Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) – Best of the Prequels But Still an Idea Not Fully Realized

Revenge of the Sith

  “Revenge of the Sith” is the best of the Prequels and this isn’t just because episode I and II are so terrible. “Revenge of the Sith” at least has a focus and mission, which can’t be said for “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones,” which were muddled messes each in different ways. “Revenge of the Sith” is also the only film you need to see to understand “The Original Trilogy,” The Clone Wars and Anakin’s fall are the focus of this story and George Lucas actually does an okay job…though the ending is bad, the middle is really strong and for a moment Lucas seems to understand that you show events, don’t tell events. I’ll get into more of what I mean further down.

     The film was directed and written by George Lucas and produced by Rick McCallum.

     The story involves the end of the Clone Wars as General Grievous does a last ditch effort with Dooku (Christopher Lee) to capture Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). Things soon go wrong for them when Anakin (Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) arrive though all is not as it appears to be as after the battle Anakin finds himself being isolated around him and being offered a path to save the woman he loves through his friend and mentor Palpatine.

The Pros: The Action – The action in this is actually really good. Whether it is the battle to save Chancellor Palpatine or the attack on Grievous’s base we see that George Lucas does know how to shoot an action sequence when he is up for it, even the weaker battles like that between Dooku and Anakin.

Obi-Wan Kenobi – Obi-Wan shows why he was made Jedi Master in this as we see him walk the line between supporting his apprentice and trying to look out for the well being of the galaxy. Ewan McGregor does a wonderful job and I felt for him at the end as the pain in his eyes at leaving his friend who had turned to the dark side felt real and had much more love in the acting than any scene between Anakin and Padme.

Yoda – Yoda has some great Jedi Master moments too as he forces Anakin to give up his attachments or to face losing them (which is the Jedi Way, much like Buddhism) and we see how the deaths around the galaxy touch him. Thankfully he doesn’t fight with a lightsaber that much (he like Sidious should be beyond using swords whether they are lazer swords or not) and him losing was after a tough fight. He was stupid in that he went alone. Palpatine could not have taken on Obi-Wan and Yoda together. I do like that he figured out how to train to immortality too via communion with Qui-Gon, that was a nice touch.

Anakin’s Choice – This is a great scene, the music is beautiful and we see Anakin thinking of Padme and dealing with the fact that Palpatine has been right about the Jedi so far, but how they are also his friends and he knows whatever choice he makes there is no going back. There is no dialogue and the scene is all the more powerful for it.

Anakin’s Fall – Anakin’s fall is a pro as we establish he’s already a bit of a sociopath (hello the Tuscan Raider massacre) and he has major anger and ego problems tied to the fact that I don’t think he loves Padme, not really. She represents his mother as she is safety and freedom which are two things he’s never had his entire life. She is a closeness and familiarity and he chooses that for understandable reasons as he would do anything not to lose her and he is a sociopath, so killing the Jedi though it would be hard. Anakin is already an established fascist so killing those going against the order (Palpatine) he supports is a tough call but in the end one he would make.

Order 66 – This was really well done. From Anakin’s march on the Jedi Temple and slaughtering the Younglings (Jedi Children and going to call them that from now on), which by the way is his second time doing this so he’s been a messed up murdering soldier for sometime. We see the Jedi fall on each of their operations as Palpatine had manipulated the war so well that there were so few to stand against him.

Palpatine/Darth Sidious – This guy is wonderfully evil and brilliant in a world where no one asks questions (no one does, not Anakin, the Jedi Order or even the Senate). So given this fact of course he rises to power and in the end helps the Sith reign supreme. The only scenes to watch in the Prequels prior are the Palpatine ones as he never stops being an interesting character and you get an idea of just how powerful of a Sith he is. He is one of the greatest if not thee greatest Sith for a reason and this film is his victory.

The Cons: Padme and the “love” story – The love story didn’t work unless they are both super co-dependent. Hayden and Padme’s acting doesn’t work either and the love story only works as an idea to bring about the fall. It’s more believable in both of the “Clone Wars” shows but for this film the crappy dialogue and sadly horrible acting more so coming from Natalie Portman is what brings it down. Her no longer having a will to live after Anakin turns on her doesn’t help matters either. She just feels more like a plot device meant to be fridged to finished Anakin’s fall.

Tone – There are still moments where slapstick is in with intense war scenes and it took me out of it in those moments. Lucas reeled it in at least and it doesn’t get as bad as past films.

General Grievous – What a joke. This is supposed to be our big bad? He is just bad as he is in the 3D Clone Wars. I never felt threatened by this guy and didn’t understand why anyone would make him a general.

Non-Characters – Dooku’s death felt meaningless and I feel bad for Christopher Lee because of it. Mace Windu also felt invisible. There characters never felt like characters, just ideas and plot devices for Anakin’s fall…like Padme and Anakin’s love in this film which wasn’t real but had to be there due to plot.

Excess – This really comes out in the final fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin…the fight lasts 20 minutes and there is no reason for any one on one fight to go on that long. It took me out of the moment and emotion behind the characters and made only pointless action. The only symbolism we had was the fact that Mustafar looked like hell. The tell not show dialogue didn’t help matters either in these scenes.

The Dialogue – The dialogue is still bad, especially at the end. At least there are moments where Lucas remembers to show and not tell us so that’s a win! Sadly his dialogue he has Vader makes the ending worse.

No!!!!!! – This scene. Vader should not say “Padme” it sounds weird and all it would have taken was a simple “No.” There was no reason to ham it up at all. It made no sense and I don’t understand why it was there. We already know Anakin is broken we don’t need it turned up to 11 to see that.

    I actually listed quite a few pros this time around as this isn’t a bad film, it just isn’t an especially good one. There are moments where Lucas actually knows how to write! Sadly rather than just showing the story he continues to tell us it, especially at the end. After I finish rewatching all the films I’ll do a write-up on the Prequels as a whole and a comparison with the Original Trilogy. Much of this film was made better for me because I got to see a lot of the show in both “Clone Wars” tv shows and that made the story here stronger as characters actually mattered, Jedi weren’t just faceless blank slates who used the force, they were people and monks who had ideals they were fighting for. I would probably have not enjoyed this film as much as I did without that context because it does make scenes stronger.

Final Score: 7.3 / 10

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 4, Episodes 15-18 – “The Obi-Wan Undercover Arc” – Plots and Trust

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     This arc was great at exploring the ends the Jedi will go to meet their ends and how Anakin is growing apart from them and the council and closer to Palpatine. We also get to see Dooku being a great threat again and Cad Bane at work. It was a very great arc that managed to give a fair amount of showing rather than telling. The antagonists were wonderful and seeing Obi-Wan in action was also great.

    “Deception” was directed by Kyle Dunlevy and written by Brent Friedman who also wrote the other 3 episodes in the arc. “Friends and Enemies” was directed by Bosco Ng, “The Box” was directed by Brian Kalin O’Connell and “Crisis on Naboo” was directed by Danny Keller.

    The story involves Obi-Wan faking his own death and taking the identity of his supposed killer Rako Hardeen. Things get complicated when Anakin is seeking revenge against Hardeen and the Jedi Council must be honest to both of them as Dooku’s plot unfolds and Obi-Wan is pulled deeper into the criminal underworld.

The Pros: Going Undercover – The operation of Obi-Wan becoming Hardeen is really well done, as well as his gaining the trust of Moralo Eval who is the main guy behind the plot being used by Dooku. His gaining his and Bane’s trust takes time and he saves them multiple times. It’s very well done and we see him change his face and voice too to fully become the character.

“The Box” – this is what Moralo invents to create the best Bounty Hunters and it helps them form a bond and how they work together. It also shows that Bane is the best as he will go to any means to achieve the mission with Obi-Wan coming in second because of mercy. We also see the coolest Bounty Hunters who survive, such as Embo who is the Samurai alien we’ve met before, Twazzi who is quick and the calmest of the group and Derrown who looks like a three eyed mushroom with tentacles whose tentacles are electric. He is really cool too and of course Eval, Obi-Wan and Bane.

Anakin – We see a lot of Anakin’s anger in this as Obi-Wan’s funeral has him in Dark Side mode and later we see him going his own way and working behind the Council’s back to try and stop Hardeen as we see his loyalty is primarily to Palpatine who listens to him and not the Jedi Council. There are some great character moments because of this.

Cad Bane and the Bounty Hunters – Bane brake Moralo Eval out of prison and helps them escape the Hutt Homeworld as well. It is great in that among the Bounty Hunters, but especially Eval, Obi-Wan and Bane there is always a power struggle going on which creates some great dynamics as Bane is the best of them but Obi-Wan does a great job at pretend. Cad Bane would have won too if not for Obi-Wan but him getting arrested isn’t a big deal as he has escaped multiple times and is the reason Moralo is able to break out in the first place. Bane is one of my favorite characters for a reason.

Palpatine – Palpatine feeds Anakin’s ego in this and we see how smart he is too, from feeding Naboo pride and Nationalism and showing being apart of all of the situation in the first place as it feeds Anakin’s hatred and anger and distrust of the Jedi. It is very well done and we see how good he is at showing rather than telling and how sympathetic he comes off as.

The Naboo Operation and Duel – The Operation was really cool and we see that the only reason Bane doesn’t succeed and Dooku doesn’t win are due to Obi-Wan pulling off his undercover operation so well. The Duel really stands out as we see Anakin’s anger and hate grow as Dooku continues to just beat him over and over again and his anger growing in the process before Obi-Wan arrival changes everything. Bane also holds his own in every fight he is in.

  This was a great arc where even the minor characters like the Bounty Hunters got explored. We also see that Count Dooku is a major threat once more and that he has a deep respect for Obi-Wan who is responsible for both his failure in capturing Palpatine and the capture of Cad Bane. Suffice to say, I recommend this arc.

Final Score: 9.6 / 10