The Circle Is Now Complete (Geek Week, Day Four)

In a word, “Wow.”

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time imagining how the original “Star Wars” story would end.

Some of my imagining was half-baked. I was convinced that Darth Vader was lying about being Luke’s father, for instance. I figured Vader as a bit player in the final movie, set to be killed off by Luke and “the Other” about halfway through, just a warm-up for the real confrontation with the Emperor (“the Other,” by the way, was almost certainly a sprightly young guy of about my age, height, and looks). Luke and the Rebels would storm the Imperial Palace, overthrow the Empire, and have one hell of a party–with no singing teddy bears.

I imagined a vast, sweeping final battle, but instead we got a Death Star rehash and Ewoks. It took another 22 years for something very close to that last adolescent vision to come to the screen: “Revenge of the Sith” is in scope, story, and spectacle, everything “Return of the Jedi” should have been, but wasn’t.

It’s also something the first two prequels ought to have been: story-rich and emotionally engaging. Where “Episode I” elicited virtually no emotions from the audience beyond disappointment, and “Episode II” only brief delight when Yoda joins the fray, the final film grabs you to the point of being wrenching. Even better, there’s not a single utterance from the dreaded Binks in the entire two hours and 22 minutes of “Episode III.”

That’s probably enough before jumping into spoiler territory; more after the jump. I strongly suggest that you stop here until after you see the movie. I went in almost entirely spoiler-free, beyond knowing what everybody knew from the previous films, and it was worth it. But suffice to say: see it. As I suspected, The Pod is full of crap. At long last, this really is the one we’ve been waiting for.

Oh, wait, one more thing: the alleged Bush-bashing stuff has been completely overblown. Trust me on this one. If you get offended by this movie on political grounds, you probably also go into a frothing rage when the car in front of you turns on its left-turn signal. If it weren’t for the dumb press coverage, you wouldn’t even notice the supposed “controversial” bits.

Okay, here come the spoilers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Regarding the original films, I never really bought into the redemption of Darth Vader. The character never showed any sign of wanting to be redeemed, for one thing. Vader enjoyed being evil–which was, of course, why he was such a memorable villain in the first place. There was never any context for his redemption, no reason to think he deserved or desired it… until now.

Conversely, Anakin Skywalker was portrayed as a guileless child in “Episode I” and a whiny and flawed but fundamentally good adolescent in “Episode II.” He could be goaded into doing bad things, even horrible things, but he had the innate decency to suffer guilt and shame afterwards. Vader, on the other hand, kills and tortures without the slightest compunction or remorse. The transition from Skywalker to Vader–and back–was too much of a leap to be dramatically credible… until now.

As many flaws as George Lucas has as a screenwriter (and lest you think this is an uncritical fanboy review, they’re apparent again in every stilted “love scene”), he does a masterful job of closing the circle on Vader’s fall. Just as old Obi-Wan said, way back in the opening hour of “Star Wars,” Vader does not jump to the Dark Side in a fit of rage–he is seduced, one small step into the abyss at a time.

I’m just agape at how well Palpatine was handled in this movie, both in the script and in Ian McDiarmid’s performance. The Emperor is at once much less and much more than we’d always thought. He is not all-powerful; he’s weak enough to be disfigured and nearly destroyed by Mace Windu. But he is far, far more cunning and seductive than we’d ever suspected. Palpatine didn’t climb to the heights of government by clouding weak minds with the Force; he got there the old fashioned way, by guile, planning, and flat-out smooth politicking.

Palpatine may be evil and power-mad, but he’s also a careful and immensely skilled politician. He knows where fatherless Anakin’s weaknesses lie: desire to please a father figure, a former slave’s yearning for power to set things right, idealistic faith in the Republic that freed him, and most of all, the desire to protect those he loves at any cost. Playing on those fears and hopes is almost child’s play for the experienced Palpatine. Goading Skywalker to the Dark Side is just another rung in his long climb to ultimate power.

There are many payoffs in this movie, moments that reverberate through the rest of the “Star Wars” storyline. Now we know why Vader turned on the Emperor in the climax of “Return of the Jedi”–he remembered the moment of weakness when he should have let Windu finish Palpatine off, and avert the rise of the Empire. In that last, terrible moment after he dons the mask for the first time, we understand Vader’s chilling ruthlessness. Everything he loved is gone, every shred of his humanity seared away, much of it by his own vanished hands.

“Episode III” isn’t perfect. As noted above, the awful dialogue between Anakin and Padme doesn’t get any better, and Lucas somehow again finds a way to make three fine actors (Hayden Christiansen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor, all very, very good in other films) somehow produce stilted and unconvincing performances in a few key scenes. Frankly, I didn’t expect much better, and I’m happy to say that there’s very little else I can find to complain about, at least not after one viewing and a couple of hours’ sleep.

I’m also quite happy to give Lucas his due: after two mediocre efforts, he, like his most memorable character, found a way to redeem himself in the end. Unlike other contemporary epic-makers I could name, he’s given his own saga a thoroughly satisfying, credible, and deeply enjoyable ending. “Episode III” is a vast, marvelous spectacle, but more importantly it succeeds as a dramatic story, not just another display of ILM eye candy.

If this truly is the end (Lucas has been rather disingenuous about “never” planning a third trilogy, but I could readily believe that he hasn’t come up with a good enough story to merit making it), it’s a worthy one.

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97 Responses to “The Circle Is Now Complete (Geek Week, Day Four)”

  1. Winzeler Says:

    The story and action sequences were spectacular. However, Lucas desperately needed a skilled director. The dialogues and character development were worse than elementary. I did really like the film, I just wish Lucas hadn’t surrounded himself with yes-men marionettes to the point of not having anyone point out that he was trashing the movie with cheesy dialogue.

  2. A Small Victory Says:

    Carnival of the Force!

    [Has been updated many times, new links added this morning, just scroll to the bottom. And nobody leave any spoilers, reviews or opinions about how much the movie sucked in the comments or I will hurt you.] Aside from my…

  3. Freeman Says:

    You’ve gotta be kidding, Will.

    Look, Sith far and away out-stripped Ep 1 and 2, but I was happier with Matrix: Revolutions as a culmination than this film. You could drive a Star Destroyer through the plot holes.

    What cunning and skilled politician would orchestrate his own “kidnapping” and then have an escape route that involved piloting half a cruiser through an atmosphere? How is it that he instantly gats 3 Jedi Masters with his sabre, and yet gets owned by the one remaining guy who just watched his friends die? Do we suppose that he didn’t notice the little green guy coming down the hall to his office? Where’s his Department of Homeland Security? HE’D JUST BEEN KIDNAPPED DAYS EARLIER!!!

    The Jedi Masters had to have been the single most clueless bunch in the history of cinema. Obi Wan COMES TO PADME’S QUARTERS LOOKING FOR ANAKIN, and SHE’S PREGNANT, but it’s a big revelation days later that he’s the father!? The Council has done nothing but shit on Anakin since he got there (you shouldn’t be trained, you’re reckless, we won’t make you a master, we won’t let you go on this mission) and yet they ask him to spy on Palpatine!? Why didn’t they just hang a sign on the door that said “learn from the dark side over here?”

