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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
It's 2:50am, and I have just returned from the theatre (conveniently located about .2 miles away). I couldn't speak the entire way home, and now I can't shut up. Wow I loved this movie.

Where do I start? The movie was incredible. Were there flaws? Sure... of course, but I'm still riding pretty damn high. I was 7 when I first saw Star Wars (opening night, thank you) and it was, as they say, a life changing experience. Was this one? No, but it could have been. If I had been about 15 when I saw it, instead of 35, then yes. Still it's an amazing movie. One of my chief complaints from the commercials was a really goofy looking scene that, as it turns out, is actually not in the movie at all.

The acting was incredible (yes I know... I'm using that word a lot tonight, but it's just such a perfect word). Ian McDiarmid really stole the show. His shifts between benefactor and corruptor were seamless, flawless and yet so transparent to the horrified adult moviegoer... he embodies every nasty element you pray your children will never be exposed to. The guy that turns your kid on to drugs, underage drinking, skipping school... all while explaining that he's the real victim and the only one who cares about your child, because after all your parents wouldn't punish you if they really loved you, and by the way kill them for me to prove your loyalty. *shudder*

Palpatine plays on Anakins insecurities with ease. It's nothing short of horrifyingly incredible.

I won't lie, Anakin and Padme lack chemistry in a couple of the scenes, but those are such a small part of the overall experience that it's easy to overlook. The last scene they share together is magnificent though, and does not lack chemistry at all. You have to see it to understand. Anakin's personality works best when he's being cocky (like with Obi Wan), and damn well when he's being truly deferential (like with Palpatine).

Obi Wan treats Anakin as more of a brother than a son in this film (compared to Ep. II) and it really works. You can feel Obi Wan's pain, you can see it bulding up and you feel like your heart has been ripped out and stomped on by the end of the movie. I'm not sure, but I think the girl next to me was crying. Not because she was sad, so much as if she had just seen something beautiful... and this IS a beautiful movie. We get to see numerous new worlds and a few familiar ones as well. Lucas has a knack for setting the scene and this movie is no exception.

The fight scenes are easily the best I've ever scene. We don't see any florentine style except for General Grievous, but all the fight scenes are meticulously choreographed. (The lightsaber scene in Episode IV pales in comparison) The CGI work is unparalled and the audience burst into applause several times throughout the movie. Is Jar Jar in the movie? Yes, he is... but he does not have a single line. Good enough for me. I'm going to try really hard and not give away anything you couldn't have gotten from the commercials. Yoda is every bit as much of a badass in this film as in the previous one. Mace Windu was cooler in the first two prequels, but still gets plenty of face time. The ending sequence is very much true to form, comprising several minutes of critically important scenes containing great music and no dialog at all. Seeing the birth of Luke and Leia and the details around their separation, along with Yoda & Obi Wan's exile really stitched it all together.

There are a couple of familiar names and faces in this movie. Characters you really meet or hear about in Episode IV (Star Wars). It was also extremely cool seeing the subtle changes in vehicles, ships and trooper armor that you know you'll be seeing in Star Wars. The trooper armor still doesn't look exactly like stormtrooper armor, but the helmets were noticeably closer this time around. Also, there a great scene where they are in a passageway on an Alderaan envoy ship and it looks IDENTICAL to the scene in the passageway of the Alderaan envoy ship at the beginning of episode IV. Once we see the outside of the ship, we realize wow... that just might be the exact same ship. Based on when this movie ends, and the next one begins... about 20 years elapse.

So the final question... is Darth Vader evil? I'm going out on a limb and saying 'NO'. Palpatine is definitely evil, as was Darth Maul. I don't know that I actually see Dooku as evil, and I don't really see Vader as evil. I think he's a man who was led astray, outsmarted and manipulated and by the time he realized it he had already lost everything and felt beyond redemption. We all know what happens at the end of Episode VI (Return of the Jedi).

Do I feel sorry for Vader? Tough call... Anakin is actually very likeable, even as he begins to change and lose himself. If you've ever known a really bad diabetic who doesn't have it under control, you'll see some familiar behavior (reaching for pills... I won't miss any more, I promise) It's scary to see it from a 3rd person perspective. There's a scene in the Hulk movie when he's starting to come down from his rage... been there, done that.

My son and I have tickets for tomorr... err... later today. He may be a little young for some of the more intense imagery (there's some truly brutal stuff, and more than a few people were squirming in their seats when they started to clean house on the jedi) since it's PG-13 but he still covers his eyes when I tell him to. Still, I'm gonna have some 'splainin to do.

Overall, where does this rank with the other 5? That's a tough call. This one has a lot in common with Episode V (Empire Strikes Back). I'll always love the first one I saw (the original), and I was young enough to enjoy Jedi despite the ewoks. Unlike a lot of folks who grew up on IV, V & VI... I really liked the prequels. It didn't hurt that my son looked almost exactly like little Anakin at the time Phantom Menace came out. Episode II was quite good, although my least favorite of all 6. I'm babbling I know... I rank this one as best or second best at least. I plan on seeing it at least 2 more times in the theatre.

Lastly, many of you may already know this, but there is a serious live action Star Wars tv series in the works that covers the span between episode III & IV. Note I said series, not special or mini-series. From what I've heard it will focus on non-pivotal characters. I'm sure there will be familiar names mentioned from time to time, but don't expect to see Vader or a young Luke. Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2005 3:42 AM General Interest , Reviews | Back to top

Comments on this post: review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (not spoily)

# re: review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (not spoily)
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Darth Vader is definitely evil. He may have started out as a confused boy, but he ended up the supreme personification of evil in the ficticious universe and an embodiment of the "bad guy" for two generations now...
Left by Matt Ranlett on May 25, 2005 1:12 AM

# re: review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (not spoily)
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well... personally I'd reserve that title for Palpatine, since he totally manipulated an ENTIRE galaxy to get where he is (was?)

I still hold out Vader is more of the "man with nothing left to lose" who carried out his master's bidding with a sense of apathy and self-loathing, rather than gleeful abandon. It's not until he realizes Luke is his son (and therefore still alive) that he regains some of his personal motivation and a sense of purpose.
Left by Chris on May 25, 2005 7:53 AM

# re: review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (not spoily)
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I agree: The acting is incredible. Rarely have I seen anything so bad.
Left by gorlon on Jun 01, 2005 8:50 PM

# re: review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (not spoily)
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I loved ROTS. It is my favorite movie this year! It just amazes me how close to the real world it is. the politics, the human inclinations. And how greed, anger, lust ect. can turn us into the evil we hate. Episode 3 is the best movie this year. It deserves every good word and award to itself and it's actors.
Left by Jennifer Barton on Jun 29, 2005 5:17 AM

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