Ahoy, squirts! Quint here! Now, we have the press junket for STAR WARS: REVENGE OF THE SITH next week (no, I'm not invited... I'm still crying) and, from what I hear, foreign distributors are getting the movie right this very moment, so expect a flood of reviews starting from this point on till the release of the film.
The below is very plot-heavy, so go at your own risk. I didn't read it all (I want something to be unknown when I finally see this flick afterall), but it seemed very levelheaded, especially when talking about not quite digging Grievous.
I'll be keeping an eye out for more screening reviews, so stay tuned! For now, we have this review that places ROTS next to TESB... tall order, that. "Please don't suck, please don't suck, please don't suck..."
Can?t say where I saw it. When I saw it. With whom I saw it. Just trust me, I did. Revenge of the Sith. Final print.
Won?t bore you with ?I?m a big fan?, blah, blah, blah. Rest assured, I am, and believe not much comes close to Empire Strikes Back when thinking Star Wars. Except maybe for this movie.
Please note I also liked Alien 3 which might, for some, call my credibility into question, but what the heck, here it goes
As if you don?t know already, the opening battle above Coruscant is absolutely breathtaking, with the camera following Obi-Wan and Anakin in their starfighters as they desperately try to get to Grievous? ship, with all kinds of stuff blowing up in the background. Still, while visuals are nothing short of amazing, I kinda missed the militaristic approach to space battles found in the Classic trilogy, especially Return of the Jedi. Somehow, whether this particular battle, or exciting but short assault on the droid donut ship in TPM, or the Geneosis confrontation in AOTC, the prequels never seemed to embrace the idea that to care about the action a bit more we should be given some indication of who is doing exactly what and why. A sense of progression, if you will. This lack of focus always bothered me in Attack of the Clones and the beginning of Revenge is just the same: we are never really told what?s at stake and then the battle ends too abruptly. Ships blow up. That?s it.
In the end I was left with the ?nothing to see here, move on, people? feeling. A minor and rather personal rant, but still The Obi-Wan / Anakin banter during the battle is alright, nothing great or particularly inventive, but fortunately nothing really awful either. In fact, it?s worth to mention I never noticed strikingly bad dialogue throughout the movie. Anyway, once our characters board the Invisible Hand, the humor quotient goes up, but contrary to the infamous C3PO gags from AOTC I actually found some of the scenes pretty amusing... except for the R2-D2 making the fools out of a couple of super battle druids, which seemed too slapstick and silly for my taste (though I imagine Lucas thought this necessary to further undermine the droids? effectiveness). In retrospect, the lightweightness and a sense of adventure of the first 30 minutes contrast and emphasize the darkness that follows when things go bad for our characters.
Grevous is a non-entity for me. He?s supposed to be this great and invincible master strategist but nothing in the movie actually proves that he is except that the characters constantly say he is. I?d say Grevous? cartoonish appearance and his manierisms belong to the animated Clone Wars tv series rather then to this movie. In the end the general is just another droid and a plot point for Obi-Wan to follow, not the Episode III Big Bad Lucas often touted him to be.
Once the Chancellor is rescued, Revenge slows down a bit to make room for the seduction of Anakin. I read the movie novelization a while ago and must say I was truly impressed by how THE transformation of Anakin was handled. It just all made perfect sense and resulted in a tragic, ?can?t escape fate? dilemma for the character. I was rather afraid the movie would simplify matters too much ? I mean, the book had so much more time to concentrate on the slow and natural change in Anakin. Fortunately there are enough Palpatine / Anakin scenes throughout the film to actually illustrate the process of Skywalker being slowly dragged into the darkness. The signals of doom are all there: Anakin?s pride and arrogance, his prophetic dreams regarding the death of Padme, his inability to keep those he loves but who are destined to pass away, and in the end Palpatine?s promises of power and control.
Speaking of Palpatine, Ian McDiarmid shines. To some extend, Revenge is his movie. I particularly liked subtle changes in his tone of voice and body language during his shifts between the good Chancellor Palpatine and ever-manipulative Emperor, especially in the ?Squid Lake? opera scene which in itself was a very eerie and unsettling moment in the movie. Of course once he becomes the Emperor full time he?s just, well, crazy evil, laughing like a lunatic even when hanging and about to fall from one of those floating senate platforms during the climatic duel with Yoda.
Hayden Christensen, while not in the acting league of Ian or Ewan, gets to perform some nice and emotionally charged scenes, which was a nice surprise considering Attack of the Clones. The rift in Anakin / Padme relationship, a direct consequence of Anakin?s blind and desperate search for a way to save his wife from imminent death, is showcased with surprising believability. A far cry from the overly forced love between them in AOTC, indeed. Strangely enough, the best scene between Anakin and Padme takes place when they are actually apart. While Anakin is told to wait in the Jedi Temple by Mace Windu (who goes on to arrest Palpatine), Padme is looking out from the window of her apartment and gazes toward the Temple spears ? with rather nicely underplayed musical score in the background and some nice editing, it is immediately evident both characters feel each other?s anguish and fear of the future, and suddenly realize they cannot escape what awaits them, namely Anakin?s decision to accept Palpatine?s offer. Definitely one of the great emotional highlights in ROTS and possibly the entire saga. Nice!
And then all hell breaks loose and the movie gets better, and better, and better... Mind you, this is a true PG-13 experience. When the Emperor activates Order 66 and the slaughtering of the Jedi begins, Lucas does not shy away from showing the brutal reality of it. In one of the most shocking scenes of the entire saga, the clones keep shooting at the fallen and already dead Jedi, with the camera slowly panning up to the sky. In fact, the whole montage of the clones turning against their former masters is extremely effective and emotional ? a disturbing mixture of horrible images and truly sad music by John Williams. A goose-bums moment at its best.
I could go on for hours how much there is to cherish in the last 45 minutes of Revenge. The duels are absolutely awesome. The only one I didn?t care much for was Mace Windu vs. Palpatine ? I simply never liked Mace and always thought Jackson should have stayed away from playing a Jedi Master. His delivery is somewhat wooden and instead of intended coolness we get another ?this party?s over? stuff. On the other hand, Yoda taking on the Emperor in the Senate chamber is simply enormous in scope and I think at least in this respect it overshadows the climatic Obi-Wan / Anakin fight but just a bit. Sparks fly everywhere, Senate platforms crash into each other, dark energy explodes ? truly wild stuff accompanied by the only bombastic part of the Williams? score.
Obi-Wan / Anakin fight on Mustafar is just too good to write about. You need to see it for yourselves. What?s worth mentioning is another uber-cool moment just before the duel begins, when Anakin confronts Padme and says something along the lines: ?You will rule beside me in MY new empire?. That and the final ?You were the chosen one!? and ?I HATE YOU!? exchange between Obi-Wan and Anakin rule big time, no question about it.
Obviously I have barely scratched the surface as there is so much more to enjoy in Revenge of the Sith. Even though I dislike Grievous, the bit on Utapau, with Obi-Wan chasing the good general on Boga, was fun to watch as an exciting adventure. Bail Organa, while absent for the first 45 minutes, delivers some good lines later on and is brought into the story seamlessly. The final minutes of the movie ? the cutting between death of Padme and the birth of Vader in his mechanical form; Padme?s quiet and etheral funeral procession; Bail and his wife lovingly holding Leia in their arms on Alderaan ? all of it is just heart-breaking, but cathartic and not without a sense of hope. A new hope
Call me No One