So it all comes down to this. 28 years. 6 movies. 3 special editions.
2 spin-off telefilms. 3 cartoon series. Thousands of action figures,
collectible plates, and knick knacks. Numerous expanded universe
novels and comic books. Not to mention countless amounts of slash
fan fiction. But here it is, the final feature of the Star Wars
saga, Episode III—Revenge Of The Sith.
So I guess the big question here, is this the Star Wars
prequel we’ve really been waiting over 20 years to see? Does
Revenge Of The Sith justify the complete and utter mediocrities
that were The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones?
Well in some ways yes, but not totally. (AN: WARNING—Massive
hyperbole alert!) Truly Star Wars has never been as dark,
depressing, dank, gruesome, grim, graphic, and tragic as it is here.
It’s a welcome change as this is the true low point of the
space opera, where all the manipulations and machinations of Darth
Sidious are finally put into effect and made “COMPLETE!”
as it were. The Clone Wars are coming to an end, and the ass-clown
Jedi Council is finally going to pay for their idiocy in the last
two prequels. They think the bad guys are cyborg, alien leader,
General Grievous (voice of Matthew Wood as Grievous,
whom we first saw on Volume 2 of “The Clone Wars” animated
series on Cartoon Network) and Count Dooku (Lee,
who returns for one scene before being embarrassingly dispatched.
Not nearly as cool as his removal as Saruman from the extended cut
of The Return Of The King). Little do they know the real
shit is happening right under their nose; some use that force, midichlorians
or whatever, good is.
However, as with the last two prequels, the acting and dialogue
are still sub-par and beyond the point of laughable. The best way
to describe it, the acting, the actors and the words they speak
are just… off. They are flatter than caffeine-free Diet Coke,
stiffer than Son Goku’s extending power pole. They are off
in a way that they weren’t in the original Star Wars
movies. And it’s depressing because you have a solid story
and some great talent, the performers for the most part just don’t
back it up. Even such fine performers as Portman,
who once again plays Padme, McGregor as Obi Wan
Kenobi, and Jackson as Mace Windu seem to be rendered
innocuous and ineffective. While I enjoy McDiarmid’s
Palpatine/Darth Sidious, it becomes way too over-the-top and wanders
too much in the realm of scene-chewing when it should be chilling.
The main thing I see is that Lucas tries to externalize
with dialogue that’s better off unsaid, or should be more
internalized lines by the performers. Oft do the Lucas faithful
and loyalists cling to the notion of it being ’30s movie and
serial style acting/dialogue. Well you know, I’m a film and
acting student. I’ve watched movies and serials from that
era, and believe it or not they have better acting and dialogue
than these movies.
And Christensen, oy vey Christensen. You can’t
really be further from Darth Vader than Christensen is here as Anakin
Skywalker. He’s still just a whiney, unconvincing brat who
sounds more like his toys got taken away than Darth Vader. We do
see Vader, or VINO (Vader In Name Only) as I will call it. And like
most of the movie it just seemed very un-Vader like to me. When
you finally see Vader in his supposedly true glory, you will understand.
It kind of looks like Vader, with James Earl Jones’
voice, it kind of sounds like Vader, but it just… isn’t
Vader. There’s something in the body language and his first
reaction that’s just so lame.
I really want to buy into Anakin Skywalker and his descent into
the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader, it’s
just too hard of a pill to swallow. To those who want to know what
a real turn to the dark side and a betrayal of your comrades is,
witness the character of Griffith in Berserk, or better
yet Uchiha Sasuke in Naruto. The Naruto anime
(or as Cromartie High School’s Kamiyama says “Just read
the manga”) specifically at times feels like Kishimoto-sama
knew everything that would happen in the Star Wars prequels
ahead of time and decided to show those Lucasfilm scrubs how to
do the job PROPERLY.
Despite my misgivings, the movie itself is just so grand and epic
it’s hard not to get drawn into it. Composer John
Williams once again brings his A-game to the picture’s
score, even reviving his awesome “Duel Of The Fates”
piece for the inevitable confrontation between Jedi Master Yoda
(Oz), and Sith Lord Sidious. And the experience
itself is just a sight to behold, especially the big main event
of Obi Wan and Anakin on the volcanic planet of Mustafar.
As always ILM’s signature visuals and special FX look very
pretty and impressive, but it once again saturates the picture.
It seems to be used even in places where it’s just pointless
and obligatory. I don’t understand why Sidious needs to be
acrobatic and go all Cirque De Soleil with his fighting style; it
just doesn’t fit, and at times it’s rather distracting.
I think what the big problem is, is that Lucas doesn’t really
accept that Star Wars isn’t his any more. Star
Wars is bigger than him now; it goes beyond the circle of creator
and creation. The phenomenon has taken on a life of it’s own
that will probably last for generations. And I think, the sooner
Lucas accepts that, and maybe decides to give the true fans what
they really want, theatrical cuts of the original movies on DVD,
we can move on with our lives… just a bit.
“The boy is pure dag nasty evil.”
—Obi Wan Kenobi
—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris