The Star Wars saga is now complete on DVD with Episode III REVENGE OF THE SITH. Torn between loyalty to his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the seductive powers of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker ultimately turns his back on the Je... more »di, thus completing his journey to the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader. Experience the breathtaking scope of the final chapter in spectacular clarity and relive all the epic battles including the final climactic lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan.« less
"I never really understood what was so great about the Star Wars movies when I was growing up. I was born after the originals were released, so I was never a part of that "culture" that Star Wars is. I saw them when I was around 13 or 14 and fell asleep before the end of all three. I never had the desire to really see them again until Phantom Menace came out. I didn't see it in theaters, but I watched it, liked it, and waited for the next one to come out. I liked Episode II a lot better (I have to admit that half of that appreciation is because I love Haydn), but I still didn't really "get" Star Wars. Well, I saw the triler for the third film, and I thought it looked really good. I also thought it was going to be sad, but I didn't realize that I was going to cry all the way home from the movie theater! After the experience of seeing Episode III, I now finally understand what Star Wars is all about, and I love it! This movie perfectly ties the two trilogies together. It is so emotionally powerful. I know a lot of people say that George Lucas can't write diologue and can't direct anything but action scenes, but I completely disagree. Though some lines are a bit corny, each scene is treated with a tremendous amount of care and sets up your emotions so that you react to certain sad cercumstances (I'm sure you know what I'm refering to)in a very personal way. I have watched all three of the first series since seeing Episode III, and I appreciate them so much, because now I understand!"
Episode III Not The Perfect Movie, But The Perfect MovieGoin
Kenneth Of The Shire | California | 10/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have often thought upon viewing the prequel trilogy, the intervening years between the original and the new. To be sure, most of the criticisms of the new trilogy are adult in nature. We speak ill of wooden dialogue and acting, convoluted storylines, and themes that aren't true to the nature of the purity of science fiction. I was only five when Episode IV was release, so my only criticism of that particular film came in the form of whining to my folks that I couldn't see it again and again and again. My point is this: George Lucas has his flaws, most of which are related to him being out of the director's chair for more than 20 years before embarking on his new trilogy toy, but I think, more importantly, that we as a filmgoing populace have changed as well. The fact that Lucas has been able to bridge that gap successfully (while telling the story backwards, to boot!) demonstrates the man's immense talents. Perfect? Far from it, but damned entertaining, nonetheless. Which brings me to the crown jewel of the prequel trilogy. "Revenge of the Sith" is the second best film of all six, ranking only behind "The Empire Strikes Back" in terms of depth an substance. The acting is better and the writing, if not terrific, is helped by a game cast and a pace that doesn't allow you to catch your breath. Hayden Christiansan, for the most part, owns this role, displaying an adult gravity he was unable to display in the dramatically clunky "Attack of the Clones" The rage, frustration, and fear contrasted with Anakin's heroism and confidence in the face of battle made for a complex character who you found yourself rooting for despite the story's preordained outcome. The special effects, as usual, are outstanding, but for the most part serve the film this time. There are points during the first two prequel films that you feel Lucas and Co. are simply showing off some of their shiny new toys, but in this film there is a more concrete sense of purpose. Dramatically the film belongs to Ian McDiarmid. His performance creates the right balance of charm and villiany and by doing so makes Anakin's turn all the more believable even though the turn itself feels a tad sudden. In fact, I dare say that I enjoyed McDiarmid more when he was under the guise of Palpatine than when he fully reveals himself as Sidious. The scene during the opera is one of the great dramatic highpoints of any of the six movies. As for the flaws: sure, there were a few. I would like to have seen a more galvanizing series of events leading to Anakin's turn, perhaps some more perceived betrayals at the hands of the Jedi Council? I would like to have seen a more fleshed out performance by Natalie Portman, who seems to be more of an afterthought than a character in the third film. (On a side note, Portman is a terrific actress, but was, in this humble reviewer's opinion, the most ill-served of the entire cast by the clunky dialogue that pervades all three films.) The one part to which I didn't object that seemed to be the bane of many Star Wars fans is the scene involving the birth of Vader. I liked the allusions to "Frankenstein" for that is what Vader's story eventually becomes in the following trilogy: a search for his humanity, much like Mary Shelley's creation. I also didn't have a problem with Vader's reaction to the fact he'd caused Padme's death. You have to remember that, despite the fact that he now has James Earl Jones' booming voice, he's still Anakin and still very young. It does sound odd, I admit, but it's still completely in character. You also have to remember that Darth Vader will have a good 20 to 25 years to complete his transformation into the cold, remorseless killing machine we come to know and love in Episode IV. In all, "Revenge of the Sith" does a terrific job of tying things together in a manner that harkens back to when I was a child watching Star Wars for the first time. It's impossible, as an adult, to completely dismiss some of the flaws in the later films, but Episode III definitely comes close. It is a magnificent piece of escapist filmaking that has heart, soul, and character and I would highly recommend it to anyone, Star Wars fan or no, looking for a fun time at the movies."
