'Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith', isn't the worst but I'm glad it's the last 'Star Wars' installment that Lucas says he's making -- that is until he needs more licensing revenue to expand his digital labor camp in the Presidio where an army of computer artists will be shackled to their desks soon.
'Revenge of the Sith' is an amazing spectacle of modern movie making wizardry. The superior sound design is only surpassed by the special effects that overwhelm almost every scene. It's big screen science fiction sizzle at its best. The movie begins with a bang and the opening rescue scene on General Grievious command ship is so dizzying that it will take several repeated viewings to take it all in. But for all these triumphs, this modern star wars prequel, like the two before it, lacks the spirit and soul of the original 'Star Wars' trilogy.
The sense of camaraderie between friends doing what they have to do to pull each other through thick and thin continues to be replaced with heavy handed speeches about Siths and Jedi's and metachlorians that never matches the vibe of the original Force I grew up with.
'Revenge of the Sith' features cameos by Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon, but the swashbuckling heroics of a Han Solo type character are absent. In fact, very few heroes appear in Episode 3, instead there are mostly victims and villains and Ewan Macgregor's Obi Wan Kenobi whose worried actions come the closest to bringing excitement by a good guy to the screen. Yoda continues to kick the empires butt, however the computer-generated character makes me long for the foam rubber Muppet in the mud I remember and revere. Anakin Skywalkers' sophomoric relationship with Natalie Portmans' Padme comes to a head when she announces news that pushes Christian Hayden to the limits of his acting ability and reduces Portman's once strong character to a hapless weepy housewife, wearing designer nightgowns while she waits until her man comes home.
And when Lucasfilm says this movie is about the dark side they mean it. Episode 3 is twisted and definitely not for kids. Parents should regard the PG-13 rating with care and think twice before shelling out for a matinee of 'Star Wars 3' that depicts no less than six severed limbs, a decapitation, a living burning body twitching to stay alive and a scene that implies the massacre of a room full of children. Surely this isn't your parents 'Star Wars' movies.
While I bemoan the lack of innocent fun and heroic deeds, and can ignore the movies' gaping plot holes and the offensive by products of the 'Star Wars' licensing machine, 'Revenge of the Sith' does deliver some cinematic memories worth seeing. Watching the fiery origin of Darth Vader completes a dream for fans who once read of such an event in Starlog magazine. And when Lucas invokes the spirit of the original 'Frankenstein' films as Vader awakens in his new form, it solidifies Vader as the leading movie monster for our generation.
Seeking a Laser Disc of 'The Empire Strikes Back' so I can enjoy the first 'Star Wars' trilogy in its original unmolested form, for movie magazine this is Purple.
© 2005 - Purple - Air Date: 5/18/05
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
USA - 2005