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STAR WARS EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH by George Lucas

lightsaber duel lightsaber duel lightsaber duel
**** SPOILER ALERT **** SPOILER ALERT *****

The Clone Wars are in their third year now, and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid – convincing) is not only still in power, but gets an ever firmer grip on it. When he is taken prisoner by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee – only a short guest appearance) during an attack on Coruscant, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor – trying to look like Alec Guiness) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen – won’t be nominated for an Oscar as Best Actor, but maybe for the Golden Raspberry Award) are dispatched to rescue him. They are being confronted by Count Dooku, and Anakin takes another step to the Dark Side when he kill the already beaten and defenseless Dooku on Palpatines request.
Anakin is hero of the day, and Chancellor Palpatine appoints him his personal contact to the Jedi Council and orders Anakin gets a seat there. The Council – increasingly suspicious towards the Chancellor – reluctantly grant him the seat, but refuse to make Anakin a Jedi Master. His impatience and eagerness for greatness fuel his anger, and visions of his wife Padme (Natalie Portman – wooden) dying at childbirth make him an easy victim to Palpatines adulations and suggestions. When Obi-Wan asks him to spy on Palpatine for the Jedi Council the Chancellor cleverly uses this to infuse additional mistrust and discontent into the young Jedi, and he uses Anakins fear to lead him farther down the path to the Dark Side by telling him only the Dark Side has the power to save Padme.
Finally realizing Palpatine is the Sith Lord the Jedis are looking for, he tells the Jedi Council – but when Mace Windu battles Palpatine and is about to kill him, Anakin steps in on Palpatine’s/Darth Sidious’ side. His long way to the Dark Side is now completed, Sidious makes him his apprentice, and Anakin is now Darth Vader – hunting down and killing every Jedi within his reach, while the Jedi Knights out there leading the Clone Armies against the Droid Armies of the separatists are betrayed and killed by their own clone troops. Only Kenobi and Yoda can escape.
Darth Vader On the lava planet Mustafar, Obi-Wan faces Darth Vader, beats him in an epic lightsaber duel – leaving Vader hideously burned and sliced (the birth of the masked Darth Vader we know from the classic Star Wars) – and escapes with Padme, who soon gives birth to Luke Skywalker and Leia (who are separated after birth and handed over to their foster parents; Luke to Owen and Beru, where we meet him in STAR WARS – A NEW HOPE; and Leia to loyal senator Bail Organa of Alderaan) – the circle is closed, the STAR WARS saga is now told.

darth vader EPISODE III doesn’t bring many surprises for those who know their STAR WARS – it merely sets the stage for STAR WARS (A New Hope – still hard to refer to the original movie by that title), ties up loose ends and answers most of the open questions (how did Palpatine become Emperor, how did Anakin become Darth Vader and why does he wear that mask, how exactly did Luke and Leia get separated at birth, why does Leia refer to Obi-Wan as ‘General Kenobi’, how did Obi-Wan end up on Tatooine and Yoda on Dagobah, how did the Jedi become extinct, why doesn’t C3PO remember Anakin/Darth Vader, what were the Clone Wars, where do the stormtroopers originate and more).
EPISODE III also gives us more glimpses of future developments – early versions of the X-Wing Fighter, the Star Destroyer, AT-AT walkers, the stormtroopers, Chewbacca – and features many motifs of the original trilogy:
The duel between Obi-Wan and Vader has some similarities with Luke vs. Vader in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, AND giving meaning to the dialogue in STAR WARS when Obi-Wan confronts Darth Vader (Darth Vader: I’ve been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I met you I was but the learner. Now, I am the master. Obi-Wan: Only a master of evil, Darth.), Vader asking Padme to join him and rule the galaxy together (which he will suggest to Luke later), the phrase “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” (this time Obi-Wan is the offender), Obi-Wan referring to blasters as ‘uncivilized’, a glimpse of the first Death Star in construction ….which should be a good thing and satisfy the sentimental fans of the original trilogy – if it didn’t come across in an artificial way too often.
The many lightsaber-duels (Anakin + Obi-Wan vs. Dooku, Obi-Wan vs. General Grievous, Yoda vs. Darth Sidious, Mace Windu vs. Darth Sidious ….) are supposed to show us the Jedi in their prime – and they do. They are faster, more ferocious and way more athletic then everything seen in the original trilogy – but alas, their emotional impact is inferior.
The acting in general is sub-standard – granted, even the first trilogy wasn’t exactly famous for it’s acting, but here it feels as if the actors are playing on an empty stage before a green screen and don’t really know what’s going on around them … probably that’s because mostly that was the case. The visuals are OK for the exteriors, but the interiors are too smooth, too slick, too lifeless – does Padme have ANY stuff except her furniture in her rooms? This may be the price to be paid for digital effects – great vistas, no life – compare this to the detailed world of Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS and be disappointed – very disappointed.
Much of the dialogue is so corny it will make you cringe, especially between Anakin and Padme – this film easily tops EPISODE I and EPISODE II, but is no match at all for THE EMPIRE STRIKES back, widely recognized the best film of the first trilogy – and now, of both trilogies together.
Most probably EPISODE III was the last installment of the series in the movies (a TV series might come to life soon) – just be grateful it didn’t end with an all-time low, and that it can’t get any worse!
One positive remark in the end: Jar Jar Binks has a VERY brief cameo only! Thank you, George Lucas!

One Response to “STAR WARS EPISODE III – REVENGE OF THE SITH by George Lucas”

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