Sith

I saw Episode III: Revenge of the Sith this week. I have to admit I was hesitant to pay to see this one. I thought that Attack of the Clones was really bad, none of the love scene stuff fit the movie. But, I heard from several friends that Revenge of the Sith was better. I agree, I’m glad that I saw it.

That’s not to say that it was perfect. In the Star Wars line of movies, I think this is one of the better ones (Empire Strikes Back is my favorite). Still, I have two complaints about this movie.

Its no secret that the dialogue in Star Wars films is dry, but it stood out more in this film for some reason. Samuel L. Jackson, Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman are each great actors, I can think of several movies for each in which they do a great job of playing strong characters. But all of them were lifeless in this movie. Jackson goes through his lines like he’s reading items on a grocery list. And if Padmé (played by Portman) really is in love with Anakin, she didn’t show it in this movie. Of the three of them, I thought Ewan did the best job, but even he was reserved. It really is odd to me that these are great actors in a great movie, and their performance is mediocre. The one exception to this is Ian McDiarmid, who does a fantastic job as Chancellor Palpatine.

As kind of a funny side note, Christopher Lee plays exactly the same character as he played in Lord of the Rings. I mean, he has the same lines and does the same stuff and even shoots lightning out of his fingers just like before.

Just as you would expect for Lucas, the special effects were phenominal. But they went too far, there were always 400 things zooming by in the background, or bright shiny objects distracting you from the actors. The landscape scenes were nothing short of amazing, but all of the stuff flying around made it feel like too much. I know this is also a Star Wars trait, but it was distracting.

As I was watching the movie, I kept wondering what Darth Vader would look like when he appeared. Even though its in the same story line, the original Star Wars (Episode IV) was filmed so long ago that its a strain to say that the movies look like they go together. Everything in this movie is modern. The storm troopers look dated because that’s what they looked like when I was a kid. I breathed a sigh of relief when Vader sat up in the movie, and everything about him is exactly the same. His mask is exactly the way I remembered it, he has the same large rectangular buttons on his chest, and even James Earl Jones does his voice. Strangely, he didn’t seem dated, the fact that he’s the same today as he was thirty years ago makes him seem more ominous & powerful.

In the line of Star Wars movies, Revenge of the Sith stands out for me as one of the better movies. The plot line ties together a bunch of stuff between Phantom Menace and A New Hope. The internal tension that leads Anakin to the dark side is a great story line, and the unfolding complexity of Palpatine really draws you in. Plus, the creepy eyes and deep voice are just cool.

But, if this movie had to stand on its own, apart from the Star Wars franchise, I don’t think it would. The bad acting is a distraction, and the special effects are excessive and don’t serve the story line. But what do I know about movies? Oh, but I do have one huge praise, Jar Jar Binks didn’t say one word in this movie.

3 replies on “Sith”

  1. Good review, Len. I saw it last night and thought it was great. I agree with you that the effects scenes are often too busy.

    Personally, I think the cheesy acting has just become a part of the Star Wars legacy, just like the hokey transition swipes and the obligation for someone in every movie to say “I have a bad feeling about this.”

    There are inconsistencies. The number and variety of droids, ships and other techologies and structures indicate a very, very wealthy culture and economy. So what’s the point of fighting? I know, Sith revealed that Darth Sidious orchestrated the whole thing. But was he really powerful enough to influence the minds of millions?

    Oh well, it was still great fun and, as you said, the best Star Wars since Empirs.

  2. I can’t watch Star Wars now without thinking of Triumph (“What button do you push for your parents to come pick you up?”) And of course the fact that it looks like Vader has a 70s garage door opener glued to his chest. I love the Star Wars.

  3. Thanks for reviewing and giving some detailed thoughts. Sounds very similar to what I’ve heard others say. Looking forward to seeing it myself, hopefully before too long.

    I don’t understand why they felt the need to bring in the Death Star. Are we supposed to believe it took them 20 years to build the first one and only three years to build the second one, which was even bigger and badder? That makes no sense.

    They also should not have have Anakin be the one who built C-3PO. That’s just cheesy, and as one reviewer said, just “one coincidence too many.”

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