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Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (No Baggage Review)

tn_revengeofthesithnobaggageprogramming note: I plan to do all six of these star warses, but I had to leave on a one week spiritual quest and cue these up to post… I’ll catch up on the second half of the series after I get back. thanks everybody

It looks like some time has passed since part 2. This time Hayden Christensen has been replaced by the much older Marc Singer as Anakin. That’s not true although it’s a good idea they probly considered. Actually it’s the same actor as last time but aging is implied because his hair got long, and he has a scar across his eye. He has that robot arm from the end of part 2 so he seems like a serious veteran of star war. Those clone soldiers that were fresh out of the oven in the Battle of Bug Planet are now the Jedis’s trusted allies and co-workers. The clone war, which is a type of star war, has spread out so far that alot of the Jedi Council have to holo-commute to their meetings.

Also, uh, Anakin’s secret wife Padme is knocked up. Shit is getting real.

Watching this right after the other two is cool because even though it’s the same director (George Lucas, AMERICAN GRAFFITI) it’s a huge leap forward in almost all respects. The pacing is much better, moving at a clip, hurtling through the best space battle and action setpieces of the series so far, pedal to the metal but with a solid grip on the wheel. Kenobi and Skywalker have a much better chemistry, their expert teamwork/bickering combo much more entertaining. Christensen’s acting is much more natural, his character more charismatic, even though he (spoiler) turns evil and murders a bunch of little kids. His romance rap is still a weak point, but goes by quicker and easier than in part 2, and by the time he’s using the Force (a magic thing that Jedis use, hard to explain but just roll with it) to do a Chris Brown on his pregnant wife you figure it’s dipshit passion more than genuine love anyway, no wonder it came off so dumb.

And there is the spectacle. They finally got all these effects they’ve been working on just right. These are the most detailed star wars I’ve seen in a movie, including STARSHIP TROOPERS. Beautifully rendered scenes like this bird’s eye view of a battle over the city planet:

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or this view, from latere in the same shot I believe:

still_revengeofthesith2

And you can’t necessarily tell from those stills, but the action clarity is perfect, long shots moving through the mayhem with visual cues to tell your eye exactly which ships you’re supposed to be looking at. Like floating up and through a giant star war. It’s awe inspiring.

The first 23 minutes of this are all time classic summer blockbuster material, starting with a long tracking shot of the Jedi boys’s little ships navigating through an enormous battle and ending with their faces wincing through a windshield as they crashland the front half of a giant, burning space cruiser. In between they chop up armies of droids like it ain’t no thang, cut off Dooku’s head, fall through a sideways spacecraft, confront a four-armed alien cyborg with a bad cough,

get captured, rescue Anakin’s weird old man friend Chancellor Palpatine and have some legitimately funny comic relief from Anakin’s robot bro R2D2. In part 2 Anakin laughed dickishly at the idea of R2 protecting him and his girl, so it’s nice that this time he gets in Kenobi’s face for talking shit about him. Hey man, that’s my best friend your talking about. They also really show the advantage of having a robot co-pilot when swarms of parasitic droids crawl onto their ships and R2 has to actually fight them.

In this one the magic Jedi leaps are more natural and lead to some badass shit. I love this part where my man Obi W.K. crash lands his little ship inside the big ship and as it skids and spins across the floor the top pops open and in one motion like Lee Marvin killing the bed in POINT BLANK he flies out, does a flip and halves three robots within a second or two of his feet touching the ground. He later has long, brutal duels with the aforementioned four-armed General Grievious and (spoiler) Anakin. He’s working overtime in this one.

He also has a good sense of humor. I like the part when he’s followed General Grievious to a secret base, he drops from the ceiling behind him and jovially says “Hello there!” This General character is kind of a nitwit, and I know he’s an animated cartoon, but I like that he kinda looks like a Muppet. Kind of cool to see a live action human tear a muppet’s rib cage open with his bare hands and then shoot his heart with a laser gun. You might say Grievous gets clwned.

Visually and technically I think they really got it right on this one, I love the way it looks. The thumbnail at the top of this review to me looks like a concept painting, but in fact it’s an untouched screen grab straight from the DVD.

Great uses of lighting in this one. Aside from a couple major flubs, Lucas has a strong control of the tone. Like the scenes with Yoda sitting in the shadows in his meditation chamber (office?), knowing something is going horribly wrong. Or trying to give Anakin some wisdom that he must sense isn’t gonna stick. Very foreboding.

still_revengeofthesith3

Anakin actually comes to two creepy old men for advice about his problems. Yoda tells him that death is natural and to be rejoiced, that he should not mourn or miss the dead, that “the fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side.” Chancellor Palpatine, on the other hand, tells him that the Dark Side is a path to not having to suffer loss. I mean, who’s he gonna listen to about his wife’s impending death, the guy who tells him “tough shit,” or the guy who tells him you know what, you’d have to not be a Jedi, but technically it is possible to get so powerful you could save her?

It’s like YOUNG ADULT, it’s easier for him to accept the bad advice. So he does.

I want to say this about Palpatine though. I fuckin knew (SPOILER) there was something up with that guy. I figured he was a molester, which if so is not ever mentioned in these movies. But he’s the space equivalent of a Nazi war criminal secretly living in your neighborhood. “What, Ted Palpatine? There’s no way. Ted’s a sweetheart! He used to babysit my kids!”

And when he reveals himself to Anakin, the poor guy looks like he’s gonna throw up in his mouth, he’s so shocked. He’s like a kid that grew up on the D.A.R.E. program finding his cool uncle’s secret grow closet. The carpet is pulled out right from under him. But he’s a confused kid, and he decides to experiment with the Dark Side.

I’ll tell you this, too. Even if he wasn’t a fuckin Sith I don’t like how he made his posse leave the balcony at the space opera thing so he could talk to Anakin about secret evil stuff. Those guys – the blue guy with the horns and the weird bald lady – they work hard standing behind you lookin creepy. Not just anybody could stay so still balancing on those flying platforms. They deserve a treat every now and then. And plus they’ve already seen the beginning, what, are they gonna come catch the rest later? Realistically, no. You’ve prevented them from ever seeing this one. That was just rude. And you shouldn’t even be talking at the space opera anyway. Come on Palpatine. Don’t be a menace.

mp_revengeofthesithThe climax is Obi v. Ani in the Battle of the Lava Planet, but in the background is Yoda vs. Palpatine, the war of the old creeps. Take note of the symbolism, they fight in an empty senate chamber. Democracy is gone for the day, the voices of the people are no longer involved in this star war. The white man wins and sends “my little green friend” packing.

Obi fairs better in his duel, but it’s nothing to celebrate. He had fun killing that alien cyborg star war criminal before (plus that guy had a cough, obviously that means he was gonna die anyway from space cancer). But Anakin is his student, his friend, his “brother,” the little race car boy he helped raise. After all the awkwardness in the other movies I’m surprised to actually find the raw emotions in this scene very effective. Obi is trying to express just how disappointed he is that his friend turned murderer, Ani is letting out all his bitterness about Obi supposedly holding him back and being jealous of him, screaming “I HATE YOU!” And the guy just cut off his last three limbs. It’s gotta be embarrassing.

I also like the earlier scene where Obi has to tell Padme that her beloved Ani just went Columbine on a bunch of kids. She thinks she’s kept her marriage and her pregnancy secret, but he looks at her and says “Anakin is the father, isn’t he?” When she doesn’t answer he says, “I’m so sorry.” None of that judgment they were worried about, just sympathy.

