Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Directed by George Lucas
Everyone loves an underdog story. That’s one of the reasons why “Revenge of the Sith”—which sees Jedis mercilessly (but also bloodlessly…thanks, lightsabers!) being killed left and right as the Sith takes control—is superior in almost every way to Episode II, “Attack of the Clones.” Episode III starts and ends with engrossing action and excitement—not only lightsaber battles but an interesting plot that you care about. Sure, some of the scenes are little more than set-up for the original trilogy that absolutely needs to be there. If it wasn’t, the two trilogies couldn’t be considered at all congruent. But for the most part, you get giddy excitement meeting Chewbacca, watching Darth Vader come to life, and seeing where the original “Star Wars” characters come from.
The galaxy is in shambles. Senator Palpatine (“I am the Senate!”) is one of the only proponents of an intergalactic war (did someone say 2005 Iraq?). But Anakin (Hayden Christianson, better this time), his newly appointed special counsel, is beginning to see Palpatine’s (Ian McDiarmid) point. But that’s also a shift to the dark side. The Sith makes a comeback as all of our favorites (Obi-Wan, Yoda, Padme, Mace Windu) are scattered about the galaxy trying to keep the peace. It’s not happening.
Now more than ever, each actor and actress has skin in the game. They are their characters. Natalie Portman and Christianson make huge strides, both looking much more comfortable (even, maybe, impressive) in their roles. Ewan McGregor is more fun than ever, the Obi-Wan that I loved, grew up with, and once dressed as for Halloween (blue lightsaber, ponytail, and all). As Mace Windu, the money-grubbing Samuel L. Jackson seems out of place. He’s too American, or something. His voice isn’t distinguished enough to galactic dialogue. Plus, he demanded he have a uniquely colored lightsaber (purple) so he’d be cool and stand out. Dumb!
Hey, look! They finally got the CGI right! Not perfect, mind you, but much better and less obvious than before (okay, so the volcano scene must have been tough to make realistic). And the dialogue has that distinct “Star Wars” feel that only Liam Neeson could pull off since the original three. The lines of dialogue are more respectable, believable, even memorable at times. And many of the lines are pulsing with intense emotion (or loud shouting…Hayden).
You have fun watching the story of the original “Star Wars” trilogy come together in this exciting third prequel. While I have a nostalgic love of Episode I, it may be “Revenge of the Sith” that comes away as the best of the second trilogy. I guess you’ll have to find out for yourself!