    No, Will… Lucas came up with some excuses for Anakin turning, but every other character in this film acts like a complete baffoon. Obi Wan in particular can’t apparently rub two brain cells together (he surrounded HIMSELF for cryin’ out loud.) You only liked this movie because Ep 1 and 2 lowered your expectations so much.

  4. Lee Willis Says:

    “Some of my imagining was half-baked. I was convinced that Darth Vader was lying about being Luke’s father, for instance.”

    My pet theory was that Vader was a clone of Annakin that the Emperor had made and trained secretly.

    That way, Obi Wan was actually telling the literal truth when he said “Vader betrayed and murdered your father.”

  5. Peter Says:

    Will,

    I agree with you that Lucas did a good job of showing us how Vader “became” Vader. I especially think the scene when he realizes he lost everything he loved was very effective. And the tying up of loose ends leading into Episode IV was well done.

    However, I don’t know if I agree with you letting Lucas off the hook for the apparent jabs at the current administration. But it did not ruin my enjoyment of a great movie.

    I am a little disappointed that “Star Destroyer boy” hasn’t seen it yet. Talk about priorities!

    Thanks for all your good work! Yours is one of the few blogs that makes me laugh out loud.

  6. MisplacedKeys Says:

    Confessions of a 37 year old StarsWars geek

    I was born in 1967, which made me 9 years old when StarWars came out. I saw the movie the first time in the same theatre that I saw The Bad News Bears, in a mall complex in San Bernadino, California. I had the Original Star Wars sound track in LP fo…

  7. Sandy P Says:

    What are you talking about?

    Cheesy dialog (and bad acting) is Lucas’ staple.

    We have tkts for the 11 AM showing.

  8. Dave Says:

    It had its goofy moments, and some really bad line-reads, but it was still a great film. The very last shot was amazing.

    (I’m irritated by your jab at Stephen King, though. The end to DT7 was unexpected, but certainly fitting. If you didn’t, you should go back and reread the entire series. The ending felt really appropriate, given what had happened before.)

    Thanks for the review.

  9. Baddablogger Says:

    The first half is okay… in fact, the acting and dialogue is improved. However the last half is rushed and shows little flair. Almost everything that happens in the second half is done out of obligation.

    Lucas is a terrible storyteller. He needed a real director and a real screenwriter to lend a hand.

    Some of it’s fun, but not enough.

    Somewhere out there someone will take all three of these pre-Vader movies and condense them into a manageable 3 hour film. It won’t fix the bad direction, but it will cut some of it away. 😉

    At least I can still look forward to Serenity, a new season of Battlestar Galactica, and more new episodes of Doctor Who. (Now that I’ve said that, no one will take me seriously.) 😀

  10. Irate Savant Says:

    “However, I don’t know if I agree with you letting Lucas off the hook for the apparent jabs at the current administration.”

    Egad, man, three vague, “apparent jabs” in a pop-culture bagatelle warrant censure?

  11. Stevely Says:

    I can’t see how anyone could be bothered at all by the little jabs at GWB/GOP as they were as poorly and unintentionally hilariously delivered as the rest of the dialogue. The movie is ripe for a showing on MST3K. What a bad movie. Seriously, it was terrible. Lucas has not improved his game over Ep 1 and 2. More and better CGI do not make up for the lack of good writing, plot development and acting. I look forward to season 2 Battlestar Galactica and the Firefly movie.

  12. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    “He Killed…Younglings!

    I just got back from a midnight showing of Star Wars: Return of the Sith. The last half-hour was as thrilling a piece of filmmaking as I’ve seen. The special effects throughout are staggering. Visually, this is a stunning and…

  13. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    “He Killed…Younglings!

    I just got back from a midnight showing of Star Wars: Return of the Sith. The last half-hour was as thrilling a piece of filmmaking as I’ve seen. The special effects throughout are staggering. Visually, this is a stunning and…

  14. John Brothers Says:

    Steve,

    I think that what redeemed Vader was the scene with Dooku, not with Windu. It was Dooku who he killed with Palpatine urging him on in the background. “Strike him down. Do it!”

    Which is almost exactly how the Emperor interacts with Luke in ROTJ.

    Oh, and I agree with you completely that I can finally see Anakin inside Vader’s costume.

    And as for the acting/writing – some movies are concept driven, some are character driven. Few are both. SW is high concept, not high character. I’ll watch Silence of the Lambs when I want good characters.

  15. E. Nough Says:

    I agree with Stevely and Freeman. This flick was awful. It was painful to watch, more painfult to listen to, and nearly unbearable to think about.

    What did it in for me was Lucas’s pretentious attempts at philosophical wisdom. His supposedly “wise” Jedi now seem like nothing more than a bunch of detached, slightly unhinged, arrogant, and dogmatic drifters, with a moral code that changes to suit their convenience. Considering that Lucas himself seems to think that they are unvarnished good guys, this reflects negatively on him.

  16. Chuck Says:

    Maybe having young kids makes me think this way, but I thought the redemption in Jedi is tied to knowing that his actions led to the death of his wife.

    Now, he gets a chance to save his son and daughter. He gets his family back.

    That’s why he kills Palpy.

  17. JohnO Says:

    Watching this film is the equivilant of eating a half box of Twinkies. It tastes good for the first 2 or 3, but you feel really bad about yourself for enjoying it.
    I enjoyed this while I was watching it (for the most part), but found myself with lots of questions on the ride home.

    I’m a big Natalie Portman fan, but she was truly cringeworthy. McDiarmid’s performance was the only worthwhile acting. Hell, even Samuel Jackson looked like he was acting at gunpoint.

    I thought it was worth going to see. I know I’ll buy the DVD. However, as Yoda might say, “this film among the great ones, it is not.”

  18. Mauther Says:

    My review for the movie has to be summarized with: “It doesn’t suck.” This is not saying a whole lot. Its far and away better than Ep 1 and Ep 2. But the writing is completely ineffective. Everyone is bashing the Anakin/Padme scenes (and rightly so) but most of the other scenes were just as stilted. Lucas tries to make Obi-Wan into the new Han Solo with witty and dry comments. Pretty much everyone falls flat. The banter is soooo forced. Samuel Jackson plays intense as pissed. Natalie Portman reads her lines like she confused by the stage direction, and really just wanders through the movie. Christopher Lee gets hosed yet again in the third episode of an epic (first Return of the King now this). The only two who really pull off their lines are Frank Oz (a great voice actor) and Ian McDiarmid (who gets to completly vamp out balls to the wall EEEVIL). The scenes between those two are sabotaged by Lucas direction and incredibly ham handed plotting. The coup was attrocious. The emperor was as subtle in his plotting as a ton of bricks. The “seduction” of Vader was the moral equivalent of the seduction of Jenna Jameson in BackDoor Honeys 3. It wasn’t heart wrenching or full of guile. It essentially consisted of the emperor going “C’mon, be evil. Look at all the cool things.” Anakin: “No, never.”
    Emperor: “C’mon”
    Anakin: “OK” Play imperial march.
    This is at the same level as the “delivery boy/I-don’t-have-enough-money-can-I-pay-for-it-another-way” plot in porn. It really wasn’t good.

    The action scenes were impressive, but any many cases, Lucas didn’t know when enough was enough. Each scene drug out and had weird-to-ridiculous war machines. And anytime Lucas managed to actually establish a shred of tension, he torpedoed that scene with a lame joke or cute robot. General Grievous is a total waste of CGI. R2D2 continues to pop out more geewiz toys that never ever show up in any further film. And there always some scene reminding us how super cool Anakin is compared to all of the other Jedi.
    Finally, Lucas drops multiple salutes to previous films in an attempt to remind the fans that they really love the Star Wars Universe. You like Chewbacca right? Everyone likes Chewie, there he is (granted he doesn’t do anything) cheer for him. Look, there’s Padme with the cinnabun hair cut, doesn’t that just remind you of when you were a kid and first saw star Wars, good times. Hey Yoda’s fighting with a light saber again you guys loved that in Attack of the Clones.

    Where Revenge does succeed is in being itself. For what it is suppossed to be (the end of the prequels and the begining of the original series) it gets us there. Not in grand style, but we do end up there. We get Vader, we get the empire, we get the fall of the Jedi and the end of the Clone Wars. Everything is neatly wrapped up in the end. And really, I think that’s all most fans wanted. They just wanted the ride to end without a spectacular crash and they get their wish.
    Cinematically, there are some great scenes. The opening space battle is gorgeous, truely epic. The betrayal of the Jedi was done very well, even if it just seemed like a rehash of the Godfather. The attack on the Jedi Academy was VERY well done, and did a far better job of establishing Anakin as Vader, plus it has some beautiful images (Anakin and the Troopers marching up the steps is a striking visual). Plus the last Jedi standing was an excellent fight sequence. I don’t know who that kid was but he sold that scene.

    In the end, you’re going to go see this movie. Its the final (God I pray) movie in the series that most of us have been following to one degree or another for almost 30 years. We are emotionally invested, whether we want to be or not. And like abused children, we’re just happy we are not getting spalled. So we will gladly lick up what Uncle George serves up, no matter how bland as long as its not complete crap. To which I give the ringing endorsement: It doesn’t suck.

    And BTW: I think the scene where Vader realizes everything that has gone wrong, that was the single worst scene in the entire movie. It is my prediction that Vader’s “NO!” scene will join William Shatner’s “KHAN!” scream in the hallowed halls of the worst scene ever.

  19. Mauther Says:

    One other thing. The best single thing about this movie is it can be renamed “Star Wars: The Redemption of Mark Hamill”. Poor Mark has struggled under the Stigma of Luke Skywalker for a long time. Now he can point to the utter pile of poo that Lucas crafted from Portman, MacGregor, Jackson, Smits, et al. and say: “See! It wasn’t my fault. Lucas screwed them over too.”

  20. Chuck Says:

    Re: Hamil

    Yeah. Portman falls back on Beautiful Girls, Closer.
    Ewan – Treainspotting
    Samuel – Pulp Fiction
    Smits – Hell, even he has NYPD Blue.

    Hamil has the redemption of what? Corvette Summer? The Guyver?

    Sorry. Hamil sucks, too. He’s no more redeemed than Jake Lloyd.

  21. Sandy P Says:

    Just saw it, and laughed where I wasn’t supposed to.

    Georgy screwed the pooch.

    He changed the timeline to make it all fit? A 20-y.o movie which people know by heart?

    I watched the special on A&E last night, Lucas said this was the story of Vader.

    He’s attacking W and the pubbies because he’s still in Nam mode. Everything is Nam.

    When Annie chose the dark side, this is what I thought – typical boomer.

    All about him, destroys everything his parents built because he thinks his way is better, he knows best. After all, it is about how he feels. All that anger. Some “experts” have theorized part of what drives the 60s boomer is that they hate their parents, more specifically, their fathers and they knew they could never live up to the Greatest Generation. Annie spawned his Greatest Generation and it saved him, much like today. Plus, as Obi Wan pointed out, you were the chosen one, you had everything, sound familiar? As to bringing peace, the lesson is you must defeat the other side. Georgie just thinks we’re going to lose our soul. I find his lack of faith disturbing.

    Hayden’s acting was awful. If that was his conflicted/confusing mode, he certainly confused me.

    There was no warmth between him and Portman.

    This movie was about ohhh, lookie what I can do now. Sweeping panoramas/vistas. I have changed the face of moviemaking, story, what story?

    I still say it’s sacrilege to pair Vader and M&Ms. No dignity whatsoever.

    I do agree, tho, while I didn’t like Vader’s softer side, we had 8 years of pure evil, but he had to have it otherwise he couldn’t be redeemed in the end.

    Plus, the wonder is gone, we’re way too old and too jaded by life.

    Some great battle scenes, tho. Who would have thought after seeing Yoda in 1981, a highlight would be wanting to see him kicking some….

  22. Joan Says:

    Chuck: Sadly, ITA. I’ve heardHamill’s best work has been voice work for video games.

    I’m going with the kids to the first convenient after-school showing. But I find it interesting that the idea that Ep III validates Vader’s ultimate redemption in Ep VI — I was just thinking about it the other day. I’m not sure I’ll buy it, but I like the idea that I might.

  23. adam Says:

    steve, i just saw the movie, or more appropratly, just woke up from seeing it. 12:05 last night, went with a couple of my buddies, bought the tickets 2 weeks in advanced, counted down till 12:05…31 hours in advance, sat in the theator for like 5 hours just to get good seats (even then they were eh)to watch a 146 minute movie just to deside that Hayden Christensen (anakin) is a horrible actor and kind of ruined the film for me… i dont know…. i’ll see it again on friday, maybe it’ll be like the other ones, had to watch it a couple times to understand it

    Jethro

  24. Chuck Says:

    Hamil also does fine work as “The Joker” on the WB Kids Batman animated series.

    He was also great as Lori Partridge’s boyfriend on the episode where Lori’s braces cause her to be shy, but she gets them removed because they’re picking up radio signals from Mark’s handheld radio.

    No, I’m not kidding about that plot.
    http://www.tvtome.com/tvtome/servlet/GuidePageServlet/showid-626/epid-39896/

  25. shell Says:

    How I’d have written the prequel trilogy: I always thought the descent of Anakin to evil should have taken the whole first trilogy. I’d have episode I start with Anakin as just another Jedi youngling (NOT the immaculately conceived Chosen One) and follow his career. Obi-wan would make mistakes in his tutelage, as he admitted in Ep 4. I’d forego the temptation to bring in any characters from the original trilogy other than Yoda, Obi-wan, and Palpatine. C3PO, R2, Chewie, and Boba Fett should never have been there. (Are we really supposed to believe that Vader didn’t recognize the continually complaining protocol droid that he built himself?)