So much better!
Ariella Vaccarino- creator of "Voic | Los Angeles, California | 10/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film was so much better than the first two. The plot was clear and visually it was so exciting. All our questions got answered. It's unfortunate the Lucas lost his opportunity on the other two."
This IS The Chosen One!
Jevron Mc Crory | London | 03/21/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After all the hype, the seemingly endless years of waiting and the hopes and fears of moviegoers all over the world regarding the final Star Wars movie, the battle ground was set for the (finally) favourably titled `Revenge of the Sith.'
George Lucas had worked under no illusions. If this film failed to deliver, then by many detractors standards it would serve as the final nail in the coffin of the new and 'modern' trilogy. Thankfully then, not only has Lucas succeeded in crafting one of his most accomplished films ever but arguably his most important; `Episode III' is an incredibly self assured triumph. Masterfully bringing the epic saga full circle, completing a story begun in 1977 and thereby seamlessly connecting the original trilogy with the prequels, `Sith' effectively addresses much of what critics found noticeably lacking in the previous two instalments, lending much needed credibility to the 'new' trilogy, displaying a marked improvement in direction and substance, and a commendable maturity in attention to character and story.
Kicking off with an opening space battle that utilises a roller coaster ride POV to spectacular effect, the film twists and turns us in it's stylishly comfortable grip, throwing us headlong into the already ensuring action. Meeting up with old friends Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (the love and respect between accomplished master and seasoned Jedi clearly apparent in these early sequences) as they cut a destructive swathe across the screen, cursing and teasing each other in equal measure as they take apart ships, scenery and even mechanical staff wielding bio-droids (magna guards) is a joy to behold (and it's noteworthy here to mention how utterly at ease both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen now appear to be in their respective guises)...but the fun ultimately cannot last forever...Controlling the pace like the master story teller and film editor Lucas is, it's a restrained twenty minutes before the Jedi once again encounter Christopher Lee's elegantly vicious Count Dooku, but Anakin is no longer the fool hardy padawan he once was and it's from this point on that the first 'real' inevitable step towards the dark side is taken. Forsaking the cartoon-like cuddly tones of 'Menace' and even the pressure-cooker foreboding of 'Clones', 'Sith' stakes it's claim in this newly explored darker territory with glee; this is not, and was never designed to be, an episode for kids.
As the story progresses and tragedy draws ever near, the film bludgeons Christensen's Anakin with heart rending blows at every turn. His learning of his secret wife Padme's pregnancy is cursed with sudden and traumatising visions of her death in childbirth, reawakening his feelings of regret and loss over the death of his mother (whom he is still convinced he could have saved) and in-turn, his feelings of resentment towards his 'family', the Jedi, who continue to praise his abilities yet refuse him the one thing he desires most in the world. With the enduring guidance and influence of the artificially benign Chancellor Palpatine (seemingly able to offer Anakin all the answers at a time when he is most in need), the young Jedi begins to doubt everything, even the fidelity of the very woman he is trying to save till finally, when the pitch of the movie appears to have reached it's dramatic peak, Anakin makes a choice that will ultimately lead him down an irrevocable path that will change the face of the galaxy...and set the stage for cinematic history.
`Revenge of the Sith' boasts not only some of the most audacious set pieces yet attempted in a blockbuster (Kenobi and Grievous' wheel bike/dragon mount chase, the continuation of The Clone Wars, Yoda and Sidious' epic senate duel, where politics and morality clash physically for the very first time) but some of the most intense and emotionally affecting. In essence; `Sith' is an action movie with heart. For sentimentality and effective storytelling using the minimum of trickery or techniques, look no further than the wonderfully sombre and underplayed moment of telepathic understanding that Anakin and Padme share across a Coruscant afternoon sun shrouded cityscape, or that Padme's final words are of concern for the man who has, in essence, murdered her emotionally and physically, or the look and tone of sadness Yoda exhibits as he is forced to flee his encounter with Sidious, or more importantly, the haunting shades of music and imagery that follows the execution of Order 66...