There is a less effective scene where he wakes up as a cyborg and they tell him he killed his wife (not exactly true) and he expresses his frustration in what would have to be considered a melodramatic manner, to put it lightly.

Think about that. Despite throwing in with Palapatine and the Dark Side crew Anakin never does get that lesson about magic life saving or whatever, so his wife dies in childbirth exactly like he predicted in the first place. In fact, her death may have been related to him getting mad and strangling her. He killed younglings for nothing! I mean sure, the Dark Side does seem to have a better health insurance plan because that “Darth Vader” burn victim suit has gotta be expensive, but if he would’ve stuck with the program he wouldn’t’ve been on the lava planet in the first place, let alone have his legs and arm chopped off.

As much fun as there was in the first section of the movie there’s an equal amount of bummer in the last part. There’s the whole montage of clone troopers turning and committing Jedicide. Geez, if that’s Order 66 I’d hate to see Order 67! So of the main characters of this series, Anakin turns into a cyborg child murderer, Padme dies, and both Kenobi and Yoda run away to go into hiding. The end. Pretty different from other space sagas, but interesting.

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.
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64 Responses to “Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith (No Baggage Review)”

  1. It was okay. Wouldn’t have me jumping to see a sequel, though you know Hollywood, sheesh.

  2. in a nice bit of irony I thought this was the only one of the series that actually managed to get some of the drama right, the acting in some of the scenes is actually not half bad, but this time I found all the action stuff boring (well the Wookie planet battle was ok)

    like that opening space battle, yeah on a technical level it’s impressive but at the same time it just looks like a video game, you almost find yourself looking around for your controller

    and that final battle goes on and on and on but since it’s obvious what’s gonna happen there’s no tension

  3. Wow, this Lucas fella just gets better and better. It´s a shame that he´s never gonna make another movie again. I know that the “saw” franchise and torture porn is really popular with the kids, but having our hero strangling his pregnant wife, killing of a bunch of kids, and finally have his limbless body burst into flames in frigging close-up is maybe crossing the line a bit. But as a grown-up, I like it. I love that the prudish Jedis get´s wiped out. If they had been a bit more openminded about sex, none of this stuff would have happened. Anarchyn could have talked to Yoga about Padme being pregnant, and Yoga could´ve sorted it out, and everything would have been fine. There is a pretty big hint that Qui-gon actually was Palpatines Sith-lord, which kinda makes the pretty confusing plot of part 1 fall into place. But I guess we will never know for sure know. I´m not sure how Lucas would top the misery of this one in a sequel. Obi-wan would probably go nuts, killling babies left and right as some sort of demented terrorist, eat yoga, make a lampshade out of his skin and… shit, I dunno. Most of the characters are dead/insane/hoboes by now. It´s a real shame, cause this could have been a great franchise in the right hands, with comics and shit, and Lucas blows it all. You gotta respect that, though. Despite all the characters being complete assholes, he actually creates some very poignant scenes. One is Anarchyn freaking out and complaining about the Jedis to his wife. It´s really foreboding, with a single sinister violin tone in the background, and his wife sensing that some serious shit is going down. The other is just before Anarchyn goes totally of his rocker, with him and his wife staring out the window from opposite ends of the city, both in tears. That shit really shook me up. The last bit is Anarchyn trying to explain that he just became the ruler of the galaxy, and his wife realising that the little boy she loved is gone forever. Despite them being some of the most fucked up characters in a children’s movie ever, I really cared about them at this point. Pretty solid acting too.

    Anyhow, I like the simple message of the movie. War is shit, even in space. He even has Anarchyn quoting George Bush, hammering home how strict religious upbringing turns young men into terrorists, brothers into enemies, and democracy into fascism. It´s pretty rad that a sic-fi adventure for kids has so much going on under the surface. The action, music etc is still amazing, but the kiddies also learn that birth control is important, unless you wanna end up as a slave to the system.

    I must confess that the black iron-lung suit that Anarchyn has to wear in the end looked kinda silly, but maybe that´s his real punishment, looking like a jerk for the rest of his life, never getting it on with an older women again.

    I do hope that somebody makes some sort of before-quel about the wars. Last movie started with the clone wars starting, this one starts with the clone wars ending. Not a lot of war, imo. They should have called it THE SPACE LIGHTSABER MASSACRE instead.

    Don´t get me wrong, this movie is amazing and totally fucked up in a good way, but combining torture porn with space adventure was maybe not the best decision. But Lucas stood by his artistic vision, which somehow is about kids getting killed, kids turning into psychos, and pregnancy ruining young mens lives.

    I´m not sure about this, but Anarchyn gets all fucked up when the Jedis take him from his mother, and ends up having his kids taken from him by the jedis. That´s some deep shit right there, you can´t break the circle of abuse and what have you not.

    I guess that Lucas is steering into the horror-genre, where he does´t have to cut away from all the kid-slaughtering. It´s a shame, cause the guy is clearly talented, and has a unique voice. I can´t really imagine how his SAW IV: BACK TO SCHOOL would turn out, but I would definitely see it. This guy is the real deal and his movies are unlike anything else in the cinemas right now.

  4. “There is a pretty big hint that Qui-gon actually was Palpatines Sith-lord”

    what? Qui-gon was secretly a bad guy?

  5. – Griff

    Do´h, it´s pretty obvious. Palpatine talks about his master as the ONLY person ever to beat death. In the end Yoga reveals that Qui-gon is still alive, as he found a way to beat death. Coincidence? No way.

    Did Qui-gon crash-land on the desert-planet by accident? No. He ordered the clone army, made Anarchyns mum pregnant, and positioned his student Palpatine to take over the senate. But Palpatine set up Qui-gon and had him killed. Remember the surprised look on Qui-gons face when Darth Maul stabbed him? He didn´t see that shit coming, cause it wasn´t a part of his scheme. Or maybe it was, since he knew how to beat death, and thus became…. THE PHANTOM MENACE!

  6. wow, that’s bizarre, but who knows if that’s really what Lucas intended

    maybe he’ll be the villain in episode 7?

  7. Baggage-free thoughts on Episode III

    Stuff I liked:
    – Opening space battle is excellent
    – General Grevious looks cool
    – Scenes with Anakin and Padme are better and there seems like there is at least a little chemistry there this
    – Palpatine, especially when he goes into full evil mode. Purple lighting to Mace Windu’s face
    – Lots of different looking worlds in this one, as opposed to deserts, that look great
    – The scene without dialogue when Anakin and Padme looking out at different windows in Courescant. Great scene and the music is suitably moody
    – The wookies kicking ass
    – Yoda and Palpatine scene. Yoda smushing the two guards and Palpatine’s “Master Yoda! You survived.’
    – Final lightsaber battle is exciting if a little drawn out
    – Ewan McGregor (again). That scene where he defeats Anakin, yelling at him while he burns alive is equal parts tragic and horrific

    What I didn’t like:
    – The basic fact is that Anakin is made completely unsympathetic by the end of the movie. He has killed a bunch of, probably evil, but unarmed Separtist cohorts, children and choked Padme to death. In his final scene (Noooooo!), I didn’t have too much empathy for this guy. His transformation was not done very well
    – The basic storyline didn’t seem to match what the last two, especially Episode II, was building up to. The last movie had the separatist leader Count Dooku getting away with ‘the ultimate weapon’, the clones are introduced into what seemed like would be the start of conflict between the seperatists and the republic. Instead the whole thing was about Anakin turning psycho
    – Obi-Wan and Yoda really kind of pussied out. You only going to go for one shot against Palpatine? That’s it?
    – Slaughtering children, even if only implied, (actually we do see one get shot to death) really isn’t fun too watch
    – Padme, I know you miss Anakin, but being pregnant with your unborn children and then hiding (most likely very uncomfortably) in a spaceship to a extremely dangerous lava planet in order to see your child-killer husband isn’t exactly top notch parenting in my opinion

    So, overall I found this to be the least enjoyable of the three movies. Still had some good scenes and good action.

