Well the wait is over. George Lucas is
finally bringing us the last installment of the STAR WARS film
franchise with the release of REVENGE OF THE SITH on May 19th. I
got a chance to see a special advance press screening of the new movie, so
without wasting time, here are my thoughts on it.
Anakin must fight Count Dooku in
order to rescue the kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine.
The film opens with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and his pupil
Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) attempting to rescue Chancellor or
Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has been kidnapped and held prisoner by droid
leader General Grievous (voiced by Matt Wood) and Sith Lord Count Dooku
(Christopher Lee). There's a war going on, and the Jedi are continuing
to find themselves acting as warriors in hopes of putting a stop to things.
During the battle Grievous manages to get away. Upon succeeding they
bring the Chancellor back, and everyone still has faith that he will find a
solution to the war at hand. Obi-Wan goes off to search for General
Grievous, a mission that is necessary for answers, but dangerous because of
the risks involved. Meanwhile Anakin reunites with his secret love Padme
(Natalie Portman), who tells him that she is pregnant. This could be a
problem, since their marriage was done in secret, and if revealed could mean
Anakin getting expelled from the Jedi order. Padme also lets Anakin know
that she doesn't quite trust Palpatine's decisions, and wonders if he could
perhaps influence the Chancellor to think differently. He soon finds
himself recruited by the Jedi Council to keep an eye on Palpatine. But
his relationship with the Chancellor begins to sway his judgment, and Anakin
starts to question the decisions of his fellow Jedi. This coupled with
vivid dreams of Padme dying during child birth make Anakin desperate for some
sort of relief. Palpatine promises answers, but his solutions appear
questionable at best.
Anakin and Padme hope their love
can survive the trials they must face.
Well I'd love to say that this film corrects all the problems people had with
the previous films. I'd love to say that it plays out smoothly and ties
up any loose ends we've been wondering about. I'd love to say it's the
perfect way to end the series, and that one could ask for nothing more.
But I just can't. EPISODE III is not a bad film, but it's far
from great. The first 30 minutes failed to capture me at all. It
wasn't until the inevitable Jedi slaughters that I really started to feel
enthralled with what I was watching. I think in this instance it might
be good to break things down into what works and what doesn't.
This film is incredibly dark.
Thankfully George didn't shy away from making things sad and gloomy when they
needed to be. There are moments here that are the stuff of legend.
Some scenes are so great it's like they finally figured out a way to film
those moments we've wanted to see our whole lives, and put them on the big
The effects are amazing.
Yoda is incredible. Every shot with the little green hero is done with
superb fashion. There are a few moments where I swear he just looks...
real. Not like they got the CGI to look like a puppet, but I mean he
looks real! There's lots of lightsaber stuff too, and I mean lots, so
fans of that will be pleased. The digital backgrounds look more
realistic as well, like stuff you could see someone actually building... if
they has oodles of free time.
There are some interesting new
characters, and some familiar looking characters that are obviously meant to
help tie things in with the original trilogy. Almost all of the featured
characters are cool, and many are memorable.
General Grievous is awesome.
He's like a precursor to Darth Vader, half-organic, half-cyborg, and one bad
mutha to mess with. I really enjoyed Matt Wood's voice for that
character, and in many ways I'm glad they didn't use a more recognizable actor
voice, as it would have distracted from it's overall effect.
R2-D2 is great. Granted this
little droid always gets some good glory moments, but in this film, oh man.
There are some terrific scenes with R2 here. We've always rooted for the
little guy, but this is the first time he's truly had such character to him.
One scene has Obi-Wan calling him, which is heard by some attack droids,
causing R2 to cower behind some barrels and try his best to muffle Obi's
voice. It feels like you're watching a person hiding from the bad guys,
not a robot. It really humanizes him. Plus he does a few things
that are just fun to watch, more so than what we're used to seeing.
The space battle at the opening is
exciting and different. In the previous prequels all of the space fights
seemed like little more than a direct homage to what we had seen before in the
original trilogy. This film mixes it up a bit. The point of view
shots are wildly imaginative, and ships don't just explode, they slowly
disintegrate in elaborate and impressive ways. It takes it all one step
beyond what we've seen in sci-fi films before, and it's great to watch.
The inevitable Jedi deaths.
We all know they gotta go, and when they do it's pretty powerful.
Moments like this could've easily come across as cheap, or been glossed over
in narrative, but George shows it to us in bold form. He makes it a big
deal when these guys die, and it's sad to watch them go.
One of the biggest problems with EPISODE II was the romantic moments
between Anakin and Padme. The chemistry just wasn't there, and the
dialogue exchanges were fairly wooden. Sadly this trend continues in the
new film. The exchanges between these two, whether romantic or
otherwise, just come off as flat.
Mace's demise. Okay, you
know he has to die, so I'm not spoiling anything with this. I've always
liked Samuel L. Jackson. I think he's a great actor, and clearly knows
how to play a wide range of personality traits. So I was stunned at how
forced his death scene came off. It's truly a performance issue. I
just didn't like it. This is a character that is key to the story, and
we should feel violated once he's taken from us. Instead I just felt
like they killed him off, and it was a disappointing death scene. This
is especially sad since his fight leading up to it is one of the best in the
Over-the-top Emperor. Maybe
it's just me, but when Ian McDiarmid shows up as the Emperor, several moments
of dialogue delivery seemed a little too dramatic. I heard people around
me laughing at his performance, and it wasn't meant to be funny. Most
STAR WARS fans know that classic Emperor voice well. Here it's
overdone, like listening to one of your friends butcher lines of dialogue from
RETURN OF THE JEDI. Not sure what George was thinking in these
scenes, but Ian should've taken it down a notch.
Missing scenes. I know for a
fact that several scenes got cut from the finished film, but it's also obvious
that many scenes were truncated in editing. You just feel like stuff is
missing. Bits of dialogue or character exchanges are absent, and it's
distracting. There are battle scenes that seem to have no closure, and
important characters that never get a proper introduction in the story.
I was most disappointed with the way Chewbacca was used. Sadly he's
little more than set dressing here. In fact if he wasn't specifically
addressed by name in one scene, he could've been just another Wookie.
That's a shame.
Random goofy stuff. Granted,
there's not a whole lot of silliness, since the basic storyline is so dark in
tone, but a few bits made their way in anyway. Droid fighters that are
supposed to be imposing, having silly voices that are used during battle
scenes. Not every machine in the film has to be a character. Some
of the droid characters missed the mark for me, particularly some in the
opening space battle that jump onto ships and tear them apart like little
gremlins. I could've done without those.
Jedi Master Mace Windu attempts to
arrest Chancellor Palpatine.
In the end EPISODE III does
do what it's meant to do. It wraps things up and leads into what we all
remember seeing originally. Some of that is done very nicely too.
A few moments toward the end are extremely satisfying, and almost allow us to
forgive the rest of the film's shortcomings. Will fans like it?
Most likely. There's a lot in there to like. Lucas did try to give
us what we want. Overall REVENGE OF THE SITH is a pretty good
time at the movies. Visually it's incredible. I try to remember
that big budget popcorn movies like this can't always be brilliant. This
is not a movie I'm desperate to watch again, but I did enjoy a lot of it.
It's pleasing on the whole, and in the end I think that's all that matters.
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin fight to
BIGFANBOY.com score - On a scale of
1 to 10, 10 being the best, I give STAR WARS Episode III: Revenge of
the Sith a 7.
Visit the official STAR WARS movie
website by clicking
You can read my review of
STAR WARS Episode II: Attack of the Clones by clicking
Star Wars - Episode III by DREW STRUZAN
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