5.20.2005

Ok, I know this is late, but...

This is hardly the only written piece I've submitted late this week.

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith.

I cannot claim to be capable of reviewing this movie with any semblance of objectivity. Star Wars has meant too much to me personally for that. I can only review it as a Star Wars movie. And, as a die-hard fan, I present this review as I would want to recieve it: free of spoilers.

As such, it is excellent. I will have to re-examine both movies, but I think I rate it above Return of the Jedi, which would have been the second best in the Original Trilogy (next to Empire) if not for the goddamned Ewoks. Originally the plan was for the Wookies to have aided the Rebels on the forest moon of Endor, but Lucas put the Ewoks in to sell the movie to children. (Note: if the death of one of the good guys during a climactic battle evokes an "awwww..." from the audience, then you've done something wrong.)

But thats enough of that. Ok, so I lied. One more thing. There was some vindication for that error in Episode 3, because the scenes with the Wookies were amazing.

So lets take this blow by blow.

The plot: Clearly the most thought-through of the prequel trilogy. It's as strong a plot as any of the OT. Most importantly, Anakin is a much better-written character this time around

The dialogue: Let me put this lightly. There is a difference between being a master storyteller and a master writer. No one ever accused Lucas of being the latter. That being said, the dialogue was largely decent with one or two exceptions where it stuck out sorely as well as just about every scene with Padame and Anakin.. There were, however, some great exchanges, and a few great and memorable lines, some of which right-wingers are bitching about. Like this one:

Amidala: So this is how liberty dies. To thunderous applause

and this exchange:

Anakin: If you're not with me, you're my enemy

Obi-Wan: Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes

The Acting: Most of the cast weren't really, but that's like saying, "Nolan Ryan didn't pitch his best game today." There are six occasions where this could have honestly said about a no-hitter. The cast is made up of great actors, and though they weren't at their best, I have no complaints, except Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman, and only in the scenes in which they appear together. And I only partly blame them, because when good actors give poor performances, it is usually the director's fault. It was, after all, Lucas who decided that they didn't need a few more takes to get the scenes right.

That being said, Christensen excecuted the transition from Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader spot-on; from somewhat arrogant yet loyal Jedi Knight, to a conflicted and troubled man trying desparately to reconcile his loyaltees, to a man possessed by the Dark Lord of the Sith.

For that matter, McGreggor squarely bested his previous two performances as Obi-Wan, and throughout the last act brilliantly portrayed a man betayed by his former student, whom he loved as a brother.

When she didn't appear in one of those alltogether unfortunate love scenes with Hayden, Natalie Portman played a solid Amidala. Also, let it be known that the acting did work for me when Anakin and Amidala were in conflict.

Everyone else on the cast more or less did their job.

The visuals: Mindblowing. there really isn't more to say on the subject.

The war scenes: Wookies fighting droids, Jedi fighting droids, Clones fighting droids, Clones and Jedi fighting droids side by side, and Jedi and others flying against the droids in badass snubfighters. All were amazing to behold; well planned and well excecuted.

The music: Yep. Still John Williams. 'Nuff said.

The humor: For the first time in the entire saga, C3PO and Artoo Deetoo go through a movie without being annoying. The humor in Revenge of the Sith was more effective than in any previous Star Wars. And this is in fact important, because withot humor, the story would be too painful.

The fall of the Jedi: Ok, so if you're at all familiar with original films, you knew already that by the end of the movie the only Jedi remaining alive would be Obi-Wan and Yoda. Thus, the rest of the Jedi are killed by the end. I won't spoil how it happened, but when it did happen it was beautifully painful. Especially since you knew it was coming. I'm not afraid to admit I shed some tears here.

The duels: There is more lightsaber duel footage in this episode than in any other. They were some of the greatest examples of filmed swordplay that I've ever witnessed. The last one was the greatest. Hayden Christiansen and Ewan McGreggor are phenomenal swordsmen, and they show it. Remarkable speed, footwork, and range of technique. The ones not involving either of those two are only slightly less awesome.

All in all, this movie is more than worth seeing. Like Anakin Skywalker, the prequel trilogy lost its way, but redeemed itself in the end.

9 comments:

  1. would you pay to see it again? or was once enough until its on HBO?

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  2. I'll probably pay to see it at least once more, but at a theater with better picture and a quieter audience

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  3. I must say, I saw this film, and I hate everything modern: Music, films, society as a whole, because we have completely gone downhill from such noble roots. I walked in the theatre planning to be utterly disappointed, and I must say with a heavy heart that.... it was fucking awesome. FUCKING AWESOME. I don't think there are words enough I can find in any sort of clarity to explai how FUCKING FANTASTICALLY UNBELIEVABLY EMOTION RUNNING AND AWESOME IT WAS. I mean I could try but It'd take quite the while, and as much as I love my crusades in words I'm sure I'd make your comments section explode after writing for a few hours. I plan to see it at least once more in theatres if not more, and maybe we could do such a thing once you return to your native lands here.




    ....



    FUCKING AWESOME.



    that is all.

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  4. i haven't been able to watch the star wars movies, but you know that. but i just wanted to know what you have against the Ewoks. i have loved them since i was like 5 with the ewok adventures and battle for endor (which i now own on dvd, i do see how bad they were now, but they were great at the time). the movies may have lost something with my aging but i still love the little creatures. i wish i knew what my parents did with my stuffed animals from back then. i had wicket and some other little guy.

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  5. Star Wars is about the fight between good and evil, about Light vs. Dark, of the eternal struggle for one side to gain power, and ho ironically the evil emperor and the good jedi have in common except for the colour of heart and goals. Evil wants to see only their own happiness and power at any expense, while good looks for power so as to share peace and joy with all while most definately taking in some of the happiness themselves. It's about the balance and battle between Good and Evil, a fight all too real in our world and society, where men in suits in stone halls fight men on the streets picking up nine year old children. It's the struggle of Justice and Injustice, Selflessness and Selffufillment (spelling?), between the wrong and right, between Men of Rigtheousness and Men of Whickedness. It's not about The Beautiful Carrie Fisher going hiking with a goddamn prehistoric teddybear. They are cute yes, but Star Wars is not about that.

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  6. Sorry bout that, idn't mean to flip like that I just... I just really hate Ewoks... With a obviously a very firey burning passion, because instead of Ewoks they were going to have Wookies, but we got shafted, and I never really have come to terms with that. I'm sorry.

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  7. hehe, that was lovely mr. legend. i'm glad that you have such strong convictions. i just think they're cute and have no real interest in their roles in the movies. i too am a great fan of the wookies, prolly b/c i find them cute as well.

    someday i'll have to try to watch the movies again. maybe then i will change my mind on the whle ewok issue.

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  8. I'll probably go and see it this weekend sometime. Looking forward to it now - I've heard a lot of good things about it.

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  9. They are cute, don't get me wrong, I still have a small army of teddy bears in my room, God knows I love Felix the Chaste, and his sons, Neal the Wise and Johnny Brave, not to mention all of my stuffed friends, but there's a place for cuddly cute friends and there's a definate place for ass-kicking Wookie action. I'm glad my overzealous conviction didn't scare you too much; Mr. Desmond can more than vouch for myself, I'm as harmless as a Wookie who just won a game of chess against a droid.

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