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Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith

STAR WARS PART 3: REVENGE OF THE SITHS

Here’s a couple topics I never want to hear about ever again: Star Wars started the era of the blockbuster. Star Wars was the first movie I ever saw and made me fall in love with the films of Cinema. I camped in line for thirty two days to see Star Wars. Empire Strikes Back is the greatest sequel ever made, and also better than any non-sequel ever made. George Lucas earned ten billion dollars on merchandise. I hate Ewoks. I love Jawas. (or is it the other way around.) Originally there was a part where Hans Solo shot Jabba the Hutt with a harpoon but now they changed it so a robot bit Luke Skywalker on the leg. George Lucas ruined my life. I have a tattoo of Hans Solo. I had all the star wars dolls now they are worth one hundred and sixty two dollars on E-bay if somebody would buy them, which they wouldn’t. The first time I ever jerked off was to Princess Leah in a metal bikini. I have nightmares about the part where Jar Jar stepped in space shit. George Lucas touched my childhood in the bathing suit area.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the SithFor years there’s been a cliche about trekkies who like Star Trek, how they’re obsessed nerds and they gotta get a life and etc. And I agree but somehow I think the trekkies for Star Wars are worse. Because at least the Star Trek trekkies are obsessed with something they LOVE. Now days the star wars trekkies seem to be defined by hating ewoks, hating jar jars, hating computer effects, hating george lucas’s neck, hating the prequels, the Anakins, the special editions, some of the originals, themselves, their parents, and orphans. I mean there’s six Star Wars movies and if you’re a REAL fan it’s only socially acceptable to like 2 of them. But that 1/3 of Star Wars (or more often the other 2/3) is their whole god damn life. Go over there on the ain’t it cool news talkbacks, and every god damn topic turns into how they been wronged by George Lucas. Lord of the Rings is good, take THAT George Lucas. I enjoyed such and such movie, which is more than I can say for GEORGE LUCAS MOVIES, are you listening to me George Lucas? The article could be about the translation of Kinji Fukasaku’s BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR AND HUMANITY series, it would still come back to how George Lucas would’ve screwed up the translation if it he was a guy who translated classic Yakuza movies instead of a guy who directed space movies every once in a while. And there is a 300% chance there’d be an assrape metaphor in the discussion. Even in real life these fuckers are crawling all over the place. Just the other day I heard a guy announce emphatically, “Phantom Menace is quite possibly THE worst piece of crap that George Lucas has EVER made.” You could tell he got really worked up about it – I thought the dude was gonna start crying.

Well luckily, this REVENGE OF THE SITHS is the last puzzle piece for star warses so give it a 7 or 8 year cool down period and maybe the nightmare will be over, and these ponytailed assholes will fixate on some other god damn thing, like the lord of the rings prequels or something. What we got here is the best of the newer star warses in my opinion, one where you only gotta forgive a couple scenes and you actually get to enjoy the rest. This one has a better, more emotional story, the main guy Anakin is a better actor, and they got Darth Vader in there. I mean facts is facts, americans love a picture with a yoda or a chewbacca or a darth vader in it, and this one’s got both.

I admit, I was soft on the other two. I realize there are some real howlers in there, but who gives a fuck. There’s enough detail and imagination in this spaceland, and the whole feel of the thing is different enough from any other movies that exist that I was willing to give it a whirl. I’m not saying you gotta enjoy it too or that I don’t feel dirty in the morning but they really didn’t bother me the way they did to anyone who ever wrote anything on the internet. This new one though, honestly, it’s alot better. Except for one part where Darth Vader, in the full iconic costume, looks up to the sky in anguish and yells “NNNOOOOOO!!!” which will probaly be the butt of nerd jokes for generations to come.

