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Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith

The third episode of the "Star Wars" movie sextilogy released in 2005.

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Welcome to the Dark Side of the Republic

  • May 22, 2005
  • by
Rating:
+3
Pros: Storyline; Outstanding special effects.

Cons: Dialog is again below par; Hayden Christensen!

The Bottom Line: The film is a little dark, but evil is dark and in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith we are plunged head long in the heart of darkness.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away…

So every Star War epic begins, and this one is no exception. I came into this movie with high expectations, after having watched the brilliant Star Wars Clone Wars adaptation of this story on Cartoon Network. These two sets of short’s (15 minutes each) were the precursor to Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith; if you have not seen them I highly recommend watching them before you see the movie, or even if you have seen the movie. A great back story is told and the cartoon helps fill in gaps the movie skips over in the interest of time.

I can sense your anger young Skywalker…

Anyone who has seen the first five Star Wars movies knows how this one will turn out, it’s just a matter of the details. We know for instance the Yoda will be unable to beat the Sith Lord, and will ultimately have to go into exile; we know that Anakin will turn to evil; we know that Anakin and Obi-Wan will fight and that somehow the former becomes horribly disfigured; we know that the Republic will be struck down and replaced by an evil Empire; we know that Luke and Leah will be born of Anakin and Padme, but the devil, as they say is in the details. And the details are what Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is all about. It’s the wrap party, the end of the line, the end of a seriously entertaining era. George Lucas had to get this one right, after the disappointing Prequels Star Wars I & II. I am happy to report that with the exception of that dialog thing, he hits this one out of the galaxy.

We all know the players, so I will dispense with my usual restoration of who’s who. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith opens with a bang and a lot of laser fire as young Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Master Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are sent to rescue the Supreme Chancellor of the Senate who has been kidnapped by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and General Grievous, a being who is three-quarters machine.

The opening sequence take place above the home world of the Republic; ships are firing and blowing up, laser fire is tracing across the screen like so much confetti, and our two Jedi hero’s are in the thick of it, zipping though laser fire, and space debris and dodging lumbering battle cruisers like a galactic obstacle course. There is so much happening on the screen all at once that it is extremely difficult to take it all in which only adds to the excitement and exhilaration. At times I felt as though I were on a rollercoaster ride without the straps to hold me in. Score one big one for Lucas.

After the Chancellor is rescued, the action slows down and we learn the Padme (Natalie Portman) is pregnant, and Lucas slowly (at first) wraps the dark side of force around Anakin’s mind. Lucas attempts here to explain Anakin’s turn to the dark side by blaming it on a woman; in this case Padme and Anakin’s single-minded determination to keep her safe, from what he doesn’t know; where have we heard this before? Old story (Garden of Eden) new twist. Anakin’s devotion to Padme makes him vulnerable to the will of the dark side, because (as Lucas would have us believe) once attached to her, Anakin will go to any length to keep safe, including turning to the dark side of the force. That is the reason Jedi are to be bound to no one, and attached to nothing, but the Republic and the cause of freedom and democracy. Make some sense, but…

The movie picks back up as Obi-Wan goes in search of General Grievous, and Yoda flies off to help the Wokki’s take back their home planet. Once General Grievous is defeated however Supreme Chancellor Palpatine refuses to give up power, the Jedi move against him (a bit to quickly if you ask me), and in so doing sew the seeds of their own inevitable defeat. Anakin turns against the Order, attacks fellow Jedi Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) as he about the dispatch Palpatine, who by now we know is the Dark Lord of the Sith. Windu is killed by the Chancellor. Anakin then swears allegiance to the Sith, takes the name Darth Vader and attacks the Jedi Temple, and with the help of thousands of clones slaughters the Jedi, personally killing the younglings (Jedi’s in training). More I shall not give away…

My Impressions:

For the most part I enjoyed Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith so much so that I would see it again, and probably will with children in tow. But, again the dialog was (to me) inane and juvenile although this time there was little more depth to it, and Hayden Christensen is still appalling in his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. Thankfully, he did not have to deliver too much dialog; he spent a lot of time brooding, and glowering. The rest of the cast did a masterful job with the dialog they were given to speak, though all of the human characters are far better then the material they were given.

Natalie Portman’s Padme was reduced to a beautiful prop and little else. Gone was the strength that made her character so compelling in the first two prequels. She is a weakling in this movie and dumb to boot. Can this transformation be completely explained by her overbearing love for Anakin; is love truly that blind and dumb? There are glimpses of the old Padme when she chases after Anakin, following him to a hellish planet, but that all too quickly evaporates, as she exclaimed the he (Anakin) was breaking her heart.

The one thing that bothered me however was that the Jedi Counsel was never able to discern Anakin heart or mind, nor were they able to sense that he had had sex with Padme. How is this possible? How was Palatine able to keep the “good” side of the force at bay while he schemed almost at will? How were the Jedi so blinded? And how were they so easily dispatched; surely they should have been able to sense that the clones would turn against them, and surely they could have taken more of the clones with them then they did. But, perhaps with the “light” side of the force diminished their powers were not as keen as they should have been.

So this is how Liberty dies, to the sound of thunderous applause…

There were unmistakable political undertones throughout Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, some more glaring then others. For that I do not fault Lucas, he is only mirroring what he sees in our American Republic. It is perhaps a warning, a sign of things to come; are we listening? Is the current power grab taking place in our Senate something we as citizens should pay closer attention to? Should we be offended when our President insists we sign a loyalty pledge in order to see him in public? Should we be alarmed that the third branch of our government is being demonized by one Party who seem to owe their allegiance to religious ideology and not democratic principles? But I digress…

That aside, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, stands as out as a noteworthy achievement for Lucas; surely the critics will give him due with this one. Almost every moment is engrossing; indeed I hardly notice the 2 hours and 10 minutes slips by. The special effects are dazzling and without peer, and Lucas does fine job of tying up the loose ends that lead up to Episode IV. All the niggling little questions are answered and in true Star Wars style. The film is a little dark, but evil is dark and in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith we are plunged head long in the heart of darkness.


Cast of Characters:

Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ewan McGregor
Padme: Natalie Portman
Anakin Skywalker: Hayden Christensen
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine: Ian McDiarmid
Mace Windu: Samuel L. Jackson
Sen. Organa: Jimmy Smits
Yoda (voice): Frank Oz
C-3PO: Anthony Daniels
R2D2: Kenny Baker
Count Dooku: Christopher Lee
Queen of Naboo: Keisha Castle-Hughes



Recommended:
Yes

Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Star Wars: Episode III - Reven... reviews
review by . March 15, 2011
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review by . March 25, 2010
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The end of the war is near; The Galactic Republic is in total disarray     the Galaxy is being torn in two by the ensuing conflict on every front. In the midst of the Clone Wars Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker is grappling with his feelings for his wife and his friends and his desires   for more power. But little does Anakin  know  is that he is part of a much larger plot, a plot  that has been in the making for ten years, a plot to destroy all that is …
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
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Quick Tip by . May 11, 2010
Flashy and fun finale to the maligned prequels. Cuts down on the yakking and closes things up cleanly with little fussing from Anakin.
review by . July 12, 2009
Almost everyone loves Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.  I think it mostly comes from the idea that the first two movies just weren't that great and so by then audience expectations was so low that the third movie could've been Anakin sitting on a toilet for two hours and it STILL would've been better than the first two movies.  That's not to say Star Wars Episode III is really bad.  It's just to say that it still feels like it's missing something.  …
review by . January 18, 2010
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There are a ton of things I could gripe about with Episode III. I'll discuss a few below. But by and large, this is the best of the prequels and, in my eyes, ranks pretty highly as a sci-fi film.     First, the bad. This should have been more than one film. Rather than a whole film for the events in The Phantom Menace, the Clone Wars could easily have consumed a whole extra movies. Unfortunately, squeezing all of this into Revenge of the Sith means that a lot of important footage …
review by . January 18, 2010
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There are a ton of things I could gripe about with Episode III. I'll discuss a few below. But by and large, this is the best of the prequels and, in my eyes, ranks pretty highly as a sci-fi film.     First, the bad. This should have been more than one film. Rather than a whole film for the events in The Phantom Menace, the Clone Wars could easily have consumed a whole extra movies. Unfortunately, squeezing all of this into Revenge of the Sith means that a lot of important footage …
review by . June 15, 2009
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The stretch for me from Episode I to Episode II was painful.  I really enjoyed Episode I as nice light entertainment and waiting to see what surprises we would see.  After Episode II I couldn't care less.  The movie was painful, wooden, uncreative and stuck us with a pretty boy who whines and cries throughout most of the movies run time.    That three year span was left with almost no anticipation.  Episode III made me want to reinvest in Star Wars again.    Th …
review by . January 10, 2006
I will provide this review in two parts; the first for the movie and the second for the DVD.     First, the movie itself. The first three Star Wars (SW) movies were some of the most amazing, popular, and incredible movies ever made; so it would be hard for anyone to match them, even George Lucas himself. Yet after the disappointment with Episodes I and II, many were hoping for a much better III. Unfortunately, these hopes were dashed. Episode III does tie up all the loose strings …
review by . May 31, 2005
Pros: Very operatic and fittingly tragic     Cons: Don't bring the younglings - it's too intense for them     The Bottom Line: Even if you hated the other five, what would you have to lose by seeing this?     So I was right.       Around this time last year, I was being given a ride home with my new friend and co-worker Amanda, and our conversation drifted to the Star Wars prequels. She mentioned that Episode III was …
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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #188
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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