Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Movie Review: An Enjoyable Thrill Ride, but Not Much More

I don’t know why I am writing a review. It doesn’t matter what I or anyone else has to say about Star Wars because it is much more than a movie. It is a major event in the world’s cultural consciousness that all are compelled to take part in. George Lucas deserves a lot of credit for that, or else it’s a sad commentary on the movie-going consumer, considering how terrible the first two parts of this trilogy are. “Movie” is a word I use loosely when talking about Episodes I and II since they were really overwrought, toy catalogs that should have been shown on QVC. Lucas did severe damage to the legacy of the Star Wars series and his own as a filmmaker, even more so than The Star Wars Holiday Special, because the truly important things in a movie (plot, character and dialogue) were haphazardly slapped together as if he didn’t know or didn’t care about the mythology he created and was too focused on collecting F-you money through licensing agreements. I die a little every time I see Darth Vader standing next to the Burger King. Yet, I too, had to go see Revenge of the Sith.

Lucas had a difficult task ahead of him: make a movie where the climax is known. It’s no surprise from his previous work that he was unable to distract with the story and had to resort to attacking our senses the way Anakin and the Emperor attack the Jedis: a near non-stop, all-out assault, and Lucas does a very good job for the most part. This movie is a milestone in terms of special effects and CGI and should garner a place in the upper echelon of film history next to Blade Runner and 2001 for cutting-edge effects. It all looked amazing from a simple aerial view of a planet to the complex yet seamless integration of CG character General Grievous, cyborg leader of the droid army. My favorites moments were the robots attacking Obi-Wan’s ship and Mace Windu’s light saber shattering a window.

Unfortunately, this only works for so long before the script’s weaknesses become evident. The film’s story is about Anakin fully embracing the dark side of the Force and becoming Darth Vader, which comes as no surprise, but nothing is done to create any suspense along the way. For every moment that makes sense in his descent into the dark side, there is one that rings false and feels forced due to the story’s limitations. There is no struggle for Anakin in choosing sides and he gives up too easily on all he has known because of a story the Emperor tells him what he so desperately wishes to believe. Another fact that we know before the movie opens is that Anakin’s body is going to be severely scarred and damaged, hence the suit, so when we see he and Obi-Wan fighting on a planet covered in molten lava, we know the battle’s results, making the scene anti-climatic.

In the last part of the film, Lucas ties too many plot threads into the next chapters. The small touches were very good: the beginning stages of the Death Star being built, including a cameo by Grand Moff Tarkin; Luke and Leia being separated; and the mention of the droids being given to Capt. Antilles. With just that, we’d be all set, but then Lucas goes over the top, showing Obi-Wan go to Tatooine to hand over Luke to Beru and Owen, and Leia with her adopted parents. I sat there thinking, “Yeah, we got it.” The worst part was Yoda explaining that Qui-Jon from Episode I has learned to communicate from beyond the grave and will show them how, apparently some attempt to explain how Obi-Wan, et al., appear as ghosts throughout the second trilogy, although I still don’t get why Obi-Wan allowed himself to be killed in Episode IV. I was surprised that there wasn’t a scene with a teenage Han Solo winning the Millenium Falcon at a game of cards from Lando Calrissian.

When you go see the film, do so on the biggest screen you can. I thought it was an enjoyable thrill ride, but not much more and certainly not worth living in a nerd shantytown for a month. I don’t know that I would ever choose to watch it again because there are too many better movies, and upon closer examination, I would probably see more flaws. For example, was it just me or did R2-D2 become a major bad ass in this film? He fights off robots of all sizes and has the ability to fly, so how did the Jawas catch him in Episode IV? He could have whipped Darth Vader on his own.

Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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