A Reel View: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
A Reel View
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
A long time ago in a galaxy, well, not too incredibly far away, a young filmmaker named George Lucas developed a saga of intergalactic warfare. Beginning his story in the middle, he created a classic example of the heroic monomyth: a young hero gaining power and knowledge from those around him, with the intent of using that power to defeat the ultimate evil. He titled this masterwork, simply, "Star Wars." Now, 28 years later, he has finally finished his epic with "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith."
The film opens with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christiansen), two of the Jedi's greatest heroes, attempting to rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from the evil mechanical General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Woods). There, they are forced to fight the vicious Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) in order to free the Chancellor. Of course, the Jedi are successful, despite their inability to capture the General.
Things are not so easy back at the Jedi Council. Anakin learns that, regardless of his heroic efforts, the Council will not award him the title of Jedi Master. He also learns that his secret wife Padme (Natalie Portman) is pregnant. An awful lot for young Anakin to absorb in one day, he becomes increasingly frustrated when the Council assigns him to spy on the Chancellor, who they feel may not be completely trustworthy.
The Chancellor, on the other hand, senses the disturbances in Anakin's life. He understands his feelings of betrayal with the Council, offering him the chance to become his apprentice. The Chancellor wants Anakin to spy on the Council, a move that confuses Anakin, but the more he thinks about it, the more the Chancellor makes sense to him. As he deals with his personal problems, Anakin becomes increasingly exposed to a new use of the mythical "Force," one that may not exactly be used for forces of good.
Anyone familiar with the original "Star Wars" trilogy knows exactly what happens next. By showing us the second half of the story before the first, Lucas plays with the idea that "Revenge of the Sith" acts like an impending train wreck. It is inevitable that Anakin will turn against the Jedi and become the iconic Darth Vader, yet Lucas inserts scenes of Anakin's loved ones begging him to resist the temptation. We almost wish that Anakin would listen to them, but let's face it, that would not be any fun. Not to mention the fact that the original trilogy would cease to exist.
Much like the two previous installments ("The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones"), "Sith's" special effects are a great improvement over the original "Star Wars" films. However, the film does have its weaknesses. George Lucas's script, especially the dialogue, leaves a lot to be desired. Then again, this is not necessarily a film that will be viewed for its dialogue.
The characters also make this film memorable. Hayden Christensen delivers a much more solid performance than he did in "Attack of the Clones," portraying Anakin with as much vulnerability as cruelty. Ian McDiarmid is also a delight to watch as the manipulative Chancellor Palpatine, the man that will eventually become the emperor of the evil Empire.
For many "Star Wars" fans, this film has redeemed George Lucas's standing as a filmmaker. While the previous two films received negative feedback from both critics and fans, this installment proves to be a chapter that has everyone satisfied. Once the final shots of the film lead the story into the original "Star Wars," the viewer can rest assured that Luke, Han Solo, and Princess Leia are on their way to bring the saga full circle.
"Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" will be available on DVD and video on November 1st.
James M. Gullard is a film student at Towson University. Email him your movie thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org