a real cop out… so was 3POs memory. And the film itself raised questions it didn't answer… at least not directly. Was Plageus Palpatine's master? And what about Leia forming memories of her mother during those few short seconds they spent alive together? And can't SOMEBODY toss Grevious a cough drop!?

In all, it is better than Menace and Clones, but I won't go as far as to put it ahead of Jedi or anywhere near the others. Fans will rejoice. It will make millions… and I will see it again.

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