    Then I’d have the relationship with Padme be a real triangle with Obi-wan, with her genuinely torn between them and her heart in doubt. Forget this idea of the Jedi being a celibate order. Where the hell do little Jedis come from? They can’t all be immaculately conceived. (Although I suppose that would make a convenient story for teenage girls around the galaxy. “Honest, dad, I didn’t do anything! It must be a Jedi!”) Hmm… where was I? Oh yes, as Anakin’s seduction by Palpatine continues, his admiration of Padme turns darker, and he becomes her stalker. Her pregnancy isn’t the result of marriage, but a rape. She turns to Obi-wan for help in fleeing from Anakin before he finds out about the child, but Anakin pursues. When he can’t find her, he begins slaughtering the Jedi who are keeping her hidden as Palpatine urges him on.

    *sigh* I’d have like to have seen that movie.

  26. California Mafia Says:

    Star Wars Review

    I do disagree with Will on why… my take is that Vader sees in Luke the love that Padme had for him and it reminds him of who truly is evil, he realizes that he didn’t actually lose everything

  27. Mauther Says:

    RE: Hamill

    I never said Mark Hamill was a great actor, just an OK actor. To see what he can do under an actual real director, check out him under Samuel Fuller in the Big Red One. The restored director’s cut is coming out next month. It shows Hamill for what he is, an average actor who was totally misdirected.

  28. Chuck Says:

    re: Vader recognizing 3PO.

    They only have 1 scene together in the whole old trilogy. That’s in the carbon freeze room. 3PO is in pieces on Chewie’s back.

    I can see that Vader didn’t recognize 3PO.

  29. Sol Says:

    E. Nough, you’re not paying close enough attention. We’re supposed to pull for the Jedi, yes, but the movies clearly recognize that they have screwed up. All of Yodi and Obi-wan’s big picture advice for Luke in Empire and Return of the Jedi is flat-out wrong — don’t help your friends, don’t try to redeem your father, etc.

    The Jedi are the good guys in the prequels, but a major part of the rise of the Empire is because of their failings.

  30. ninme Says:

    Stupid PST

    Okay, well, Vodkapundit’s seen it, Yobbo’s seen it, Bubblehead just left for it… Time ticks slowly towards the US West Coast… It’ll get here soon. At least I’m not in Hawaii. They’re really on the ‘o=kole…

  31. Sandy P Says:

    OMG, Chuck, I remember that PF ep.

    She pulled out a straw to drink soup.

    That was him?????

  32. .:.WitNit.:. Says:

    The Death of Padme

    UPDATE: Will Collier over a Vodkapundit is much more upbeat than I am. Maybe he sat with a loud and engaged audience. That helps a lot. He makes a lot of good points, so if you want a good review, his is just fine.

  33. Kid Handsome Says:

    My real problem is that Vader was weak and worse, stupid (as in not intelligent). It really undermines his character in the sequentially later movies. You can click on my url for my full review. Ultimately, I decided that the movie stands alone better than it stands in the context of the other movies. Sorry, the movie was a disappointment – it just happens that it is much less bad than the previous two prequels.

  34. Machiara Says:

    Hey, Vader did recognize C3P0 in Empire. He stops the Stormtrooper from shooting at him, right? What do you want, an expository sentence to his subordinates? Perhaps something like ” Do not shoot the ‘droid, it reminds me of happier times before I betrayed everyone I loved and became a Sith Lord “?

    Come on.

    As for ROTSith, I thought Ian McDiarmid did a fantastic job as the seductive Emporer. IMO, though, Anakin’s turn is a -little- too complete, too quickly. I mean, one minute he’s agonizing over whether to let Windu kill the Emporer, and hours later he’s killing Jedi Younglings in the Council Chamber?

    Seemed a little forced. I enjoyed the movie, though.

  35. Eric Says:

    Has anyone else noticed a certain resemblance between Senator Palpatine and another senior Senator of note? Compare:
    Byrd
    Palpatine

    I think it’s the hair and eyebags…

  36. Commonwealth Conservative Says:

    More Star Wars

    Will Collier has a review of Episode III that is even more enthusiastic than mine….

  37. NixGuy.com Says:

    Star Wars Episode III

    This is definitely going to be a spoiler ridden review so don’t click the read more unless you’ve seen it. Bottom line I liked it, thought there was more positive and negative and it got the jobs done that it needed to.

    For more takes on the movie …

  38. dave Says:

    There was a lot of good stuff, but as noted, my biggest problem was that the turn to the dark side, was too quick and easy.

    Sidious/Palpatine: Be a Sith Lord and save Padme from Death:
    Anakin: I don’t know….
    SP: Save Padme!
    Anakin: OK
    SP: first thing is we give you a cool new name
    Anakin: OK
    SP: second thing is to go back to the Temple and kill all your friends.
    Anaking: OK

    I mean come on… Took me right out of the movie. I thought there would be a tragedy that would turn Anakin, what really happened was the possibility of a tragedy was enough to make Anakin go completely evil. Whatever.

    Worth going for the first 15 minutes of space battle though. We’ve never seen anytihing like that in a movie before. The Star Destroyer Broadsides were unbelievable epic.

  39. Joan Says:

    Well, we got back about an hour ago. It didn’t suck.

    The thing that struck me was that every single scene was staged in front of some huge panorama of one kind or another. The only small intimate moments were the scenes on the rebel Star Destroyer (I think?) and the time when Obi-Wan stowed away in that closet. Even the Jedi Council scenes and the scenes between Padme and Anakin had these huge picture-window busy-busy backgrounds.

    Ya think Lucas realized that what was going on in the foreground wasn’t enough to hold our interest, and thus he blue-screened nearly every scene?

    Anyway — I repeat, it didn’t suck any worse than I expected it would. It will probably improve with repeated viewings, something I’m sure Lucasfilm et al are banking on.

  40. Wayne Says:

    OK, a missed loose end: In ROTJ, Leia recalls her mother as “beautiful, but sad.” How’d she know that first-hand if Padme died giving birth to her?

  41. provolt Says:

    I don’t understand the need of so many people to nit-pick movies to death. What were you expecting? Are you just pissed that Lucas didn’t create idealized movie you had in your head?

    And if you really didn’t like Episodes 1 and 2, why did you go to see Episode 3? As I type this, it’s only been released to the general public for 22.5 hours. It was such crap that you just had to run out and see it at the midnight showing?

    Will Episode 3 win Oscars for writing, directing or acting? Heck no. Was it an enjoyable movie? Hell yes.

  42. mike p Says:

    Why didn’t Padme have an abortion?

    Or at least have the fetuses surgically removed and brought to term in cloning vats?

    Was it because she wanted Anakin out of the Order and as her publically acknowledged husband? Maybe she thought Anakin’s ‘visions’ were just his way of pressuring her to abort, and she didn’t believe him when he said she’d die.

    Without Padme’s impending death, Anakin would probably ended up aiding Windu’s arrest of Palpatine. I think it’d be kind of funny if the whole galaxy ended up going to pieces because Padme stopped using contraception to try to force Anakin out of the Jedi Order.

