Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith


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 Good



  • 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 Bad



  • 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).

 


The Ugly



  • 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.

Comments (10)
  1. Rob Cannon says:

    So, what is the glitch?

  2. CRathjen says:

    So, near the end of the movie, Palpatine (on Coruscant) says he "senses Vader is in danger" – simultaneously as he’s beginning his final confrontation with Obi-wan, way out in the Outer Rim on Mustafar (or whatever it was).

    Yet, somehow, Palpatine can get out there soon enough after the fight ends to scoop up Vader after Obi-wan leaves him there to die.

    The only explanations are either:

    1) The scenes with Palpatine are actually days or weeks earlier, and he’s sensing the path Vader’s going down while Vader himself is still on the way (doesn’t make much sense)

    2) Vader holds on, near-death, for days or weeks (not very likely either)

    or

    3) Palpatine’s ship is powered by the Plot Device, and can get him from Coruscant to the Outer Rim in a few hours at most, where this trip is normally rather time consuming (apparently – if not, hiding out in the Outer Rim wouldn’t be much protection, would it?)

    It’s one of those sacrifices of accuracy for the convenience of the story, though in my personal opinion it’s an understandable one. So, like I said, something probably only a true Geek would notice on their own (I didn’t), let alone take issue with.

  3. James T. Johnson says:

    Thank a caller to the Glenn Beck show for this one, but Jar Jar does have a single 2-word line.

    Shortly after the big space battle Jar Jar bumps into someone and says "Excuse me". I confirmed this when I saw the movie last night.

  4. CRathjen says:

    I stand (sit) corrected. At least I didn’t catch it 🙂

    And at least it wasn’t "Meesa so sorry for running into yousa". URGH.

  5. steven says:

    That must’ve been Jar Jar excusing himself for all the pain and suffering he caused. (Perhaps even George himself :))

    Travel to/from Mustafar doesn’t seem to take very long. At least, I got that impression from all travels there (Anakin, then Padme and Obi, and finally Palpatine). When I watched the movie, the events on Mustafar, overlapping events on Coruscant, all seemed to take place on the same day. A matter of hours, even.

  6. RacerX says:

    Just a couple comments on the above situation.

    Regarding transportation speed- I watched EpIII last night, and boy – can that Death Star haul ass. It hops from planet to planet just like that.

    Now – a couple discrepancies that I have to put out SOMEWHERE-

    Ben Kenobi was present for the birth of Luke and Leia. So why, when in EpIV, when Luke is departing Degobah, does he say ‘That boy is our last hope?’ He should KNOW that there is another hope. And if I remember correctly, Yoda does NOT know.

    And the other one, which I have seen mentioned elsewhere- if immortality can be ‘taught,’ why does Vader become a spirit at the end of EpVI? Who told him about it?

    So anyway, there you go.

    Rx

  7. CRathjen says:

    Good points – though Yoda does say "no…there is another" as Luke takes off in ESB, and is the one who tells Luke that "there is another Skywalker" in RotJ, which leads Luke to ask Obi-wan about it and thus leads to the sister discussion.

    Perhaps Obi-wan thinks it’s too late to start Leia down the same road? He must know who she is.

    I don’t have an answer for the Vader "blue glowy" except that it’s a happier way to end the thing 🙂

  8. Anne says:

    Three things bothered me – one of them is very minor. Nitpicky one first: Luke is 18 at the start of Ep. IV, right? Obi-wan aged from Ewan MacGregor to Alec Guinness in 18 years?

    Bigger inconsistencies are the other two. First, Padme dies in childbirth yet in Ep. VI, Luke asks Leia what she remembers about her real mother. Her answer leads you to believe that she remembers very little but does remember some things. Impossible.

    In Ep. IV, when Obi-Wan gives the light sabre to Luke, he tells him that it belonged to his father and that his father, "wanted you to have it." Again, impossible if Anakin/Darth believed the child(ren) had died with Padme.

    I suppose Lucas would answer the inconsistences by babbling something about the Force.

  9. CRathjen says:

    I agree with you on the aging, though I’m willing to forgive it since Ewan did a very good job of being himself yet still coming across as the younger Alec at the same time. Maybe that desert air is hard on ya? 🙂

    I chalked up the Leia remembering her mother thing as her remembering *Mrs. Organa* and maybe SHE dies when Leia’s young, and Bail raises her by himself from then on, or something. But, that’s more like a justification than a real answer.

    The lightsaber thing is another one where I would just ascribe it to Obi-wan telling things "from a certain point of view" rather than going for historical accuracy. Or, to put it more cynically, it made for a better line when Episode 4 was written, but having Obi-wan just keep Anakin’s saber at the end of Episode 3, WITHOUT some sappy scene where Anakin would have told Obi-wan that he’d want his child to be a jedi like him is probably a good thing; it would have felt forced.

    I would never have wanted to sign up to try to put all the pieces together in Episode 3. There’s still so many sacrifices in the name of making Episode 3, with modern SFX and CGI, still lead into the much more primitive graphics and effects of Episode 4. There’s no possible way to explain why the ships in 4-6 are simpler, why there’s no color scheme on the storm troopers, etc. – those things were added to 1-3 because of a bigger budget and better CGI, so I don’t really blame Lucas for not trying to *force* everything to tail off into Episode 4.

    Like, we don’t ever really get a firm answer on whether Stormtroopers and TIE pilots are still clones or not – there’s no clean break, but their voices aren’t all "Fett" voices anymore, either. I saw a line in one of the companion books that the Republic was breeding "ace pilot recruit lineages" for fighter pilots by the time of Ep. 3, but that doesn’t clarify whether the original was a Fett clone or not. Stuff like that.

  10. CRathjen says:

    One other comment on the Obi-wan in Ep. 4 vs. the actual events stuff:

    Contrary to Lucas’s statements, I just don’t buy that Episode 4 was *done* with even episode 5, let alone the 3 prequels, clearly in mind as far as continuity is concerned. I think he made Episode 4 to be as good a standalone movie as he could; when it was more successful than any of them expected, then he started worrying about making 5 and 6 into a whole trilogy, and only after that did he really start thinking about how to tie the major parts of 1-3 in as well.

    Things like Vader "murdering Luke’s father" and Anakin "wanting Luke to have his lightsaber" make a lot more sense when viewed from that angle, IMHO: Sacrifices to the realities of moviemaking. Luke is just the farm kid who takes on the world in the first movie, when it’s still possibly a SINGLE movie. But, there HAS to be a bigger story behind him and Vader and their emnity if you’re going to make 2 more movies out of it, let alone 3 MORE after that.

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