Thursday, October 11, 2012

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

I DESPISE Episodes I and II. I felt they were childish, poorly written, horribly acted and nothing more than a demo reel for ILM. What was worse is that George Lucas spat on the fans of the series by changing the history of Star Wars so he could have an excuse for more CGI creations. I was not a happy SW fan.

But this final prequel was to be the one that changed all that. This was the story I have been waiting to see since the prequels were first announced. In the end it disappointed me just as the previous films. It’s not nearly as bad as Episodes I and II, but it’s definitely not good by any means. Sure, there’s some great action, tense drama and pretty things to look at, but I wanted to see a movie that finally made me care about these characters we’ve been suffering through crappy movie after crappy movie with, and George Lucas proves once and for all that he has absolutely no idea how to do that. Obi-Wan aside, these characters are completely unlikeable due to Lucas’ horrible writing and his inane direction.
Ewan McGregor really put a lot of emotion into his scenes and gives further proof that he's one of the better actors working in Hollywood nowadays. It’s just too bad he’s the only one who looks like he’s trying. Hayden Christensen is just straight up awful in this mess, and instead of making his character a total badass like he should have been he’s  made Anakin a whiny little douchebag who turns to the dark side because he didn’t get a promotion. Natalie Portman really had nothing to do but be pregnant and upset and that’s all. Ian McDiarmid pretty much owned most of his early scenes, but his portrayal as the "Sithed-out" Palpatine is so over the top that it’s laughable. And finally, I still feel that Sam Jackson is out of place in these films. Sure he may be a fan of the original trilogy, but he looks uncomfortable in his costume and he looks ridiculous when handling a lightsaber.

The only things that really worked are what you’d expect - the CGI. It is prevalent in every single scene and is amazing. I had a hard time figuring out what was a real set and what was fake more than once. John Williams score is a winner once again. His recurring themes ("Duel of the Fates") and his new ones ("Battle of the Heroes") were fantastic. The action is at times breathtaking and thrilling. I especially enjoyed the multiple lightsaber battles in the finale, as well as the Grievous chase.
The problem, yet again, is that there’s just too much crap floating around this film to make it even remotely decent. The dialogue the actors are forced to say are some of the worst lines I’ve ever heard in a film. I laughed out loud on many occasions, but one exchange specifically comes to mind; when Anakin and Padme are professing their love for each other at one point they keep saying “I love you more” back and forth. It’s like one of those phone calls you have with your girlfriend when you’re in junior high school where you say “You hang up”, and she responds, “No, you hang up”. Childish.

Character motivations are also a big issue. There have been small hints that Anakin has a violent side, but nothing that would force him to turn to the dark side so quickly. He is passed over for his Jedi Masterhood and all it takes is Palpatine saying to him “They suck, you should kill them” to make him turn to the dark side and slaughter some children. It makes no sense. There’s no build-up to it at all. He’s good one minute, and an evil serial killer the next. Shit writing, plain and simple.
Basically the way everything you know is going to happen to set up the original trilogy is handled in the worst possible way, from C-3PO getting his memory wiped, to Yoda going into hiding on Dagobah, to how Jedi can commune with dead Masters, to the Emperor coming into power, to the twins being born and even Anakin getting suited up in his Vader outfit for the first time. It’s maddening as a fan to see all this go to ruin after the wait to see it played out on screen. Padme dies of a broken heart?! Fuck you Lucas.

It’s just horrible, and even though I cannot stand the other prequels I can’t help but feel that this one is the most disappointing. I wanted Lucas to knock this story, the darkest one of them all, out of the park. He screwed it up and turned this once brilliant franchise into a big joke. I am officially done with Star Wars. Lucas fooled me three times. I shall not be fooled again.

1 out of 5

*written 5/19/05

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