Revenge of the Sith : A Review

The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning or the beginning of the beginning?
Ummm, just so we can get the general tenor of this review out from the beginning:
I am a Star Wars Nut. As a 5 year old kid growing up in Hong Kong, I used to come home EVERY DAY after school, and put on the first Star Wars movie (which is now known as Episode 4 – A New Hope). So much so that I know every dialogue, complete with R2-D2’s beeps, every piece of music which plays in the background at each particular time, and also when the commercial breaks are about to appear (I had a tattered VHS cassette of it in Hong Kong – and now of course am the proud owner of the DVD).

Yes, we can discuss the possible repercussions this may have had on my future(lack of exercise, lack of women, hypertension, e.t.c), but let’s save that for some other time.

So Revenge of the Sith. Yes, it beats Episodes 1 & 2 hollow (i.e. The Phantom Menace, & Attack of the Clones). But it’s still a little bit below episodes 4,5,6.

Sure the effects are perfect and the dialogue is cheesy (this is a Star Wars tradition – it’s just that when Harrison Ford would say cheesy lines, he’d sound cool saying them).

The battle scenes kick ass. Enough light-sabre duels and general laser-gun stuff to keep you going through the first half.

Sometimes people wonder: Why couldn’t the Jedi Council detect the Dark Side – well they say as much in Epsiode 2- that their power to use the Force has diminished. Besides, if Sidious/Palpatine is as powerful as he says, he probably found a way to avoid being detected as ‘evil’ – sure the audience already knows he’s the emperor, but that’s besides the point.

Plus I think it’s very believable that the Jedis could have been duped – they just hung around like a bunch of pompous poopcakes, plotting and scheming as much as the Emperor. It showed why Anakin would be confused about where his loyalties should lie. Sure the Jedi are meant to be the goodies, but in this movie they did come across as just another bunch of politicians scheming for their own “noble” ends.

And then Anakin’s fall. Although you understand why he falls and switches over to “The Dark Side”, you still don’t see how he does this – more time should have been devoted to this. Sure you get an inkling of this in Episode 2 with the slaughter of the Sand People…but somehow it just seems missing here. Anakin seems to give up meekly after he kills Mace Windu (played really well by Samuel L. Jackson).

There’s that – and then there’s the fact that it seems Yoda gives up a little quickly too, when he almost kicks the Emperor’s ass. But in his defence, we could say lots of things. Maybe he wearied of the fight, maybe the grief of all those dead children, and what was to come distratced him, making him weaker, maybe maybe maybe. Who can say? Lucas left a bit too much to our imagination.

But the fight between Anakin and Obi-Wan was too good. It was brilliant. Obi-Wan was a really well fleshed-out character, and you can see him growing older and turning into Alec Guiness. As proof, I saw Episode 4 after watch Sith, and yes, Alec Guiness retains the spunk that was given to Obi-Wan by Ewan McGregor. Nice transitioning.

And the closing scenes – when the helmet slowly slips on for the first time, and you here the breathing begin… sent chills down my spine at least…

And the final scene back by the igloo on Tattoine makes you want to see episodes 4,5,6 again – which is what I’m now in the process of doing. And it’s fun to compare a young Anakin to a young Luke and Leia. And even more fun to see Darth Vader in full action, knowing that once upon a time he was a nice young WASPy boy.

Definitely worth a watch.

I think that Star Wars should actually be watched in the following way:

Watch episodes 3,4,5,6, in that order. And leave episodes 1 & 2 as appendices, for those who like a lot of (not-so-well-made) Back Story…

Oh and to those who don’t think much of Star Wars, I don’t have much to say to you except that you have a very limited imagination. Sometimes, the best way to tell a story, and to project a message, is to dress it up, and tell it in an indirect sort of way (in case you missed it, it’s all about Fall and Redemption, with some family values and politics thrown in to boot). The authors of the Mahabharat and Ramayan (be they Supernatural. or simply Natural) could see that. Lord of the Rings, and it’s derived works (Star Wars) are merely Anglo-Saxon attempts of doing the same….but they have a lot of Eastern philosophy embedded in them too…

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