One thing I liked: they actually made Anakin into kind of a cool dude here. Before he was a whiny kid who talked in bad love poems but now he’s got cool ’70s hair and a scar, he does some dashing derring do or whatever it’s called, and he’s got a dark streak. A pretty big one where he ends up murdering children. Which I’m against. The exact moment of the switch from good guy to bad guy is a little bit iffy but the story is surprisingly convincing. There’s a lot of different complicated motives for it that tie into the events of the other movies. I guess what made me realize it was working was when I caught myself rooting for this guy to figure out what’s going on and make the right decision. I mean I had a pretty good idea it was gonna turn out bad. (there’s other movies that take place later where he’s darth vader, for those who don’t know)

Also, I liked his relationship with Obi Won. I mean there’s a little scene early on where the robot R2 fucks up and almost gets them killed. And Obi is about to complain about it but Anakin gets in his face and defends his boy R2. Because these two go WAY back to the days of bowlcuts and podraces and he’s got R2s fuckin back. They’re like brothers. Same goes for Obi and Anakin, but they’re a little more like the brothers in GUMMO, they fight sometimes. But they’re still brothers so you gotta feel bad when they end up trying to kill each other and one of them (I won’t give it away) ends up face first in the mud, on fire, with both legs chopped off, gargling “I HATE YOU!!” in anguish just before being turned into Darth Vader. This is a tragedy by the way. Kind of a bummer, even in space.

You can never underestimate the whining and negativity of people who like movies, but my guess is some of the trekkies will actually like this one. This is the first movie I’ve ever seen where the audience applauded a hallway. There was a hallway that I believe was also seen in the original Star Wars part 1, now called Star Wars part 4. So everybody clapped. A real crowdpleaser as far as hallways go. There’s one big opportunity that Mr. Lucas missed out on though, and that is to kill Jar Jar. I think we all know that if Jar Jar died in this movie, it would create joy and thunderous applause in every theatrical screening. Of course, it could’ve ended up Jar Jar dies heroically saving babies. Maybe it’s better you don’t make a god damn martyr out of the guy. I was also kind of afraid he’d be there for the birth of Luke and Leia (note: they are the main characters from the original star wars). Jar Jar would be saying: “Pusha! Pusha!” and then maybe “Looksie! Yousa has twinsies!” Instead, Lucas pretty much abandoned Jar Jar, showing him in a couple scenes but no lines. So it turns out Jar Jar lives which means that in the later movies, when a battle is waged to save the universe from Jar Jar’s fuckup in the senate in part 2, he doesn’t bother to help out. Fuckin figures.

I only seen this movie once but as far as I could see there was only two scenes to really be embarassed of. One was the “NNOOOO!!!” scene I mentioned before and the other one had Anakin and Podmay in an apartment together talking that kind of forced soap opera dialogue that part 2 is reknowned for. But otherwise this one is alot stronger and faster paced than the last two. There’s a ridiculous amount of detail in these battles like some kind of where’s waldo come to life. But at the same time they make you care about what’s happening with the individual characters, even the robots. And they got some smartass dialogue going between them for a while, before children are being massacred and amputees are being burned alive. Before all that mess it’s the kind of feel that fans love the Star Warses for. So they’re probaly gonna hate this one.

I gotta say though as a movie watcher, you fuckin Star Wars trekkies should be grateful for getting a part 3 this good. Who ever heard of a part 3 that’s better than part 1 and 2? Not fans of Blade, Alien, The Godfather, Halloween, Scream, Superman, Batman, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Friday, Night of the Living Dead, Hellraiser, Wild Things, Cruel Intentions, Jurassic Park, Naked Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Rambo, Robocop, The Terminator, Tremors, Vampires, The Crow, etc. Friday the 13th 3-D was probaly my favorite though, ’cause it was in 3-D and has the best theme song. So I guess Revenge of the Siths is the Friday the 13th 3-D of science fictional movies.

Well shit, you know me, I gotta talk about the politics for a minute. Remember when I reviewed the last one (see above) and I talked about how nobody was acknowledging how much the political events of the movie reflected what was going on on earth. Well this one obviously has to continue with the story of the end of democracy in skywalkerville. The pervy chancellor who announced “I love democracy!” in volume 2 is now being even more blatant about his power grab. When he makes a crazy speech to the senate about how he’s gonna make the republic into an empire and kill everybody that’s allegedly after him, what happens? Everybody claps! Sound familiar?

Of course it does (hint: space story = exactly what is happening in america, except with robots.) I honestly believe that this is not based on what’s going on in our country right now. I think it just happens to be what’s going on in our country. The story is based on the cycle of how all democracies tend to end. It follows inevitably from the stories in the other new star warses and to what happens in the older star warses. I’m sure most of this aspect of the story was probaly made up in the ’70s or ’80s. But a funny thing is happening: this time people besides me noticed. There was even early word that this was a “Bush bashing movie” and I saw a couple right wingers complaining about it on their “blogs” (or web sights as I call them, because “blog” is a stupid god damn word that will hopefully die quickly like “dotcoms” and “webzines” and other “buzzwords.”) I like that some of these guys are noticing. Our government does the same things as the evil empire in Star Wars, but it’s the movie that’s bad. Not the evil empire. The movie is unfair to evil space villains.

Obviously alot of people in the US aren’t gonna be able to watch this movie without catching on to that parallel of a scared republic losing track of the values they once stood for, letting them be perverted. But maybe there’s a Star Wars trekkie out there somewhere cursed with a poetic soul who will see it as a symbol of Lucas losing track of what made the original trilogy good. I don’t know but I got a question for you star wars trekkies that I can’t figure out. The question is what the fuck is your problem with ewoks. More specifically, why do you hate ewoks but not other lovable furry creatures such as chewbaccas.

This movie has some scenes on the planet of Chewbaccia where the chewbaccas live. Chewbaccas are like a far more lovable version of ewoks. They live in trees and have cartoony primitive tools just like ewoks, but they are much taller for hugging and they love people instead of growling at them and trying to cook them on a spit. Also chewbaccas do not bash people to death with rocks and logs and do not play drums on the severed heads of storm troopers. Chewbaccas are basically the kiddie version of the ewoks, for little babies who are afraid of ewoks just because they are cannibals. What I’m saying is you guys are a bunch of fuckin bigots. This is 2005 man, lay off the damn ewoks.

By the way I got a theory here about part 1 or 2 or whichever it was, when they got the E.T.s in it. As all trekkies know there is a scene in one of the star warses where they’re in the senate, and in the corner of the screen you look closely using the pause technology and what you got is a delegation of the E.T. aliens from the movie E.T. Well at the time I thought this was sort of an “in” type joke but now that I’ve had five or six years to really seriously contemplate this scene I realized what’s REALLY going on here in my opinion. You see E.T. – not just any E.T. but the specific character of E.T. we all know and love from the movie E.T. – he used to be a space senator. But that was a long time ago in a galaxy really, really far away or what have you. And the senate was dissolved when the empire was created. So now it’s years later, 1982 or whenever, and the poor glowing bastard is flying around picking god damn flowers for a job. It’s pathetic. So what I figure is, E.T. is always complaining about it. “I used to be Senator E.T. We flew around on platforms. I knew chewbaccas and everybody. I was like a god to girl E.T.s. And now this is my life, sneaking around at night picking flowers. I’m a fuckin migrant worker.” Eventually these other flower pickers are gonna be sick of the senator’s bullshit and take matters into their own long alien glowing fingers. What I’m saying here friends is the beginning of E.T. was no god damn accident. What I’m saying is, they left that fucker there for a reason. They WANTED Senator E.T. to be stranded on earth. Because otherwise they had fly back with him. And you know what happened though, my man learned his lesson by going through one of them inner journeys. He hit rock bottom. He learned how to party, getting drunk, dressing up like a girl, etc. He flew on a bike, he died and came back, he turned on his heart light, all because of the magic of a young boy’s dream. And now hopefully he’s gonna be a little bit less of a prick. It’s like Scrooge in space. Only on earth.

Anyway E.T.’s not in this one that I noticed so fuck him. The point is, STAR WARS 3 is a pretty good space movie in my opinion.

DIGITAL PROJECTION UPDATE: I saw part 3 at the same theater I saw part 2, the Cinerama here in Seattle. Back then I complained about the digital projection. Now it’s 3 years later, when digital projection was supposed to have caught on, and the Cinerama has actually ditched the digital projector and use the superior “film” type projector. I’m sure it was hard since they probaly spent alot of money on that gizmo but I applaud them for making the right decision. Unlike Anakin.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, May 19th, 2005 at 7:14 am and is filed under Action, Reviews, Science Fiction and Space Shit. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith”

  1. Great review, Vern

    It pisses me off on occasion when I hear that Ewok bullshit too. I thought the fact that they looked like teddy bears but were actually fucking savages was a good way to play them.

