Episode III

Niven writes:

WARNING: Spoilers (…though most people who would care about spoilers have probably already seen it.)

Wow. Um… hrm… i don’t think i’ve ever come away from a movie so perplexed. Was it absoluckingfootely awesome… or was it just ok. I’m not sure…. i think i’ll have to see it a few more times to decide.

Hardcore fans like myself had a lot riding on this film. It was could have been a redemption of the prequel trilogy. I think it was… to an extent.

Visually, i must say it was pretty spectacular – the cgi was a lot more believeable in this than is some of the earlier ones. The worlds were VERY dense in detail – which added and detracted from the movie. It added to the spectacle – but detracted from the “Star Wars-“ishness of the film. The original trilogy had a certain sparesness of set, which put more emphasis on characters – largely, the characters here were instruments to meet and aim, rather than actual beings. Having said that, there was a lot of ground that the film needed to cover thematically and from a plot perspective, so there character’s were driven at a much higher than normal pace.

This is the first star wars film that throws straight from the scrolling opening text to a full-fledged battlescene – and it was pretty damn cool. Still haven’t worked out why Obi-Wan had so much problems with the “buzz droids” clinging to the ship – surely he could have used the force to flick them off? Throwbacks to Episode I when obi-wan and anakin crash into the droid hanger. Artoo had some nice moves here – which also gave the first half of this movie, a bit of the original trilogy gloss. The droids, were a bit annoying – because droids that are centrally controlled, probably should have personality. But the battlescenes in this were definitely very cool – and a lot less cartoony that the first 2. Nice work with the fighter ships – some looked like early TIE-fighters, some looked like early X-Wings.

General Grevious was entirely unecessary in my opinion. For those who have seen the “Clone Wars” cartoon – he’s some kind of creature that is injured and the made up as a part-droid (cough cough..Vader). SOmetimes having too many bad guys dilutes the epic feel of the story – perhaps they could have strung out Dooku for longer, before having Anakin chop off his head. Oh – nice parallels with the chancellor urging Anakin on, and when Palpatine tells Luke to kill vader in ROTJ.Also, Grevious’ character didn’t move like anything from Star Wars. Whats with that inceccant coughing you ask? Actually, it all started as a joke – George Lucas had a bit of a coughing fit when he was explaining to the sound engineers what he wanted the character to sound like. The sound dudes put it onto the sample tracks as a joke – and it just ended up being integrated into the character.

The whole Padme/dies in childbirth thing was well done – and Hayden Christiansens acting had improved a whole order of magnitude. Portman did the best with the lines she had – but she was relegated to a very incidental character. The whole “self-fulling prophecy” undertone was clever, where Anakin’s visions of Padme dying turn him to the dark side, which causes Padme to die. Ok – that whole losing the will to live thing was really cheap – they could have done better than that, surely!

Given the time constraints, the Emperor’s emergence was very well crafted. Anakin inately trusts him, perhaps more than the Obi-Wan – and certainly more than the Jedi COuncil. Palpatine, using Anakin’s dreams to sell the dark side as an alternate power, rather than as an evil, was quite well pulled off. It almost has the audience believing his benevolence pretty much up until he pulls a lightsaber on Mace Windu. I thought Mace Windu and Palpatines fight was done well – and when Anakin rocks up – the battle of conscience he undergoes was well apparent. I didn’t like the fact that Palpatines wrinkled and aged face was the result of the lightning – i had always pictured that as the result of the dark side (corrupting body and mind), rather than as a physical disfigurement. Perhaps it was intentional to lure Anakin? The Jedi Council is still out on that one :p

Mace Windu’s death was a little disappointing, because in Star Wars visual vernacularly, being thrown out of a window to ones death suggests that the character is incidental. I expected him to be run through, a-la Qui-Gonn. And the more i think about it, Samuel L. Jackson was WAY the wrong actor for the role. Palpatine seemed to go straight from a manipulating but controlled evil to a maniacal cackling evil – that was a little forced.

