Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman,
Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson
This review will feature MASSIVE spoilers from the
movie and the series in general. Read at your own risk.
So, after many years, the final installment of the 6-part
movie series known as Star Wars has finally reached
the theaters. The space opera, which details the rise, fall
and redemption of Anakin Skywalker culminates with the third
part where Anakin (Christensen) finally succumbs to the dark
side and aids in bringing about the end of the war started
in Episode 2. To this end,
he finds himself in the middle of the war with the Separatists
when dreams of the death of his beloved, Padme Amidala (Portman),
shake his resolve. Having grown in power, he's placed in the
center of a political conflict between the Jedi Counsel and
Chancellor Palpatine (McDiarmid), which proves to be more
than the fragile balance of his emotions can handle. Palpatine,
who is also the sith lord Darth Sidious, convinces Anakin
that the dark side has power that can save Padme from the
prophesied fate Anakin sees in his nightmares. This leads
to a final destructive conflict that destroys the Republic,
Jedi Counsel and turns Anakin into the monstrous Darth Vader.
Story-wise, don't expect too many surprises. Even if you
hadn't been keeping up with the "leaked" scripts and plot
overviews floating on the internet, the basic story plot is
pretty obvious. Bridging the gap between the first two episodes
and the original trilogy, there are a number of events you
know have to happen and when they do, it all feels like part
of a plot-oriented checklist. Along the way, though, Lucas
throws in some additional fights and even a new nemesis, the
cyborg General Grievous who commands the Separatist army.
It's a shame, though, that Grevious feels pretty unnecessary
and his death makes his short stint in the film feel cheap.
I almost wish he hadn't been added and that Count Dooku (Lee)
had just been given more screen time. As it is, Dooku's time
in the film feels like leftover footage from Episode 2.
And, never mind that despite all his looks, Grevious sounds
like a lung cancer patient and looks pretty goofy in motion.
He doesn't have the coolness that Vader or Darth Maul exhibited.
When it comes to visual effects, Lucas and his folks can
really make an effective effort. RotS is a gorgeous
film to watch in action and the film is best when it's going
full gear on action. The opening sequence and just about every
single one of the battle and duel sequences look great. When
it slows down and forces the actors to push their way through
the ham-fisted script, things really get boring. And that
proves to be a shame as every single major actor/actress in
this film have proven themselves outside of Star Wars. But,
because the script is so stodgy and the direction is so lackluster,
the performances feel wooden and lifeless. This is a shame
as there are many scenes that could really evoke so emotion
from the crowd, but since there never really feels like these
people have character, I found myself not caring whether they
lived or died. Any chemistry Christensen and Portman had from
Episode 2 is completely squandered before the movie is half
over. By the time the film gets to it's resolution, Anakin's
fall is greeted will melodrama and even Padme's "end" is anticlimactic.
Even with the meager direction of the actors, there are a
few performances worth noting. Ian McDiarmid quite easily
steals the show in this film. He's conniving, manipulative
and all around evil. His gambit is actually quite fun to watch.
Ewan McGregor struggles and mostly succeeds in making Obi
Wan the hero of the movie. At moments, you can really feel
sorry for him as the betrayal plays out. Whether it was intentional
or not, Samuel L. Jackson's Mace Windu is a complete ass who
almost single-handedly drives Anakin to Palpatine and the
dark side. In fact, Windu feels like the poster child for
how the Jedi Counsel has become a disfunctional bureaucracy
on it's own.
Revenge of the Sith is really all about squandered
opportunities. Portman is left to stand around, fretting over
the fate of Anakin instead of any real acting. The lightsaber
battle between Yoda and Sidious near the end of the film amounts
to nothing in the story and feels tacked on just to increase
the movie's "Yoda Quotient" (and with the Pepsi/Yoda tie-in,
they have to give him more screen time). And, the sequence
where Anakin is unveiled in his cyborg Vader suit feels more
like Frankenstien's monster than dark Sith Lord.
I guess with all this being said, if you can turn your brain
off and just enjoy the ride, you can get your money's worth
out of Rots Honestly, you probably already know whether
you want to see this film or not. Fans of the series will
have already seen it and if you're a casual viewer who wants
to catch the final chapter, go ahead and see it at a matinee
price. For those who haven't seen the rest of the series,
pass on Rots as you'll likely be out of the loop without
having seen at least Episode 1 and 2. While
this is a better movie than the first two chapters, it still
pales in comparison to A New Hope and The Empire