    Summary (Return of Baggage):
    This was actually an interesting project for me personally. I stopped hating the prequels a while ago, and while I find a lot wrong with them, they are at least interesting movies with a lot of memorable scenes and have some brief moments of greatness. Flawed but engaging. So I was already at the point where I didn’t think that these are the ‘worst movies ever ‘ or ‘Lucas raped my Transformers’ or whatever.

    But, I discovered some interesting things for me when going through this. Probably the most surprising was that I always thought Episode II was the worst, when actually studying it a bit, I think it is the best. Still has it’s problems to be sure, but the story structure is better, everyone has goal and their motivations are mainly clear. The love story is laboured but still has a point, a nice little mystery section with Obi-Wan and this all leading to a big, ridiculous climax. It’s tone is the closest to the original trilogy then any of the other films I think. Having said that, better doesn’t mean great. And some bad acting and dialogue obviously keep it from being a really good movie, but still.

    And the one I always thought was the best, Episode III, when looked at in comparison with the previous two wasn’t really as good or enjoyable.

    Somewhat ironically, going through this I think what ultimately held the series back was ‘the baggage’. Having to have Anakin be Darth Vader, Palpatine reveal himself as a Sith and the Emperor, the start of Rebellion and Luke and Leia be born, all by the end of the third movie is a push. And I think it shows in Episode III, trying to desperately fit all this in under 3 hours. Episode III would have been interesting if it didn’t have to bother with that, and then carried over what was happening in Episode II a bit better. Episode III could have been a manhunt for Count Dooku in a race against the clock to stop the Death Star from being built. Lots of battle scenes from the clone wars. Stuff like that. But it’s not like you can just throw away the idea of having the movie make Anakin into Darth Vader, as that was the whole point of making the prequels.

    Anyway, thanks Vern for the reviews and the idea of looking at the prequel’s baggage. I actually enjoyed it a lot and found it slightly carthartic. It might of even increased my optimism for the new Star Wars movies

  8. This one should be called REVENGE OF THE SHIT…cuz this movie is the SHIT, yo! The ratio of awesome to awful is down to like 20:1, for a total of maybe two or three embarrassing scenes in the whole epic motion picture. The action is above reproach, with smooth, classical filmatics (an easy 5 on the ACR, if such a thing existed in a galaxy far, far away), and a hell of an ending that you’d have to be a psychic to see coming. (A real one, not a phony one like these jedis. Ain’t never see nothing coming until it’s already happened, those fuckin’ guys.) And talk about dark! They’d set up that Anne was probably gonna have his allegiances tested at some point, but I did NOT see him slaughtering innocent jedlings and choking out his pregnant wife. Who’d have thought this series would end up this way? Those tariff disputes and pod races seem like a long, long time ago. This Lucas guy is a madman. I love him. What other massive franchise has the nuts to end on a downer like this? It’s not like Evil Magic Eye Poster won at the end of LORD OF THE RINGS and Aragorn had to go live in a cave so he wouldn’t get hunted down like a rabid coyote.

    Too bad there’ll probably never be another Star War. Motherfucker burned his bridges, salted the earth, and pissed in the Kool Aid with this shit. But that’s what happens when you have artistic integrity. Not everybody’s gonna get on board, and it’s probably not gonna work out for you, but you gotta be ready to die for what you believe in or it never meant anything anyway.

    Speaking of which, I leave you with my favorite Jedi descendent: ANDREW-WAN KENOBI!!!

  9. Well, that don’t fuckin’ work at all. I went to this website that said it would generate a code to embed a video in the comment the way all the cool kids do, and instead it just generated a link to bring me back to their own useless-ass page. Thanks for ruining my joke, assholes.

    Anyway. Here it is. Yippee.

    http://youtu.be/YlBnJ0egT_4

  10. Oops, Cartoon Network actually made a cartoon called Clone Wars. It´s pretty awesome, and ties directly into the third movie. It is very kid friendly, though. I can imagine Lucas sick laughter when planning how to lure innocent kids into the theatre, only to have their hero from their Cartoon Network show getting cut into pieces by his best friend. What a sicko.

  11. Ray Garraty #47

    May 6th, 2014 at 6:15 am

    @dna That show is actually excellent, and not like the later computer animated version at all. It was done by the “Samurai Jack” guys, wasn’t it? Not only that, but the Clone Wars show also shows how General Grievous got his cough; it’s a leftover result of Mace Windu giving him a “fuck you” force chest crush as Grievous flees the scene of a battle. Grievous used to be cough-free, and he had better posture, before Mace got him.

  12. – Ray

    I´m not sure what futuristic computer animated show you´re referring to, but if they were insane enough to produce a 100+ episode series, based on a psychotic, wifebeating, childmurdering lead character, I would love it dearly, and highly recommend to anybody who enjoyed the first trilogy.

  13. What do you mean “first trilogy”?

  14. What the hell happened to Jango Fett’s son? I thought they were setting up a revenge plot, but he completely disappears. That’s complete and total bullshit!

  15. Maybe he learned from his father’s mistakes and the cycle of violence ended with him. He realized that flying around with a jetpack and wearing a fancy helmet might look cool, but it’s no way to live your life. Lil Bob A. Fett probably got himself a desk job and tried to make something of himself instead of following in his dad’s footsteps. I’m sure that’s the last we’ll see of him.

  16. I would love to see an office style comedy starring a grown up lil’ Boba. But he would still have to wear the helmet.

  17. The Jedi have to be some of the dumbest “wise men council monk” types in cinema history. Yoda in particular is a complete jackass.

    *feel one of your most gifted students suddenly get really angry and hateful and cause a lot of pain*

    hmm… i could maybe follow up on that… schedule some counseling… eh I have more important things to do. obi wan found out that one of the separatist assassins was being used to clone a slave army for us. seems legit. better use them.

    *said Chosen One comes in like a week after he beheaded Count Dooku execution style and he looks like a disheveled sweaty lunatic rambling about people he cares about dying*

    eh hey man peeps die just chill and let it go *smokes a fat blunt*

    btw that weird creepy guy we hate that you love for some reason? you still spying on him? just hang out with him some more.

    *defeated by sith lord, galaxy enslaved, jedi slaughtered*

    okay guys i know this looks bad but i have a plan. what if… we lived as hobos in the middle of nowhere for 20 years. genius, right.

    wait.

    obi wan.

    obi wan.

    obi.

    …ghosts

  18. – mr majestyk

    I hear rumors about Lucas planning another trilogy. I almost pissed myself when I read that the next episode is called “A New Hope”. Hope? Expect another six hours of total fucking despair, genocide, slaughter and chopped up kids for the whole family. How on earth are Lucas gonna top this first trilogy? Cannibalistic teddybears? Incest? Nubile topless dancers getting eaten by monsters? Entire planets getting blown up? I don´t know what to expect anymore…

  19. I wasn’t prepared for this movie.

    Last time we were taken to that galaxy far far away I wanted even more dynamic visuals and BAM!!! right there in the opening scene they bitchslap me with them. I wanted more Anakin/Obi-Wan camaraderie and BOOM!!! it’s right there amongst those visuals. I wanted no shitty dialogue between Anakin and Padme. Instead I get “hold me, like you did at the lake in Naboo” and “No.. no its because I’m so in love with you.” oh well I suppose 2 out of 3 ain’t bad.

