Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

star wars revenge of the sith

“This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.”

The Scoop: 2005 R, directed by George Lucas and starring Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman and Ian McDiarmid

Tagline: Rise Lord Vader

Summary Capsule: “Ani” goes evil, “Obi” strokes his beard, “Chewie” gets a pointless cameo, “NOOOO!” becomes a national catchphrase

Drew’s rating: We’ve been waiting a long time for this, my little green friends.

Drew’s review: Longtime readers may recall one of Justin’s favorite kernels of reviewing wisdom: that to formulate a truly definitive opinion on a movie, you should always see it at least twice. It’s a valid point; environment can have a big impact on your viewing experience, and first impressions can often be misleading. I don’t think any of the Mutants can say we live by that piece of advice to a fault, but particularly in relation to things like — oh, say, the most anticipated film of the last 3 years, at least, and possibly 22 — it’s not a bad one to keep in mind.

So when I tell you that my immediate reaction after finally seeing Revenge of the Sith was moderate enjoyment, but mixed in with a fair amount of disappointment, I can’t say I’m totally surprised. As much as I raved about Spider-Man 2, I initially walked out of the original feeling slightly let down (an opinion that didn’t survive a second viewing, needless to say). Nor do I think that’ll necessarily be a permanent viewpoint… my mind might change as easily as Obi-Wan confusing stormtroopers. (Yes, I am a nerd.) And I realize I’m waffling more than an IHOP here, but so be it… everyone who loved The Phantom Menace the first time through can just put those stones away, y’hear? I think most of us would agree that with expectations as immensely high as they were, there’s no way any movie could possibly live up to them, and I definitely found that to be the case my first sit-through. So while I promise we’ll get to the stuff I liked eventually, first you’re going to sit through the top ten questions and criticisms I have regarding Revenge of the Sith.

10) For those of us who didn’t watch them Clone Wars cartoons, what was the deal with General Grievous, anyway? Droid? Cyborg? Except for the heart, he sure didn’t show much flesh, but since when do robots cough? Honestly.

9) So, what, did Shaft take a bunch of freshmen with him to arrest Palpatine? Seriously, those guys might as well have been wearing red shirts for as quickly as they got jacked. We’re to understand that Obi-Wan can keep an eye on four lightsabers at once, plus deflect blaster fire, but an old fart in a bathrobe gets the drop on these three wastes of Force? Lesson learned for whoever sets the Jedi training regimen — less levitation, more fencing classes.

8 ) Yoda vs. Palpatine: unnecessary? Yeah, yeah, it was cool from a fanboy standpoint, no question. But doesn’t it make the l’il guy seem kinda impotent? “A draw this was, mmm, yes… exile myself, I’d best, while destroy the galaxy he does.” Grow some Muppet stones, build a new lightsaber and get back in the fight, ya freakin’ son of a sock.

7) For that matter, Chewbacca. Definitely fun to see ol’ Chewie again, but what kind of coincidence is it that of an entire planet of Wookies, he’s the one who’s in tight with the Yodster? Not a huge quibble, but it took me out of the movie a bit.

6) So Leia, exactly which memories of your mother were you drawing on there in Return of the Jedi? The 20 seconds after you were born? Or the, uh… other 20 seconds after you were born?

5) Okay, Palpatine tells Vader he killed Padme in anger, yadda yadda yadda, and then 20 years later happens to mention that, wait, actually she survived and had the kid… and THAT didn’t raise any eyebrows? I think that’s where you forget the next employee evaluation and start asking the boss some tough questions. Like why he said you killed your woman.

4) So is Palpatine actually saying that he (or his former mentor) caused Anakin to be conceived? And if so, what made him choose Random Farmer Girl X on Backass Planet #873? Drew her name out of a hat?

3) Why bother mentioning Qui-Gon at all if you’re not going to actually bring Liam Neeson back? If that was just a lame attempt to justify Obi-Wan’s claim in Empire that Yoda “instructed” him, I’m gonna be upset.

2) Seeing that partially-built Death Star was yet another scene where the fanboy in me was all “cool!”, but then the logical part steps in with “Hold it… so it’s going to take 20 more years to finish this bad boy, but then they can whip together another one in the 4 years between A New Hope and Return of the Jedi?” Gotta be the contractors.

