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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith

Fox // PG-13 // May 19, 2005
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Allposters]

Review by Shannon Nutt | posted May 23, 2005 | E-mail the Author
Let's get one point out of the way right off the bat. Revenge Of The Sith is the best of the prequels, but the only film from the original trilogy to which it compares favorably is Return Of The Jedi. It's also the complete antithesis of that film. Where Jedi took great efforts in wrapping everything up, Sith focuses on tearing everything apart – namely the once proud Republic and the Order of Jedi Knights. And much like Jedi, George Lucas seems to be trying to cram too much information into one movie. Return of the Jedi was the longest film of the original trilogy, and Revenge of the Sith is the longest of the prequels, and both films still feel very rushed…there's enough material in both to cover a handful of movies.

The movie starts with one whale of a rescue mission, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker mount a rescue mission of Chancellor Palpatine, who has been kidnapped by Count Dooku. The opening sequence is a blend of great special effects, great action and some really fun moments of humor that should remind viewers of the best parts of the Star Wars series. Of all the openings of the six films, this one may be the most exciting.

After Obi-Wan and Anakin rescue Palpatine, however, the film gets bogged down in more political maneuvers that immediately remind the viewer of the worst moments of Attack Of The Clones. Neither the acting nor Lucas' tendency for very awkward script writing seems to have improved much over the last film, and for a good 20 minutes or so, Sith manages to lose whatever goodwill it provided in the rousing opening sequence.

Things start to pick up again when Palpatine begins to lure Anakin over to his way of thinking. There's a great scene between the two as they privately meet during an opera-like performance that is among the best scenes of any we've seen in the Star Wars series. Palpatine's seduction of Anakin Skywalker in this portion of the movie is so smooth and logical, that he almost comes off sounding like one of the good guys…almost.

Where Lucas' script fails us again is at the pivotal moment when Anakin does turn to the dark side and pledges his loyalty to Palpatine. It's at a moment in the movie where Palpatine is at his most sinister…both verbally and physically, and one wonders why any sane person would join him. We do get a slight hint later in the movie that Anakin may just be using Palpatine as a stepping stone for his own galactic conquest, but Lucas seems to leave both Anakin's breaking point and the depth of his loyalty to the new Empire rather vague.

But when Anakin does turn to the Dark Side, Revenge Of The Sith suddenly springs back to life and gives viewers a heck of a good show. Not only is the elimination of the Jedi Order as emotionally moving as it should be, but the final section of the movie where Obi-Wan must face the truth about Anakin, track him down and come face to face with him may very well be the best sequence in any of the six Star Wars films. This is the battle we've wondered about since Lucas first mentioned it shortly after the original Star Wars was released, and viewers won't be disappointed.

The final portion of the film basically consists of Lucas tidying up all the pieces so the end of this episode flows nicely into Episode IV: A New Hope. Some of those nagging questions are answered, while others are completely ignored…but all in all, it's a pretty satisfying – if not as powerfully moving as it should be – ending for the prequel trilogy.

To put Sith in some kind of perspective, I would rank it as the third best film of the six – behind The Empire Strikes Back and A New Hope, slightly ahead of Return Of The Jedi and a good distance away from the disappointing Attack Of The Clones and the downright dismal The Phantom Menace. I came away from the movie wishing the first of the prequels would have had this kind of energy…but if this truly is the last Star Wars movie, Revenge Of The Sith at least ends things with a touch of that magic that we all remember from watching the original trilogy when we were kids.




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