Star Wars Week: Revenge of the Sith – Thank God That’s Over With….

Ah, yes, Revenge of the Sith. The movie that is so often said, by many, to be the “darker” film of the franchise. It is the one that is “better” than all the prequels, and can stand leaps above all of the prior mistakes Lucas made with his first two returns into the franchise. Is this all true? Well… all I can do for you, my dear readers, is shrug at that statement. Because, as others have said, there are always two sides–and since this is Star Wars we’re talking about, we definitely got a little bit of the Light and Dark variety to discuss with this one.

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Here’s what you need to know about Episode Three:

  • Anakin and Padme are married. That’s bad, because Jedis are not allowed to fall in love. *queue the Romeo and Juliet references* (aka marriage is a secret).
  • Anakin now has crazy hair, because he’s “deeper” and has a lot of “emotions.”
  • Padme finds out she’s pregnant.
  • Obi-Wan is constantly paranoid about Anakin’s friendship with Palpatine.
  • Palpatine sends out clone troopers to kill off Jedis.
  • Anakin and Palpatine go to bars and talk about their feelings.
  • Anakin has lots of crazy dreams about Padme dying.
  • The big fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan happens over a super obvious CGi thing of Lava.
  • Padme has twins, and we know who they become.
  • “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” happens, and cinema is changed forever.

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As you may remember from reading my Attack of the Clones review, I mentioned that Revenge of the Sith has at least some (though very little) positives compared to  the prior prequels. Though the ones that you might be thinking of, that people constantly say about Episode Three, are not the ones I agree with.

For one, the fact that many people say this is the “darker” Star Wars film is like saying that piece of Milk Chocolate from Hershey’s is darker than the Milk Chocolate from Godiva (or vice versa, depending on your opinion). In all honesty, yeah, Sith is definitely the most violent–but “dark” and “violent” are two very different things, and should never be used to compliment a film. In fact, making remarks like that comes off more like a failure than a success–because it seems an action that is highly immature. But these are the Star Wars prequels we’re talking about, meaning that maturity is nowhere in their dictionary.

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In actuality, Sith’s biggest issue is tone. From awkward romantic dialogue (again), to political discussions (again), incredibly immature comedic lines (again), and the killing of small children (yay…?), instead of feeling like I’ve been rewarded by the end of the movie, I feel the need to take a Tylenol from the headache and emotional roller-coaster the movie left me in. Seriously, no Blue Milk is going to fix this now.

But here is what works with Sith, which is actually what has been working for all three films, but is proved the best here: Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor’s performances as Palpatine (The Emperor) and Obi-Wan, respectively. Both of these guys are trying their best to handle the awful material that is handed to them, and yet still are making it their own. Ian is clearly having the time of his life playing the villainous puppet master and Ewan is bringing the most range and professionalism in the ensemble, particularly during the ending scene.

If this at all though made you curious if Hayden got any better as an actor between Clones and Sith, sadly the answer is no. Anakin is still portrayed with the same bizarre mixture of over and under acting like last time, making the infamous Sand scene from Clones look more like an Academy Award winning moment by comparison. Granted, sure, Hayden can look scary when he needs to near the end–but a lot of it is ruined because we’re reminded of his bratty attitude from the prior film.

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Speaking of which, that’s another thing that gets ruined for me with speaking of this film: The Seriousness. This is supposed to be the most important moment in Anakin’s life–where he becomes the all mighty Darth Vader, and his life is completely taken over by the Dark Side. But instead of feeling the weight and intensity of this part of the story, I am constantly reminded of how much I don’t really care about these characters. Anakin is mentally a child and a creepy stalker who truly doesn’t have anything that makes me feel sympathetic towards him, Padme falls for his shenanigans and makes a life with him, and everyone else in the story is putting way too much faith in him to do good–you know, trusting the guy that talks at length about Sand.

So while I would love to actually enjoy this aspect of the story and feel the emotional weight that I should, I can’t really physically attempt to even try when they are being written in such a rushed fashion by Lucas. Seriously, how is one supposed to feel for a cast made entirely of cardboard? I have more emotional attachment to Stick Stickly from Nickelodeon than I do to any of these galactic knuckleheads.

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So on the bright side, we’re done with the prequels. On the other hand, these movies are definitely an exercise in patience, considering I am wasting almost two and a half hours per movie, of my life, that I can’t get back. I love Star Wars, and I love bad movies. But boring movies? Those are ones I can’t stomach, and not one, but three boring Star Wars films is the worst that cinema can offer. Why? Because these shouldn’t be boring. In fact, these should be the most unboring movies to ever be unboring. But instead, I’m left snoozing while the beautiful music of John Williams plays through my TV speakers. And that is a crime, one that Lucas should be ashamed of.

So what do you think of Revenge of the Sith? Do you cry “Yes” when watching it, or “No” like I do? Are you a Hayden lover or hater? Do you love the prequels or think otherwise? Tell us all your feelings down below! And tomorrow, look out for new writer Tania’s review of Star Wars: A New Hope.

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One thought on “Star Wars Week: Revenge of the Sith – Thank God That’s Over With….

  1. So, I think the main issue here is that you didn’t watch the 6 seasons of The Clone Wars.

    Anakin’s a MUCH more likeable guy in that show – at least when he’s not being a bad husband – and it fleshes out his character in ways that make it feel like well, his bad stuff in EPII could have just been him acting out as a rotten teenager, but over the course of the show, his unconventional style becomes darker and darker, and he becomes more and more of a difficult character to like (to the point where he almost causes Padmé to leave him – she should have, given what he later did to her – in Season 6). It’s also really helpful for him to play off of a female character that’s not a love interest – his Padawan, Ahsoka Tano – for whom we can see genuine friendship and compassion. Certainly Ahoska’s presence is missed when she leaves the series at the end of Season 5, and it sets the stage for the much darker tone of Season 6 that melds into EPIII.

    In any case, we’re here to talk about EPIII, and it opens up with a fantastic Space Battle. THIS is Star Wars. What a great way to do a opening. Rescue mission tied into major battle over the capital and they also are able to start showing Anakin’s dark ways to prepare for his turn by the later part of the film.

    I agree with you on dialogues – strongest are when Kenobi or Palpatine are in the scene, weakest, unfortunately, when Anakin is with Padmé. But Anakin’s dialogue always seems stronger when he’s playing off of Kenobi.

    Honestly, I find the tone just right in this film. Politics are an overarching theme in these prequels, and thus they have a very different timbre than the original films. Palpatine’s engineered a war to guide the will of the people to his side. He’s created an army that follows his will and not the Jedi. Everything has been put in place over the past 3 years of conflict for him to sweep in and turn it into an Empire. We’re in the last stages of the war, and it’s gotten interesting. Humor is mostly absent in the film, but the playful banter of Anakin and Kenobi is a highlight on their relationship, giving weight to the conflict in the final act.

    In previous viewings, I always found Anakin’s flip flop into becoming the very thing he fought against as a weak point – it wasn’t set up well enough, it seemed he was suddenly willing to do monstrous things like kill Younglings. I think the depth given to him in the TV show allowed that change to feel more seamless in this viewing.

    I certainly prefer Anakin’s hair in this film – never much liked the Padawan short-cuts, and love long, flowing hair on male heroes. Nice to have a long, curly-haired lead, too.

    In any case, EPIII I think is pretty good. Again, none of the prequels meet the originals in quality, but I was again surprised at how much I liked in it.

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