Monday, August 1, 2005

Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

In a Nutshell: Better than the other two, but not stellar. Exceptional eye candy, wraps up most of the loose ends, but still leaves a few holes. Not a movie for young children, but definitely to be seen on the big screen if possible.

Quick Plot: The rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker and the rest of the Jedi Knights.

In Detail: Well, it has been almost two months since I've seen this film. My apologies for not reviewing it sooner. I actually saw it twice over Memorial Day weekend, and seeing it twice is almost necessary. The first time, you are just oogling over the visuals, and you also spend a lot of time going "but wait...." The second time, once you have come to terms with how the film did or did not meet your expectations, you can actually take the time to appreciate it for what it is. Too many things happen to quickly for me to find them completely believable, and my perception of how they happened based on limited information to date was really off. There was at least a *touch* of chemistry here and there between Hayden and Natalie, but not much, so don't go expecting a tragic love story. The tragic is there, but much of the love is missing until the very very end. And I must publicly say that if it weren't for Ewan McGregor, the film would have failed miserably.

I think a fair bit of what happened was superfluous and Lucas's time and efforts could have been spent elsewhere, but it is what it is. Oh, and please do not judge General Grievous by this film. He should have been so much more... I don't know; cool, slick, intimidating, powerful, skilled... I could go on and on. To see him at his most awesome, be sure you check out the Cartoon Network series Clone Wars (Volume 1 currently out on DVD, Volume 2 due out in November, IIRC). Definitely worth watching, and you see a lot more of Grievous as he was intended to be. The light saber battle at the end is much closer to the kind of battle that has been missing from the other films, and though it doesn't quite measure up to the ultra-coolness of Darth Maul (Lucas really messed himself up by putting Maul in Ep. I; no way to top that), it has an emotional impact that is undeniable. And once the final battle is over, I cried. Both times. *That* scene broke my heart. I found the wrap-up scenes quite stilted, but necessary, and seeing the old sets come back still makes my heart flutter.

Ultimately, I am slightly dissatisfied with the film, particularly as the ending to the saga (despite technically being part 3 of 6). Some things were too easy, some were too fast, some were to pat. It answered questions, and it was emotionally engaging occasionally, but not enough to make me feel fulfilled. The best of the three, certainly, and a vast improvement over the last one (which had great info and hideous execution). I can't help but wonder how things would have improved under a "real" director. For those who don't know, Lucas only directed Star Wars (that's Ep. IV to you non-purists) himself; he left the other two to other directors. I definitely think this series could have benefited greatly from a similar arrangement. But, what's done is done, and it is worth seeing. Just don't set your sights, or your hopes, too high. May the force be with you.

Will I Buy It? Yes. Did you expect otherwise?