So – now to the main guy. His vision of Padme dying in childbirth was supposed to be the cataylst for his downfall – which was portrayed… adequately… but nothing more. I dont think the audience ever felt the depth of his moral struggle. The brat from Episode II returned when he demanded to be a master on the Jedi Council – most unwelcome. But we could see him struggling with what he “knows” to be right, and what he wants – which he admits to Padme – it was believable, but not particuarly convincing. There was a pretty poignant moment when Anakin farewells Obi-Wan – the last time he does so as Anakin Skywalker. That, i thought was one of the better acted scenes in the movie, but giving the subsequent events and dialogue, it seemed strangely out of place.

I like what they did with Anakin dobbing in Palpatine, then returning to “save” him. At that stage, I think he wanted to keep Palpatine alive to find out out to save Padme. After helping kill Windu – his acceptance of the dark side was awfully quick. He went from “what have I done?” to “i am your servant” instantaneously. Not particularly believable, but since he had just killed a Jedi – i guess he couldn’t return to the council. The interlacing of order 66 being activated with Anakin wiping out all in the Jedi Temple was really powerful. I now know wherethe map “Kashyyk Docks” from Star Wars Battlefronts comes from.

The Obi-Wan and Anakin battle packed quite a punch, especially juxtaposed against Palpatine V Yoda. And the fall of Anakin was fantastic – Obi-Wan taking off his legs, then him being immolated. You could see on Anakin’s face that at that point, any trace of good had been burnt out by pure hate. I found this the most powerful moment in the film. Definitely M15+ material there.

Again, good use of juxtaposition with Vader being ‘assembled’, vs Luke and Leia giving birth. They kept consistency in that Vader never new he had 2 offspring. Also, Bail Organa adopting Leia kept everything nice and consistent – and the droids being assigned to the ship that EpIV starts on. Threepio getting a memory wipe – a small touch, but necessary for consistency.

The moment Vader rises and you hear the first hiss of breath carried great impact – i certainly had goosebumps. Palpatine tells him that he killed Padme in his rage – and the exploding medical containers was a nice representation of anger – from a face you could nolonger see. However, his outraged howl of “nooooO!!!” was so incredibly cheesy I actually covered my face in horror. Seriously? That moment took to the passion right out of that scene for me.

The final scene on tatooine, looking out into the sunset was a very nice finishing touch. Also, the rise of the Empire, some has said, took a dig at Dubya – particularly in the manner that the empire rises out of a war, for security and stability – and with Anakin’s lines like “you’re either with me, or my enemy”.

I thought the score for this film was impressive, particularly with the intermeshing of nearly every star wars theme so far, and the new theme “A hero falls”. And something I noticed the other day – the music when Anakin and Kenobi are fighting is EXACTLY the same as when Luke and Vader are fighting in ESB. The choral arrangements in this lent a lot of levity to the action, and upheld parts where the acting may have otherwise let it down.

The movie was overall very consitent and meshed nicely with Episode IV. The scene with vader looking out over the Death Star, could have been easily lifted from ANH or ESB – so everything fitted together quite well. On glaring problem though – Luke asks Leia if she rememers her mother – her real mother, in ROTJ… and she does. Firstly Luke was born first, and secondly Leia was born a few minutes before her “real Mother” dies. I just hope they don’t go and do another “special edition” over ROTJ.

Revenge of the Sith had all the power and impact I was hoping for from this movie. Having said that, it never really recaptured the original series spark – but came much MUCH closer to it that Episodes I or II. The plot line was fantastic, and did the epic full justice. Semantically, it merges well with the original trilogy from the rise of the Empire, to ship designs, the evolution of Storm Troopers, and the like. And it gives and excellent background for the reasons and constitution of the Empire. Unfortunately, it was let down in parts by patches of ordinary dialogue. I can’t rate this, becuase i’m still trying to work out myself, just how good (or bad) it was.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *