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.