1) Dammit, weren’t we supposed to find out why one of C-3PO’s legs is silver when A New Hope begins? (And on an unrelated note, it speaks to my pathetic fanboy obsession that every important event in the entire Star Wars universe is addressed in this movie, but I’m sweating friggin’ Threepio’s leg color. Once more for the folks in back: me = nerd.) Also, while him getting his mind wiped was a nice touch to explain later ignorance, wouldn’t R2-D2 have just told him what was going on? And for that matter, why didn’t Artoo and Obi-Wan recognize each other in ANH? Grrrr…

I realize it sounds like I’m coming down pretty hard on this film. It’s definitely not, as some people are claiming, the best of the series; for that matter, I wouldn’t even say it tops Jedi. But still, there was a lot about it I enjoyed. The action sequences, at least, probably WERE the best of the series, particularly the Anakin/Obi-Wan duel… everything we’ve been waiting two decades for, and then some. Also, as hoped, it’s far more emotionally powerful than the previous two, starting to approach the level of the originals. One scene in particular stood out, during the slaughter at the Jedi temple, when a fearful youngling pleads for help; Anakin’s wordless reaction is truly chilling, telling you all you need to know far better than actually witnessing the act could ever hope to. Meanwhile, the tone is appropriately dark, many of the actors — McGregor and McDiarmid in particular — turn in impressive performances, and (the last few paragraphs notwithstanding) most of the truly important questions are answered. Oh, and Yoda effortlessly punking those two Crimson Guardsmen? Priceless.

But on the other hand, the romantic chemistry between Anakin and Padme is still entirely nonexistent, nearly every scene R2-D2 is in has disturbingly fake-looking CGI, and Jar-Jar Binks stays silent but doesn’t actually die. So I’m torn. And frankly, it really doesn’t matter… anyone with the slightest interest in Star Wars is going to check it out anyway, simply because it really is (clichéd though the term may be) the end of an era. Everybody and their grandmother will see it, and they should — it’s worth a viewing, no question. But my advice? Try to remember that, when all is said and done, it’s still just a movie. So bear that in mind, grab some popcorn, kick back, and enjoy one last spin through a flawed, imperfect, but still highly entertaining universe. Cheers, Mr. Lucas — you’ve (mostly) redeemed your status in my eyes.

Now who’s up for Episode VII?

Justin’s rating: Revenge of the Contradictions

Justin’s review: “Wow, my date was great last night! He only spit in my face once, and even offered to give me the leftovers of his dinner to feed me! And then I kissed his moldy shoes in gratitude before he left me to walk myself home in the dark!”

Hello, and welcome to Justin’s School For Lowering Your Standards. Today we’re examining the last of the new Star Wars movies, Revenge of the Sith, as part of our assignment. In Sith, the characters learn about a massive orchestrated conspiracy that is a much greater threat than they realized — and if you allow yourself to become very, very cynical, you might look to George Lucas’ plans for these movies as some sort of orchestrated plot to get us to lower our standards just enough so that we’re grateful for the scrappings of a good film, instead of expecting a great one. Make the first prequel beyond terrible, the second one marginally better, and then the third, by comparison, is guaranteed to please whether it’s any good or not.

I think we’ve been lulled into complacency by the spectacle of Star Wars and forgotten that — it’s true! — these can be terrific movies worthy of the mantle of “Masterpiece.”

Somewhere between the making of Return of the Jedi (1983) and the release of The Phantom Menace (1999), Lucas and his cronies had advanced light-years in the development of special effects and marketing, but somehow lost all knowledge of realistic dialogue, banter and basic directing of actors. My emotions warred within me (actual emotions, not ones where I have to verbalize — “You’re breaking my heart!” — to become real) as I sat down for the fourth original Star Wars theater experience in my life. I actually got choked up to see the immortal words flash on the screen (“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”), I felt crushed that the acting wasn’t much better than Clones, I thrilled to spectacular spaceship and lightsaber battles, I mourned how artificial this whole effort became as Lucas clearly scrambled to tie together his old and new trilogy in every way conceivable, logic be damned.

My standards really couldn’t have gotten much lower after Attack of the Clones. As with any beloved geek franchise, there are a million ways for their creators to get things wrong and only a handful of approaches that will please the most hardcore fans. But still… “I hate sand. Sand is rough. Not like you. You’re smooth. Although I can‘t play beach volleyball on you.” I mean, what the flippin’ flapjack!? And so I sat through another two and a half hours of verbal abuse, with Anakin being unreasonably sulky at every turn (jeepers, he really needed spankings as a kid), Padme spitting out some of the worst romantic book clichés, and Yoda near killing me with the consistent restructuring of his sentences. I don’t need this in my life. I write and speak horribly enough as it is without negative influences.