  43. larry Says:

    Provolt has the final word in this debate, in my opinion.

  44. alan Says:

    Doesn’t Anakin say “only a sith lord think in absolutes” after Sidious names him Darth Vader, making him a sith lord?

  45. richard mcenroe Says:

    No, the Darth Lord Burger King commercial is worse than the M&M’s one by far…

    And Buster Crabber and the Lydecker Bros. are still better.

  46. Matt Says:

    Lucas proved once again that he’s a master in two realms…effects and ideas. RotS depended, thanks to its place in the arc (not to mention the inadequacies of its two immediate predecessors) heavily on the ideas, and he delivered.

    But Lucas definitely has way too many yes-men around him. SOMEBODY needed to stand up to this man YEARS ago and told him not to write or direct anymore.

  47. holdfast Says:

    “he’s weak enough to be disfigured and nearly destroyed by Mace Windu”

    BS – he was totally taking a daive so that Anakin could save him. the disfigurement comes from using the blue finger-lightining. To use that you have to directly channel the dark side of the force and it’s hell on the skin (afterwards you need Sith strength moisturizer).

    The movie needed another 30 minutes or so just to slow down the pace a bit -way too rushed, but it did have the salutory effect of rushing the “love” scenes off stage.

  48. shell Says:

    Provolt, I didn’t go see ep 3. I already knew from 1 and 2 that there was no way Lucas could deliver a believable conversion in the one movie that was left.

    Darth Vader killing children I can accept. Doing it because he’s having nightmares about his wife, I can’t. Why not go public with the marriage, retain the best obstetrician on Coruscant (don’t tell me galactic Senators don’t have gold plated health care coverage!), quit the Jedi order and the Clone Wars, and stick to your wife like glue until the delivery? If being a Jedi was more important to him than his family, then show us that conflict. But I haven’t seen any reviews or spoilers that even hint at that as a motivation.

    And in the end, a movie is only as good as the story that carries it. As a storyteller, I just don’t buy the plot. I wanted to. I really really wanted to love the prequels as much as the original trilogy. But I just can’t.

  49. Rob Says:

    I think the precise reason why the “Star Wars” franchise has been so successful is its lack of Deep Thought. It’s pure Space Opera, not to be overthought or overanalyzed. Compared to scifi that attempts to retain some sci with the fi, it’s garbage. Hence, more easily enjoyed by folks who usually don’t care about scifi. More like “LOTR”, without all that timeless story and strong character development baggage, than “2001” or any other halfway serious movie.

  50. denise Says:

    Saw ROTS last night. I thought it was pretty good. The story was tied up pretty well, the end of the Anakin/Obi Wan fight scene was really good, they didn’t screw up the movie with things like space sports bars, and they made very good use of CGI with Yoda (you can really tell they studied and copied LOTR methods).

    I’d rank the six movies: V, IV, III, VI, II, I.

  51. James Edens Says:

    It is not often that I go into a theater with high expectations and come out with those expectations not only met, but blown away.

    But that’s exactly what happened in the wee hours of the morning as I forsook all mandates of sleep and common sense and attended the midnight premiere of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Simply put, it is the overall best Star Wars movie ever. Oh yes, I said ever. More thrilling than A New Hope, more emotionally engaging than The Empire Strikes Back, more satisfying than Return of the Jedi, and better written and acted than the first two prequels, Revenge of the Sith is the film by which all other Star Wars episodes must now be judged.

    Bold words, I know. Even now the Jedi faithful are probably drawing their plastic lightsabers and moving in to silence this heretic in their midst. A few days ago, if I had walked up to the assembled throngs of costume-clad fans standing vigil at the ticket line and loudly proclaimed my belief that one of the much-maligned prequels would go down in history as better than the original trilogy, they would have looked at me as if I had just spit on Yoda’s grave. But once Revenge of the Sith is watched and rewatched, and once its merits are endlessly debated in Star Wars chat rooms for years to come, I believe it will gain acceptance among fans and critics alike as the best of the entire series, supplanting even the current consensus favorite, Empire. Remember, you heard it hear first.

    I won’t delve too deeply into the plot, partly because it is already well-known (anyone going into the theater wondering what will ultimately happen to Anakin probably also went into the theater wondering what would happen to the Titanic), but mostly because the true greatness of the film lies not in its plot (although it is quite good), but in its pervasive, haunting tone and unexpectedly profound emotional depth. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) does not dive whole-heartedly into the dark side, instead, he is subtly and cunningly enticed by the manipulative Emperor (Ian McDiarmid, in a particularly strong showing), who positively oozes evil.

    The most powerful and tragic relationship in the movie is between Anakin and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor, who may actually be the film’s star). In Attack of the Clones, theirs was a strict, hierchal relationship; here, they are comrades whose close bond has been forged in the horrors of war. When Anakin’s betrayal of the Jedi is complete, and as he and Obi-Wan battle in a spectacular, epic lightsaber duel on a hellish nightmare of a world, in one final desperate appeal Obi-Wan cries out to his corrupted friend, “I loved you, Anakin; you were a brother to me!” By adding to Anakin’s already immeasurable loss, it is the film’s most powerful and emotional moment, and it adds another layer of depth to the rivalry between Vader and Obi-Wan in the original trilogy.

    Revenge of the Sith is by far the darkest, most brooding entry in the series. It stands in stark contrast to the other five films, which seemed to be marketed almost entirely to young children. The scene in which Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) and a band of Jedi come to arrest the Emperor is particularly creepy, even disturbing. The underlying darkness, that delicious, ubiquitous sense of foreboding, permeates the film from beginning to end. And yet, even though we already know the outcome, we are still gripped in suspense as Anakin fulfills his destiny, one painful, tragic step at a time.

    The writing of Episode III is much improved over the earlier prequels, although some movie critics still sniffily deride the dialogue as an affront to the English language, as if the the critically-acclaimed original trilogy was penned by Shakespeare. This is Star Wars, for goodness sake, not Casablanca. The story takes precedence here, enhanced by truly wondrous special effects.

    And what a story it is.

  52. richard mcenroe Says:

    Ahhh… the tragedy of falling from the noble Jedi path,,,

    “What I told you was true… from a certain point of view…”

    “From a certain point of view?! You lying sack of **** in a dirty brown bathrobe! She’s my sister! I coulda gone to jail for what I was thinking!

  53. JunkYardBlog Says:

    SITH HAPPENS

    This has been one of those days. I wrote up the Foley post last night thinking it might balloon into something big, but then went to sleep. I went to work today and then went out to see Episode III…

  54. JunkYardBlog Says:

    SITH HAPPENS

    This has been one of those days. I wrote up the Foley post last night thinking it might balloon into something big, but then went to sleep. I went to work today and then went out to see Episode III…

  55. JunkYardBlog Says:

    SITH HAPPENS

    This has been one of those days. I wrote up the Foley post last night thinking it might balloon into something big, but then went to sleep. I went to work today and then went out to see Episode III…

  56. Sandy P Says:

    Well, “Now I am the Master” takes on new significance.

