Revenge of the Sith

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Revenge of the Sith
Review (8.5/10)
(By Liam Cullin)

If you're anything like me, Revenge of the Sith is the movie you've been looking forward to for the better part of your life. In a way, it's a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it's extremely exciting to finally see it come to the big screen. On the other hand, with all the years of anticipation, how could the movie possibly measure up? Revenge of the Sith was pretty much everything I expected it to be - while at the same time not everything I had hoped - but realistically how could it ever be?

The movie catches up with our heroes and villains as the Clone Wars are drawing to a close. Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and General Grievous (the leader of the droid army) have captured Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) and are holding him captive aboard a spaceship above Coruscant, where a massive space battle is taking place. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) are called back from the outer rim territories in an attempt to rescue Palpatine and finally put an end to the Clone Wars. Although Grievous manages to escape, the rescue operation is successful. Upon their return to the capital, Anakin learns the news that Padme (Natalie Portman) is pregnant - and soon after he begins to have dreams of Padme's death - much like the dreams that plagued him in the days leading up to his mother's death. Desparate, Anakin will do anything to save his wife and unborn child.

Meanwhile, Anakin has been promoted to the Jedi Council as a special representative of Palpatine. However, while the Council allows his appointment, they do not honor him with the title of Jedi Master. Slighted by the Jedi Council, hiding his marriage and Padme's pregnancy and haunted by dreams of her death, the stress continues to build as the Council give Anakin the duty of spying on his close friend Palpatine. All this confusion presents the opportune moment for Palpatine to begin luring young Skywalker to the dark side of the force. He first promises Anakin the ability to save Padme - and second convinces him that the Jedi are only interested in taking over the senate so they can selfishly run the galaxy themselves. He reveals himself to Anakin as Darth Sidious - and so begins Anakin's descent into darkness.

The movie was great. Like I said earlier - it was everything I expected it to be - but not everything I had hoped. Spending years dreaming how it would all turn out - how could the movie possibly live up to those expectations?

What did I like about the movie? The action scenes were spectacular. The opening of the movie - after the opening crawl as the camera pans down over the massive space battle with the soundtrack playing a thunderous drum. It just sucked me in. And Palpatine. He stole the show here. I was a bit worried after seeing him in some of the trailers, but on the big screen it didn't matter. And seeing him change from the Palpatine we've come to know in the prequels to the disfigured mess we meet in The Empire Strikes back was - well - striking. The lightsabre battles (five in all) were great - which leads to how the movie was put together. The editing between the Yoda/Sidous battle and the Obi-Wan/Anakin battle was phenomenal. Also, I found the purging of the Jedi on Order 66 was very well done. Jumping from planet to planet and watching the clone troopers turning on the Jedi was awesome.

What didn't I like? Well, first and foremost would be the relationship between Anakin and Padme. Either it was the dialogue or there was absolutely no chemistry between Christensen and Portman. I just didn't buy it. And Padme's character development was an issue for me. In The Phantom Menace, she starts out as a strong leader - but in Revenge of the Sith she goes out as one of the weakest characters. And all because of a broken heart?! Also, there were times where I questioned why Anakin turned to the dark side. It just seemed a little to sudden - and unconvincing. I understand all the reasons he did what he did - but the actual moment he bows before Palpatine seemed a little awkward. Another thing I found awkward was Vader's reaction to the fate of Padme. I just expected more.

A few notables. I've got to mention Ewan McGregor. He was fantastic in this movie and really redeemed himself after a couple of so-so performances in TPM and AOTC. Also, although I didn't like the Christensen/Portman dynamic, Christensen was fine in every other scene. (I hate to say it, but maybe the problem was with Portman...) McGregor was great - and brought out a great performance from Christensen. Particularly touching was the final scene about mid-way through the movie where Obi-Wan and Anakin say their final farewells before Anakin turns to the dark side. Similarly, McDiarmid - who was incredible as Palpatine/Sidious - brought out the same in Christensen. Palpatine really stands head and shoulders above everybody else in this movie. Just pure evil. And Yoda. Although I didn't really like the way his battle with Palpatine ended, as a character he was really a lot better than in the last two movies.

Some other points. Mon Mothma was listed in the credits - and I had previously read she would play a role in the movie - but I don't remember seeing her at all. Also, Tarkin makes an appearance - although only for two seconds and he has no dialogue. Chewbacca is in the movie - but the Wookiee scenes account for only a couple of minutes of screen time and really don't amount to anything in the greater scheme of the movie. Also - and I'm not sure about this - but I'm pretty convinced that Bail Organa only gave the order to wipe C-3PO's memory - and not R2-D2's.

I have to mention the end of the movie. I don't want to give anything away, but the movie did wrap up nicely. A lot of loose ends are wrapped up (although the mention of Qui-Gon seemed to be thrown in there) and it all leads nicely into A New Hope. I'll even admit to feeling a little lump in my throat in the final seconds of the movie - although I'm not sure whether it was because of the movie - or because this chapter of my life is now complete. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

The big question I find myself asking is this... When looking at the entire Star Wars saga, where does Revenge of the Sith fit? I'm sure this will be the question fans everywhere will be asking themselves. For me, although the movie was by far the best of the prequel trilogy, it still didn't measure up to A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back. Still, I have my ticket for the midnight showing on May 19th - and you can bet your life I wouldn't miss seeing it again for anything.

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