Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith (***)
review by Jon
Here we are. The end of an era. Again. This (probably final)
big screen installment in the most popular and profitable series/franchise/empire
finds Anakin slipping into the dark side and becoming the infamous
Darth Vader. We see Yoda proving he’s the wisest Jedi
of them all once again. We see the war raging on. We see Chancellor
Palpatine play everyone like a fiddle. We see very very little
of Jar Jar Binks. And it is good.
No, seriously. It is good. Not great, but good. I know the
first two prequels weren’t exactly fitting additions
to the rest of the saga, but this comes close. Before I start
my raving, let’s get a few rants out there.
First and foremost, the horrid dialogue and performances act
out their revenge on us. Hayden Christensen is surprisingly
better and occasionally subtle in his approach and delivery.
If it weren’t for George Lucas’ bad writing, I
might even like his portrayal of Anakin. But Lucas gives us
the most incredibly trite, pared down, simplistic approach
to a love story you could possibly imagine. I suppose in a
galaxy far, far away, love is conveyed through broken clichés
and paraphrased, amateurish generalities.
The first hour dragged. R2D2 was given a big role in the early
part of the film and all of a sudden he’s equipped with
all these gadgets and special abilities that we’ve never
seen him use before and won’t use in the original trilogy
(which would be mind boggling if those were made after instead
of before). To make things worse, he’s downgraded to
this stupid comic relief character, despite the lack of tension
that would necessitate it. It’s just as inappropriately
funny as Gimli was in the second “Lord of the Rings.”
Sure there was a space battle, but jaded as I am, it’s
nothing spectacular. The whole thing moves too frantically
and you can’t really follow a bulk of the action with
the camera flying around like a ship as well. The camerawork
seems to be a pretty steady problem in this episode. Lucas
(also the director) apparently can’t afford a stinkin’ tripod
to be placed on the studio floor. It’s way too unnecessarily
shaky. And sometimes the camera can’t really find and
frame the guy talking too well.
The computer graphics look pretty bad, once again. The motion
of the camera and the ships and especially the animals looks
just as awkward and unnatural as every other CG movie object.
That’s not to say the creatures and ships aren’t
creative or cool, I just wish they were created using models
or through other physically manipulated means. To me, it’s
distracting and takes me away from it all.
It’s pretty pathetic considering how amazing Yoda turned
out. Everything I hate about computer graphics work disappears
with him. Even Gollum didn’t look as realistic or fluid.
He suffers from the same problem the rest do in that, the farther
away you get, the more fake he looks. Up close Yoda actually
makes you forget you’re watching a computer generated
character. This is how it should be done. This is what I’ve
If it weren’t part of “Star Wars,” the film
would actually be a lot worse, because all of these story elements
wouldn’t stick with an audience unless they knew the
surrounding parts. Part of the appeal (maybe even most of it)
is that we get to place those last pieces in that complicated
puzzle. And that is very satisfying. I came out of the theater
admiring the overall construction of the six-part series. Not
only does the film work by entertaining you with some fun fighting
scenes (a couple unfortunately seem like cop outs) and filling
in those holes, but it also has a broader scope and the construction
of the storyline is quite effective. And John Williams’ score
once again pumps you up and forces itself down your throat
whenever needed, but it avoids being overbearing when possible.
So, this is definitely the best of the newer trilogy, but still
can’t quite stand up to the mysticism and greatness of
the original trilogy. It’s not perfect, but I think even
diehards will be pleased with the end result.
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