Film reviews

Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Dir; George Lucas, Cert; 12A

Let me cut to the chase here. Since the Star Wars franchise is arguably the biggest and most popular thing to ever grace the silver screen I shall assume that those reading this will already know the story so far. We are all aware that the young, hopeful Master Anakin grows up to become The Dark Lord who could fill even the hardest bounty hunter in the galaxy with fear. What we don’t know is how this happens. Here is the bridge that fills the gap and as luck would have it, it is solid in structure, rich with colour and most importantly it is an absolute blast to cross it.

For a start, it gets it right where Menace and Clones fell through – no more Binks, no silly romances, a much more streamlined and dramatic narrative, Wookies, action sequences have tripled in intensity and number and the digital effects have some weight and grit to them allowing for even more luxurious visuals than before. The series has found itself again.

This time it is truly about the birth of Vader. The darkness and violence has earned its rightful 12A certificate but it also brings with it some serious Shakespearean tragedy not seen since Empire and some expressively hard hitting fight sequences that may even shock some. Anakin’s threatening descent into the dark is a brutal business that paves the way for beheadings, gunned down Jedis, slaughtered children and screams of agony as fire scorches the earth. All the cards have been laid down and evil takes over everything here. There is some comic relief in the form of the robotic duo of C3-PO and R2-D2 but these moments come few and far between.

This may sound too fatalistic to be Star Wars but remember that it sets up the fourth one, the original film, properly. Some loose ends are tied up too quickly and never given any thorough explanation. The separation of Luke and Leia is explained in one line of dialogue and never questioned; Chewbacca’s appearance is skimmed upon and the Death Star’s construction is barely hinted at. These points are barely legitimate though when you look at the bigger picture. This is about how the Galaxy became a dog eat dog world and Mr. Lucas has outdone himself to show it. He even had the kindness to give some of the aesthetics an old school design as a nod to the hardcore fans who remember their first glimpse of Vader marching through the low tech sets back in 1977. As well as these references, there are many new moments that will have fanboys cheering; General Grievous, the insectoid robot Separatist, flaunting four arms with a lightsaber sparking up on each one while Obi Wan calmly smirks; Anakin’s transformation into the evil Lord Vader as his suit is grafted onto him and his menacing breath exudes from the black mask; the Wookie battle. It is vintage Star Wars.

Even the dialogue is traditionally overworked. Overripe conversations flow from one to the next while giving fans new lines to quote such as, “Twisted by the dark side young Skywalker has become” and, “I'm not the Jedi I should be!” George Lucas may not be the best writer of dialogue but he knows it and we know it. We embrace these cheesy lines with a huge grin on our face. The delivery of these lines is also excellently carried out. Hayden Christensen finally looks and acts comfortable as a confused and lost young Jedi turning into complete evil, as does Ewan McGregor who no longer struggles to thesp like Alec Guinness, his counterpart in the originals.  This is complemented with good performances all around by the supports, particularly Ian McDiarmid whose exaggerated performance as Darth Sidious and Palpatine steals the show.

This is an exceptional end (or beginning, which ever way you look at it) to the saga. 9/10


Robbie Blake


Odeon Online

 

© Copyright 2000/8 Atomicduster - all rights reserved