However, even in my hour of most dire need, there was hope. A new hope! Of acting! Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) gets to act like a genuine human, for once, and Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) just rocked as he seethed and manipulated his black little heart out.

And for those of us upset at the needlessly stupid and sometimes awry plot of the first two prequel films, not to worry! You’ll hardly notice the story here, as Lucas orders the movie to proceed at full blast, guns blazing, lightsabers waving, Wookies howling, bellies bulging, and droids hacking. I’ve heard that his official mandate for the computer effects crew (who created 97% of what you see on screen) was that if there happened to be an opportunity for a lightsaber to sever a body part, it must be so.

The action is the high point of Revenge of the Sith — but also the low. It’s a great visual feast, with almost too much going on at once to keep track of. I was reminded of that infamous spaceship battle shot in Return of the Jedi that everyone applauded, where an unprecedented number of ships were on screen and moving at the same time; here, that sort of thing is taken for granted, and it’s all become one giant video game running on the rails of a basic story. That the action is the greatest thing of Sith is sad, because this was meant to be the redemption of the lacking prequel storyline, yet once completed, it does not even become necessary viewing for enjoying the original trilogy or understanding it more.

If anything, Sith just raises a slew of unanswered questions that makes it even worse than before. Knowing what we’ve learned from the prequels, many parts of the subsequent three films no longer make sense or are altered in less-than-desirable ways. The worse sin here, in my eyes, is the handling of the transformation of whiney-yet-sorta-good Anakin Skywalker to unrepentantly destructive Darth Vader.

Why I couldn’t swallow the character of Anakin is because he reminds me of every spoiled man, woman or child who has been given nearly every advantage in life yet still demands more, that they’re “owed” somehow. Anakin might be on target with some facets of teenage life — that he chafes under authority, wants to be on his own, wants instant gratification — but a combination of Lucas’ scripts and Hayden Christensen couldn’t sell it as anything but annoying and idiotic. Dude, you’re a Jedi. You’ve got powers and abilities and privileges that millions of Star Wars fanboys cry themselves to sleep every night for wont of them, upset that they’ll never know the ways of the Force as you have. And there you are, moaning about everyone who’s holding you back from becoming a full-fledged jerkwad and trying to teach you to be a responsible and decent person. Yeah, there’s no sympathy from me, here.

The movie completely fumbles Anakin’s segue from the light to the dark side of the Force, as the script calls for huge leaps of character revelations and changes in comparison to the previously languid development of the previous movies. In one scene, Anakin learns about the dark side’s presence. A minute later, he’s being tempted with it. Five minutes later, what the heck, he dives right into being a Big Bad. One moment, he’s concerned for the life of his pregnant wife; the next, slaughtering school kids as if he’s playing lightsaber tag or something.

There’s absolutely no consistency or logic behind “Ani’s” temptation to the dark side. Sure, he’s had his whole Bad Boy past, slaughtering Sand People and all (but hey, they’re just made of sand, so who cares?), but Revenge starts out with him pleasant enough, mellowing out from his spaz attacks to work hand-in-hand with my pal Obi. Then, he has a dream. A vague dream. Something about Padme dying. Maybe. Perhaps. This freaks him out so much that it sends his gullible self straight into the arms of a self-admitted villain who gives Anakin some hooey about the Dark Side being able to save people from death. Because, you know, that worked for Darth Maul. And Count Dooku. And, much later on, Mr. Emperor. Vague threat to Padme plus vague promise of a solution by Sith Lord equals the dumbest Jedi alive bouncing from good to evil like a metal sphere on a pinball table.

The movie tries to get its cupcake and eat it too: we’re supposed to sympathize with Anakin as he’s driven down this road by “tough” choices, but it’s nearly impossible to do so when he goes from being a decent hero to a mindless psychopath for the weak reasons they give here. It’s so rapidly unbelievable that it undermines everything that comes after, including a terrific confrontation with Obi-Wan.

As I’m sure this movie will get plenty of coverage by the rest of the staff, I’ll let it go with my grudging approval. It impressed me, only because Lucas had been so unimpressive in the last decade of changes, tweaks and new films. It’s entertaining, but ultimately no more so than any other big summer movie event. And that’s not how Star Wars should be.

