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Revenge of the Sith

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OK, here’s my quick and dirty review of Revenge of the Sith, the third and final (?) installment of Star Wars.

So, to start with a small amount of background. I’m 32 now, which means that I’m old enough to remember seeing Star Wars first run at the movie theater with my dad. It was at the Brighton Odeon in Sussex, England, and I remember the day being wet and cold. It’s amazing how the human memory works because I remember everything about arriving at the theater, and I remember leaving afterward and walking to the toy store with my dad and brother (Ashley), but I don’t remember actually watching the movie itself. In all probability, the number of times I’ve actually watched that movie now diluted that memory to the point where it pretty much no longer exists. That’s a shame in a way, I would love to be able to remember that.

So, the background is that I’ve seen every episode of Star Wars first run in the movie theaters. My opinions of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are complicated; I enjoyed both of them but didn’t find much to recommend them to others. They were decent entertainment, but TPM I found pandering to children a little too much and took some of the magic out of The Force. AOTC was better, and I enjoyed it despite the painful “love scenes”. The imagery is another matter, and is actually well covered here in ways that will make you view that movie very differently. Worth a read.

Anyway, ROTS is definitely better than the previous two, though still weaker than the original trilogy with the exception of Return of the Jedi. In fact, I’d say that in terms of film quality I’d rate Sith and Jedi at exactly the same rating. While in terms of writing, FX and general pacing Sith is better than Jedi, the acting is significantly worse to the point that it’s distracting at times.

So what’s good? Well, the movie in general is good. The opening scene alone is breathtaking in its immensity, but a little busy and hard to keep up with. Now, I’m not going to pick holes in the scientific flaws of “gliding” a wrecked space cruiser to land… this is fantasy, not science fiction despite what people try to tag it. The story itself flows reasonably well, and while some people might find the middle part of the story slow, it definitely sets up a lot of the politics and background that will flow through the rest of the story (the original trilogy). I liked it, it’s definitely better written than either of the previous two installments.

So what’s bad? Well, as I mentioned before the acting is atrocious. This is a shame as Hayden actually can act when he wants to, but here he seems to flounder frequently as though he really had very little effective direction. The only time I can say that his acting got better is when he’s acting angry after “becoming” Darth Vader (pre-suit). Of course, acting angry and pensive is easy requiring little direction. Another thing that jumped out at me as REALLY bad was a Hollywood cliche that would almost be perfect if it were Homer Simpson instead of Darth Vader. You’ll know what I mean when you see it… it’s probably the only truly cringeworthy part of the movie.

So is it worth your valuable money? Yes. Is it cinematic perfection? No. Read this article for more detail from someone who views Star Wars in much the same way I do. He’s only a couple of years older than me, so has similar recollections of the history of Star Wars.

Star Wars, in descending order of quality;

  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • A New Hope (Star Wars)
  • Return of the Jedi / Revenge of the Sith
  • Attack of the Clones
  • The Phantom Menace

Contact me if you want more information, or want to discuss my review.

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