Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
The last film in the prequel trilogy is clearly the best of the three, but it’s such a sliding scale that that’s really not saying much. But Star Wars fans have read about the epic battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker on the volcanic planet of Mustafar and if George Lucas could just get this one thing right, we might forgive him. Whether or not he did is a matter of personal opinion, but for me, it’s hit and miss. I liked the “epicness” of it all, but there were too many times I felt it looked cheap and fake. The simplicity of the duel between Luke and Vader in RETURN OF THE JEDI heightened the intensity and emotion, while the grandness of the duel on Mustafar took away from the emotions we should have been feeling.
The rest of the film follows suit in that it’s a collection of “yeah, but” moments. Sure, it was great to see evil Anakin walk into the Jedi training academy and kill the younglings, but why not show some of those battles so we can see just how truly evil Anakin is? Yes, it’s cool to see the Emperor and Yoda duel it out, but too many times the fight looked like an old man swinging at a moving piñata. The end battle between Mace Windu and Anakin? Non-existent. It could’ve/should’ve been great, but ends up falling flat and left the audience wanting more. The frustrating thing with Sith is that Lucas had already set up the characters and emotions, both with the first two prequels and the original trilogy, so all he had to do was “not screw up”. But his inability to direct a decent sequence or write dialogue once again proved to be his undoing…again.
And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out what I feel was the worst spoken line of dialogue, not only in Star Wars history, but in all of film history. When Anakin and Padme (Natalie Portman, a far cry from her BLACK SWAN performance) are standing on the balcony and they share this exchange:
PADME: You have been moody lately.
ANAKIN: I’m not moody . . .
PADME: Anakin! Don’t do this again.
ANAKIN: I don’t know … I feel . . . lost.
The exchange doesn’t make sense and just when I thought George Lucas had made some strides and learned some lessons from THE PHANTOM MENACE and ATTACK OF THE CLONES, he inserts this clunky bit of dialogue. Rest assured that the entire conversation, along with many others, was just as bad.
If you put a gun to my head and forced me to watch one of the prequels again, REVENGE OF THE SITH would be the one I’d choose. The good news at this point is that the audience is numb to the poor dialogue and meaningless plot turns, so we can sit back and enjoy the action.
To recap the prequel trilogy, the general idea of going back and tracing the path that led Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side and eventually to Darth Vader had a ton of potential. Vader is one of the greatest villains in movie history and Star Wars lore was filled with myths and theories about his early days. So I respect Lucas for creating a prequel trilogy because the material is there. But he got so wrapped up with trying to make it political and childish (yes, at the same time) that he lost sight of what made the original trilogy so great; characters. We loved Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy and just about everyone else. They had heart, soul, charisma and were relatable. Unfortunately, the prequels failed to create characters anyone cared about.
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