  57. Not That Says:

    yes, I’m obsessed

    Here’s another review of RotS, which I only link to because it makes two very good points. The first is that the much-hyped political flavor to this movie isn’t really there. Sure, there are a couple of lines that could…

  58. Mauther Says:

    “It is not often that I go into a theater with high expectations and come out with those expectations not only met, but blown away.”

    I’m voting James Edens as the greatest living satirist. Ep 3 and Ep 6 are fairly closely tied for third best in my opinion. Ep 3 was a more complicated story and darker overall, but it didn’t come close to matching the emotion of 6 in either the Rescue of Han Solo (incredibly cheesy but 9 times better than the overly bloated Rescue of Palpatine) or the Luke/Vader/Emperor showdown (no where near as elabaorate as all the jeewiz duels in SITH, but with a much greater expression that the conflict is moral/spiritual rather than physical). It is fairly pointed out that none of the episodes have fantastic writing. However, in NEW HOPE and EMPIRE, the writing was more organic and had a better flow, with only the occasional stilted pronouncment instead of conversation. Essentially, the greatest difference between the originals and the prequels is that the prequels take themselves too seriously. Lucas is taking himself too seriously (in spite of the fact that he acknowledges they are inspired by the action cereals of the past) and that is a very big problem when your working in scifi, even bigger if your using Wookies, Ewoks, and Midochlorians.

    As for why all of these people went to the early shows if they didn’t like Ep 1 & 2: most of us just wanted closure. For most males and many women between 25 and 35, we grew up on these movies. My parents probably could have paid for my college with the money they spent on Star Wars merchandise. My friends and I used to loot every linen closet our parents had to get enough white sheets to cover the living room so we could recreate the battle of Hoth. And any long hallway with a door at the end was used to replay the opening fight from Star Wars (there were very nearly fist fights over who got to play Vader). NEW HOPE is the first movie we can recall seeing in a theater, EMPIRE was the first movie we ever waited in a line for (1 hour tops), and JEDI was the first midnight screening we ever attended. We were invested in the series and wanted to see it through. I think most of us are now done with the series. If Lucas were to come back in a decade and offer up Ep 7-9, I think he would have a hard time getting a lot of the old schoolers to come. The funny thing is, for all the negatives that I’ve said about the movie, I’m probably going to go see it again to look at the details and most of the people I know who were disappointed have said the same. In some ways, we’re just looking to say goodbye to a childhood friend.

  59. B. Minich, PI Says:

    I loved the movie. Very well done.

    I particularly enjoyed, throughout all of the prequels, watching Palpatine play the galaxy like a fiddle. This man was patient, relentless, and amazingly successful. The Jedi couldn’t figure out he was the Sith Lord, despite the fact that he was their boss for years, because he was so methodical in his dealings. You knew his ultimate prize was Anakin, but he wasn’t afraid to wait, using two apprentices. He leads the Republic and the Seperatist movement, but leads the Seperatists as Darth Sidious – thus, he can order them to kidnap him, having confidence in the Jedi to get him out. He’s gutsy – his kidnapping plan has a chance at failure (though granted, he’d probably tell General Grievous to not kill him if the Jedi had completely failed to get him back).

  60. Doug Stewart Says:

    A couple of points:

    1) I, too, was bothered by the fact that

    SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILER

    Padme dies in childbirth when Leia clearly talks about remembering her mother from her days on Alderaan. I think that the movie would have had more emotional impact for me if, instead of Padme actually dying, Obi Wan, Yoda and Sen. Organa had spirited her away to Alderaan and hidden her to raise Leia, thus marking their final complicity in turning Anakin into Vader.

    2) No one has pointed out that

    SPOILERSPOILERSPOILERSPOILER

    Anakin/Vader’s choke-hold was directly responsible for Padme’s death. Apparently he broke both her heart and her windpipe.

    *sigh* I was expecting worse, hoping for better. Guess it’s a wash. Now if Lucas would only pull his cranium from his posterior and release the ORIGINAL CUTS on DVD (none of this “Greedo shot first” nonsense. Totally killed a good portion of what made Han, well, Han, IMNSHO).

  61. McAristotle Says:

    Where’s his Department of Homeland Security? HE’D JUST BEEN KIDNAPPED DAYS EARLIER!!!

    Posted by: Freeman at May 19, 2005 07:50 AM

    Like the guards would really stop Samuel Jackson armed with a lightsaber & 3 sidekicks. Dude, they were wiped offscreen or mind tricked.

    ———————

    The Jedi Masters had to have been the single most clueless bunch in the history of cinema.

    Posted by: Freeman at May 19, 2005 07:50 AM

    Actually I thought that was a subtle point. The Jedi are actually prone to inaction and suffer from severe group think and this seems to be in all the movies.

    In Episode I, they send 2 Jedi to defeat a vast robot army, being to afraid to overrule the paralyzed Senate.

    In Episode II, a planet is hidden to them just by hiding the coordinates in the central computer. The clone army has been approved (and assumingly funded) by a Jedi Master without the knowledge of the jedi council. The allow the separatists to amass vast robot armies without action. When war breaks out, they have no choice but to use the suspicously convenient clone army.

    In episode III – Mace Windu overreacts and tries to execute the President of the Senate without trial, because he’s too powerful. Plus the stuff you mentioned.

    In episode IV – Ben Kenobi commits suicide. And lies to Skywalker leading to his decision in V.

    In episode V – They tell him not to rescue his friends and tell Skywalker no to try and turn Vader back to the light (which is their ultimate salvation).

    In episode VI – Skywalker (disregarding their advice), turns Vader and ends the Empire.

    While being a commercial movie and having to make one side bad and one side good. The movie does have subtle hints that the decision for Anakin to go dark was more subtle.

    1. Sidious is an amazingly popular leader. Note the clapping when he assumes President for Life.

    2. Sidious promises security. In a galaxy where a company like the Trade
    Federation can raise a robot army, blockade a well-liked planet (as indicated by Padme’s future influence and the idiot Gungan’s Senate appointment) and the Senate does nothing – this might be popular.

    3. Sidious must have to some degree delivered. In IV, V, VI, the vast robot armies and clones are gone. The rebel fleet is suprisingly small.

    Perhaps he rushed through some vast disarmament proposal removing the robots and clones? If the technology was still there, would the Rebels need to rely on Ewoks to save their butt?
    This would mean battles are smaller and get less bystanders killed (other than the odd example use of the death star).
    Strangely enough people might like that.

  62. RG Says:

    If this truly is the end (Lucas has been rather disingenuous about “never” planning a third trilogy, but I could readily believe that he hasn’t come up with a good enough story to merit making it), it’s a worthy one.

    I just wanted to point out that he has plenty of material to work with from the numerous post-Empire novels. They are, after all, work that Lucas permitted to be published.

  63. McAristotle Says:

    (Are we really supposed to believe that Vader didn’t recognize the continually complaining protocol droid that he built himself?)