    They clubbed imperial troops to death, practiced witch(ewok)craft and were going to eat the heroes until 3P0 saved the day via Lukes Jedi mastery. It seems like most were judging them from the encounter between Leia and Wickett(?) and couldn’t let that first impression go. It’s not like the film flinched away from showing them die etc also. Saying that, I wouldn’t fuck with a Wookie either. Arms out of sockets and all that.

    Jedi is the best of them all in my opinion… I like them all to varying degrees (Attack of the Clones is probably my worst) but, pretty much, nothing happens in Empire until they get to the Cloud City. All the Han and Leia stuff is just filler really. Empire is probably the best for acting/direction but, as far as the plot goes… there really isn’t much of one until the final act.

    This has since been diluted by the advent of the new films of course. Empires ‘ace in its sleeve’ is redundant now and was the biggest slog for me to get through when I had my marathon session with these pictures 2 or so years ago. Training montages (well, kinda) are not plot either.. sure there was some good shit on Dagobah and it’s not like I hate the film at all but it’s not the sacred egg to me that it seems to be to other “fans”.

    Fuck, I just remembered Irvin Kershner directed Empire Strikes Back and Robocop 2. That film was fucking crazy.. I think he did one of the unofficial Bond movies too (the Connery one?). I could easily check on IMDB I suppose. Maybe I will some day.

    Spent more time babbling about the other movies than this one but, for the record, Sith is probably my second favourite (or third). I’m not expecting anyone to keep that on file or anything.

  2. I totally agree with your first couple of paragraphs. I’m no fan of Lucas, I don’t even particularly like most of the movies he’s been involved with bar the first couple of Indys, but I’ve heard and read so much whinging about the man that if he killed my entire extended family I don’t think I could even work up any anger towards him. Basically, I’m all Lucas-hatred-ed out. When Indy 4 came out I pointed out on IMDB that there seems to be hatred towards Lucas seems to exceed the cumulative hatred out there for the presidents from Carter to Bush Part II. One guy replied to say it was justified!

  3. I was flipping channels the other day on my GF’s HDTV and Star Wars the original (Episode 4, nerds) was on. I gotta say, after watching this cartoony bullshit from Phantom Menace onwards the original one from 1977 (or whenever) looked fantastic. I caught it at the part where Luke and Han have on their Stormtrooper outfits and they are hanging out in some room in the Death Star where they just had a gunfight. The room looks lived in. There are shadows everywhere. The walls are black and dark red, nothing is fake looking, everything looks REAL. Ever notice in the 3 prequels that every single goddamn room in the whole picture has something in it that you’re supposed to be impressed by? It’s ridiculous. All the CGI looks like it was lit from the inside and the only shadows in the films were probably snuck in by the effects department when Lucas wasn’t looking.

    REVENGE OF THE SITH is still by far the best of the prequels, better even than RETURN OF THE JEDI in my humble opinion. My ranking:

    Empire Strikes Back (awesome)
    Star Wars (even though it is kind of dated)
    Revenge of the Sith (pretty damn good)
    Return of the Jedi (watchable most of the time)
    Phantom Menace (ugh)
    Attack of the Clones (just horrible)

  4. Just enjoyed a glorious blu-ray rewatch, and for a while in the middle, whenever Anakin said something in the iffy script that his face tried to make correlate with some kind of Intense Emotion, I questioned how I ever ranked this at or near the top of the STAR WARSes.
    But goddamn the final 40 minutes or so of REVENGE OF THE SITH is just fucking amazing.

    And the opening 20 minutes (except the groan-y forced emotion/exposition line about Anakin’s mom & the sandpeople).

    And all the General Grievous stuff (Anyone else think he sounds like Fat Tony from The Simpsons?).

    And the pre-AVATAR scenery & creature-riding/flying.