Kyle’s rating: I sure wish I had never seen it in the first place… but it’s good

Kyle’s review: As of May 2005, Mountain Dew Baja Blast is only available at Taco Bell. You can get original Dew and that Code Red crap anywhere yet delicious (Baja) blue Dew, which tastes like a delightful tropical drink that should be sipped through a straw out of a hollowed coconut, is only at Taco Bell. Crazy, huh? Fortunately, me and Tony Hawk dig the Taco Bell ($5-a-day TB allowance: yeah!), so I don’t mind melting my innards for five refills of the blue Dew. But I can see how others might think it a huge inconvenience.

I was eating a burrito supreme when this grand analogy came to me. See, the “magic” of Star Wars is only available from George Lucas-approved sources. Sometimes that magic is delivered to us directly, purely, and in a very entertaining and memorable way. Examples of this include the original trilogy, the Clone Wars animated series, and those Micro Machines ships and micro-figures.

Sometimes the magic is used improperly, or isn’t treated with the proper/necessary respect, resulting in an inferior product and/or a muddled mess that retains the Star Wars label. Examples of this include a couple “official” SW novels I tried to read that were stupid/lame, The Phantom Menace, and that infamous SW Holiday Special that still gets mocked.

The way I see it, that awesome blue Dew is the Star Wars magic, and that means George Lucas is Taco Bell, and that crappy red Dew is poop/Jar Jar jokes, and original Dew is, uh, Harrison Ford. Does that make any sense? I took a logic class once, and it totally makes sense to me. I think we’re okay.

Yeah, so, Attack of the Clones was fairly monkey, but it was closer to what Star Wars really is (by which I mean the original trilogy, or Episodes IV, V, and VI) and had some cool stuff in it. Still, though, it wasn’t “super” or “great” or “awesome.” I own it, but damn: every time I try to rewatch it, I just can’t do it. Yikes! I had high hopes for Revenge of the Sith, but based on 2/3 of the prequels, I wasn’t sure why I should be excited.

Long story short: the Lego Star Wars game for my Game Boy is incredible, and helped me rediscover my childhood love for Star Wars. I needed to find the love again, because suddenly it was time to see ROTS. I missed out on the midnight shows because I wasn’t too excited, but I felt like I should see it by the weekend. So, Saturday morning, I went.

It… was… fun. Easily the best of the prequels, though that’s like saying being kicked in the genitalia is better and more fun than getting kicked elsewhere on the body, because at least your genitalia is then getting some contact. The best thing I can say about ROTS is that it helped me eradicate the mind block I had against viewing the original trilogy; after ROTS, I went home and watched Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: A New Hope and loved them. All over again. Thanks, ROTS!

It’s cool that some people are able to immediately form their opinions on ROTS and post them at various places on the internet. It helped me get ready for my viewing experience, because people complaining about Frankenstein homage missteps and fast falls from grace and poor dialogue and (what is to some) the worst moment in the entire series (it’s not; calm down) lowered certain personal expectations to a point where I couldn’t help but be impressed and entertained.

And the second best thing I can say is that I was entertained. During TPM I was devastated at how lame Episode I was (though parts of it have since grown on me). During AOTC I was entertained but was still disappointed at dead spots of complete suckitude dispersed throughout the film. During ROTS, I was consistently entertained. Parts were dumb, but the astounding visuals and improved acting (imagine that!) and dialogue helped ease through the rough patches. It was fun! I don’t care to see it again, certainly not five times like some people were already bragging about by Friday night, but it was definitely worth seeing.

Actually, if you haven’t bothered with any prequels thus far, this one is all you need. If only this had been Episodes II and III, and AOTC was Episode I, the state of Star Wars might be a whole lot different. But they started with annoying child Anakin and idiotic political nonsense, and so a good Episode III isn’t enough to redeem the prequels: they still stand as a horrendous collection of creative decisions. Yikes.

See it if you want. It’s nothing great. It’s the closest to that true Star Wars magic we may ever get, so if you’re into that sort of thing you should check it out. But I don’t know that anyone will go too nuts over it. Oh well.

Please don’t make any more!

PoolMan’s rating: I’ll say this now, front and center: George Lucas may suffer from a lot of things in the details and subtlety department, but the man knows how to tell a story.

PoolMan’s review: There’s something sobering about knowing you’ve had the last of something important, something vital to you. The last night in a house before you move, the last book in a series, last meeting with a friend who’s leaving… at least for me, there’s a real feeling of sadness when things like these come to pass. If you’re anything like me, you always want to hold on to the moments that will never come again. Now, one of the last vestiges of my childhood has finally experienced its last; the Star Wars series is finally done.

I’ve been a Star Wars fan most of my life (A New Hope came out when I was mere months old, but I watched the movies from the age of 4 onward), and I don’t mind admitting that I got a little misty when I finally got to see Revenge of the Sith. How many things, big and small, had changed about me between my first look at the Tantive IV fleeing the Star Destroyer and Owen and Beru’s final double sunset on Tatooine? I’ve grown older, I’ve certainly grown taller, and I’ve gone from barely being able to identify primary colours to being a married man. Star Wars has, simply put, been with me my whole life. To see its primary form come to an end is hard to put into words.

A few months ago, I wrote an open letter to George Lucas, pleading for change to be made between Phantom Menace/Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. Although he clearly revels in thumbing his nose at me in the CGI department (2200+ effects shots in RotS compared to about 350 in each of the other prequels), he came through right where it was more important. Lucas made the final chapter in the Star Wars saga a dark, meaningful story, still mildly plagued with the weaknesses of Episodes I and II, but also filled with subtle touches the likes of which we haven’t seen since Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

This movie is the focal point of the whole series. It changes everything that came before, and even manages to change everything that follows. Whereas in its original context the original trilogy was all about Luke’s rise to power and triumph over evil, the prequels (mostly on the back of RotS) manage to refocus even our vaunted favourites from twenty years ago. From start to finish, Star Wars is about Anakin Skywalker going from a happy-go-lucky young boy, to a troubled and defiant teenager, to an angry and passionate man, to a corrupted, crippled shell of his former self, all leading up to his final, desperate attempt at redemption, against a backdrop of intergalactic conflict.

In short: it’s a hell of a story.

While TPM remains an overly cheerful flop and AotC retains its awkward concept of young love and teenaged surliness, Revenge of the Sith moves boldly forward into the classic trilogy, the first and only of the new generation of movies that I would unequivocally group with the original movies. It does more than just tie the story together, it really moves the mood, style, and feeling from both ends to meet in the middle.

There are definitely things I wasn’t thrilled about. I know Lucas considers himself a film auteur, but is the unveiling of the masked Darth Vader the time to be paying homage to Frankenstein? There are still groaner moments throughout the movie (most notably some dialogue involving love and beauty that rivals even Attack of the Clones for dangerous cheese levels). The Wookiees are brought out and paraded around for no reason other than to fill screen time and establish that Yoda is old friends with Chewbacca, another member of the Galaxy’s Smallest Good Guys Club. For whatever reason, every time there’s a blank corner of screen to fill up, Lucas chooses to fill it with a droid who either A) cops an attitude, B) tells a terrible joke, or C) dances around distractingly. Gah.

But I can say without hesitation this is the first of the prequel movies where the good so clearly outweighs the bad. The love scenes between Anakin and Padme are more believable (if still far from perfect), and at their most powerful when there are no lines to utter and only distance and sadness to connect the characters. Count Dooku goes down in a flash, but in his place springs up General Grievous, probably the best miniboss since Darth Maul (though he’s woefully underused compared to his appearance in the Clone Wars cartoons, where he was a true badass). The complex relationship between Anakin and Obi Wan is really brought to new levels as they finally learn to see eye to eye as brothers just before they meet as enemies. Watching as Palpatine lures Anakin over to the dark side is a treat, as Ian McDiarmid hands in his best performance of the entire series. Anakin storming the Jedi Temple and finding the children in hiding is a chilling moment that measures up to anything Lucas has put to screen before. There is a lot to love here, and the best part is that all this doesn’t even address the fact that as an action movie, RotS is, simply put, kickass. Space battles bigger than anything ever done before, lightsaber combat that surpasses almost everything else in the series (I’ll still give Darth Maul’s fight at the end of TPM top prize), ground combat with clone troops and Wookiees… the action is all there, and it’s as good as we could hope it would be.

Star Wars will continue on, of course. There’s already talk of a new animated series or two plus a live action TV show. Books will continue to be written, most of them labouriously describing Han’s crooked grin. There will be a continuous stream of video games. And of course, there’ll always be toys, toys, toys. But the core experience of Star Wars — the giant logo, the text crawl, the memorable characters, the space battles, and the duels, all up on the silver screen — it’s finally all said and done.

Goodnight, Anakin. It’s been fun.

Lissa’s rating: Not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with a thwack.

Lissa’s review: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that no matter what you enjoy about the Star Wars franchise, you will enjoy watching Revenge of the Sith, unless you’re an absolute purist who honestly believes that the first three movies (meaning Episodes 4-6) were flawless. However, what you will enjoy at any given point in time depends on the attitude (conscious or otherwise) that you enter the theater with. I went in prepared to mock. I found plenty to mock, and fully enjoyed doing so. But there was plenty to enjoy, too, and those who enter fully prepared to enjoy the movie will not be disappointed, either.

There’s a Revenge of the Sith discussion thread on the Forum (note the subtle plug here) that’s pretty interesting to read. But what I notice is that most people are following a similar format: they’re listing their highs and their lows of the movie. And I can see why. Revenge of the Sith is George Lucas’s bipolar manic-depressive child. When George gets something right in this one, he gets it RIGHT. When he doesn’t, well… three words: the sand speech.

The biggest low for me had to have been the acting. It never ceases to amaze me that you can put this many good actors in a movie and still have the acting suck. But it wasn’t each individual actor. I mean, Ewan McGregor channeled Alec Guiness perfectly. Hayden Christensen (who IS a great actor — watch Life as a House or Shattered Glass if you don’t believe me) does a good job with Anakin, particularly when given scenes where Anakin is a vain kid who doesn’t understand the shades of gray in morality. Ian McDiarmid had a brilliant time playing Palpatine, and it shows. Natalie Portman rarely impresses me, so we won’t really go there. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that George had them reading from cue cards through the whole movie. There were pauses in the conversations that ran a little too long, especially for the strength of reaction that some lines were meant to provoke. No matter how good of an actor you are, it’s hard to sustain emotion in a scene when that’s happening. Or when you have to spout George Lucas brand romantic dialogue.

I also really didn’t appreciate Darth Vader sinking to his knees and yelling “NOOOOOOOOOOO!” It doesn’t matter why he did this, what matters is this was horrendously out of character. What does Darth Vader do when things go wrong? He kills things. He goes into murderous rages. Don’t ever, ever give Darth Vader bad news, even if it’s just that the Death Star is out of grapefruit and he’ll have to have Pop Tarts for breakfast this morning. Your odds of living through it are just not that high. So you can see why the man in black, who breathed nightmares into my childhood and is one of the most ruthless, evil villains in the galaxy, just does not sink to his knees and yell “NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” to anything? Bad characterization, George. Baaaaaad characterization.

Finally, I do share the complaint that George is too enamored of his toys. Did EVERY scene require a droid or alien? As a woman due to give birth in five and a half months (six, if you listen to Duckie go on about my lack of punctuality), I think I would far, far prefer a human doctor than a weird alien one that probably doesn’t have even close to the same makeup as me. And Poolman made the point on the Forum that even during the climactic light saber duel between Obi-Wan and Vader (which, come on, is NOT a spoiler), there’s a little droid flitting around with absolutely no purpose. Put the toys down and learn to share, George. People acting can be a very, very good thing.

The biggest high for me was most definitely Anakin’s emotional and mental (and eventually physical) transformation into Vader. Palpatine went for all of the right targets and manipulated him beautifully, even on things I was skeptical about. The speed of the transformation didn’t bug me that much either, because I think it would have had to happen quick to make it too hard for Anakin to escape, although I do think it wouldn’t have killed George to add an extra five to ten minutes in to slow it down. But the windows of opportunity for him to turn back were there, but they flew by because Anakin wasn’t sure enough of himself on a moral level. And that was really, really compelling. And yes, Order 66 was absolutely heart-breaking, perfectly executed (on screen), and exactly what I wanted from Revenge of the Sith.

I also really enjoyed the camaraderie between Obi-Wan and Vader. I would have liked to have seen more of it in Attack of the Clones, but that relationship made Anakin’s turn to Vader much more poignant. And I’ve got to give both Christensen and McGregor credit, the last confrontation between them was pretty well done. (George must have been looking to other way or something.) In fact, from the point where Order 66 was given until close to the end, I was rather quiet and pretty much snarkless, until Vader did his big “NOOOOOOOO!” (Then I got a serious attack of the giggles.)