    I like the music much more in this one than in the last one. It’s far more memorable more like Star Wars Part 1 in that respect. This John Williams dude outdid himself for sure. I agree with Vern that Anakin sticking up for robots was a nice touch. Nice contrast to him being all racist against “desert people” last time and more in line with the little boy who constructed robots during his past time. He hasn’t completely forgotten his roots.

    I also did like the more swashbuckling yet paternal Obi-Wan. Didn’t come across as too much of a prude like in the last movie but I guess it helps that he’s dealing with a slightly less but not fully less obnoxious Anakin. It really does feel like by this point they have had quite a lot of pitchers and chicken wings at many pubs together.

    I confess that I was shocked at how luciferian that quiet senator/chancellor from the previous movies was. It was a punch to the gut that he was always The Menacing Phantom guy from THE PHANTOM MENACE. Maybe he was bipolar? at least I had hoped that was the case but nope by the time he pushes Sam Jackson out of a window with lightning you can tell he’s just finally showing his true colors.

    I admit that he was kinda weird in the past but I just took it as him being concerned and introverted. The fact that all of this was just a game to him made him quite the devil and he fooled me just like he did the entire republic. I think it’s more upsetting that he gets away with it all too. He completely plays Anakin like a fiddle then when Anakin loses his humanity and becomes more mechanical literally and thematically he doesn’t even deliver on his promise. Instead he smirks and cackles while Anakin suffers a reality check like “yeah fuck boy keep crying; your misery fuels me”. Truly slimey shit.

    I have to say it was a very bold and unpredictable way to end this trilogy. Padme dies, Anakin sells out, Obi-Wan and Yoda become the last of the jedi and go into exile, the chancellor is a traitor to the republic and ends up becoming it’s dictator. It’s almost like the George Lucas guy decided to write and opera by way of a Stephen King novel. I would say it’s completely Shakespearean in it’s approach where it not at least for the fact that by the end of it all Padme and Anakin’s kids end up getting a chance at life.

    The little boy grows up with his stepbrother so he gets to learn his roots from a young age and the same with the girl growing up in a royal home. It’s a shame that they have to grow up in a totalitarian empire but at least they didn’t suffer the same fate as their parents and millions of others. I suppose the children are the future.

    I honestly don’t know where they could go with any of this. So again kudos to Lucas in making this a very harsh but realistic tale of how power and deception could corrupt the kindest or most obnoxious of hearts. It’s not like the jedi could ever return or that there would be a rebellion. I mean even Jimmy Smits in this was very quick to back down. He says baby jedis get killed by clone troopers and all he could say is “very well that will be all I will no leave” I mean this was supposed to be a big figure in the politics. A beacon of hope for the galaxy far away. Kinda fucked up actually in retrospect that he gets to raise Padme’s daughter. That little girl is not going to have any moxy.

    Overall it was a pretty sad story by the end but it did have a good message and they did get better as they went along. I guess I’ll keep an eye out for the future works of this George Lucas guy but like I said before I just can’t see it happening in this Star Wars world. The message was kinda finite. Sometimes the bad guys win and create weapons of mass destruction to keep the galaxy in check and there is nothing that could be done about but crawl into a hole like the last of the jedi did. Many times the devil does win instead of getting his due. There was something very poignant and realistic in that. The world is an ugly place and sometimes it’s out of our control to change that.

  20. *He sees baby jedi

  21. Reading the theory that qui gon is the phantom menace( love that train of thought btw) got me thinking. Isn’t it possible that Palpatine created anakin?

    Anakin’s mom gave birth to him without the help from a man.
    And palpatine tells anakin he knows the ways of the force to save/create life.

    Since he is very eager to dispose of Count dookoo, shown to be a loyal and powerful sith in the previous movie, for the “younger and more powerful” hotshot Anakin.
    Maybe it is because anakin is the apprentice he has been building up to all this time.

  22. I was amazed at what an incredible downer this was. Why make this space opera trilogy only to end it with such a devastating, garbage crapsack of an ending? I was pulling for Anakin to turn it around until the very end and he just completely failed, brought his worst aspects forward, and ended up stomping around and yelling “NOOO” like Frakenstein’s monster. Pathetic. And then there’s his wife dying in childbirth: just mean-spirited and crummy. And then the kids get split up too? Fucking terrible. I’m flabbergasted that a movie that started out with so much old-fashioned space opera derring-do ended up transforming itself into a cold-hearted celebration of realpolitik and the triumph of evil. What a weird journey for this uneven trilogy.

  23. I dig this film even more then the first 2 SW films. The effects and look of the film are better, the action is even larger then the epic last 45 minutes or so of ATTACK OF THE CLONES, and there is a pay off to the time we invested in these characters over the past few films. This movie is also features a welcomed heavier/darker tone then its predecessors. However, (SPOILERS) It is sad to see what becomes of Anakin and his relationship with the people he cares about.

    I do find it strange that as enlightened and powerful as the Jedi knights are that they couldn’t have been better friends and support system to Anakin at a time of crisis. It feels like if just one of the Jedi’s could have been there for Anakin when he was coping with his fears he could have dealt with them in a much healthier way, but instead Anakin is made to feel like the only person he can talk to without judgement is creepy old Palpatine. It almost as if the Jedi steered Anakin into the open arms of the Chancellor.

  24. The Original... Paul

    May 6th, 2014 at 11:16 am

    On the one hand, this film probably has the most “character moments” of the prequels. So that’s good. Some effort is clearly being put into something other than making the film look
    pretty.

    On the other hand, lava surfing. Honestly that would be one of those moments that’s so insultingly dumb and out-of-place, it’d probably ruin the entire film for me, if the rest of the film was any good. Fortunately the rest of the film mostly focusses on the nonsensical character “arc” of the protagonist, alongside anticlimactic moments from all three of the major antagonists (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” special effect ripoff Palpatine, CGI walking action-figure Grievous, and Count Dookular, who for some reason seems to have lost any threat he might’ve had in the last movie.) So nothing much to ruin there really.

    I’m going to spare you guys a bigger rant on this one because it doesn’t have a final action sequence that damn near makes up for the rest of the movie (unlike “Attack of the Clones”) so I can’t say anything positive to balance out the relentless tide of negativity. Suffice to say, this was the film that took me away from AICN and onto this site permanently for my film discussion / reviews. I felt like an absolute bloody fool for spending money on this one after those guys all gave it glowing reviews. I did the same thing with “Attack of the Clones”, and this wasn’t even as good as that.

    Ok, I’m going to break Vern’s rules here for one paragraph, just to give you guys some background on when and how I saw each film: apart from when I was four years old and was forced to watch “Empire” forty-nine times, I saw the “Star Wars” films in the following order: “Phantom Menace”, “Attack of the Clones”, “Empire”, “Return”, “New Hope”, this one. So that’s my defence for my utter stupidity in going to see a THIRD prequel at the cinema: I’d just seen the three good ones beforehand. I was in an optimistic mood.

  25. What do we make of the fact that Anakin only becomes a Dark Side Guy NOT when he kills those kids (that happened later, though he also killed a bunch of kids in the last movie, but nobody cared) but because he stepped in to stop his boss from executing a criminal on the spot with no due process. Huh? Is the movie taking a right wing stance that limp-wristed liberals concerned with the rights of criminals are more harmful to society and that we need more Mace Windu’s with a willingness to roll up their sleeves and do the dirty work of permanently dealing with those problems? This calls for a re-evaluation of the previous 2 movies. Maybe that’s why Padme went from a teenage queen who seemed to have just inherited the throne in Episode I to an elected official in episode II? Also why guns suddenly become really effective against Jedis come Order 66 when they were previously not so much.