    Posted by: shell at May 19, 2005 02:11 PM

    All protocol droids look alike. So possibly. But he did stop a stormtrooper shooting his former protocol droid. But by then he knew Skywalker was his son, seen Obi-wan with Skywalker, probably did his research (and learnt Skywalker was from his uncle’s house) – should he be suprised?
    ——————

    Darth Vader killing children I can accept. Doing it because he’s having nightmares about his wife, I can’t.

    Posted by: shell at May 20, 2005 12:37 AM

    Well, the nightmares are different when you are a Jedi who get periodic flashes of the future…..on the killing of kids, I think the point is made that even young jedi are determined warriors who can wipe out clone soldiers (who are also alive).

    Don’t forget as far as Anakin is concerned, he just saw Mace Windu try and execute the President of the Republic (a man massively popular in thousands of worlds…)

    He’s a Sith. His children are the children of a Sith with enormous force potential. He’s killed a hero of the Jedi Council. Its all out war to wipe out him and the Sith line (which is his kids) now.

    ————–

    The Jedi Masters had to have been the single most clueless bunch in the history of cinema. Obi Wan COMES TO PADME’S QUARTERS LOOKING FOR ANAKIN, and SHE’S PREGNANT, but it’s a big revelation days later that he’s the father!? The Council has done nothing but shit on Anakin since he got there (you shouldn’t be trained, you’re reckless, we won’t make you a master, we won’t let you go on this mission) and yet they ask him to spy on Palpatine!?

    Posted by: Freeman at May 19, 2005 07:50 AM

    On further though, Jedi are also emotionally stunted. Let’s face it the whole order was raised in childhood away from their parents. They have no apprentices who have not faced a lifetime of brainwashing. Which is why they so mishandled Anakin.

  64. McArtistotle Says:

    Padme dies in childbirth when Leia clearly talks about remembering her mother from her days on Alderaan.

    Posted by: Doug Stewart at May 20, 2005 11:29 AM

    Maybe she only had video.

    ————-

    The only flaws I saw were:

    1. Pregnancy by the force. I would change the scene to have Obi-wan mention that some sort of mind-tampering by the real father would also be an option…

    2. What happened to all the clones and robot armies by Episodes IV,V and VI? Did Sidious deliver some kind of disarmament as a temporary solution to keep his popularity up before the completion of the Death Star?

    3. Hated ‘Annie’ in Episode I. Making him young was cute but made the piloting scenes and race totally unbelievable. Should have made him 12-14. A 12-year old Jedi with incredible piloting skills taking out a battleship might have been believable.

  65. Doug Stewart Says:

    McAristotle:
    In re: #2, methinks the Storm Trooper hordes may well have been clones of some sort.

    In re: #3, the valiant fight that last “youngling” puts forth at the end of the Jedi temple slaughter gives great credence to your 12-14 y.o. “Annie”.

    By the way, did anyone else find Padme’s referring to Anakin as “Annie” more than a little creepy, given the fact that that’s what she called him when he was 9 and she 15?

  66. Pete The Elder Says:

    Better Than Return Of The Jedi?

    I saw the film this morning and think that Revenge of the Sith is definitely the best of the three prequals and possibly better than Return of the Jedi. I will need to see it again before I can render…

  67. denise Says:

    “In some ways, we’re just looking to say goodbye to a childhood friend.”

    Well said, Mauther.

  68. Sandy P Says:

    Add another flaw, Padme’s carrying twins almost due and did you see how she walked to the spaceship?

    And another thing, a poster on another board pointed out she’s pregnant but no chest.

    As to the young Jedis basically cut off, welcome to George’s world.

  69. McAristotle Says:

    And another thing, a poster on another board pointed out she’s pregnant but no chest.

    Posted by Sandy P at May 20, 2005 01:47 PM

    Like that’s impossible for women who don’t gain enough weight during pregnancy. She had slim legs too.

    ————-

    n re: #2, methinks the Storm Trooper hordes may well have been clones of some sort.

    Posted by Doug Stewart at May 20, 2005 01:18 PM

    Yup – but of one side had easy access to clones and the other had nothing, not even battle droids. Its hard to believe the Rebellion lasted very long….

  70. Sean P Says:

    I saw it yesterday, and I still haven’t made up my mind whether I liked it or not.

    The good: Most of the first half of the movie. Ian McDiaramid and Ewan McGregor. The final two lightsabre duels.

    The bad: Natalie. The fact that her character’s fate was completely at odds with what Leah said about her in Ep. VI. The dream sequence (In a Star Wars Movie? wtf!). C3PO (I never found him annoying in any of the other films, but was a complete waste here).

    And then there was the scene with the children. I know they didn’t actually SHOW anything, but they could have implied it a bit more subtlely.

  71. Maureen Says:

    Retcon for Leia remembering Padme

    1) Vague childhood memories can be very vague indeed.

    2) Leia had Force powers. People with Force powers can see dead people.

    3) Leia as a toddler saw her mother’s ghost, possibly quite regularly in an imaginary friend sort of way, and that’s what she remembered.

  72. Crusader Says:

    It is not Padme that Lea remembers, it is who she thinks is her mother on Alderan(sp)…..

  73. Sandy P Says:

    Leia remembered her being sad.

    Sad and preggers, yes, sad, no.

    I wondered over the decades how her mom would have felt that pre-Vader left her. And he never tried to see her.

    To me, that was part of the dark side. He could let her live, but she didn’t exist, and Padme had to live w/the choices she made, him, hiding her kids and splitting them up. That was what she died of, a broken heart, not throwing over the timeline for a plot.

    That would have made more sense from a female POV. We’ve loved and lost and they just go on their merry way, destroying the universe.

  74. blogs for industry Says:

    The Sith Sense

    OK, we knew we were going to see it, and it had been a long two days of giving oral exams to first-year grad students. We’re between semesters here, so the crowds were likely to be not too bad…but the first weekend was likely to draw those who staye…

  75. MatthewMaynard.net Says:

    All I need to know about Episode 3 I learned from VodkaPundit

    I am now certain it is better than Episodes 1 & 2. We hated him enough after episode 1, then he pulled that stunt of putting Palpatine in charge of the Senate in Episode 2. Why couldn’t we have just not had him in the first place? Couldn’t Palpatine ha…

  76. Sandy P Says:

    eeeek, sad and preggers, no.

    Sad, yes.

  77. Will Collier Says:

    There’s a much simpler explaination to the Leia memory thing, people: Lucas just said, “Screw it, she dies at the end.”

  78. Joan Says:

    I don’t understand this particular nitpick about Leia’s memory. Leia says she remembers her mother, but she quite clearly does not know she was adopted, IIRC. So she’s remembering Bail Organa’s wife, the woman she thought was her mother. What’s the big deal?

    As to why people who disliked Ep 1 and 2 would go to see Ep 3, well, a fair amount of entertainment value can be wrung out of dreadful experiences, in time. Such is the fodder of most successful cocktail party stories, after all. Why should the train wreck of Ep 3 be any different? By human nature, we can’t help but watch a grand disaster as it unfolds…

  79. HayZeus Says:

    Or how about it’s just as simple as Leia was referring to Mrs. Organa because she didn’t know she was adopted?

