Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

First impressions? (I’ve literally just got back from seeing it!) … Wow! Now I admit that I don’t quite share the negative view that many people have of the first two prequels, but this was something else! Intense, exciting and a sense of horror and despair as we see the relatively peaceful and idyllic Galactic Republic of Episode I crumble. The dialogue is the “usual” standard for George Lucas – something he’s never been good on. Lucas is more of a big picture guy, with a flair for storytelling. Most interesting is Anakin’s journey from the small boy who loves his mother to the figure we see in Episode III.

In Episode I we saw the foundations as Anakin experiences the primal separation from his mother to go and train to be a Jedi. In Episode II we see him torn apart by worry and concern for his mother and when she dies in his arms, this turmoil is translated as murderous & vengeful rage. We even see the young Jedi apprentice express the desire to be powerful enough to help those he loves. In Episode III, the fear of separation and death is transferred from mother to his young wife, Padme Amidala.

Lucas has worked hard to weave Episode III into the plot of the original trilogy; the cynic would see this as mere afterthoughts or weak explanations. The fan sees it as a master story-teller mapping out the details and taking us into the next installment. Whatever your view, it is without doubt that we are ready for Episode IV by the end of this film – in fact, I found myself eagerly looking forward to any kind of hope – the situation is so dire.

Episode III is much more violent than any of the other Star Wars films but the violence is not gratuitous or glorified, but a depiction of some truly horrific acts brought about in the name of evil. It is the darkest installment and yet there is a ray of hope. Whilst I thought there could be no surprises about what happens (it was always just a question of how!), there is a surprise right at the end which has left me totally baffled (see Part 2 below) … My only thought can be that Lucas is leaving us a hook to want to buy the animated “Clone Wars” DVDs that will fill the time between Episode III and IV … but given how well the ends are tied up, I can’t see that very much can happen.

My recommendation? If you’re a skeptic anyway then don’t bother. From seeing other reviews, the skeptics pick up on the bits they want to (like the clunky dialogue). If you’re a Star Wars fanatic, you should enjoy it – try not to let the tarnished memory of Episodes I & II cloud your judgement – this is so much more like the original trilogy. Personally I enjoyed it a lot … I felt a genuine sympathy with the characters and a real sense of terror as events unfolded on screen.

A vast – an immense improvement on Episodes I and II (which I still don’t think were as bad as many people made out), a film well worthy of the Star Wars saga, a cracking finale to the tale of the path of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader and the Dark Side; Dare I suggest, perhaps even the greatest installment of the six Episodes? Well, you’ll just have to decide for yourselves!

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