Revenge of the Sith Review


17-05-2005 09:23:44

To quote Rick McCallum who introduced the movie on stage, "two words: f*****g awesome".

There really is no better way to put it. ROTS absolutely rocks and blows all the other Prequels out of the water, ranking up there with the Originals. I must say it is a very different film though, so its hard to directly compare, but its definately up there with the best of them.

After a day of anticipation, getting to the cinema at 6:45am and sitting through the whole of the Original Trilogy followed by Episodes 1 and 2 the atmosphere was electric. By the time it finally got to 8:30pm and the scheduled start for ROTS people were going wild.. then we had to wait when they put on a history of Star Wars music video. It went on. And on. And on. People started getting impatient yelling "Turn it off!" before starting to stomp in sequence and yelling "We want George! We want George!" it was just great. Then it happened. A batallion of Stormtroopers marched in from all the doors, leading up to the stage, assembling before Darth Vader arrived... to introduce Rick McCallum. He then introduced "the one who really f***s everything up", Ian McDiarmid, followed by "the one who tries really hard, but still manages to f*** it all up", Hayden Christensen and finally, the man himself, George Lucas. After a brief talk to the crowd, Revenge of the Sith, after over 14 hours of waiting, finally began.


Wow. In the first ten seconds of the film after the openig scroll: wow. My jaw was literally dropping already at the sight of the Battle of Coruscant. The first shot of the film was of two Jedi starfighters weaving around the outside of a star destroyer. It wasted no time. The first line was "There's General Grievous's ship right ahead". No crap. No pointless dialogue. Pure action. Then shortly we get right into the action on the General's flagship. R2 has some great moments, its genuinely funny to watch, and the way he dispatches of some of the Super Battle Droids is unforgetable. The fight with Count Dooku... excellent. Lightsaber on lightsaber action within the first fifteen minutese. Ian as Palpatine is great. He's so dark he's actually funny to listen to, its almost like a black comedy. The man is great. Despite being thought of as an unnecessary extra General Grievous is actually a great addition to the film. He is an extra, he's not part of the main plot, but it works best that way. They don't waste time with him, they stick to what we want to see: lightsabers. Dialogue time is saved for Palpatine and Anakin.

The way Anakin turns, despite being criticised as "too fast" is masterful. Listening to Palpatine talk about the death of Darth Plageuis, his master, with a smug smirk on his face is simply great. He really works Anakin convincingly and you can really understand why Anakin couldn't kill Palpatine. When he finally turns you can, to quote Luke, "feel the conflict within" him, because you can see how much Anakin really doesn't want to betray the Jedi, but has no choice if he wants to save his wife. The way Hayden stumble to the ground unwillingly when he bows before Palpatine is a great moment. The whole fight with Mace Windu is amazing. Palpatine is like Yoda on Speed, he flips, he kicks, he blasts, he slices, he dices. The Jedi don't stand a chance. The man's facial expressions make him look, and sound, like some kind of wild vicious animal, its great. It leaves no doubt about how the Sith have managed to do all this and how pathetic the Jedi always were compared to Palpatine. You really do come to appreciate just why he is called the greatest Dark Lord the Sith had ever known.

The cinematic effects for the whole of the turn are brilliant, especially when you remember this is a Star Wars film, something that started out as a B-Movie. The way the scenes cut back and forth between Anakin and Padme when he's waiting at the Jedi Temple not knowing what to do is a great work of cinema. It really gives meaning to the pair's relationship and works well to explain just how Anakin was manipulated so well by Palpatine. The boy is totally brainwashed, and believably so. There's no "why would he do that?" it all makes perfect sense.

The Jedi Purge and Order 66. Rick McCallum said it best. There are no other words. People in the audience were literally saying "my god..." in disbelief when they saw Anakin walk through the Temple. Even though the seen cuts away just seeing him ignite his blade in front of a group of unarmed children is such a powerful image. The guy kills kids in cold blood. Its not without reason though, he's doing it all because he needs to save his wife, but its still powerful. The shots of Jedi being killed everywhere is great stuff too and the music very fitting. It really is the death, not just the end, of the Jedi. They've totally lost. Palpatine has manipulated the lot of them for years. Seeing the clones gun them down, and continue to fire rounds into their backs even once they're laying on the ground dead is great. These are the cold Stormtroopers we all remember. Remorseless; empty; killing machines. When Bail Organa arrives at the Jedi Temple and you see the clones (and you actually see this) gunning down a small boy wielding a lightsaber, no older than 12 at the most, you realise just how heartless Anakin has become- or perhaps the problem is too heartful, depending on your point of view.

