"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the
Directed by George Lucas.
Written by George Lucas.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christiansen, Natalie Portman and
Samuel L. Jackson.
Release Year: 2005
Review Date: 5/19/05
Let me sum it up for you: the final
"Star Wars" film is the best movie, script-wise, of them all.
It's also maybe the best "wrap-up-every-loose-end-possible" sequel
I've ever seen, and this will make the fans who spent most of the
last six years bitching about the original trilogy Special Editions,
"The Phantom Menace", and Jar-Jar Binks very, very satisfied.
"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith"
is the movie that I've been waiting for since about 1996, when I
think I first started hearing rumblings that George Lucas was going
to make the new trilogy. It was going to be the film that was
closest to the original threesome, the one that would set up where
Darth Vader went bad and how the Republic got into all of this mess
in the first place. Who would have thunk that he would have
knocked it out of the park like he does with this film?
Episode III starts off harmlessly--General
Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his apprentice, Anakin Skywalker
(Hayden Christensen), are out to try and rescue the Chancellor (Ian
McDiarmid) from the general of the Droid Army, General Grievous.
After successfully doing so, everyone returns home to Coruscant,
where the Chancellor offers to make Anakin a temporary member of the
Jedi Council...leading the Council's braintrust, like Yoda and Mace
Windu (Samuel L. Jackson), to begin questioning what the Chancellor
might be up to. Meanwhile, Anakin and Padmé (Natalie Portman)
have continued their intergalactic love affair and are now pregnant
with the kids that will become Luke and Leia...and, Anakin gets a
little too curious about the Chancellor's knowledge of the Dark Side
of the Force.
Since you know everything that's about to
happen with Episode IV being the film that started it all back in
1977, it's fun watching "Revenge of the Sith" just to see how Lucas
will tie everything together, and it is this aspect that makes the
film just so damned good. Okay, sure, we only get one shot
with Chewbacca, but it's CHEWBACCA, for chrissakes! It's just
so damned cool seeing that all of the Republic's soldiers are based
on Jango Fett, so every single Republic soldier has his likeness
(played by Temuera Morrison). It's cool seeing how the
Emperor's skin got that way, you know?
Damn, it's just cool watching Yoda walk into
a room and droppin' fools by just, you know, Force-in' them to the
Lucas handles the added violence with real
class; as you find out how revolt and sneaky dealings lead to the
deaths of many innocents, I just loved the way Lucas made the film
darker, more violent, more evil but does it with subtleties all over
the place. [SPOILER] When Anakin walks into the Council
chambers and the Younglings are all hiding behind the furniture, I
loved the way one child walks out thinking that Anakin is there to
help them before you see the look in Anakin's eyes, he raises the
lightsaber...and then Lucas cuts to another Jedi atrocity.
You're sitting there saying "Damn, this Anakin guy is evil" but
you're then whisked away to another scene that makes you say the
same thing...and, by the time it's over, all you can do is see
Vader, through and through. Loved that.
The action scenes in "Revenge of the Sith"
still underwhelm to a degree; the space fighting, in particular, is
either bad or non-existent here, which in some ways must be meant to
keep the excellent sequences from "Star Wars" and "Return of the
Jedi" free from criticism. Also, the lightsaber fight scenes
look fantastic but just didn't feel as cool as, say, the Darth
Maul/Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan sequence from "The Phantom Menace"; overall, I
would say that Maul is the new trilogy's coolest bad guy, but he was
wasted many moons ago. "Revenge of the Sith" is not really
about action, though, since most of the time we are focused on the
darker story elements that lead Anakin down his chosen path.
Yeah, the acting is often atrocious.
Yeah, I would say that the Darth Vader scream-to-the-sky moment near
the end of this flick is on a shit par with the worst scene that
Lucas has ever directed, where Padmé and Anakin kiss in that field
in the middle of "Attack of
the Clones." Yeah, Portman (along with Jimmy Smits, for my
money) look like they have never acted before in some of these
scenes, although I will say that Christensen didn't seem as wooden
this go-round as our evil lead character.
So, all that said, "Revenge of the Sith" has
its weaknesses, particularly in terms of big-scale production.
But, I keep coming back to the story and how much I loved the little
kitschy things about Lucas' desire to give the fanboys some cool
tidbits as to how Darth ended up in that suit, or how R2-D2 always
seems to be right around the action at just the right moment.
That's where it achieves its greatness and that is what is going to
lead many people who aren't even the Wookiee-wearing lunatic types
to see "Revenge of the Sith" in theaters twice. I
honestly do believe that the second half of "Episode II"--with the
Obi-Wan/Jango Fett battles, the Jedi/Droid war, the Yoda/Dooku
faceoff--and all of "Episode III" put together makes for a solid
final run at the movies.
Mr. Lucas...now go off and spend your hard-earned billions on
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard