The Barenaked Archives: Revenge of the Sith

From 2003 up until 2007, I was lucky enough to have “movie reviewer” as my job description. As such, I’ve built up a *lot* of reviews for just about every movie that came out during those years, as well as reviews of classic movies.

The Barenaked Archives are reviews that I did for two previous websites. Sadly, they are both gone, so this is now the only place online you can see these old columns.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith There is probably no film franchise that gets people going quite like Star Wars. Since it exploded onto the scene in 1977, it’s gathered fans from all ages and all walks of life, willing to wait in line for hours or even days for a ticket.

And ever since the (spoiler warning for the five of you that haven’t seen The Empire Strikes Back) revelation that Darth Vader, the ultimate screen villain, was Luke’s father, everybody’s been wondering exactly what happened to make this good Jedi go bad.

Lucas started the prequel trilogy to tell the story of Anakin Skywalker, and the first two movies – The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones – earned the enmity of Star Wars fans and critics everywhere. However, many said that if Lucas nailed the last film, where Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side is finally chronicled, then all would be forgiven.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the final film in the Star Wars franchise, closing a saga that’s spanned over 30 years. Is it a fitting end to such a story? Is it better than the first two prequel films? Does it give the fans the closure we’ve been waiting for?

Revenge of the Sith takes place 3 years after Attack of the Clones, the second Star Wars film, and 19 years before A New Hope, the fourth Star Wars film.

Nothing gets my geeky little heart going quite like seeing the words “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” on a movie screen, followed by the “Star Wars” logo and John Williams’s famous fanfare.

That said, the mantra “Please don’t suck” beat through my head as the opening crawl scrolled across the screen. Fortunately, Revenge of the Sith doesn’t suck, and it is better than the previous two films. Unfortunately, that statement depends a lot on how you feel about the first two movies.

Sith experiences some of the same problems as The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. For one, Lucas still cannot write dialogue to save his life, especially in intimate scenes. The dialogue between Padme and Anakin comes across as stilted, and because of this, many of their scenes lack chemistry. This is one of the relationships that really needed to be solid, and it’s not, and that hurts the movie overall.

The film really doesn’t pick up until Anakin makes the fateful decision to go to the Dark Side. Before that, although there are some good scenes, the movie feels uneven, too fast in some places, too slow in others.

I love space battles as much as the next person, but many of the digital effects were painfully obvious. And sadly, the actual transition to the Dark Side is rather abrupt, and a decision that important to the story shouldn’t be.

Of course, not all is bad. The last hour of the movie alone is easily better than the previous two films combined, with a stellar lightsaber battle between Obi-wan and Anakin, and a great wordless ending sequence with a fabulous final shot.

But in the end, the movie left me feeling bittersweet: sad that the saga was finally over, and wistful that the final installment couldn’t hit the level of classic that the original films aspired to.

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One comment on “The Barenaked Archives: Revenge of the Sith

  1. […] Star Wars is actually the story responsible for getting me writing in the first place. The series holds a very special place in my heart, despite the significant problems I had with the prequels. […]

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