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Film Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
In 2005, George Lucas released Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, the sixth film in the Star Wars franchise and third and final film in the prequel trilogy. Starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Peter Mayhew, Jimmy Smits, and Bruce Spence, the film grossed $848.8 million at the box office. The only film of the series not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, it was nominated for Best Makeup and won the “Favorite Motion Picture” and “Favorite Dramatic Motion Picture at the People’s Choice Awards. Hayden Christensen also received the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor.
The Clone wars are nearing their end following a battle over the skies of Coruscant destabilizes the Separatist forces. But when Obi-Wan heads to end the war, Anakin turns to the dark side, becoming Darth Vader. The latter, along with Darth Sidious, destroy the Jedi order and set up the Galactic Empire, causing Yoda and Obi-Wan to go into hiding.
Though Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the best of the prequel trilogy, that’s still not saying much. The best points of the film are when Anakin meets Chancellor Palpatine at the opera and when Anakin and Obi-Wan are fighting each other on Mustafar. For the former, it’s a good scene that moves the plot along well and gives Anakin the incentive to look for powers that are beyond a Jedi. As to the latter, it’s a well-paced, well fought fight scene, second to only the fight with Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace. And this film does highlight the chessmaster aspect to Palpatine in a good way, as he plays every character in the film to become a dictator by the second act. Though it’s in part because his enemies turn stupid, he’s able to essentially cover his tracks until they do realize they’ve been played. And by that point, it’s too late.
However, that doesn’t excuse the amount of filler that continues to be in this film, such as the Battles of Kashyyyk and Utapau, which are only in the film as a reason to get Obi-Wan and Yoda away from Coruscant and get Palpatine with Anakin. If Lucas had wanted to get the latter two alone, it could have been done in a much better way that moves the film along rather than stopping it to see some of the war’s battles.
Then there’s what the film did with Padme, which was a waste of both any character she had in the previous films as well as a plot. She spends the last two films establishing herself as someone who can dive into the fray and hold her own in combat, either as a queen or a senator. She spends most of her time in this film at home just moping around, covering for Anakin and denying any of his crimes and then dying by losing the will to live. Granted, it would be difficult for someone who’s pregnant to get involved in intense action, she should still have had a greater and more interesting role. Further, speaking of how Padme dies, it really isn’t a death befitting her character. While she had to die, someone who was a ruler, senator and scrappy fighter should have had a better and weightier death than just losing the will to live following childbirth. Though Lucas wanted to play up the maternal aspect, it could have been a much better death scene if she died while fighting him after confronting him for killing the Jedi younglings.
Obi-Wan also had a reversal of any character he once had, especially with all the one liners and quippy dialogue he spouts throughout the film. While continually being unfazed by pretty much anything is in character for him, his character was more established as someone who takes anything that comes his way seriously. Yet here, he charmingly smiles at Chancellor Palpatine and says that Sith Lords are his and Anakin’s “speciality,” or when a ship is crash landing, he quips that they’re “still flying half a ship.” The film has so more than that because there’s nothing that quite exudes the feeling that this character is going to be the wise old mentor in a few years with the younger version of said character having something clever to say for every unfortunate moment. Obi-Wan Kenobi is not Han Solo.
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