Star Wars: Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
So here we are, 2005, a staggering 28 years since the iconic dark
silohuette of Darth Vader first darkened cineplex screens across the
globe. His gait, his voice, and his motivation held as much mystery as
his beginnings. Many fans will admit that without Vader, Star Wars
would not be the phenomenon, and multimillion dollar franchise, it is
today. This year marks the release of movie number 6, 3rd in a series
of prequels that have been met with mixed reviews both from the pros
and the fans.
Fans, I think this time, the bearded wonder hit the nail on the head!
Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith fills in all the gaps,
treats the eyes and serves up the action solidly for 2 and a half hours.
First, I’m not gonna try to be funny like the pro-publications and make
the ridiculous “you’ll never guess who darth vader is” comment most
articles I’ve read have. I’m also not gonna go “fanboy” and gush over
the film like it’s some kind of sci-fi cocaine addict. The movie is not
without its problems, but as a fan I can say that this was the most
satisfying Star Wars experience since Empire Strikes Back. Since most
fans can’t stand to have things revealed to them before they see it,
I’ll make things as vague as possible.
The clone wars have been raging for several years. Seperatists forces
backed by the droid army and their leader, sinister alien / droid
hybrid General Grievous are leading hit and run strikes against the
clone army led by the Jedi of the republic. Most recently, Grievous has
kidnapped the senate leader, chancellor Palpatine and is holding him
aboard his heavily armed flagship. Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a general and an
official Jedi Master has been given the task to hunt Grievous down,
rescue Palpatine and come closer to discovering the true identity of
the Sith master and the one behind the war. Anakin Skywalker, no longer
a padawan learner, is quickly growing into his Jedi powers without
necessarily learning the responsibility they come with.
Who cares about the plot though, right? Right, exactly, not us. After
the all-too familiar title scroll the audience is propelled into space
behind a couple of Jedi fighters dodging explosions and careening
between opposing factions’ massive capital ships as they bombard each
other with ballistics. RotS combines the ground battles seen in Empire,
the space dogfights seen in Jedi and the sword play not seen anywhere
before. The film had humour in places both welcome and not and since
the obligatory love story is central to Anakin’s eventual fall to the
Dark Side audiences are hammered with several gag inducing lines like
“Anakin, you’re breaking my heart” and an un-characteristic emotional
outburst from the fully masked and caped Darth Vader.
Being the superfan of the franchise that I am, I was most impressed
with the seamlessness with which this chapter ties into A New Hope, a
film made over 20 years ago on a shoestring budget. The weapons, ships,
locales and characters are all recognizable as precursors to the visual
elements used in the original trilogy. My inner geek was screaming with
joy when the Tantive IV left orbit and Senator Organa (Jimmy Smitts)
marched through those familiar white hallways, the same halls that
would eventually be the setting of Vader’s first memorable entrance and
those that would see Princess Leia’s capture.
Probably the most talked about, but never seen, saber duel in cinematic
history is finally put to film. Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Anakin Skywalker.
The fight that explains Vader’s need for the mask, breather and being
more machine than man. It’s a high intensity fight that lasts nearly 20
minutes. The combatants make use of their Force abilities as well,
jumping to impossible heights or propelling their opponent away with a
wave of a hand. My only real complaint was that many of the camera
angles used were too close to really admire the choreography and stunt
work that went into the fight. Often times, all you can see are the
bright white blades striking each other and filling the screen. Still,
it was very much worth the wait and blows away anything that has been
done in any other Star Wars live action film.
After all is said and done, I still prefer the original trilogy, and i
guess always will. It was a part of my childhood, a time when the
special effects were a magic few people understood. In a way, I’ve
dulled my own view of the movies, constantly looking for behind the
scenes footage instead of trying to enjoy the ride. Revenge of the Sith
doesn’t send me back to the days of action figures and dart guns, but
it still gave me a few chills and will guarantee my attendance to
multiple shows over the next few weeks.