...but for both emotion and hyper charged dramatic electricity, the climatic Mustafar duel between Vader and Kenobi is unsurpassed. This is a duel that people have been waiting to see since 1977 and it does not disappoint. For the battle of heroes where 'brothers' clash with clear intentions that only one will survive, Lucas has married all tools at his disposal (a tragic yet epic sweeping score, a blink-and-you'll-miss-ten-moves lightsaber choreography, acting intensity that never fails to convince, CGI that threatens at every turn; VERY real danger, etc..) to create a sequence that both excites and moves in equal measure and despite the fact that we all know how the battle ends, it makes it no easier to watch the horrific events unfold.
In stark contrast to maulings regarding the acting in the other two prequels, the performances in `Sith' are first rate. Ewan McGregor predictably shines in a role it seems he was destined to play (particularly in the final minutes of the Mustafar confrontation) and flickers of Alec Guinness punctuate throughout, never threatening to turn his performance into mere mimicry. Natalie Portman, (however little she was required to do), breaks our hearts as the man she loves literally rots from the inside before her very eyes. Ian McDiarmid turns in an oscar worthy performance, hamming it up where necessary to break stride suddenly with a glare and a disembowelling tone when the mood takes him, but above all (and despite protests to the contrary), it is Hayden Christensen for whom the highest regard must be reserved. His performance permeates one of utter believability, shifting remarkably from eager Jedi knight to chilling Sith apprentice so smoothly that it's startling to witness. The ferocity and utter neutrality that Christensen exhibits as the young Darth Vader is truly impressive if not downright mesmerising, yet the best is saved for last in the final confrontation that husband and wife share prior to the fiery duel into the very bowels of hell. Hayden's demeanour of a man who believes above all else that he has done the right thing yet utterly blind to the fact he has caused more damage than good is staggering, his tone (in a wonderful symmetry with 'Menace`) echoing the youthful idealistic young boy he was once, reminding us yet again how far the soul has fallen. It's a moment (like so many others) that entrenches itself so deeply into the mind that you will be hard pressed to rid yourself of certain emotions long after `Sith's' credits have rolled.
Expectedly, `Revenge of the Sith' will delight as many as it will disappoint, but as far as taking us on a new and unexpected journey a long time ago through a galaxy far away in spectacular fashion (never allowing indulgence or flights of mere fancy to intrude upon the story), `Sith' is a worthy contender for the greatest Star Wars film of all time.
In closing, I have already watched `Sith' more times than I have seen the original trilogy and the film leaves me with a different impression every time. The birth of Darth Vader is something everyone has been dreaming about since the release of the classic `A New Hope,' thank god George Lucas has managed to create a movie that will live on just as long."
Jigen | Chicago, Il United States | 08/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a perfect end to the most popular fantasy film series in history. It's a tragedy and pure allegory, a method of storytelling unfortunately under-produced these days; within the framework of an exciting story, cautionary lessons are revealed.
Mirroring and intertwined with the fall of the Republic is Anakin Skywalker. Full of promise and power, he becomes greedy for more. His insecurity and sense of exceptionalism corrupts him and leads him to turn his back on everything he's ever known and loved. Of the entire series this film is the most emotionally intense, as we follow the Republic and its hero into the depths of darkness.
That's the theme in a nutshell, the fall of a hero. When folk complain about dialog, they are missing the point (as well as betraying the limits of their film education - what about mis en scene? theme? editing? color usage? imagery?, etc.) The dialog and acting fit in with the rest of the series, that is, they aren't strong or central. The characters are archetypal, painted with broad strokes and superficial. People who want only superior dialog and nuanced acting typically avoid American films.
This film returns us to some of the original thoughts and questions that prompted Mr Lucas back when he began the saga: why do republics tend to fall into dictatorships? (Remember, the Vietnam War was raging and we were ruled by Nixon in those days.) Much has been written on the political significance of this film, mainly by Bush-apologists who are afraid it's about their guy. It isn't. That they so easily thought it was, however, speaks volumes.
This story is bigger than one little president, even if there are stark similarities between the presented dark idealogy and the political climate we've sunk into - needless wars, lust for greater power, favoring resolve over goodness, and the Orwellian spoken love of democracy and freedom while all the time scaling it back. Words and ideas, such as dealing in absolutes, "if you're not with me...", "I AM the senate", etc. should be criticised when leaders and governments hide behind them, not when fictional films reveal them. This is, after all, a cautionary story.
The film's messages might be lost on the older generation who identified with the Rebels against the Empire, but perhaps the allegory will live within the hearts of the younger generation, some of whom will one day lead this country. Perhaps they can help our own republic stand, not fall. Democracy thrives on courage, fascism feeds on fear.