  26. After watching all three of these films, I have to admit that Episode 3 is the only one I could possibly say is “good.” The other two have their moments, and there are a lot of great ideas, but when the action slows down, the execution leaves much to be desired. Over the course of these reviews some people have floated the idea that the stilted acting is an artistic choice, that Lucas is using camp. But if that’s so, then he’s just not using it very well.

    I can think of two films that use camp well and in interesting ways. First, another sci-fi film that came out around the same time as Episode 1: Starship Troopers. This film also had some stilted delivery, but it was in service of the film’s satirical edge. These characters were supposed to be empty headed so that their minds could be filled with nationalistic propaganda. Second, the Adam West Batman film of the 1960s. Here, there isn’t really supposed to be a character. The film is purposefully all surface, like an Andy Warhol print. We’re supposed to laugh at the absurdity and not get caught up in the people on screen, except when we’re supposed to laugh with/at them.

    Unlike the above examples, these Star Warses don’t manage to accomplish anything interesting with its supposed campiness (if that was even what Lucas was going for). And it just ends up sounding stilted. But the fact that the films started to coalesce as the series continued shows that his skill as a director is improving. Still, I’m not planning to rush out and see whatever he does next.

  27. I don’t think the stilted acting in these films is intended as camp. It struck me that Lucas was attempting to create a sort of Shakespearian comic book through that stiff delivery. If anything, the prequels are extremely sincere, and (I know I’m alone here) but the resulting operatic melodrama is some of my fave stuff in these three films.

    SITH actually has some of Lucas’ best directorial touches, but everything is so premeditated that there are no revelations. It never really makes Anakin’s descent harrowing, and instead just feeds us what we already knew for the setup of Episode IV.

  28. Gotta take issue with you on one thing Vern — that scene where Obi realizes Anakin is the father.

    “She thinks she’s kept her marriage and her pregnancy secret, but he looks at her and says “Anakin is the father, isn’t he?” When she doesn’t answer he says, “I’m so sorry.” None of that judgment they were worried about, just sympathy.”

    But I don’t think it’s sympathetic at all. Actually, it’s pretty much one of the harshest moments in the whole series. Obi suddenly realizes what Palpatine has known for ages, basically demonstrating just how little he really understands about his “brother.” And what does he do as soon as he figures it out? Gives her a perfunctory “sorry” and immediately spins around to go murder her husband in the most brutal way possible. And in fact, it’s even colder, because he makes her think he’s off to find Anakin, but really he’s hiding out and waiting for HER to go, basically using her as bait to catch and kill her husband.

    And it gets worse — when she shows up on lava planet, Anakin is in a state already, but he’s talking to her, trying to explain himself. Then Obi shows up out of her ship and Anakin naturally assumes that she’s in on it, that she’s brought Obi here to kill Anakin. Obi doesn’t contradict this idea whatsoever, and just watches Anakin try to kill her before he intervenes. And then, after everything, Obi has the nerve to try to lecture Anakin about how he’s a bad guy now. Obi Wan, who knows so little about Anakin that it never occurred to him that he might be having problems with the whole Jedi thing, who had no idea whatsoever that he’s been tormented by these dreams, that he recently tried to do the right thing and went to Mace Windu about the whole Sith thing; Obi Wan, who can’t identify at all with this little kid who got yanked away from his mother as a child, only to watch his new adoptive “father” get killed the next day, who never seems to have the slightest problem with a life of celibacy and following orders. Obi Wan, who is mad that Anakin is ruining his idea about how some bullshit Jedi prophecy is supposed to play out. Obi, who cuts Anakin’s limbs off and leaves him to burn alive, who just turns his back and walks away.

    Anakin has his problems, but try and tell me he’d do that shit. Try and tell me he’d leave Obi to burn to death and walk off and never shed a tear over it. Shit, he’s emotionally devastated over killing the villains from the first two movies; he beats himself up over killing Dooku, who he assumed was responsible for the whole war. When he (spoiler) kills Mace, his first reaction is, “What have I done?!”

    Not Obi. He never has a second’s doubt. He leaves Anakin suffering and dying (not his best strategic move, either) and then goes over to hang out with his wife at the hospital, have meeting with his business partners, figure out what the plan is.

    Frankly, that’s some cold ass shit. Obi is a fun guy to watch, but I fully blame him for a big portion of the tragedy that happens in this movie. He’s just such a good space knight that it never occurs to him to be a good friend, even after everything that’s happened, all he cares about his making sure his religious beliefs get passed on. What a fucking asshole.

  29. I think I need to see this again because all I can remember about the film was when I fell asleep.

  30. “Anakin. [Chest-heaving sigh.] You’re breaking my heart!?”

  31. Hayden C, who is dope in Shattered Glass, is just a train wreck of whiny pseudo-volatility. His pathos and character arc are herky-jerky and unearned. Vern is on-point: this is where the prequel baggage can’t be written off. The forced Anankin-turns-to-the-dark-side arc is a casualty of George painting himself into a prequel narrative corner. Too my character arc to play out and pay off.

  32. Too much

  33. Great opening 23 minutes, after which the movie promptly nose-dives spectacularly. If these 3 movies started with this opening, and then spent 2 movies building up the conflict and downfall of the jedi, it could’ve worked, but man does the back half of this movie piss me off.

    THere’s this annoying pattern of jumping awkwardly into the middle of a giant battle for 2 minutes, then, before you are even able to get invested in the action, it cuts away to boring dramatic scenes with Anakin, who’s still a terrible actor, then back to some other big battle scene for 2 minutes. The editing is just all over the place and kills the pacing. On top of that, the final duel manages to be both comically over-the-top and incredibly boring at the same time. No Pathos, no sense of choreography building outward from the characters.

  34. This is more like it! I liked this one. Christainsen whines less and glowers more. He is actually a pretty convincing glowerer. There is less romance, some decent dialogue (and of course some bad), and good pacing. And it doesn’t pull punches – Anakin kills kids. Brutal.

    One minor thing I didn’t like was the sequence of events when Anakin turned.

    1. Go kill a bunch of little kids (audience goes: WTF??)
    2. Go kill some Trade Federation guys (audience goes: meh)
    3. I forget the next step.

    By the time Anakin goes off to kill the Trade Federation leaders, he’s already murdered a couple dozen children. This is backwards plotting in my opinion. We already know he’s gone off the deep end and killing a few baddies and their robots is nothing special. A better escalation would be for him to go kill the baddies in cold blood (audience says “uhhhh that’s a little harsh, right?), and then he goes and kills the kids (audience says “WTF??”)

    Overall, much much much better than the first two.

  35. I like how Anarkin always immediately regret slaughtering innocents. He cuts of somebody’s head, and starts whining. “Oh no, I should´t have done that. That wasn´t the Jedi-way! That was bad.” I hope he keeps that character-trait if he returns in the next instalments.

    Interesting perspective on Obi-Wan. He was actually my favourite character in this franchise, but in the first battle, it is Anarkin who wants to save his fellow soldiers, and Obi-wan who prevents him. But when Obi-wan is caught beneath the bridge in the crashing space-ship, Anarkin refuses to leave him despite the counsellor ordering him to. I guess everybody is an asshole in space, but unlike The Matrix Trilogy, I actually cared for them in the end, and that must count for something.

  36. Star Wars Episode 6 is my favorite, because supposedly it is the oldest part but the best. Synopsis holding on together, everything is consistent and perfect. It is a pity that Lucas did not direct a Georce new parts.

  37. The Original... Paul

    May 7th, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Bullet / Skani:

    “There’s this annoying pattern of jumping awkwardly into the middle of a giant battle for 2 minutes, then, before you are even able to get invested in the action, it cuts away to boring dramatic scenes with Anakin, who’s still a terrible actor, then back to some other big battle scene for 2 minutes. The editing is just all over the place and kills the pacing.”

    YES. That was what struck me the most about the film. Well, as far as anything did. (I agree with Hayden being “dope” in “Shattered Glass”, if dope means “really, really good.” The guy can act… he’s just directed so badly in this one.) But yeah… I heard a film recently described as “never letting a moment just happen.” That’s “Episode 3” in a nutshell. There are actually some really nice character moments in it, but they’re inevitably bookended by the horrible melodramatic shit and the lame villains and the boring action. If I had to say anything remotely profound about the prequels I’d have to remark that the real villains are the Jedi anyway – aren’t the Sith’s entire motivation revenge for being almost wiped out by the Jedi in a previous war? – and honestly it would’ve been much better if they’d have just completely gone with that idea and made Obi-Wan the bad guy. But no, instead we just get him as a good guy who has to act like a douche sometimes.

  38. Things I did enjoy were (and many will disagree):

    – Anakin’s performance. I think that although the character makes some odd, illogical leaps in his motivation, Hayden Christensen does a very nice job in this one, particularly his delivery of ‘The Jedi turned against me. Don’t you turn against me.’ It’s not delivered as a plea, it’s delivered as a warning, and he sounds like he means it. Nice.

    – Obi Wan is great in it.

    – I also felt that this one also had a strange subdued quality to the sound. Not that the sound was bad, but there was an interesting, almost tangible weight to it all, and a lot of hush.

    – Nute Gunray. He’s just an archetypal craven coward, but I dig him.

    Things I didn’t like:

    – It needed a good editor. Bad shots went on soooo long (for example, the scene of Yoda dodging a blast on Kashyyyk really irritates me as it is so gratuitous).

    – They should not have had so much cutting between the Emperor/Yoda fight and the Anakin/Obi-Wan fight, which is really the climax of this film. It lessened the impact of both. You go to those lengths to create the utlimate badass sword fight, don’t keep turning away from it, please. I suspect they knew that no matter how emotional it might aspire to be, it wasn’t a patch on the visceral fight against Maul.

    – CG overkill. it felt like everything in this movie is in focus. Everything.

    – They began to cram in a kind of transition design (who knows where it might lead – might be good) which lacked the fundamental coherence and simplicity of the earlier (and possibly later, if there is a later after this fiasco) design work.

    – Ludicrous Naming Convention Syndrome. Darth Vader is a cool name. Darth Sidious is a cool name. Darth Maul is a cool name. General Grievous? That is not cool. Plus he’s an intergalactic ham.

    – Watching this, I was aware of a constant camera move/zoom. Every shot is moving and I find it really annoying – it’s like they were trying to impart dynamism through camera movement rather than using a decent script.

    – Ian McDiarmid finally delivers a rotten performance.

    Ultimately, I felt it was a soulless piece of garbage and an excellent example of why, just because you can do a thing, doesn’t mean you should do a thing.

  39. MR. S, your are right on with your points about Obi Wan and how cold he treats Anakin in the end. The weird thing about the Jedis in these films is that they are built up to be these mythical warriors that are enlightened and in touch with the force, but none of them could pick up on the political maneuvering of Palpatine or that Anikan was struggling with his faith. In the end they come across as easily manipulated muscle for the Senate and/or other bureaucrats.

  40. The Original... Paul

    May 7th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    The Limey – I wouldn’t disagree with any of that. Not even with Anakin’s performance. Again, Christiansen can act.

    Ok, maybe this:

    “It wasn’t a patch on the visceral fight against Maul.”

    The Maul fight was over-choreographed and over-stylised, much like the entire film felt in fact. Yes, it was impressive visually – like much of TPM in fact – but I never felt like I was watching a fight with the kind of stakes that “Attack of the Clones” and “Return of the Jedi”‘s finales had.

    And I said I wouldn’t bitch, but MAN are the twin finales lame in this. Talk about a massive let-down. I’ve already gone to great lengths elsewhere to explain why the lava surfing scene is the worst thing ever put on film, so I won’t repeat myself here; suffice to say I can take explosions in space (those ships barely look airtight anyway so why not?) but seriously, that amount of stupidity is my personal “breaking point”. I can’t watch that scene without mentally screaming “Why aren’t their fucking clothes on fire?!” Because I can understand if Jedi can somehow midichlorian their bodies into not instantly combusting when this close to molten rock (which looks bloody awful by the way – talk about bad CGI), but keeping their clothes cool as well…? Not that that’s my only problem with this scene (far, far from it) but if there was ever a case where a film completely disappeared up its own arse, it was this one. The worst part is that Ewan MacGregor and Hayden Christiansen are clearly trying to play up the big dramatic moment – MacGregor’s lament at the end of it is pretty damn anguished – and it’s all undercut by the lame visuals, the stupidity, everything.

    And meanwhile you’ve got vamped-out Palpatine versus Yoda. Except that every time Palpatine moves he’s shown from the back (because Ian MacDiarmid can’t do action while balanced on CGI… flying chair things?) which is incredibly obvious and distracting. Plus Palpatine’s lame makeup. Because they had to do something to distract us from just how little MacDiarmid’s character is doing here. As lame as his “un-vamped” character was, at least he got a few good evil knowing camera-stares in there. Now that he’s gone full-on veiny albino, no such luck.

    Y’know, I can’t get annoyed at this film. I mean, it’s not like “Attack of the Clones” where I was genuinely frustrated, because there was that one scene in it that showed just how much potential this thing could’ve had if only it had got it right. “Revenge of the Sith”… no such scene. There are a few good moments in it but they’re completely lost in the morass of awful editing, storytelling, directing and CGI. Any effort by good actors is misdirected and thus makes no impact. It just sucks from start to finish. What the heck else can you say? The film does nothing to inspire anger or any other emotion. To be angry at it, you have to care enough that it failed; and I just don’t, because it never managed to convince me that it stood any chance of succeeding on any level. It’s the difference between your kid failing a spelling test and your dog failing one. If your kid fails, you’re disappointed, because you know your kid could’ve done better. If your dog fails… it’s a dog, it can’t spell, any more than it can sprout wings and fly. How can you possibly be angry at it?

  41. Charles — I’ve always thought that the subtle point of the whole Episode I-III trilogy was that the Jedi are a little too confident that they have all the answers. They mean well, they do a lot of good, but they’re actually dangerously divorced from the reality that most normal people are living in, and it ends up coming back to bite them in the ass. They’ve gotten too comfortable being the ones in charge, they’ve gotten too dogmatic about their religious rules, they’ve forgotten how to relate to people… and even by the end of the series, they still can’t quite grasp how everything went so wrong. They figure it’s Anakin’s fault for being evil, but really it’s their own fault for being so ignorant about what was really going on under their noses.

    If they ever made, say, a sequel trilogy… say, a hypothetical Episodes IV-VI… they should make them about one of Anakin’s kids becoming a Jedi, learning from Obi and Yoda, but then taking a completely different and more humane approach to confronting his now-evil father, offering him a shot at redemption rather than just trying to kill him. They could even have Yoda and Obi getting annoyed with this kid, let’s call him “Luke,” when he says it’s important to try and go save the people he loves, but then he does it anyway. Doing that might make it a lot clearer what was really up with this whole idea of “bringing balance” to the force, which kinda goes unresolved in these three “episode I-III” films.

