Friday, May 20, 2005

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (***)

This is going to be a difficult one to review. Lucas had such an impossible task ahead of him with this third film of the new trilogy. Due to his failures in Episodes I and II, he's left himself with the bulk of the interesting story to tell in under two and a half hours. On top of that, he has to satisfy all the fanboys who've been dreaming of and picturing the events in this film in their mind ever since they saw the original trilogy. Not everyone will be completely satisfied. Heck, I wasn't, but that doesn't diminish Lucas' achievement with this film.

Yes, okay. Lucas can't write dialogue. This is painfully obvious in any of the scenes between Anakin and Padme. Love stories and real human connections aren't his forte, I guess you could say. And yes, Anakin's conversion to the dark side is rather rushed, but that's because there was just too much damn story to tell. On one hand this is a problem becuase the viewer's left wanting a more satsifying and believable switch to the dark side. But on the other hand, the abundance of story means that this film freakin' moves. Unlike Episodes I and II, which were basically all filler, everything meaningful happens in this one. Once it starts, it never really lets up.

While I don't think Lucas achieved the "tearjerker" he wanted this film to be, I do think that it's kind of sad when Anakin becomes Lord Vader. All this time I've been wanting him to go bad, and yet, when the moment finally arrives, I found myself wanting him to stay good, to find it in himself to do the right thing.

If you're a Star Wars fan, you are bound to find something to love in here. From the opening rescue of Chancellor Palpatine, to Obi-Wan's lightsaber duel (of which there are lots of in this film) with the six-limbed General Grievous, to the Anakin-Obi-Wan fight to the finish amidst "liquid hot magma." I'm going to be coming back to this one time and time again. I think that Hayden Christensen gives a much better performance than he did in Episode II. Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan is always a delight. I thought Ian McDiarmid did a superb job as Palpatine, and in sneakily and expertly trying to seduce Anakin to the dark side. I love the lizard that Obi-Wan rides. I love the reveal of Darth Vader at the end. I love R2D2's unexpected acrobatics at the beginning. I love the Wookie planet (though I wish we'd gotten to see more of it). I love Yoda.

When it comes down to it, I think you have to rank the Star Wars films to get a good sense of where they stand. Time will of course tell, but for me, right now, it goes: Empire, New Hope, Sith, Jedi, Clones, Phantom Menace. While beating Clones and Phantom is no big deal, beating Return of the Jedi sure is. This film is dark, it moves fast, and it's visually amazing. It's not a perfect film, but then again, I don't think it ever could be given what was left to cover after Episodes I and II. I think those who don't like it are either too nitpicky, or are too caught up in their own expectations. For me, Episode III delivers the goods.

6 Comments:

At 6:43 AM, Anonymous michael a. fox said...

ewan you are such a delight!

 
At 6:43 AM, Anonymous michael a. fox said...

"mag-ma"

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous michael a. fox said...

**1/2

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

(***)- It looked cool; the storyline was cool; the acting was godawful (seems like Lucas only allowed for one take for every sequence); the writing was shitty and lazy; it sounds like I have reservations meriting a **1/2 rating, but the good outweighs the bad.

 
At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Sandra Lee said...

Lucas is a droid.

I will make him some beer-lime cocktail to humanize him

 
At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

enjoyedthe movie immencely. it is my favorite one. i do have to watch the first 3 over again because at my age i cant remember nothing. just cracked up watch a yoda puppet in the row in front of me smoking a cig. guess who? thanks for getting the tickets, john

 

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