Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith


Directed by: George Lucas
Written by:George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen,  Ian McDiarmid, Samuel. Jackson, Frank Oz
Released: May 19, 2005
Grade: B+

I’m feeling pressure here.  When I usually write a review, people use it as guidance in deciding if a film is worth seeing (or so I think).  With Revenge Of The Sith, people are going to see it regardless.  I could give it my best rating or my worst rating – it simply won’t make a difference.  So instead of providing guidance, I’m now find myself drafting a defence.  I’ve received a barrage of emails from many who have been unhappy with my B+ grading.  Some think the film deserved better and others think it deserved worse.  This review has to be water-tight…

The Star Wars series will have a different vibe for everyone.  I wasn’t around when the first three films were released and didn’t see them for the first time until they were re-released on the big screen in 1998.  I enjoyed the films a lot but in no way can you call me a passionate fan.  I haven’t seen them since (although I got suckered into buying them on VHS not long after).  As a result of my ignorance, I’ve had no genuine expectations with the new trilogy.  I loved The Phantom Menace and to a lesser extent, Attack Of The Clones.  I saw them as fun, PG-rated action films.

Revenge Of The Sith chronicles Anakin Skywalker’s journey to the “dark side”.  The film’s exciting opening sees Anakin (Christensen) and his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi (McGregor) in a fierce battle.  Chancellor Palpatine (McDiarmid) has been kidnapped by the wicked Count Dooku and it’s up to these two Jedi Knights to rescue him.  The mission is successful and Palpatine takes young Anakin under his wing as an “apprentice”.

The Jedi soon learn that Palpatine is not who he appears to be.  He is an evil Sith Lord who plans to use his power to eliminate the Jedi and take control of the Senate.  Palpatine sees the powerful Anakin as the key to his success and uses lies and propaganda to turn Anakin against the Jedi and his wife, Padme (Portman).  Soon enough, the galaxy is at war and the usually peaceful Jedi are battling to save their existence.

Speaking firstly of the positives, the visuals in Revenge Of The Sith are nothing short of brilliant.  I was in continual admiration of the amazingly intricate city-landscapes and the lavishly colourful sets and costumes.  It serves as the perfect backdrop for the suspenseful battle sequences that director George Lucas has crafted.  The final duel was a little over-done but in terms of quality action, you’ll see none finer this year.

If you’ve read any other reviews, my criticisms should come as no surprise – dialogue and emotion.  Why do they all speak at such an elementary level?  Why the lack of passion in their voices?  I was often cringing and thinking “I can’t believe he/she just said that”.  Just wait till you hear the stilted conversations between Akanin and Padme.  It highlights another reason why the action scenes were so good – because the characters aren’t talking!

As promised by Lucas, this is the darkest film in the Star Wars series.  Some images are quite gruesome and the M-rating in Australia is justified.  Sadly though, I just couldn’t connect with the film on an emotional level.  I didn’t care much for the fate of Anakin, Padme and Obi-Wan.  I only character I found entertaining was Yoda (voiced by Frank Oz) who has the best lines, the best sense of humour and the best technique with his light-sabre.

After much anticipation, Revenge Of The Sith has been well received by early audiences.  Some are saying that it’s on a par with The Empire Strikes Back, regarded as the best in the series.  I’m in no position to make such a call but on its individual merit, this latest film is an enjoyable two and a half hours.  Whether I have the enthusiasm to watch it again though, is debatable.