  42. Mr. S, I see your point, and while your “hypothetical” scenario would provide some redemption for the Jedi and Anakin as well as returning balance to the force I am not sure there ever was any balance in the force. For example the Jedi talk about the darkside of the force a lot but that line between light and dark seems to be very muddled in these films. You already pointed out how cold/cruel Obi Wan’s actions were in this film, and didn’t the Jedi willingly except a clone slave army to help do their dirty work in the previous film. I just think the ethics of the Jedi and the force are very undefined in these films. Yes there are some black hat villains that clearly deal in the darkside of the force in this trilogy, but the Jedi do plenty of at least questionable if not outright terrible things in the name of good over the course of the series.

    If they ever make anymore of these films even if the Jedi were to right their wrongs and restore balance to the force wouldn’t they just be cleaning up a mess they made?

  43. Mr. Subtlety – I couldn’t think of how a potential Star Wars IV could ever work because I’m just a movie goer and not a creative type but you sir are a genius. You even had enough foresight to envision a whole new trilogy let alone a new sequel. If Lucas does make a part IV I hope he has a similar vision.

  44. Come to think of it wouldn’t balance of the force only be achieved as long as Jedi and Sith both co-exist and not just one of them? so I guess balance of the force always existed until a post-order 66 reality set in.

    Like ok the Sith took over the lease of use for the force all across the galaxy for now but if the Jedi come back and say do the same by wiping out the sith they’re definitely just as bad.

    I suppose Lucas’ message will then be that Jedi are as flawed as any other group of religious zealots.

  45. Paul – I don’t get how you could tolerate explosions in space but not put up with the clothes not melting in lava. Seems like if you would accept one then you’d be fine with the other since you obviously realized that what you’re watching at the end of the day is a fantasy movie and the key word in that label is fantasy.

  46. I am not sure the writers of these films put as much thought into a subtext about the Jedi as we have. I just think the muddled ethics of the force and the Jedi in these films are a byproduct of the writing and/or cluttered narrative. These movies are fun but they are kind of clunky and uneven with lots of stiff dialogue and they are heavy on the exposition. In addition they seem to suffer from an identity crisis of sorts at times and waffle back and forth from being a fun pulpy adventure story and some sort of SiFi political thriller. As a result something that should be very simple and clear like the moral lines of the light and dark side of the force get fuzzy when a simple black and white or good and evil concept collides with more elaborate and complex ideas that dip into shades of grey.

  47. “Come to think of it wouldn’t balance of the force only be achieved as long as Jedi and Sith both co-exist and not just one of them?”

    Broddie, I think in the true yin and yang sense of balance you have to have the Jedi and Sith. The force was out of balance one way at the beginning of this trilogy and then swung out of balance in the opposite direction by its conclusion.

  48. The Original... Paul

    May 8th, 2014 at 2:03 am

    Broddie – it’s lava surfing. The very NAME screams “stupid”.

    I don’t know, it’s just so utterly self-indulgent and idiotic that it goes beyond my threshold of what I’m willing to “suspend disbelief” for. More than that, though, it’s pointless. It kinda reminds me of the finale of “The Covenant”, which was also incredibly silly and featured two actors abandoning whatever dignity they had to strike absurd poses while being surrounded by CGI effects. Except that in “The Covenant” it was at least established beforehand that this crap could happen. Here we literally see two Jedi, surfing on a lake of fire on melting rocks, stabbing at each other with lightsabers. It’s surreal, it’s beyond ridiculous, it’s… I can’t even find any more words to describe this shit. And who could?

    What really kills it though is that it’s really obvious in this film that Christiansen and MacGregor are TRYING to make something of this. Again, when MacGregor has Christiansen at his mercy at the end and has to kill him, his anguish is almost visceral. Could’ve been an intense dramatic moment right there. Completely and utterly undone by CGI lava. It just falls so completely flat, it comes off as almost unintentionally hilarious. All it needed was a “bummer, I have to kill ya dude!” to complete the mood.

    Like I said… whenever an actor tries to make something of a line, or have a “moment” or something, it’s undone by the direction, the effects, or the CGI. And it happens every single time. Again, Mace Windu’s death – and I really like the idea of this by the way. The deaths of the two superfluous Jedi at the start kinda suck, but the rest of the scene SHOULD work really well. Mace apparently capturing Palpatine, Anakin coming in, Palpatine suddenly blasting Mace with force powers… that could’ve been great. But no, they couldn’t just let the actors sell it, they had to push the point by turning Palpatine into a cross between Uncle Fester from “The Addams Family” and a Buffy vampire.

    (I always thought that if Palpatine were to end up looking really “alien”, he got that way over time – started off as a middle-aged man, but gradually lost his humanity over time, looking less and less like a human being and more and more like a Sith lord in the process. That’d be a nice representation of what being an evil bastard does to you. Instead in this film they have him “vamp out” whenever he does something nasty. Because people who do horrible things are always physically ugly, I guess?)

  49. the thing is, by 2005 I was heavily into anime (literally the first thing I did that year was watch PERFECT BLUE post midnight on New Year’s Eve) and no longer really cared about the prequels, so I saw SITH purely out of a “let’s just get it over with” attitude and it bored me mostly, until Vader’s “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” made me laugh

  50. The Original... Paul

    May 8th, 2014 at 10:32 am

    Well I’m going to catch the Welsh premiere of “Sabotage” tonight, and will post my thoughts soon after. “Commando” meets “And then there were none”… this had better live up to the premise. Although to be honest I’m getting the feeling that even if it doesn’t, I’ll still enjoy it.

    So there’s that, there’s the festival coming up soon, and there’s Vern’s reviews of the actual good “Star Wars” movies… I have quite a bit to look forward to!

  51. Charles and Broddie — I think there’s a lot of evidence in Episodes I-III that the Jedi are actually fucking up here a lot worse than they realize. They assume the “prophecy of the one who will bring balance to the force” means that he’ll kill all the Sith; Obi-Wan even says as much to Anakin at the end. It doesn’t occur to him that “balance” doesn’t necessary mean “the Jedi win”. In the end of Episode III, there are two Jedi, and Two Sith left. Pretty balanced. The Jedi have just spent many hundreds of years proliferating, ruling the galaxy. Now the Sith get their turn. Again, balance.

    The Jedi simply assume that they’re the “good guys,” and hence the force is rooting for them to win. But the force isn’t like that, it doesn’t play sides. They don’t really explain it much in this trilogy but if I had to describe the way I see it, I might say, “It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.” Maybe they should put that into a sequel so it makes more sense. Anyway, the force sounds more natural than the Jedi, with their rigid ideas about how people should behave. The Force exists everywhere, within everyone, good and bad. The force is around when baby puppies freeze to death and when rancors have freaky sex parties, it doesn’t give a good god damn. By getting too focused on the politics and rules, the Jedi have actually alienated themselves from the force. Don’t believe me? Then explain the odd little aside in Episode II where Mace and Yoda talk about their ability to use the force having diminished. They don’t know why. But I do. They’ve fallen out of balance and become crusaders, rather than conduits for this natural energy.

    Again in this hypothetical second trilogy, an interesting way to continue this idea would be for all remaining Jedi and Sith to die, leaving only Anakin’s kids who defy the Jedi rules to bust ass and save the people they love, rather than coldly killing them or allowing them to die “for the greater good,” essentially combining the id of the Jedi with the ego of the Sith — a more natural, internal “balance” which finally gets the force where it wants to go. Hypothetically.

