So, since I saw Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith last week, and since I’m a self-respecting geek, I just have to render my opinion. I’m not a manager, but I’ll use a bullet list anyway. 🙂
Warning: Mild spoilers may follow.
- The action sequences were almost universally good. I saw some of the ‘making of’ material, which gave me a better appreciation for how much work goes into the fighting sequences (even if they’re choreographed). They speed the action up a lot less than you might think.
- Best Big Space Battle since Return of the Jedi, without question. I still find myself wondering if Anakin really does anything that earns Obi-wan’s comment in A New Hope (“He was the greatest star pilot in the galaxy…”).
- Anakin’s confrontation with Palpatine. A rare exception to the mostly-flat dialogue that’s plagued the new trilogy.
- The movie does a VERY good (but not quite perfect) job of tying up the loose ends and flowing into A New Hope, avoiding any major inconsistencies (more on that in the Bad).
- Ewan MacGregor’s Obi-wan in this movie is the best yet, and IMHO the best character of the new movies. He’s the best thing going for this movie.
- This movie, as had been said, is darker than the others have been, and rightly so. This is mostly well done, feeling serious but not overwrought – hopefully you’ll see what I mean without me giving any spoiler examples, but I can in the comments if you like.
- Jar Jar does not have a SINGLE line of dialogue.
- The dialog is still mostly flat, and comes off as forced or even recited. I know most of these actors can do better, so I still blame Lucas. You create such great stories, why can’t you let someone else tell them? ESB is the shining example of what happens when someone else directs a story you create, and allows dialogue to be tweaked to fit the actors and the moment. There were some attempts to improve in this, but most of them just didn’t work.
- The political undertone – this one is sort of mixed. On one hand, seeing the Emperor’s plan in its full scope and complexity is something, and the fall from republic to empire is believable but still suitably mourned (One of Natalie Portman’s few good lines, IMHO, is her characterization of “how liberty dies”). However, to think that could accurately apply to any modern politics is, at best, a huge stretch. Try to imagine a President popular enough to repeal the term limit, and you’ll see what I mean.
- I just can’t like the way Anakin’s fall was handled. I can’t go into it without spoiling it, though. This is the biggest area where continuity into A New Hope seems like a stretch.
- Padme’s outcome doesn’t match up with how I imagine her character (as in, integrity, determination, etc.) in the previous movies. She’s stronger than that (saying more is a spoiler).
- Jar Jar doesn’t die by the end of the movie. In the name of all that is good and just in the world, Jar Jar should have died at Darth SOMEONE’S hands. Or gotten hit by a bus. ANYTHING. At least he didn’t say anything.
- Someone else pointed this out to me, but there’s ONE big glitch in the plot development at the end of the movie that kind of stretches believability in a “24” sense. Only a Star Wars geek would care, though.
Overall, Episodes 1 and 2 were a few diamonds in a lot of rough, and this movie was much closer to the other way around.
My gripes about the new trilogy come down to one missing thing: Han Solo is what MADE the original trilogy. Part of that is no doubt Harrison Ford’s ability to portray and personalize the character, but the lack of any character of that nature in the new movies seems to be the problem. He wasn’t the one the plot revolved around, but he’s the one who brought the scenes to life and gave the story a more approachable feel, since he’s not a Jedi or a Queen or an Emperor, he’s just a guy thrust into “more than he bargained for”.
The new movies don’t have a character I can identify with. I’m not sure which is more important – the normal guy (sure, great shot, great pilot, but not a magician or royalty or a general – just a guy), or his “anti-hero” personality. But the new trilogy lacks both.
But, having said all that, I’ll have to buy the new trilogy when it comes out as a set, to go with the Original Trilogy that I finally got on DVD last year. I’d been holding off, but the 3rd one did a good enough job to make the whole story worth having, IMHO.
I’ll go into the unanswered questions/minor inconsistencies in the comments, if there’s interest.