It actually made me feel bad to roleplay a Dark Jedi. The scenes were that powerful. Those who have ever disputed that the Sith are evil will see in ROTS how wrong they were. The Palpatine we know from Episodes 1 and 2 doesn't exist. He never existed. He was an act. The real Sith Lord is the incarnation of the Devil. He is pure evil. Pure hate. Pure malice. He has no heart or soul at all. Even before his face turns into the disfigured mask we saw in the Emperor of ROTJ we can see just how purely evil this man is. When he's fighting Mace Windu, slaughtering the Jedi, you can see just how cruel and twisted the Sith always were. Palpatine feels more like one of the Sith Lords from the old Jedi Knights comics set 5000 years ago than the modern diplomat we've all come to think of him as. Sure, he manipulates people, but the guy is a living demon when he wants to be. His sheer brutality is almost sickening at times.

The scene when Obi-Wan and Yoda return to the Jedi Temple is very powerful. Corpses litter the whole building. Ewan is simply great as Obi-Wan. He's great throughout the whole film, the fight with General Grievous that happens around the time when Palpatine is slaughtering Jedi in his office is amazing. Its very pleasing compared to the novel. The idea of a droid having a chance against a Jedi always sounded strange in writing. In the film Obi-Wan is a badass. Grievous is just a coward who never stood a chance. Sure, he's cool. He can twirl four lightsabers around like fan blades by spinning his wrists, but against the most badass Jedi Knight in the galaxy he just doesn't stand a chance. Ewan's acting is great though when they return to the temple. He really does fall apart when he seens the video recordings of Anakin moving through the temple slaughtering Padawans.

Then we finally come to it. The duel. Its really two duels, and both deserve just as much credit as the other. Anakin against Obi-Wan and Yoda against Palpatine. The start to the Anakin and Obi-Wan duel is powerful stuff again. Portman actually shows she can act, even though the lines might be a little cheesy they work and Obi-Wan comes off brilliantly when telling Anakin to put her down after he's started to Force choke her. The man sounds pissed off. Seriously pissed off. The whole duel puts all previous ones to shame. Its lightning fast. The two are a perfect match, its almost like watching somebody fighting a mirror image. Even the Darth Maul fight is nothing compared to this. The scene switches back and forth with Yoda and Palpatine. That fight is great in itself. Palpatine again fights like Yoda did in AOTC. Its great to watch. The way the two go at it with lightsabers, lightning, the Force. If you thought Palpatine seemed even slightly powerful in ROTJ you haven't seen anything yet. The symbolism of Palpatine literally smashing the Senate chamber apart really reflects how democracy has been torn apart and the dawn of a new dark and evil age began. Its far better than in the novel. The two reach a stalemate in the end which feels much more rewarding than just seeing Yoda get his ass kicked. Oh, it gets kicked alright, but the little green frogman can give just as well as he can take. When he Force blasts Palpatine right into his own chair, sending him crashing into it and flipping over backwards is a great moment to watch. The novel made too much of a thing about Yoda failing, here we don't see Yoda fail, we just see that Palpatine is every bit as powerful as the Jedi. Without the rest of the Jedi Order to protect him Yoda just doesn't have it in him to win.

Then we come to the end of the other duel. Its highly emotive as both Anakin and Obi-Wan throw everything they have at each other. Its such a turn. At the start of the film you watch them fighting side by side, in perfect unison, Obi-Wan even says it when he tells the Chancellor "Sith Lords are our speciality". Yet then, just over two hours later, we see the two tearing into each other. It really demonstrates the extent of Palpatine's corruption. The brief pause they have to talk to each other when the facility falls apart into the lava goes to show just have far Anakin has fallen. To quote Obi-Wan, "Anakin, you are lost", and its not a sympathetic line, its almost demeaning. In the end Obi-Wan is like a father shouting at the son who let him down in every way imaginble. The "you were the Chosen One! You were meant to destory the Sith, not join them!" line really sends the message home. In the book Obi-Wan wanted to save Anakin, but Palpatine arrived and he had to run. In the film he turns his back on him and walks away. Its so much better in the film version. Obi-Wan doesn't leave to save his skin. He leaves Anakin to burn (and catch fire he literally does) because, like the man said, Anakin is completely lost, there's no coming back. It really shows why in Episode 4 Anakin completely hates Obi-Wan.

The final major scene shows the birth of the twins, intercut with the birth of Darth Vader. Its a fanstastic effect. The screen cuts back and forth between identical angles of Padme and Anakin. The two die together. As Anakin finally dies so does Padme. Theres a great shot from Anakin's eyes as the mask comes down to cover his face. And so it is complete. Darth Vader is finally born. I'm told its been criticised as something out of Frankenstein's Monster, but it works. When Palpatine tells him he killed Padme in his anger he wrenches his arms out of their shackles, tearing them apart while using the Force to totally destroy everything in the room. It really does symbolise just what a monstrous creation Darth Vader is, and how there really isn't any part of Anakin Skywalker left.

The final shots of Leia arriving on Alderaan and Obi-Wan delivering Luke to the Lars close the movie, along with the shot of the Emperor and his new Apprentice surveying the construction of the Death Star with a much younger Tarkin. The return to some of the classic tracks from the Original Trilogy, Leia's theme for Alderaan, and Luke's for Tatooine, really do work to wind up the final installment of a Saga that has taken almost 30 years to complete. Having sat down to watch ANH at 7am, and to finish with ROTS at abou 11:30pm, it really does make you apprecicate how far you have gone to come full circe. "The Circle is now complete", indeed.

To top it all off, after it all I got to shake both Rick McCallum's and George Lucas's hands. Nothing beats that for a Star War fan who has just sat through over 15 hours of cinema.


17-05-2005 10:03:08

Did you get a picture for those things happen once in a life time. You have now officially made me very envious of your situation. I did not read the middle portion of your post as I am going to see the movie this wednesday at Midnight and would prefer to be left in the dark untill the screen goes black and the Star Wars symbols cover the entire screen.

Good on you mate!


17-05-2005 10:45:28

I forgot to take my camera unfortunately, still, there are lots of pictures available one where other people took tons so it isn't too bad.

I'd actually seriously recommend people read the novel before seeing the film. So much happens that if you don't know what the plot is you're going to be spending most of your first viewing wondering what is going on. If you're planning to see it more than once then it isn't much of a problem but it really is a film that won't make hardly any sense if you go in totally blank without any idea of what to expect.

I had a trouble keeping up as it is so fast paced, and I already knew the plot and every scene inside out. I can imagine without knowing the plot in advance it'll be over before you even know what's happened.


17-05-2005 12:01:06

By the way Tiberius... if you thought that clip you have of Palpatine in your avatar is cool... just wait until you see the film :)

Palpatine kicks serious arse, it makes Yoda's fighting in AOTC look weak by comparison.


17-05-2005 12:38:36

Whoot Whoot

I cant wait. This is going to be great!


17-05-2005 12:51:43

Have you played the game yet? It follows the battle of Anakin and Obi-Wan pretty good


17-05-2005 15:11:19

I haven't played the game. I've read the novel though. The film was very different to the novel, in a good way. I finished the novel thinking "Palpatine is cool. The Sith rock". I came out of ROTS thinking "Palpatine is an evil SOB. He needs to die. The Sith are evil". It really goes to show how different the same story can be depending on the point of view.

Its very melancholic really which may be the wierdest thing about ROTS. When you leave you don't feel like its the end, because its not, Episode III is only the beginning of the Original Trilogy, which is kind of hard to get your head around. Its the last movie but only the middle of the story. The idea of a "Prequel Trilogy" doesn't really work with ROTS as in no way does it feel like the "end" of a trilogy, not unless you're prepared to accept that in the end the good guys completely lose, which is a strange feeling compared to 99.99% of films and stories. I left ROTS wishing I had a copy of ROTJ on me as I just wanted to see the Emperor get his ass kicked again, as after what he did in ROTS he deserved it.

Thats all good though really. Its a great film. Its just hard to think about it as "the end" of the Star Wars Saga, as the film leaves you wanting a lot more, as its really just the beginning of the story.


17-05-2005 18:43:30

I **SO** wish that I could have flown over to go see this event! But that was just not going to happen. a flight from Orlando to the UK is pretty expensive, especially since this is my fifth anniversary of being married and I've spent a lot of money getting the requisite "special anniversary gift" so far... ;)

Anyway, I got the unabridged version of the book and finished it about a week ago. I was a bit concerned about how they were going to fit all that information in a two hour movie, but I guess I don't have to worry about that. I just can't wait until I get a chance to see it!

Thanks for the review!


17-05-2005 19:11:20

Yeah, there is a lot of material in the film. There isn't a wasted second. I kept thinking "damn, its gonna be over soon" as so much had happened, but it was really only like halfway through at the time. It may only be an extra 20-25 minutes longer but they really have crammed a whole lot of stuff into those extra minutes.

The DVD release is going to rule. They must have filmed at least an extra 20 minutes of deleted scenes, when those are readded for the home release... damn... it'll be practically LOTR in length.


17-05-2005 19:26:04

ARGH! The suspence is [Expletive Deleted F-word]ing killing me! I cant wait! I've been watching the tralers over and over again. I've read the script, i've read the spoilers. Im know it backwards and forwards, but i still cant wait! Its tomorrow at midnite, but thats to damn far way! I think i'm going to go crazy all day tomorow! I'm already going crazy. I CANT WAIT!


As for the DVD i hope they do an extened version like LOTR did. With all the bonus crap with it.


18-05-2005 22:06:34

Damn , this makes me want to see the movie so bad.