Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee
The best Star Wars of film of the prequel trilogy (which, admittedly, holds as much honour as the prize for being the best 50 Shades film), Revenge of the Sith gives us the rise of Darth Vader, the reveal of the Sith Lord, the war that the previous five hours of nothing have been building towards and the birth of two characters which will dominate the future films. Unfortunately, though, it does have its issues.
Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen, Attack of the Clones) journey to the dark side has been the theme of the trilogy, and considering the length of these films his turn to the dark side feels somewhat rushed. He’s given a nice arc early on, from being passed on his promotion to Master rank and his premonitions about Padme (Natalie Portman, Attack of the Clones) dying during childbirth, and it I understandable his turn; he’s given logical reasons and I can buy into it. But within ten minutes of initially turning he’s murdering children, and it’s that rushedness which I didn’t care much for. From an angry adolescent to a child-murdering Sith Lord’s apprentice in ten minutes shows a lack of care for the period between him turning and him being Darth Vader. And Hayden Christensen is still useless in his role.
But while Anakin is given a pretty decent story arc, albeit oddly paced, Padme if offered no such luxury. For a woman who was a queen and a politician, and who was shown as a strong character in the first two, it’s a complete demotion in this film as she spends the entirety of the time pregnant and just sort of sitting in her home. She’s also a wife, and is a complete subordinate to her husband. He goes out and fights and plays Jedi, then comes home and Padme asks him how he’s feeling. You would also not know it from her performance (which was okay, at best) but in five years time Natalie Portman would win the Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role (for Black Swan).
However, for the first time in my Star Wars journey, there are probably more positives than negatives to speak of. Firstly, the film is beautiful in both sound and visuals. Easily the best looking film of the trilogy, the planets, characters and space battle scenes, as well as the fight scenes, all come together to create a visually impressive film. And this is only enhanced by the beautiful music that accompanies it: it gradually builds up to the final battle and the music tells this story to perfection. The reason why its presentation score is as low as it is, though, is down to the wipes. I still hate the wipes.
And by far my favourite scene during the franchise (so far) is when the Jedi are all betrayed and killed. Between the sounds, the lack of Jedi screaming, the magnitude of the betrayals, the way it was presented, everything came together to make a beautifully harrowing scene. It is a bit silly how all the Jedi died with such ease when you consider how many of the robots and droids and clones shoot at the main Jedi and fail to kill. I suppose the surprise factor helps but it still was quite laughable when thinking about it.
Easily the best of the prequel trilogy (even if by default), Revenge of the Sith has more action, a more cohesive storyline with marginally better acting. However a lot of talking, Hayden Christensen and a few questionable decisions still allow it to have plenty of negatives, too.
Plot: * * *
Acting: * *
Writing: * *
Presentation: * * *
Overall Rating: * * ½
Other films in the Star Wars series: