STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee, Keisha Castle-Hughes, Silas Carson, Jay Laga'aia, Bruce Spence, Wayne Pygram, Temuera Morrison, David Bowers, Oliver Ford Davies

2005, 146 Minutes, Directed by: George Lucas

Description: The turning point for the entire Star Wars saga is at hand.

After years of civil war, the Separatists have battered the already faltering Republic nearly to the point of collapse. On Coruscant, the Senate watches anxiously as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine aggressively strips away more and more constitutional liberties in the name of safeguarding the Republic. Yoda, Mace Windu, and their fellow Masters grapple with the Chancellor’s disturbing move to assume control of the Jedi Council. And Anakin Skywalker, the prophesied Chosen One, destined to bring balance to the Force, is increasingly consumed by his fear that his secret love, Senator Padmé Amidala, will die.

As the combat escalates across the galaxy, the stage is set for an explosive endgame: Obi-Wan undertakes a perilous mission to destroy the dreaded Separatist military leader General Grievous. Palpatine, eager to secure even greater control, subtly influences public opinion to turn against the Jedi. And a conflicted Anakin–tormented by unspeakable visions–edges dangerously closer to the brink of a galaxy-shaping decision. It remains only for Darth Sidious, whose shadow looms ever larger, to strike the final staggering blow against the Republic . . . and to ordain a fearsome new Sith Lord: Darth Vader.

Some wag on a Forum remarked that I had probably just cut ‘n’ paste bits and pieces from previous reviews for this Revenge of the Sith article, but the truth is that the movie itself seems to be cobbled together from bits from the previous two so-called prequels.

In fact, it is closest in tone and tempo to Attack of the Clones than any of the previous Star Wars movies, especially the original trilogy of films. It is practically a rehash of Attack with its senseless planet hopping escapades, its empty spectacle, its dull political meetings, etc.

"Like the other two so-called 'prequels', this one still doesn't feel like a Star Wars movie . . ."

Revenge of the Sith suffers from the same problems as the other two prequels, and if these problems didn’t particularly bother you in those films, then they probably won’t bother you in this one. Except, to be honest, Revenge of the Sith isn’t quite as dull and plodding as Attack of the Clones, and the acting is slightly better this time round. Also, Revenge of the Sith does have some good — even moving — moments, sure, but it does take its sweet time to get finally going.

But the same problems remain: (a.) The movie is redundant because we already know what is going to happen, who is going to die, who is going to live, etc. (b.) It is difficult to be emotionally involved with this bunch of humorless superhuman Jedis. (c.) There is a lot of action going on, but little emotional involvement, not just because of the characters we don’t really care about, but because the scenes are so perfunctory. Action sequences, especially the light sabre duels have no flow to them and Lucas almost seems to be in a rush to get things done. The best light sabre duels in the Star Wars movies are still those in Empire Strikes Back and Phantom Menace.

And then there are the geek boy qualms I have: (a.) The Jedis are awfully easy to kill off in most cases. There don’t seem to be a lot of them around either, well, not enough to keep peace in an entire galaxy anyway. (b.) The Jedis’ training always seems to failing them. Two chats with the Emperor and Anakin is trotting off to join the Emperor and defect to the Dark Side of The Force. The Jedi played Samuel L. Jackson (hey, even a geek boy such as myself have trouble remembering all those names Lucas makes up all the time) pretty quickly wants to simply kill the Emperor instead of just arresting him. (c.) And the biggest issue: these so-called prequels don’t feel like Star Wars. Sure, there are the light sabers, the droids, and so forth. But most of the hardware, costumes, etc. just feel, well, a bit “off” if you know what I mean. They feel as if they belong to a different set of movies altogether. (d.) Lots of plot points and details simply don’t mesh with what happens in the original trilogy: Darth Vader not recognizing R2D2 and C3PO for instance.

Also, I actually miss those old spaceship models and effects in the old Star Wars flicks. They had a solidity and substance that are lacking in the busy GGI overkill world of Revenge of the Sith. Stuff looked as if they might actually work, here they just look wrong. Even the John Williams score seems wrong: one of the things I liked about the previous films was the music, which at times called attention to itself. Here it is just a cacophonous overkill, as if composer Williams was also in a hurry to get things done.

Ah, let’s face up to it: a fellow critic had it right when he remarked that the magic in these movies died a long time ago and that Revenge of the Sith is just the death twitch. The magic probably died when those damned silly Ewoks first popped up in Return of the Jedi or even earlier, when bad-ass bounty hunter Boba Fett was killed off so easily earlier on in that same movie . . .



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