Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the Sith
Review by Drew Bittner
Theatrical ISBN/ITEM#: B00005JLXF
Date: 19 May 2005 / Show Official Info /
IMDB SITE: Revenge of the Sith Official Site: Cast: Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) / Natalie Portman (Padm?) / Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) / Ian McDiarmid (Supreme Chancellor Palpatine/Darth Sidious) / Samuel L. Jackson (Mace Windu) / Jimmy Smits (Senator Bail Organa) / Frank Oz (Yoda [voice]) / Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) / Christopher Lee (Count Dooku) / Keisha Castle-Hughes (Queen of Naboo) / Silas Carson (Ki-Adi-Mundi & Nute Gunray) / Jay Laga'aia (Captain Typho) / Bruce Spence (Tion Medon) / Wayne Pygram (Governor Tarkin) / Temuera Morrison (Commander Cody) / James Earl Jones (voice of Darth Vader)
NOTE: SOME SPOILERS BELOW
The final installment of the epic Star Wars saga is here. Launched in 1977, this movie delivers on one of the biggest fan-demanded back stories of all cinema: the origin of Darth Vader.
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knights, are heroes of the Republic. Their daring exploits have made them famous throughout the galaxy, but as this movie opens, they face a daunting challenge: saving Chancellor Palpatine from the Separatist military leader, the half-droid General Grievous. They fight their way onto the flagship and send Grievous fleeing, but then must battle the dreaded Count Dooku once again. Obi-Wan is knocked unconscious, leaving Anakin to kill the fallen Jedi-- after he's cut off his hands and left him helpless. (Does anyone else think Anakin's pretty well into the Dark Side of the Force by now?)
With Palpatine safe, the two Jedi must pilot a fragment of the dying ship to a planetary landing-- no easy task, even for a Jedi like Anakin.
Shortly after, Anakin reunites with his wife, Padm? Amidala. He has a vision of her dying in childbirth--which is particularly wrenching as she's just revealed she is pregnant. Desperate not to lose Padm?, Anakin seeks advice... but instead is asked by the Jedi Council to spy on Palpatine, even as he maneuvers Anakin onto the Council against their will. The older Jedi do not fully trust the Chancellor or his protege, which drives deeper wedges between Anakin and his fellow knights. Palpatine plays on this, suggesting that the Jedi may seek to seize power from themselves.
Obi-Wan sets out after Grievous, an assignment Anakin wanted for himself. He finds the bio-mechanical fiend, who wields four lightsabers at once, and engages him in a running fight from lizardback. At the same time, Yoda sets out to help the Wookiees on their homeworld, leading a force of clone troopers to break the droid army's siege.
Anakin, struggling with his growing desperation, seeks help from Palpatine-- and finds proof that he is in fact Darth Sidious, the Sith Lord behind the terrible events of the past two decades. While Anakin struggles with this crisis of realization, he passes along to Mace Windu what he's learned-- but then chooses the Dark Side over allegiance to the Jedi.
Now, as the newly-christened Darth Vader, Anakin leads a division of clone troopers to the Jedi Temple... and Palpatine issues Order 66, commanding the clone armies to kill their Jedi commanders.
Obi-Wan and Yoda find proof of Anakin's treachery. While Obi-Wan hurries to confront his former Padawan, seeking knowledge of his whereabouts from Padm?, Yoda faces off against Sidious in a blizzard of destruction inside the cavernous Senate chamber.
Obi-Wan faces off against the new Darth Vader on the volcanic planet Mustafar. Pretty much anyone who's seen a Star Wars movie knows the outcome here in not a happy one.
The movie fulfills the intent of the prequel trilogy, which was showing the temptation and fall of Anakin Skywalker. While far better than the previous two installments, this puzzle-piece doesn't quite join to the original 1977 movie. Fans of the series have argued the inconsistencies to death, yet if a viewer can ignore a flawed story arc, Revenge of the Sith is entertaining and not a bad coda to the saga.
Ian McDiarmid is evidently having a blast playing the Emperor, while Ewan McGregor channels his inner Alec Guinness more than ever--his mannerisms are spot-on. Natalie Portman has less screen time than before, reduced to playing a weepy and lovelorn version of her character, while Hayden Christensen is allowed (finally!) to stop whining and dig into something meaty. And Samuel L. Jackson gets one fantastic death scene.
Whether it's recommended or not, this movie will do large box office numbers, so... may as well go along and see it. The effects alone are dazzling and worth the price of admission. (By the way, look for a Millennium Falcon cameo early on.)