    And for those who think that the whole fear of losing Padme isn’t enough to turn Anakin, consider this: he did in fact experience a great loss but it wasn’t his wife. Instead, he lost his mother and that was the true loss that set him on the path to the dark side. I say that not just because he slaughtered an entire village of tusken raiders in reprisal but because he dreamed about her suffering, he was certain that he could save her and although he did free her he was too late to save her life. Hence his dreams of Padme’s death carried all of that emotional baggage with them and thus he was prepared to do anything to prevent that from happening again. When you throw in how the Jedi Council mistrusted him and how Palpatine kept ratcheting up his compulsion of Skywalker it makes good sense to my mind that Anakin would be prepared to embrace the dark side.

  80. HayZeus Says:

    Doh! Joan beat me to the post!

  81. Sean P Says:

    Sorry about the nitpick, but Luke very clearly said “What do you know remember about your mother? Your REAL mother.” In other words, not the mother who adopted you.

  82. Winzeler Says:

    Sean P, furthermore that whole scene in Ep. VI between the twins is crap if they aren’t talking about the same mother. Will Collier has it right. Lucas said, “Screw it.”

  83. Sandy P Says:

    YUP – for 20 years, it’s been 1 way and oops!

    Now it doesn’t fit the timeline, so over she goes.

    It’s not like George didn’t have the time to write it.

  84. Doug Stewart Says:

    And I still think a more powerful point could have been made by Lucas had Padme gone into hiding with Leia on Alderaan. The final lie (as it’s becoming clear to me, all of the Star Wars series is about two things: duplicity and the failure of Yoda as a master. Yoda->Dooku->Qui Gon->Obi Wan->Anakin.) – that Padme had died when really she had gone into hiding, could have been the thing that finally pushed Anakin to become Vader.

    But alas, Lucas didn’t ask me for help in punching up the script.

  85. Half Sigma Says:

    Review of Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

    It’s been a few years since Episode II. Anakin (Hayden Christensen) no longer looks like the kid from the Dell commercials. In fact, he now sports a retro hairdo reminiscent of Luke Skywalker circa 1977. Lucas finally got the

  86. Reagan Says:

    The greatness of this movie overcomes its obvious flaws. The action was incredible and the important scences more than carried the gravitas of an epic.

    McDiarmid is magnificent. Sideous’ genius is politics and patience. He plotted for over fifteen years to acquire that power, legitimately. Manuplating everything and everyone to achive his own ends. Applauded and hailed as a hero as he overtakes the galaxy. The best villian I’ve seen since Jack Nichilson’s, Joker.

    There are only two good people in the whole movie. Senator Organa and Padme, everyone else are varying shades of gray and black. I can’t explain just how refreshing it is that a movie goes beyond good vs. evil.

    Lucus didn’t cop out and kiddie the dark parts down. While he didn’t show Anikin killing the kids he did show their bodies and the final scene with him and Obi-Wan was chillingly dark. It’s also an excellent explanation for Obi-Wan’s apathy in defending himself in Episode IV.

    There’s no moral high ground. The jedi are just as much to blame for what happens as Sideous and Anikin’s own impetuousness and arrogance. The jedi perpetutally screwed up and reaped the consequences of their own belief that they are right and everyone else is wrong.

    Are there parts I’d change? Sure. Starting with deleting every scene with Portman and Christiansen. Did I wish for more exposition and interaction between Anikin and the Emperor before his fall? Absolutely, but it answers the why and how in a darkly tragic yet beautiful way. It lived up to what I wanted, which makes it a great movie in my opinion.

    Also as others have explained Leia remembers the woman she thinks is her mother, Organa’s first wife, who must have died when she was young.

  87. mike p Says:

    Also, with respect to shades of gray and ‘certain points of view’ – I rewatched Episode 4 today. I never really noticed this before, but Obi-Wan played Luke more deftly than Palpatine played Anakin. It took Palpatine years to turn Anakin, it took about one day of half truths and innuendo for Obi-Wan to get Luke to do his bidding.

  88. Elena Says:

    I was very dissapointed that Padme was so boring in this movie. It wasn’t just “some” women who loved Star Wars as kids- most of us did, because Leia was so cool, and then Padme was so smart and Lucas finally had more than 1 woman a film, until Ep. 6 ruined it all. Padme sits around mooning and trying to get Anakin to express himself, meanwhile the Republic is crumbling and her baby daddy is more and more unstable and dangerous. I know Lucas can never show a woman sho isn’t perfectly coiffed and dressed, but why is he so sqeamish about bloody and painful childbirth? Those are always exciting and dramatic scenes in movies. And she loses her will to live because her husband turned bad? Lucas had only two ongoing female characters in all of Star Wars and he made PAdme into a boring martyr wife who can’t even muster up enough courage to be there for her kids.

  89. Bruce Says:

    I am soooo glad I downloaded it and din’t pay to see it.

  90. Vader Creator Says:

    Annakin’s “divine conception” is no plot hole — this mystery is cleared up quite neatly.

    Annakin was created, a kind of golem built by Palpatine as part of his grand vision. Or possibly Annakin was built by Plageus before Palpatine killed him.

    Remember the line? “Darth Plageus even learned how to bring the midichlorians together to create life itself.”

  91. aaron Says:

    I went in with low expectations and I still was disappointed.

  92. Baseball Crank Says:

    POP CULTURE: Fully Armed and Operational

    Well, I went to see Return of the Sith yesterday; my wife and I took the kids, ages 7 and 5. I should say that the movie was rather intense for their age, and my daughter had to hide her…

  93. Baseball Crank Says:

    POP CULTURE: Fully Armed and Operational

    Well, I went to see Return of the Sith yesterday; my wife and I took the kids, ages 7 and 5. I should say that the movie was rather intense for their age, and my daughter had to hide her…

  94. InTheCave Says:

    At best Leia admits to Luke that she has vague recollections of her real mother–that she was beautiful, yet sad.
    Sure enough in E3, it’s Leia that Obi-Wan is holding right over Padme as she dies crying on the table. Enough to imprint a memory on someone with force powers? I think so.

  95. Anderson Says:

    As Elena notes, Lucas has no idea what to do with female characters. Leia’s good in IV, shrieks like a girl in V, and is cheesecake in VI.

    Anakin’s fall is sudden but not implausibly so. He’s conflicted about Palpatine’s offer to save Padme, but still he turns him in to Windu. I didn’t expect him to do that.

    Then, worried sick about Padme (hey, his dream about his mom came true, right?), he goes & finds Windu about to kill Palpatine … and loses it. Helps kill Master Windu, who certainly appears to be one of the 2 or 3 top Jedi.

    At that moment, he’s screwed and he knows it. He has crossed the line. No way the Jedi are going to forgive this.

    In such an empty emotional state, it’s entirely plausible that he would commit to a 180-deg. turn; he can’t simply go despondent because he still wants to save Padme. It’s a Macbeth-like moment: “hell, I’m a Sith now, dammit I’ll *be* a Sith.”

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