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    Monday, May 23, 2005

    Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

    Stardate 3983.8


    The final installment in Lucas' masterpiece. I think it was slated to be called "Rise of the Empire" at some point which I believe is a far more fitting name. Oh well, nitpicking there really. At any rate, my very first impression with this film was really "Wow". I have not taken much pleasure in the Episode I and Episode II films at all, and learned to hate much more than enjoy. I was dubious about this film, but I had heard good things from others, and besides.... knowing Darth Vader's origins was going to be SWEET!

    Anakin turned Dark...

    The main storyline of the entire movie was in my opinion, the turning of Anakin Skywalker and the birth of Darth Vader. This was of course, obvious, but how it was done was the best part I think. Throughout the entire film, with the knowledge of the inevitable fate of Anakin, I held on to a glimmer of hope, that somehow, he would not turn, and somehow, he would save the Jedi and the Princess and their children. Of course, this was not so. The taking of the Jedi Headquarters was indeed darker than any path Lucas has ventured before. Anakin slaying the "Younglings" was the last chance of any happy resolution to the show.

    Student against Master

    Another highlight of the movie was the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan. The pupil versus the master, and everything at stake. I actually felt Obi-Wan's pain at the discovery of the fate of his pupil. A big Kudo's to McGregor for that bit. It always seemed that the two characters played off of each other and eventually, it would come to a head. Anakin's impatience and hard-headedness always seemed to be taken in stride by Obi-Wan but I suspect he knew far more than he let on. I never understood how the Jedi council never found out about Anakin's annihilation of the Sandpeople. Sadly, some parts didn't come off great. The final moments, when the two were fighting on platforms floating over the lava was a little on the overdone side perhaps. And the way Anakin's impetuousness led him to his doom almost trivialised the entire battle.

    I was never a big fan of Padme. I didn't like her character in the first two prequels, and in this one, she seemed to have a far smaller role which was good though obviously her role was quite important. I *did* almost feel sorry for her by the end, but the fact that a Princess as experienced as her in politics could not begin to see the true nature of the Senate or Palpatine was really beyond me. She seemed very unknowing of the events going on around her... and for the Leader of a planet who is active in the Senate... shame shame.

    Yoda, One Pissed Off Jedi

    Another aspect of the movie was the destruction of the Jedi. Now this was obviously a huge deal, but the way it was done was awesome. Of course, the previously mentioned attack on the Headquarters was the darkest Lucas has ventured in the series, but the final turning of Anakin, when he saves Palpatine from Windu and betrays all, was outstanding. The tension and conflict of emotions was unbelievable, and finally, Palpatine's charisma and promises win Anakin over. Yoda fighting Palpatine was a pretty cool battle actually, and I think perhaps lost amongst the other action and events.

    General Grievous was both cool and overdone. The way he moved, and his voice and almost everything was super cool, but then I didn't like the four lightsaber thing at all. That is typical of what Lucas did with the last couple of movies and I thought it was silly and overdone. I mean, hunting Jedi for sport is fine, and displaying their sabers as trophies is also fine, but wielding four at once is almost silly.I laughed when he was advancing on Obi-Wan with the twirling saber thing going on. Not only this, but wouldn't the leader of the Droid army have shields like some of the lesser attack droids he has? It would only make sense to me for him to have shields. Of course, he was really only a side-plot in teh movie anyways IMO.

    The face of the Darkside.

    The creation of Darth Vader was awesome. From his rescue on the molten planet by the Emperor, all the way to when they clip the facemask on his helmet and he rose. Seeing Anakin's inevitable transformation unfold was the BEST part of the movie for me. I knew it was going to happen, but like I said before, there was always hope that somehow, he would not turn, and I felt a real empathy fo rthe character. What he did in the name of love was done for all the wrong reasons. He didn't want to save Padme for her or his baby, but fo rhis own selfishness. That is what drove him to the darkside, selfishness. He wanted more power than Obi-Wan and the Jedi Council was willing to teach him, and he wanted more respect than he had yet earned.

    However, I didn't like his anguish when the Emperor told him he was responsible for Padme's death. If I recall correctly, wasn't he strangling her on the landing platform after she shunned him away in horror? It seems like the writing level took a major skip at that point but afterwards, it was fine again. Nonetheless, it still tied in nicely, and perhaps he had forgotten that bit of violence in his battle-lusted state. The very thing he had sought to save turned out to be both the final cause of his transformation, and ultimately, the final cause of his downfall (with the birth of Luke).

    Visually, this movie was likely the best yet. The starting sequence of the battle is what really convinced me to see it in the theatre before watching my cheap download copy at home. I had only watched about the first 5 minutes and I was sold on it. The space battles were rather few and far between compared to the more classic episodes it seemed, but then other aspects and visual treats took over. I thought that some of the cutscenes were the BEST EVER in any of the movies, especially the entry scene to the Wookie planet and near the end, when the ship was flying through the rain towards the large tower on the other planet (names somewhat elude me and perhaps this is one of the few things I didn't like). Awesome graphics, and the kind of filming that makes seeing this on the big screen a MUST.

    I also enjoyed the fixing of all of the loose ends. Leia going to Alderaan with Senator Organa, and Luke going to Uncle Owen's on Tatooine. leaving Yoda and Obi-Wan in exile, and pretty much the way everything finished up. The Death Star in it's infancy was a rare treat, and seeing the ships slowly go through design changes through all of the prequels until they almost looked like the familiar Wedge-shaped Star Destroyers we know and love.... I thought it was neat how the older ships *looked* older designwise, and as the prequels continued, they began to look more "modern" if you take my meaning. Seeing Chewie was neat as well, though there is still an unfinished tale about he met up with my all-time favorite character, Han Solo. I also didn't like the bit when Yoda told Obi-Wan he would teach him to talk to Qui-Jon or whatever the heck his name was. I guess it is similar to the way Obi-Wan talked to Luke after he was cut down by Darth Vader...

    Overall, I loved the dark imagery of this movie, and like Empire Strikes Back, I liked the fact that it was most definately NOT a happy ending for pretty much everyone. There were no Teddy Bears, and Jar Jar and his Rastafarian sub-mariners stayed in the background of this one. The biggest reason I hated Episode I and II was that it seemed likehalf of the movies were more like video game levels or sequences than actual movies. Either the what seemed like an hour long Pod-race or the running through the droid factory and such... There was little of this in this movie. Perhaps a hint of it when Obi-Wan was chasing General Grievous on the lizard thing, but really, it was written far more thoughtfully. I have probably forgotten a good deal already, so I will need to watch it again and again to remember it all.

    In the end, I have to rate this movie a 4.5 out of 5. I would have gone with a 5, but there were definately one or two bits I most certainly didn't like. It was easily a Great Redemption for the last two Episodes which, in my humble opinion, were absolute rubbish. Still a superb movie that I will easily watch over.

    *** UPDATED ***

    It's kind of funny. I have read a lot now about this movie, and many different perspectives, ideas and comments have come and gone. However, I was reading through more, and found this line from Tet's Pyramid...

    "Is it that I waited 28 years for this? Is it that this took me back to a time when my life was simpler? I was a child again today for 2 and a half hours. But this is not my childhood movie, it is darker, it is sorrow, and it is technologically more than I could imagine in my youth."

    It struck me like massive Low E Power Chord.... That is EXACTLY how I felt, both when I was lining up for tickets, and also waiting for the movie to start... watching it... driving home.

    All opinions shared on this site are strictly my own. Some people may disagree and that is fine, but rude comments or overzealous debate will be curtailed. I enjoy civil discourse, and encourage independent thought. I oppose George W. Bush and his Wars based on lies.

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