There were moments of true genius in Revenge of the Sith, but there were moments of true stupidity as well. I’m wondering if it will make it into our collection, leaving Attack of the Clones as the only Star Wars movie we don’t own. I can’t decide. My guess is it will show up around Christmas time and find its way under the tree or something. It says a lot about the movie that that’s my attitude. It says a lot that I don’t really feel like ranting or raving anymore either way, too. It was definitely worth seeing, but no, I don’t rank it up there with the original trilogy. Kind of sad I feel that way, but such is the life of a geek these days.

One last note that the honest person in me insists on: is Revenge of the Sith truly worse than any of the original trilogy? Probably not. But as I said in my Empire Strikes Back review, I love the Trilogy as much for the nostalgia and the memories as I do for the movies themselves, and it’s hard to separate the two. Ask someone who was born in the 80’s or 90’s what they think — you might get a better review.

An awkward meeting at the bathroom urinals.

Intermission!

  • 22 years later, Lucas finally gives us that Wookie battle, rather than Ewoks again.
  • Obi-Wan’s lightsaber matches the one he uses in A New Hope.
  • One stormtrooper is designated number 1138, a reference to George Lucas’s THX-1138.
  • Obi Wan starts worrying his beard like he does in ANH.
  • Why doesn’t Bail Organa order R2D2’s memory wiped, too?
  • Poor Christopher Lee. He just can’t make it through the first reel of the third movie in any trilogy, can he?
  • Mace Windu becomes the only character to shriek like a little girl when he loses a hand in the prequels. I understand the reaction, but why is Windu the only one who has it?
  • Buzz droids: the highly ineffective, slow to work, still-allowing-your-target-to-kamikaze-his-way-into-a-capital-ship weapon! Does EVERYTHING have to be about obnoxious droids, George?
  • Grievous uses a clever method of escaping the Jedi on the warship by shooting himself into space (which he apparently survives due to his cyborg nature). But haven’t we established that his organs are sensitive and he already has problems breathing?
  • Speaking of which, why is Anakin put in a breather suit? From the amount he’s yelling on the operating table, seems to me he can breathe just fine!
  • Is it my imagination or is there a little grey at Obi Wan’s temples this time out?
  • Could the creature Obi Wan rides on Utapau be a krayt dragon? (this would explain where he learns the sound he made to scare off the Sand People in ANH)
  • Oh Grievous, if only you were as cool and scary as you were in the Clone Wars cartoons.
  • If you watch one of the ships in the opening battle blow up, a kitchen sink can be seen hurtling off into the distance.
  • The one staff-wielding droid under the giant weight trying to get its weapon back… so close, yet so far.
  • So Yoda trains Obi Wan to commune with the dead. Great! Where does Luke learn it later?
  • Note the chill you get when Lord Vader finally takes his first machine-assisted breath.
  • Palpatine actually seems somewhat compassionate towards Anakin when he finds him on Mustafar… he touches his forehead and stays right by his side until they finally prop him up as Vader. Interesting touch.
  • Seeing the blockade corvette from A New Hope… I really like that ship. It’s homey.
  • The kid Jedi doing some fancy lightsaber moves (of course, why do “younglings” have lightsabers?)
  • The Jedi really weren’t that impressive here, in their use of talents. They seem to boil down to: (1) Flashing a lightsaber around, (2) Moving objects, (3) Pushing people across rooms, (4) Jumping high, and… um… well Vader does Force choke Padme… guess that counts for something.
  • “Only a Sith thinks in absolutes” IS A FREAKIN’ ABSOLUTE
  • Vader’s awakening is a really clear Frankenstein homage
  • Check out precursor spaceship designs to the Star Destroyers, X-Wings and TIE fighters. Also, the evolution of the Stormtrooper/Biker Scout uniforms. [thanks Darth Madler]
  • How is it that Yoda was the only one who sensed the clone troopers about to betray him? [thanks Darth Madler]
  • The fight with Dooku. For a Jedi Master, Obi Wan got his butt kicked entirely too easily – which happened before in AOTC and I didn’t like that either.
  • Why didn’t Obi Wan take a copy of the security video when he went to see Padme? Surely he knew she wouldn’t believe him. [thanks DocD]
  • They have less than two million clone troops, yet they’re supposed to be the main fighting force for a war that spans hundreds of planetary systems? [thanks DocD]
  • Grand Moff Tarkin is overseeing the early Death Star construction!
  • It’s tiny, but visible enough to send a warm fuzzy through the hearts of original trilogy fans. In the establishing shot of the expansive Senate docking bays, there’s a tiny “Millennium Falcon” easing into frame. And it’s not just a non-descript Corellian freighter; it’s on good authority — namely George Lucas — that this is the infamous hunk-of-junk before it came into the ownership of either Lando or Han. [thanks Erik AND Alex O.]
  • In the background of the 10th Level, as Obi-Wan whistles for Boga to come and give chase to General Grievous, look in the background. A clone trooper has lost his rifle and is essentially boxing with a battle droid. [thanks Erik]
  • Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) in the role of Captain Colton. He’s the pilot of the Tantive IV as the Alderaanian starship returns to Coruscant for a special session of the Senate. [thanks Erik]
  • That is Hayden Christensen in the Vader armor, digitally altered to appear as large as OV (Original Vader) David Prowse, who’s actually 5 inches taller. In addition, Christensen gained 25 pounds for the role by eating 6 meals a day.
  • This is the only Star Wars film to receive a PG-13 rating, thanks to the violence and disturbing subject matter, presumably.
  • The movie’s title hearkens back to Return of the Jedi, which was originally named “Revenge of the Jedi.”

