RELEASED: May 19th 2005
DIRECTED BY: George Lucas
WRITTEN BY: George Lucas
PRODUCED BY: Rick McCallum
MUSIC BY: John Williams
STARRING: Ewan McGreggor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Frank Oz, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Peter Mayhew, Temeura Morrison, Matthew Wood & Jimmy Smits
The final entry in the Star Wars saga under the purview of George Lucas, Revenge of the Sith was presented with the unenviable task of rounding out and redeeming a less than stellar trilogy.
The film follows Jedi Knights Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in the waning days of the Clone Wars, as they are called back to Coruscant after the kidnapping of Chancellor Palpetine by the new droid commander General Greivous. Reunited with their allies and loved ones, Skywalker and Kenobi must make efforts to end the war as decisively as they can, as the dark side of the force grows increasingly stronger.
Revenge of the Sith is definitely better than The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, but it’s not without it’s problems. For one, it’s an incredibly bloated film, as it feels as if on top of rounding everything out from the previous two films, it also is once again setting the majority of it up, as the last two films did such a poor job and this film is trying to make amends in every way it can.
In filling the film with so much content, it just highlights how much potential was wasted in previous entries. The relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, and the stage they are at as characters, works for a third film in a series, but is inconsistent when looking back at the prior films. They banter about previous missions during the clone wars that we haven’t seen, because we wasted too much time watching podracing on Tattooine and incredibly awkward flirting in the fields of Naboo.
Furthermore, Anakin’s fall to the dark side seems somewhat rushed and sudden, because although it is seeded in previous films, events only just line up and the love story that his dark urges are based around was so poorly conceived.
Fortunately, there is less of that, and the awkward dialogue that comes with it, as Padmé takes a backseat for this entry. Unfortunate for Natalie Portman, but seeing as her and Hayden Christensen’s performances are the flattest out of all the actors, it’s probably for the best. As I said with Attack of the Clones, the blame shouldn’t be placed squarely on their shoulders, as the script could definitely do with a lot of touching up, but other actors like Ewan McGreggor, Samuel L. Jackson and Ian McDiarmid give much stronger performances.
Heck, even Frank Oz as Yoda shows more emotion, and he’s a CGI creation.
Although this film isn’t as strong as any of the originals, it does have the occasional stand-out moment that make you ponder what these prequels could have been like if they were more consistent and made to this standard.
The visuals for this film are a prime example of this, as while The Phantom Menace looked good for it’s time; Attack of the Clones contained too much computer generated imagery that didn’t quite sit right on the screen. This film has similar levels of CGI, but it meshes a whole lot better than it did in its predecessor.
It probably helps that you can see a lot more work being put into the production that the CGI is framed around. The lightsaber battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin, for instance, feels so intense not just because of the way it’s set up, but also because, if you watch the behind the scenes footage, you can see just how much work the pair have put into their stunt-work.
When it comes down to it, however, Revenge of the Sith brings it’s A-game where it counts. The fall of the Jedi, the completion of Anakin’s fall to the dark side and the exile of Obi-Wan and Yoda are scenes that are filled with emotion, and they are, ultimately, the most important scenes in the film. Furthermore, the scale of the film is impressive, and every battle seems like it’s one that will be remembered by the survivors of the Clone Wars by the time the events of the Original Trilogy come around.
The little nods to the fanbase are also appreciated, such as the Chewbacca cameo, the Wookiee battle (to make up for Wookiees being swapped out for Ewoks in Return of the Jedi) and the shot of Uncle Owen staring out at the twin suns as the film leads into the end credits.
For all of that, I give it:
For being a passable film with some stand-out moments.