Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
|Genre(s): Action / Adventure / Drama / Fantasy / Science Fiction|
|Fox || PG13 - 140 minutes || May 19, 2005|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2005-05-20|
Writer(s): George Lucas (written by)
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee, Keisha Castle-Hughes
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The Saga is Complete. But does it go out with a bang... or a thud?
I will be up front, this review is only for the non-Star Wars fans out there. While I have enjoyed all six films, I cannot say that it has changed my life in any way. Although I can't say that any of them really enter my radar screen of cinema classics, I have a great deal of respect for creator George Lucas for making (at least in the case of the original trilogy) films that have stood the test of time. Nearly 30 years after A New Hope (aka Star Wars) opened in 1977, the saga has gained millions of loyal fans (perhaps too loyal at times) and has captured the imagination of millions more (including myself).
The following Star Wars films were very good with The Empire Strikes Back being the best. The Phantom Menace gained a lot of criticism from SW fans and the "uproar" really didn't subside with Attack of the Clones either. For me, I liked the prequels and found them to be entertaining enough, and as a non-fan, I have no ill will toward Lucas and company. But all of this has led to Revenge of the Sith where we finally get to see Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side and become one of the most feared villains... ever: DARTH VADER (who also has an instantly recognizable theme).
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith continues the story (as if I need to explain) with Anakin (Christensen) and Obi-Wan (McGregor) who, where the movie starts, going into hostile territory to rescue Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (McDiarmid). You know what happens next -- it is a "Star Wars" movie after all -- light saber play ensues...
After returning home, Palpatine decides to make Anakin his representative on the Jedi council while the other Jedi's ask Anakin to spy on the wheeling and dealings of the Senator, a notion which Anakin does not like and is very suspicious of. This, of course, goes to Palpatine's plan to corrupt Skywalker and begin the turn to the dark side (I'm not giving anything away am I???). OK, enough of that. You know the rest of the story so I won't bore you with the details (which I will probably screw up and piss off the legions of fans out there).
Revenge of the Sith, much like its predecessors, has some good elements and plenty of bad ones as well. First, George Lucas proves (and I believe probably acknowledges) that dialogue writing is not his thing. Although the dialogue isn't terrible overall, the scenes between Anakin and Padme were downright cringe-worthy and laughable. But, this IS Star Wars and one does not go into a movie like this for its thespian lines... or acting for that matter.
Which brings me to one thing that was somewhat surprising: the acting (all around), although not great -- or even good -- plain and simple did not suck (which, maybe sad, is good enough for me). I have read and heard others (critics and audience alike) who thought that (in particular) Samuel L. Jackson did a horrid job reprising his role as Mace Windu. And while I didn't think it was a good performance, it was decent and got the script (for as bad as it was) moving again -- that is, moving toward another light-saber dual.
Other actors like Jimmy Smits, Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor do much the same thing, get by the dumb dialogue scenes and start blowing sh*t up! Hayden Christensen has yet to impress me in any of the Star Wars or other films, and maybe I should be harder on him as a pivotal moment falls a little flat. The best performance has to go to Yoda who is the only character to deliver their lines with any kind of conviction...
I realize for the SW fan out there that Revenge is much more than some summer action film (my esteemed colleague Chris was emotionally impacted by the film), for me, I could find little to really grab onto in terms of emotion (love or hatred). I liked the film for sure and will more than likely buy it on DVD, but it failed too much story-wise that I could not find this final chapter to be anything other than another example of a film that has style over substance.
And that's where Sith really takes off, the special effects go above and beyond anything we have seen thus far (better than TPM or AOTC). Normally I have problems watching a movie that is 70%+ CGI as my brain and eyes are conflicting with each other trying to figure out what is real and what is not. Here, though, Lucas succeeds in blending the live action with CGI very seamlessly and it is for this reason that one (for the non-fan) should see Revenge of the Sith. The special effects are so great and grand that it will not be the same on a TV screen.
For all its faults I should be harsher on this movie. It's not a masterpiece, but it has some good moments and excellent special effects that makes standing in long lines and sitting in a theater for nearly three hours worth it. My only minor quibble is I hope future generations who have not seen any of the 6 movies, will be advised to start with the original trilogy before watching this one as it will only spoil the surprises that come about in Empire and Jedi.