Groovy Quotes

Obi-Wan: I have a really bad feeling about this.

[Facing off against Count Dooku]
Obi-Wan: This time, we take him together.
Anakin: Just what I was going to say.

Palpatine: The Dark Side of the Force is the pathway to many abilities, some considered to be unnatural.
Anakin: Is it possible to learn this power?
Palpatine: Not from a Jedi.

Palpatine: Every single Jedi, including your friend Obi-Wan, is now an enemy of the Republic. Do what must be done. Do not hesitate. Show no mercy.

Palpatine: Once more the Sith shall rule the galaxy. And we shall have… peace.

Padme: This is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause.

Palpatine: I’ve been waiting a long time for this, my little green friend.

Obi-Wan: You have allowed this Dark Lord to twist your mind until now… until now you have become the very thing you swore to destroy.
Anakin: Don’t lecture me, Obi-Wan. I see through the lies of the Jedi. I do not fear the Dark Side as you do. I have brought peace, justice, freedom, and security to my new Empire.
Obi-Wan: Your new Empire?
Anakin: Don’t make me kill you.
Obi-Wan: Anakin, my allegiance is to the Republic… to democracy.
Anakin: If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy.
Obi-Wan: Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.
Anakin: You will try.

Obi-Wan: You were the Chosen One! It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them! It was you who would bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness! You were my brother, Anakin… I loved you.
Vader: I hate you!

Yoda: The boy you trained, gone he is. Consumed by Darth Vader.

Anakin Skywalker: What? How can you do this? This is outrageous, it’s unfair. I’m more powerful than any of you. How can you be on the council and not be a master?

Obi-Wan: We’re still flying half a ship!

Obi-Wan: Chancellor Palpatine, Sith Lords are our speciality.

Anakin Skywalker: Easy… We’re in a bit of a situation.
Obi-Wan: Did I miss something?

Obi-Wan: Wait a minute, how’d this happen? We’re smarter than this.
Anakin Skywalker: Apparently not, master. This is the oldest trap in the book – Well… I was distracted.
Obi-Wan: Oh, so all of a sudden it’s my fault.
Anakin Skywalker: You’re the master, I’m just a hero.

Yoda: Destroy the Sith we must.

Anakin Skywalker: Love can’t save you. Only my new powers can.

Mace Windu: The Senate will decide your fate.
Supreme Chancellor: [burst of anger] I am the Senate!
Mace Windu: Not yet!

Darth Vader: [looks around the room] Where is Padme? Is she safe, is she all right?
Darth Sidious: It seems in your anger, you killed her.
Darth Vader: I couldn’t have! She was alive! I felt her! She was alive! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Amidala: Hold me, Ani! Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo!

Amidala: [crying] Anakin… You’re breaking my heart. You’re going down a path I can’t follow.

Obi-Wan: Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil.
Anakin Skywalker: From my point of view, the Jedi are evil.

If You Liked This Movie, Try These:

  • Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  • Star Wars: A New Hope
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back

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