  52. (by the way I have no idea what a “rancor” is, it’s just a random word I picked because it sounds like one of the cheesy names this guy Lucas would give to some sort of ugly villainous monster. But of course there’s no evidence that such a thing exists within this universe.)

  53. Mr. S, I can see your point, but it is almost as if you have some insight as to where these films are headed that allows you to fill in the blanks and apply a subtext that I am not sure exists without some knowledge of potential/hypothetical events.

  54. CrustaceanLove

    May 8th, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    Mr S: A lot of people assume that bringing “balance to the Force” refers to a balance of Light Side and Dark Side, but Lucas has specifically said otherwise, stating that by a “balance” he meant an absence of the Dark Side. He thought of the Dark Side as a corruption to the natural state of things. I agree with Charles, that the grey areas are mostly unintentional side effects of trying to reconcile complicated sci-fi storytelling with simplistic fantasy ideas of Good and Evil. I think your reading is way more interesting, even if it’s not what Lucas intended, and prefer to think of things that way.

  55. I’m not sure if I agree that balance to the force means a balance between good and evil. But I absolutely think Lucas was trying to show how the Jedi get into trouble by bending the rules and not being as morally upright as they’re supposed to be. Their purpose is to keep the peace, but they’re in a situation where they’re waging a massive war across the galaxy, which doesn’t seem to jibe with their space monk philosophy. And that Chancellor guy has pretty much rigged it so that no matter who wins the war, the Republic or the Separatists, he comes out on top. Like the battle between Alien and Predator, no matter who wins, we lose. Lucas purposefully makes it impossible to root for either side, and it’s one of the few times in a major blockbuster where we see that war has no positive outcome at all.

    I also think that Episode 3 is the first time where the melodrama comes close to being operatic rather than just cheesy. That conversation between the Chancellor and Anakin at the opera is actually really subtle for these movies, and I love that Anakin’s first instinct is to do the right thing. And you can understand why people made the poor decisions that they did. It has elements of a Shakespearian tragedy. If Anakin’s arc isn’t completely convincing, I think that’s mostly the fault of Episode 1 and 2. This film has to do a lot of the heavy lifting because those films were somewhat lackluster in the character department. As much as I think Lucas has improved as a director, I think he’s a better idea man. I would love him to be more of a producer of these movies than the person in the director’s chair.

  56. Does anybody else miss a really good space dog fight in these movies?
    There really isn’t any in these movies. Phantom menace gets the closest
    But it is not engaging to me at all.

    I think it is a real bummer that the opening of ‘revenge’ is about two jedi flying through a giant space battle rather than it just being about this really awesome battle. You could follow a squad with names like red five and red leader being anakin because he is supposed to be this great pilot (which we never get to see btw)

  57. Does anybody else miss a really good space dog fight in these movies?
    There really isn’t any in these movies. Phantom menace gets the closest
    But it is not engaging to me at all.

    I think it is a real bummer that the opening of ‘revenge’ is about two jedi flying through a giant space battle rather than it just being about this really awesome battle. You could follow a squadron of fighters with names like red five, red two etc. and red leader being anakin because he is supposed to be this great pilot.
    It’s a shame the war is always a backdrop.

    I hope they can make this right with possible future installments.

  58. Crusty — if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s never to trust George Lucas.

    RBatty024 — I don’t think the “balance” is between good and evil; I don’t think light side=good and dark side=evil. I think of them as more like id and ego. Anakin says, “The Jedi are selfless… they only care about others…The Sith rely on their passion for their strength.” But is that inherently a bad thing? The Jedi think so, but do you? If they made a sequel to these three movies, Yoda might go on to describe “anger, fear, aggression” as being dark side emotions. And of course, we know that posession and desire and love are also forbidden. But aren’t they part of the human experience, too? Does feeling anger inevitably lead to tragedy, or is it sometimes a healthy reaction to horrible events? Is Anakin really a bad person for boinking Padme? The key is balance. You’ve got to be able to experience those things without being consumed by them.

    I agree with you, the melodrama in Episode III is rich enough that it nicely bypasses reality and becomes operatic. I like that Anakin’s story isn’t what you would expect at all — he really tries to do the right thing, it’s just that it’s not always clear what that is. In fact, even by the end of the movie, I’m not certain he realizes he’s the bad guy. He walks in on Mace about to murder Palpatine (and doesn’t see the pile of dead Jedi in the other room, nor realize that Palpatine has been fighting them) and so when Palpatine claims the Jedi are trying to seize power, it may well look like that’s exactly what is happening. Knowing that the Jedi have been isolating and indoctrinating children since their infancy, he also knows he can’t even let the little kids go. They’re too powerful and the Jedi propaganda is literally all they’ve ever known. He hates doing it, but he thinks he has no choice, and there’s nowhere to turn now that the Jedi have seemingly betrayed everything he values. Since he’s left Tattooine, all he’s seen is the Republic fail miserably to deliver anything resembling a productive government, and so it makes perfect sense to him that the solution is a strong central power to root out corruption and take swift, meaningful action.

    And why trust Palpatine? Because Palpatine is the only one who actually cares enough about Anakin to know what’s going on in his life. The Jedi are total fucking dicks to him, they have been since he was a little kid and they told Qui-Gon to dump him back into slavery on Tattooine because he was too old to brainwash. But Palpatine offers him a means of being his true self (caring about the people he loves) without judgement. Seems like a pretty easy choice.

    Anyway, its an interesting, surprisingly nuanced look at how someone with good intentions becomes evil. Not at all the simple “seduced by power” story which we might assume, for whatever reason.

  59. About that melodramatic reaction at the end. This is supposed to be the moment where Anakin lost his humanity, right? He may have even become a bad guy but since there are no other sequels we will never know.

    Shouldn’t his reaction to the news that Padme died be “So be it?” He’s no longer concerned with things like love. He’s more machine than man and what he tried to do didn’t work out. Seems he’d be well past crying over it at that point.

    It would also provide a good point of reference if you ever did want to make a sequel where Anakin was suddenly the villain in this black suit and no one called him Anakin anymore, but again we’ll never know what that story might be.

  60. Figured this is as good a time as any to say “Happy Birthday George Lucas, you glorious bastard.” 70 today, and still pissing people off. A genuine original, for good or ill.

  61. Indeed, happy b-day George Lucas, co-writer/director/soundtrack-curator of the greatest “AMERICAN [SOMETHING]” pop culture work of all time. (Just ahead of that creepy Bret Easton Ellis book)

    (In all fairness, I have not seen all entries of the AMERICAN CYBORG or AMERICAN NINJA franchises, so this declaration could be presumptive or incorrect.)

    If anyone would like to fight my opinion regarding AMERICAN GRAFFITI, I’m all ears fists.

  62. Vern, I’m surprised you never mentioned that Samuel L. Jackson (DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE) is in these movies, in a role that is marginal in part 1 but becomes more pivotal in parts 2 and 3. If this was genuinely the first time you saw these movies I think you probably would have had something to say about that.

    Also, I would argue that the ending of part 3 isn’t a complete downer – the dialogue-free final scene seems like it’s meant to suggest that a brighter day will come when these kids grow up. Would you argue that it was too subtle? Because (possible spoiler) part 5 is widely considered to have a downer ending even though it has a similar “we will definitely get through this” optimistic coda with swelling music.

  63. grimgrinningchris

    October 26th, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    Grievous getting “clwned” may be the greatest bit of youngpeoplesvernacularintegratedintostoryandcharacterspecificverbal(orinthiscasetextual)modification since that one pretty boy made that other pretty boy his “w-iatch”.

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