Reviews: Revenge Of The Sith

Anakin "Anticlimax" Skywalker

The main issue with ROTS, I think, is that the move doesn't want Darth Vader to be too evil. It happens to every popular villain eventually. They become "humanized" and retconned into an antihero (if not outright hero) like Spike on Buffy, or The Master on Doctor Who, or Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear. People crave characters with tough exteriors and soft centers. Following in that spirit, Anakin is implied to be destined to fall and become Darth Vader. This reflects a little poorly on The Force, unless Palpatine really was Anakin's father (WHAAA—?), making Luke some sort of cosmic countermeasure. And while a good writer can make the transition believable, Anakin never seems to change or be in control or his own destiny. It's a kiss of death to drama.

I do think Anakin is the weakest character of the prequels. I mean, how can you defend him? Well, on second thought, you can find subtext in any movie to fit one's fanon. Just going by what I see on the screen, however, a series of contrivances made Vader paint himself into a wall. His fabled hunting down of the Jedi turns out to have been — you guessed it — motivated by good intentions. The part I liked best was actually his first force-choking, because it was a flicker of the Darth Vader we all love and fear.

This was the least enjoyable of the prequels. The opening scenes above Coruscant are dizzying to the point of boredom: once it became clear that Anakin and Obi-Wan were invulnerable (elevator,anyone?) and R2-D2 was some kind of killer Decepticon, Grievous and his men folded like a cheap lawn chair. The rest of the film was pretty lackluster, too, just mindless action sequences with no real goals. The Jedi extermination, which we've been building to since A New Hope, was basically an afterthought.

I really can't see any merit to the film, unless you can be entertained by nice CGI.

The Best Star Wars Film

I think Revenge of the Sith is the best of the six films. It powerfully ends the prequel trilogy and segues beautifully into the original trilogy. That does not make it without flaws, however. Some of the action is overextended (Grievous' fight with Obi-Wan), there are a few narmish scenes (Palpatine's face when fights Windu), and Padmé has little to do (although, given that she's pregnant and Palpatine is seizing political control, this is somewhat understandable). Padmé's situation could have been rectified by including the formation of the Rebellion deleted scenes, although I do understand why they were cut for pacing issues. That said, Revenge of the Sith manages to combine sweeping, exciting action, a stupendous score, plentiful visual symbolism, and a wonderful story together to depict Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader and the fall of the Old Republic.

At its core, ROTS demonstrates the external factors that induced Anakin's fall. Whereas AOTC really highlighted his weaknesses as a person (his need for control, his arrogance, his fear of loss which can precipitate anger) and TPM laid the foundations which made him susceptible (such as his history as a slave, initial rejection by the Jedi Order, and early relationship with Palpatine), ROTS shows that crumbling trust between the Jedi and Anakin along with the visions of Padmé's death propelled him to seek out alternatives and trap himself completely in Palpatine's web.

The film was also emotionally devastating (at least, as much as a mere film can be) — watching Anakin lose his way so thoroughly, watching the Jedi be brutally cut down, watching Padmé wither away helplessly, and watching Obi-Wan struggling so painfully to do the right thing. Because this is a film that, very clearly, illustrates the true nature of evil — its childishness, its selfishness, its cowardice, and its wretchedness. Those who fall are not strong or powerful or commanding, but weak and desperate. They're figures whose actions inspire hate and disgust and their deficiencies inspire pity.

This is the film that solidified my love of the Star Wars films and it remains among the most shocking I've ever watched. Going in not knowing the conclusion, I was gobsmacked as I watched the lives of characters I know and love disintegrate, thus ripping to shreds every cliché I had expected.

Episode III: The Prequel that Delivers

Revenge of the Sith

Directed by: George Lucas

Year: 2005

Starring: Hayden Christensen,Natalie Portman,Ewan Mac Gregor,Ian Mc Diarmid,Samuel L Jackson

Grade: B+

I'll be honest,and many will call heresy,but I didn't hate Phantom Menace and I'd consider myself an apologist for it. Though it suffered horribly from fast pacing with no time to process,the character Jar-Jar Binks, the acting of Jake Lloyd, and an inaccessible premise. Then came Attack Of The Clones which suffered from slow pacing,no action,and wooden dialogue,but I cannot defend that one.

But then at last it came to fruition with Revenge Of The Sith which began with an epic space battle,and then after luring the audience in,slowed things down a bit for explanation such as how Anakin could begin to distrust the Jedi. After that beginning came the mercifully shorter but somewhat overpowering Romantic Plot Tumor. However said tumor actually got put to good use as the motive for Anakin's transformation to the dark side and ensured the second half would be brilliant

The effects are still fun to watch and I think unlike A New Hope they actually will hold up better in thirty years. It was pure eye candy to watch Kenobi fight Anakin in the lava and earlier outdo Grievous (even if the character of Grevious was watered down).This in turn made a lot of the mandatory but otherwise tiring fights more interesting,and you can actually see they actually tried to get real fencing into it.

The acting was also far improved. Hayden Christensen was still wooden,but he managed to actually have a little fun at the same time making the main plot line much more fun. Ewan Mac Gregor proved to embody Kenobi far more than Guiness ever did in just one line,.... "And you were my brother Anakin, I loved you". Mc Diarmid as Palpatine was delicious in every way thinkable. The only weak link this time around was Portman for once,but that probably had more to do with the lines.

Finally it was actually heart-wrenching,even down to the infamous Big NO by Darth Vader.But I found once again Obi-Wan's reaction to really take the cake on this.

Who knew George Lucas could actually still direct well (when all the other ones he didn't hire someone else for were not-so-good)? I didn't. Though the death of Windu was dumb,Revenge Of The Sith is still not short on fun.