    And the betrayal montage (which is the one part I wish had been much longer, or would be even better if the movie overall had been longer to allow us to know better these characters & alliances before the heartbreaking acts of war & power consolidation happened).

    Anyway, coupla little observations so I can give credit to some metaphors & microcosms and shit in the script & filmatism that I’m not sure has been covered and that might make your next rewatch (in 3D??? I hope so.) more enjoyable —

    -notice how in the opening space skirmish Anakin says, “This is where it gets fun!” just as the most chaos happens, when the most stuff is suddenly on screen, when you can’t tell what’s the good guys and what’s the bad guys for a moment. Despite his begrudging deference to Obi Wan and the Jedi notion of “Have patience,” Anakin’s Dark Side tendencies are already there, aligned with the creepy joy that the Sith Lord derives from having everyone doublecross everyone else when he implements “Order 66” and you don’t know who’s shooting at what, enemies become friends, lasers & ‘splosions everywhere, jumping from setting to setting, lying to everyone, chaos reigns but he gets to fuck shit up and he loves it.

    -in that same skirmish, some “Buzz Droids” get on Obi Wan Kenobi’s fighter ship, and Anakin, from the high ground!!! (foreshadowing!), tries to help Obi by shooting off the enemy droids, but he [accidentally] shoots off part of Obi’s left wing. That’s the protege with the high ground trying to save the mentor’s life and clipping off a limb with his weapon. There’s tons of dismembered hands & heads in the SW saga (what a badass motif, by the way, for a kid-friendly series), but this particular moment sorta becomes an important thing to recall during the awesome climactic lava battle.

    Anyway, I’m revisiting my selections for best films of 2005, and I see this in the top 2 or 3 easily.

  5. Never noticed the parallel imagery with the wing shot off, that’s pretty interesting.

  6. Yeah, it happens in the midst of a cool outer space shootout with lots of missiles & robots and several reaction shots of R2 or R4 doing something robot-y & cute, and there’s lots of playful semi-cheesy banter while it happens, and it’s at the very beginning of the film, so most people don’t notice or remember it.

    It’s not as on-the-nose as the sweetass image of Yoda & Dooku lightsabre-fighting literally in the middle of an empty Senate chamber, rising on a platform, then being knocked down, then recovering just enough to crawl away.

    I love making these observations and comparing them to other movie metaphor moments, especially ones relating to power grabs & rising & falling as emperors and stuff,

    like the subtle shot sequence at the very beginning of Ridley Scott’s GLADIATOR when, iIrc, Maximus descends from his horse, says something at human eye level, then goes down to dog level, gets some dirt, then rises back up above the horse & above other men (covers the whole movie, his whole life, pretty much),

    or like the subtly brilliant & amazing Cuban rooftop cake-cutting scene in THE GODFATHER 2 (businessmen & mobsters literally carving & dividing up a country for their gluttonous consumption).

    I’m lots of fun to watch movies with, if you allow me to babble my nerd commentary during the runtime. Did you know that in the order & appearance of the opening credits of Hitchcock’s PSYCHO you can almost figure out one of that movie’s big twists?

  7. This might be more time than you want to invest, but the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars does a good job of filling in those gaps to explain some of those characters and the relationship they have with the clone troopers. All the seasons have some slow spots, but most of the time it’s good and when it’s good it can be really good.

    I think their most impressive feat was adding Anakin’s youngling padawan Asoka Tano. At the beginning I thought “do they really need to add a kid into this?” but by the end of her story arc in the last season she was my favorite character and I realized how her relationship with Anakin and the way things turn out help lead into his downfall and make it more believable.

    I think there’s at least one continuity cheat though, because I’m pretty sure a character who betrays the Jedi order and is kicked out is shown getting killed in that montage.

    Unfortunately, Disney taking over Lucasfilm led to the cancellation of the show and now it’s unclear what they’re going to do with the remaining episodes that were going to wrap things up and lead into Revenge of the Sith.

  8. Good to know. For now I’ll just let my imagination take care of all those unknown backstories & relationships, like I assume people did in the early ’80s with Boba Fett when he became such a popular character despite having like 2 lines of dialogue.

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