Anthony's Film Review
Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
The Force is very strong with the conclusion of the prequel trilogy...
George Lucas finally wraps up one of the most popular movie sagas of all time. He does it not with the last part of a long story but rather the middle part of the story that brings everything full circle. After disappointment with Episodes I and II, I wasn't looking forward to Revenge of the Sith. However, once the positive reviews started pumping out of the media, I had the anticipation once again. In fact, I decided not to wait about a week or two after the film's release to see it. I watched a late showing on Friday, May 20, 2005, even after waiting hours in line. The earlier shows were sold out, but I knew the wait would be worth it.
Let's start with the special effects. The CGI here is the most detailed graphics ever seen out of all the Star Wars films. There is just as much background action as the things happening close-up. The spaceships and other vehicles are very detailed, even as they are exploding and being destroyed in the various battle scenes. Gunfights have laser blasts flying all over the place, and the lightsaber duels, which outnumber all the other battle scenes, are fast-paced and exciting to watch. And of course, the locations in the film, from the capital planet Coruscant to the lava planet Mustafar, are mystic wonders. It shows that a film like this would not be as visually breathtaking without today's CGI capabilities. We would have either not seen the prequel trilogy come to light, or the prequel trilogy would have the same level of special effects as the original Star Wars.
The story is no doubt the best one out of the first three episodes and, in my opinion, as good as Episodes IV, V, and VI. It is the darkest one of all. There is much emotion throughout. The plot involves war and politics as Chancellor Palpatine attempts to take over the Republic. Throw in the story of Anakin Skywalker's gradual descent towards the Dark Side, his fear for his wife's death, and the conflict between the Jedi and the Sith, and you have something that is both sad and sometimes scary to watch. It is perhaps more emotional than The Empire Strikes Back. Even if you know the events that will happen in this movie, there is still suspense as you wonder how exactly they appear on screen.
What also makes Episode III work are the characters. Ewan McGregor is back as Obi-Wan Kenobi and does a great job in his scenes. Hayden Christensen, who was dreadful in Episode II, gives a much better performance here as Anakin Skywalker, who goes from kind and gentle to fearful and angry before being full of rage towards the end. I also liked the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin here. Whereas in Episode II they were fighting a lot like a frustrated father with a childish son, there is much bonding here in the beginning. Of course, it all crumbles when they face off in a climactic lightsaber duel. As for Natalie Portman as Padme, she is also terrific.
The other wonderful performances are seen in the plot involving the Jedi versus the mysterious Sith. Frank Oz voicing Yoda and Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu are great. The one who truly deserves credit is Ian McDiarmid as Palpatine, the Supreme Chancellor who would form the Galactic Empire once he takes full control of the Republic. His performance is absolutely chilling and charismatic as he slowly corrupts the mind of young Anakin Skywalker. He portrays the role of a villain very well. The rest of the characters are great, including General Grievous, a part-man part-machine who's very deadly with lightsabers.
Because of its intense storyline, this is the first and only film of the six-part Star Wars saga with a PG-13 rating in the US. In my opinion, it's well deserved. Some of the action goes beyond typical PG sci-fi action. There are scenes involving violent blows during fight scenes and severing of limbs with lightsabers more explicitly presented than before. There are also about two scenes involving a character consumed by fire. That, plus the emotional nature of Anakin's journey towards the Dark Side that could actually make one shed tears (and I almost did), made Lucas warn the public about taking the kids to see this one. It may not be his responsibility, but the film is indeed the darkest Star Wars of all.
So after the long wait and experiencing excitement, sorrow, and fear for two hours and twenty minutes, I left the theater with a great sense of satisfaction. Regardless of what others may complain about, I enjoyed every single thing about Revenge of the Sith. It certainly made up for the disappointment with Episodes I and II, and in fact, Episode III makes one understand and appreciate the first two much better. It ties the prequel trilogy to the original one nicely by explaining the events leading up to Episodes IV, V, and VI. I also like how the spaceships, vehicles, and other technology in Episode III look similar to those seen in the later part of the saga.
Basically, George Lucas has officially wrapped up the Star Wars film saga with an explosive bang. I now look at all six episodes as one masterpiece saga about war, politics, love, friendship, and undoing the wrongs of the past. All taking place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
For more information about Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
Main Star Wars Films
Other Star Wars Films