Welcome back to my series of Star Wars reviews! We last left off with the 2003 cartoon series Star Wars: Clone Wars, which is one of the best things to come out of the otherwise mediocre Episodes I and II. We are now at the end of the Prequel Trilogy, and now that we’ve gotten The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones out of the way, let’s take a look at a prequel that isn’t bad: Revenge of the Sith.
This was the first Star Wars film to be given the PG-13 rating, and every film since this one (except for the 2008 Clone Wars movie) has been given that rating, so you can definitely thank this film for giving birth to more structured and dark Star Wars films.
One of the best aspects of Revenge of the Sith is how it handles the dark turn of Anakin Skywalker. In the films prior to this one, we get some glimpses of what is to become of Anakin. In The Phantom Menace, we hear how he misses his mother, and we get the “Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering” speech. Then, in Attack of the Clones, we see a shot of Anakin slaughtering some Tusken Raiders before the shot cuts out, more or less because of the PG rating. In Revenge of the Sith, we get to see some serious stuff go down, and I’m really glad the decision was made to have a much darker Star Wars film. There’s a lot of death and a lot of really emotional moments. This was the grand finale this trilogy needed. And it worked.
Right off the bat, a tremendous action sequence takes place. The opening scene that portrays a battle over Coruscant is an extremely fun, well-paced moment. It’s a great introductory sequence that perfectly encapsulates the peak of the Clone Wars. The CGI is also an improvement over the other prequels. This was what fans wanted from the other two prequels, and it only took six years to get it right.
The first lightsaber battle in the film–between Count Dooku, Obi-Wan, and Anakin–isn’t the greatest battle in the history of the franchise, but it works just enough to suffice for the terrible fight that went down between the trio in Episode II. It’s tense, which makes it feel a lot more realized. It goes to show that you don’t have to overdo the duels for fans to like them. In this case, it serves as Anakin’s first step into his transition to the Dark Side of the Force, when he decapitates Dooku on Palpatine’s command.
The introduction to the cyborg villain General Grievous is in this portion of the film. While I don’t agree here that he’s a bad villain, I can see where people are coming from when they hate on his character. He’s a bit of a mixed bag for me. I’ve seen him in the 2003 Clone Wars and the 2008 computer-animated Clone Wars show, so I’ve gotten adjusted to him being a key player in the Clone Wars.
However, the character himself just isn’t that interesting, and it’s most evident in this film. He just doesn’t have enough to do here. The CGI for the character does look really good, though. When the Jedi and Palpatine get back to Coruscant, there’s an Easter Egg you’ll be lucky to catch. It’s the frickin’ Millennium Falcon!!! It’s hard to find, but you can catch it pulling into the hangar at the bottom of the screen.
We get a glimpse of Padmé and Anakin here, too. While the chemistry between Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman still isn’t great, it’s arguably better than it was in Episode II. Throughout the film, Padmé’s dialogue is very dry, and I don’t like what she has become. She’s pregnant, but she’s less of the person she was in the previous films. She was very free-willed in those movies, and in this one, she’s more of a queen bee type character, where she just sits around combing her hair, etc.
The other action sequences that appear throughout the movie are amazing. When you look at the action scenes in the other Prequel movies, save for the final duel with Darth Maul at the end of Phantom Menace, there’s a common denominator. They’re only made to set something up, or to give the viewer some eye candy. The action sequences in Revenge of the Sith are very relevant to the story, and while there’s no doubt that the climax between Obi-Wan and Anakin was made to impress, at least it played a big role in the conclusion of the trilogy.
Don’t get me wrong. I think that George Lucas overdid it a bit, and the scene is choreographed a bit too much. It takes quite a large amount of tenseness away from the finality. That being said, I really love the emotion conveyed from Obi-Wan to Anakin during the latter’s fall from grace. It’s a really heart-wrenching moment because, in this scene, you can really see Obi-Wan’s heart breaking from despair. I only wish we could’ve seen more of that in the previous films.
The writing for the characters is, admittedly, a bit corny. It isn’t the greatest. and there’s a lot of room for improvement.
It goes without saying that John Williams’ scores are tremendous, but this is one of my all-time favorites.
Revenge of the Sith is, without a doubt, the best of the three Prequel films. Its dialogue rarely works, and it isn’t until the climax that some emotion starts being shown. That aside, the action sequences, special effects, and conclusion are much better than the other prequel films. I’m going to give Episode III an A-.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith stars Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz. Directed by George Lucas.