Action Movie Friday: Star Wars Episode Three, Revenge of the Sith

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: Star Wars Episode Three, Revenge of the Sith
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Release: 2005
Genre: action, science fiction
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christiansen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz, Matthew Wood
Director: George Lucas
Writer: George Lucas
Distributor: Fox
Budget: $115 Million
Box Office: $849 Million

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

Gingersnaps Rating: Three and a half cookies!

Summary:

The war that rages across the Republic has finally come to Coruscant. In a bold move, the Seperatists led by General Grievous and Count Dooku attack the capital and kidnapped Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. In response, the Jedi Council send their best two Knights, General Obi Wan Kenobi and Knight Anakin Skywalker to rescue the Chancellor. However, all is not well between the Jedi Council and Chancellor Palpatine. The Council fears the Chancellor’s growing power and does not trust him. While Palpatine believes that the Jedi Council is going to make a coup and take over the Senate. When Chancellor Palpatine asks for Knight Skywalker to be put on the Council, the Council secretly asks him to spy upon the Chancellor as they work on ending the war. Torn between his loyalties and his wife, Padme Amidala’s pregnancy on his mind filling him with dread that he may lose her. Then the Jedi Council reveals that they do intend to make a coup and arrest Senator Palpatine. Anakin is forced to make a choice that will determine the fate of the Republic.

Review:

Finally, after two movies, the stakes are made clear and bold in this movie. There is conflict. There is tension. Too bad we just don’t care about most of it and the principal players in this movie have had next to no development from previous movies. Well, sure there was the animated Clone Wars movie and the Clone Wars television show, but we’re talking trilogy movies here. A viewer should be able to come into the live action trilogy movies without having to have seen these animated series and know what is going on, who is important and a bit of their stories.

Mace Windu, Yoda, Bail Organa, Dooku, General Grievous, and to an extent Palpatine himself, are players that we don’t care about. Suddenly they are important but they’ve barely had lines or been mentioned before. Palpatine has been hovering about the edges, making the puppets dance for two movies and it isn’t until this one that the picture is made clearer. It’s too late. There is foreshadowing and then there is, “hey, this is half the conflict but I’m just not going to tell you about it.” George Lucas spent so much time focusing on Anakin’s story, that he never took a step back to ask if it was a good story and if Anakin was really all that important in the very beginning or if there was a better way to include Anakin in the story. The story from beginning to end relies too much on the viewer knowing what happened in Episodes IV through VI.

The ending was particularly bothersome to me due to the fact that we are given the impression that the Jedi trust Bail Organa, even though we are never shown why. And the way that the story between Owen and Anakin was set up, there is no reason for Owen to dislike Obi Wan and the Jedi, though good reason to keep Luke from going to the Imperial Academy. Owen and Anakin had no conflict over Anakin’s force powers. Canon was ignored leaving me extremely confused.

The dialogue was just as stiff and stilted as the previous movies, with Padme’s and Anakin’s scenes getting no better and in places, they were worse. The fact that Anakin’s sudden heel turn had to be ‘told’ to the audience rather than shown through Anakin’s actions, tells me that George knew how weak the end of that scene was and went with it anyways because, hey, he can just explain what happened in the next five minutes.

Minor nitpick, Revenge of the Sith, what were the Sith getting revenge upon over the Jedi. Seriously, I can make assumptions but this was never made clear. This is something that should have been touched upon in the previous two movies and wasn’t.

Overall, this was much better than the previous two movies, but still, not quite there. Half a cookie.

Really, I want an R2 D2 movie. R2 D2 is a dirty old man that speaks droidish and creates explosions. That whole thing of R2 versus the two big bots that ended fire. Priceless. It was unnecessary and funny! One gingersnap.

The fights were thrilling, though the cutting between two light saber fights did get a bit tedious there towards the end. Perhaps it was trying to create tension, I don’t know, but it really made me wish that they’d just focus on one fight or the other. Still, one gingersnap.

Poor Amidala, I feel the worst for her in this whole trilogy. She starts strong. A fearless Queen who puts her life in danger to keep her people free, then she’s reduced to the girlfriend and running away from the Senate and in this movie, she’s further reduced to the wife who sits in their apartment and waits for Anakin to return and frets. Where is the strength of character that was in the first movie? Where is the brilliant mind and persuasive voice? How far Amidala has fallen. No gingersnaps.

Once again, the world building is superb. There is a clear leap between the technology that is currently being used in these movies and what will be seen in Episode IV. While you watch, you can see the mishmash of technology that is right now under the Republic and Separatists and what will diverge into the Rebellion and the Galactic Empire’s technology. I say the Separatist technology because Chancellor Palpatine was manipulating both sides to get his desired result of the Empire. And their technology becomes merged with that of the Republic to form the later technology of the Empire. I found it to be extremely well done and interesting to see. But I’m a bit nerdy like that. One Gingersnap

Plot wise, this movie was the best of the “Prequel” Trilogy. Though it was too little too late, at least the conflict and stakes were made clear to the audience. The important characters for this drama were never fully developed enough for the audience to truly care about them and Senator Padme Amidala was ignored completely. Not a completely satisfactory ending to the rise of the Empire and the fall of Anakin Skywalker, but not completely unsatisfactory either. Three and a half gingersnaps.

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