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A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Sometime during Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker will make a fateful decision. Faced with a choice between losing the one he loves or giving up his soul to gain the power to save her, Anakin will fall prey to the seductive temptations of the dark side of the Force. Just what Anakin's decision is, why he makes it and how it leads him to don a frightening suit of black armor have been the stuff of Star Wars legend.
One word: Finally. And even that is pushing it.
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Finally, Lucas pushes the “Go” button that he’s been afraid to hit for the past 2 movies. And even so, he waits until halfway through this movie to hit it. The story is so much more focused than the other two prequels and really provides a dynomite character piece that overpowers the CGI and the action. This here, is the good stuff. We finally will get to see how it all goes down, and here folks, is where the mystery truly lies. We finally see the Jedi annihilated, but sadly, mostly from the hand of the Emperor and not Darth Vader. But don’t let that phase you, Darth Vader does murder children in this film. Yeah…as sick and depraved, this is what I have been waiting for. For once in the prequel trilogy I was emotionally captured throughout everything happening in the film. I recall seeing the film for the first time at midnight, watching the death of Mace Windu and thinking to myself “Oh man…this sucks.” Anakin finally embraces his selfish wants to save the galaxy and his woman by his own hands and we understand why and we can justify everything he does through his eyes. We needed not the filler of yester-film, just to know the man was in love and that he would do anything to save it. We also get a great story of a teacher who feels immense regret for his actions and his own selfish promises that have come to a great cost to his world. We see an evil dictator rise to power and the groups who realize they unknowingly helping it come to fruition. Basically, the story works great for mystery, betrayal and epic action.
Alright, here’s where I get defensive mode. It’s not Hayden’s fault for his performance. At first, I was like most and thought Lucas had hired the wrong man for the job. But once I got my hand on the DVD for this puppy, my view point changed. Watch some of the bonus features and see some alternate takes of Hayden performing. The man blows the roof off the house. And then watch as Lucas interrupts the take and asks him to change the performance to what we get in the final film. Sadly for Christensen, when George Lucas tells you to do something, you do it. Veteran actors like McGregor, Jackson, McDiarmid must have picked up on this way back in Episode 1 and figured out they were really on their own in terms of their performance. Even Portman steps it up in this film and impressed me. But of all the players, Christensen was the only one on his second outing. I don’t blame him for the faults in his portrayal of Anakin and even at it’s worse, it’s still somewhat tolerable.
Ewan rocks the house. I mean it. This is the Obi-wan we were all waiting for. It’s almost like he mixed a little of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo into his Obi-wan. But the detail is in the subtleties that really shows his ability. Watch the following shot after the end of the lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-wan. Anakin lays on the bank in pain and the first instinct of Obi-wan is to go and help his fallen brother. But he can’t. He stops himself. THAT, to me is absolutely phenomenal. I love it. Obi wan is a man driven in this film, which is what makes him most interesting. Just as Anakin becomes Darth Vader in this film, Obi-wan becomes the Obi-wan we’ve all been waiting for. He’s wise and understanding of the mistakes he’s made and out to fix them. Meanwhile, all trying to save his best friend. I mean come on, it just doesn’t get any more interesting than that if you ask me.
Lastly, I’d like to mention Ian McDiarmid. The dude steals every scene that he’s in. It’s not so subtle that he’s the one pulling the strings behind everything so they just run with it. It’s not revealed to us the audience until it’s revealed to the characters and that’s what makes it fun. We know it, but we’re not completely assured there’s a twist coming on it or not. Which is what makes it so rewarding that we can say “Yes! I knew it was him.” Even though most of us knew it from Episode 1 haha. But in all seriousness, the man goes from vile and mysterious to straight up evil and intimidating. A great arc is clearly seen in this film as he takes over the galaxy. So much, that this is more his movie than anyone else’s.
Lucas gets everything right this go around. Yes the CGI is still heavily there, but there’s so much great story going on and great character development that we don’t mind it. It only adds to the story the way we hope. That’s what we needed in the other films. My only complaint is that he was so influential on Christensen’s performance that it hurts the film overall from most of everyone else’s opinions. That and making the cyborg Vader scream out like a little punk bitch at the reveal of his wife’s death. There, I said it.
Stunning and original. This is when the HD 24p cameras were really working at full capacity. The film looks flawless. It really does capture a great crisp look that almost makes all of the CGI work better along with it so that it helps to suspend disbelief. Sad only because it’s the last film that will have it for Star Wars….at least until Star wars 7,8 and 9 come out.
Was there any? Aside from a few sets, everything is CGI. Most of the production design goes into costuming and set design, and even those are CGI influenced. As much as I praised the work above, I still favor actual objects when they can be there. But that’s just me.
Great, there’s never a side step the entire film. I’m captured in every moment and never find myself bored. The pacing is on and while it takes a little while for the story to reach the point we’re all waiting for, we still aren’t looking at our watches. It gets there like clockwork and flows nicely. Again, shame it only took them 3 movies to figure it out.
John Williams jumps back to the level of great scores that he had in A New Hope. This film has it all. A perfect 50/50 blend of the old and new films to bridge the gap. There’s exciting new music that still channels the spirit of the original trilogy and gives us an emotional backbone to support some of the great battle scenes – most notably “Battle of the Heroes” between Obi-wan and Anakin. Simply powerful.
The movie is 75% CGI. Literally. While still, in my opinion, over stylized, the film’s story keeps the CGI from overpowering the image and removing our attention from the events at hand. Some of the work is very impressive, while other parts are very obvious CGI that got less attention and is needing heavy work. Massive props have to be given to the work on Yoda however. While it’s not perfect, it’s damn close to it. I was very impressed with how close to life like it looked.
Revenge of the Sith delivers. It’s not how any of us would have done it, but it is indeed George Lucas’ baby. It’s not perfect, but it works greatly. It’s one of those darts that get’s so close to the bulls eye that your friends are like “alright, I’ll give you that one.”