Well, it’s been literary 10 years since I last wrote about anything remotely related to “Star Wars.” That’s a long time and almost enough time for me to forget about the debacle George Lucas created. But, let’s face it, you can’t forget about it. You can’t forget about one of the worst trilogies in the past 30 years. That’s what George Lucas left us. That’s how low this amazing ship has sunk and where new director J.J. Abrams had to start from when he signed on. But before we move forward in a couple weeks to Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” I wanted to look back at “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith,” the last time we saw anything from this franchise. While this film had zero chance of pulling this prequel trilogy out of the black hole the first two films buried it in, it still was the best of the three which my review attempts to point out.
Picking up where “Episode II” left off, the story in this one covers the later stages of the Clone Wars and the Republic fighting to stay in one piece, but time is not on their side. Supporting the Republic is the Jedi Knights, led by Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), both of which are trying to hunt down the Separatist Alliance half-breed General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Woods) and his army. During the course of this war, the Republic is slowly slipping away from the leadership of the Jedi Council, no thanks to the devious ways of Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who is not himself these days. But, all is not right with the force these days, as Jedi Master Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) and Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) see something changing in young Anakin. Upon finding out that Anakin’s wife Padme (Natalie Portman) is pregnant, he dreams of young Padme losing her life during childbirth. And, we all know that Jedi dreams often turn into the truth, so Anakin, like any normal husband set out to protect his wife from any harm that might be coming her way. In doing so, he takes in the advice of Chancellor Palpatine, who is dead-set on getting Anakin to give in to the dark side. Confused and lost, Anakin easily slips away from the “Jedi-way” of doing things and steps right into the powerful dark side, setting the stage for a conclusion filled with epic battles, emotion and utter chaos leading to, you guessed it, the emergence of Darth Vader.
After originally watching “Revenge of the Sith,” I came to a conclusion that many would probably agree with. For both “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones,” I felt the acting couldn’t have been worse, but after seeing what transpired in “Revenge of the Sith,” I finally knew the reason for that. Even though I still feel Hayden Christensen was the wrong choice for the part of Anakin, it’s not all his fault. The almighty George Lucas is to blame here with a poorly written script, leaving the actors like Christensen with unorganized lines. With a little more work on the script and less work on the special effects, who knows, maybe we could have stomached some of the cheesy dialogue that plagued this trilogy. The only steady piece to the cast was of course Ewan McGregor, who rarely gets the credit he deserves. Adding to McGregor with more than one good scene was Ian McDiarmid, who was brilliant as Chancellor Palpatine. Of course, where McGregor and McDiarmid were great, there were some duds and leading that pack was none other than Samuel L. Jackson, who still looks stupid with a light saber in his hand. Maybe I don’t get it, but Jackson is just so out of place in these films and it didn’t get better in this one.
It almost goes without saying the special effects in “Revenge of the Sith” were off the charts. I would be foolish to sit here and say that the effects were anything but great, but the reality is, and I’ve said this before when it comes to Lucas; why not show off your talents with CGI on other projects? Keep some of the new technology, but slow down the background effects. That’s fine to create the extreme backdrop, but leave out all the “other things” flying or moving around behind the actual scene. Things like that will take the focus from the drama or action going on, which overall does more harm than good. So while “Revenge of the Sith” was the best of the prequel trilogy, I still feel it could have been a lot better. In virtually all three Episodes, there were certain scenes that took you back to the originals, but they didn’t stick for whatever reason. That reason could have been the overdone special effects or simply a poorly written script, but either way you never get even close to that feeling you get when watching any of the originals. And that’s the ultimate problem with this film and really these last three Episodes George Lucas put his hands on.
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