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STAR WARS Episode III: REVENGE OF THE SITH

Movie Review by David Blackwell

After all the wait, the final installment of the STAR WARS saga delivers the vital back story to the original trilogy many fans know and love. This final prequel is dark and disturbing. The second half is very powerful and that is where REVENGE OF THE SITH comes alive as a movie. We're here to see Anakin turn into Darth Vader, the Jedi get killed, Luke and Leia get born, and the climatic fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin Skywalker. EMPIRE STRIKES BACK may still be the best STAR WARS movie, but REVENGE OF THE SITH is the most emotionally powerful of the saga.

The movie starts at the end of the war with the Separatists. Anakin and Obi-Wan go on a mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from General Grevious and Count Dooku. After the rescue is accomplished, Palpatine starts advancing his plans to turn Anakin to the Dark Side and bring down the Jedi. He twists Anakin's fears of losing Padme who is pregnant with Luke and Leia. One event leads to another and Anakin kills a ton of Jedi and becomes known as Darth Vader. Senator Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits) tries to save all the Jedi he can as he knows something is wrong including Palpatine declaring the Republic as the first Galactic Empire.

REVENGE OF THE SITH does have it's weak points. Natalie Portman delivers her most wooden performance as Padme to date. George Lucas writes some really terrible dialogue (that have also plagued the other two prequels). The first half of the movie is build up which could have been executed just a little better (but it will do). Anakin's turn to the Dark Side should have been played out more before all the bantha fodder hits the fan. General Grievous (a robot general with a cough) and Count Dooku are basically wasted in the plot to only appear as characters to fight. I do think some reviewers are looking too deep into REVENGE OF THE SITH to find paralells with the current political situation. It is a STAR WARS movie and George Lucas had this story in his head 30 years ago and he isn't trying to comment or reflect on what President Bush is doing?  Let it go, liberals.

Now the strong things about REVENGE OF THE SITH basically amounts to the second half. Ian McDiarmid steals the movie with his turn as Palpatine. Jar Jar Binks only makes two brief appearances with no lines of dialogue. So no Jar Jar to complain about. We have Wookies (including a cameo by Chewbacca). The climatic light saber duel is down and dirty, the best of the STAR WARS movies.  John Williams' score compliments many sequences and even music from previous films make it into the movie at certain moments (Williams has used common themes in all of the STAR WARS films). George Lucas switches back and forth between Anakin and Padme in two pivotal scenes in REVENGE OF THE SITH (the first being the moment when Anakin will make a choice that sends him to the Dark Side). Design elements share elements with sets, ships, and weapons seen in Episodes IV through VI. The room where Palpatine is being held prisoner almost looks like the Emperor's throne room (on the second Death Star) in RETURN OF THE JEDI. Other little connection to the later episodes in the saga are revealed. REVENGE OF THE SITH is a fitting dark bridge to the original trilogy that millions of fans continue to love.

this movie review is (c)5-20-2005 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission. Send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com and look for additional content at http://www.livejournal.com/users/enterlinemedia