Redemption. No, not for Anakin Skywalker... for George Lucas. Although not perfect, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith rises far above the awfulness of Episode I and the mediocrity of Episode II. Time will tell, but for me I think this one will fall right behind The Empire Strikes Back in terms of overall Star Wars excellence. This says a lot considering that I'm in Lucas' "over 25" group that was weaned on the original trilogy and thought I & II were pretty awful. " /> Redemption. No, not for Anakin Skywalker... for George Lucas. Although not perfect, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith rises far above the awfulness of Episode I and the mediocrity of Episode II. Time will tell, but for me I think this one will fall right behind The Empire Strikes Back in terms of overall Star Wars excellence. This says a lot considering that I'm in Lucas' "over 25" group that was weaned on the original trilogy and thought I & II were pretty awful. " />

Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Published 9 years ago by , Updated February 9th, 2012 at 5:08 pm,

By Vic Holtreman

Short version: With far more strong points than weak, the curse of Episodes I & II has been lifted at last.

anakin Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the SithRedemption.

No, not for Anakin Skywalker… for George Lucas.

Although not perfect, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith rises far above the awfulness of Episode I and the mediocrity of Episode II. Time will tell, but for me I think this one will fall right behind The Empire Strikes Back in terms of overall Star Wars excellence. This says a lot considering that I’m in Lucas’ “over 25″ group that was weaned on the original trilogy and thought I & II were pretty awful.

I’m going to keep spoilers to a minimum.


The film opens with the familiar “crawl” which describes events which have transpired during the Clone Wars cartoon series. That series was definitely worth watching as it gives a lot of backstory to the Clone War, Anakin’s personality, the Jedi and General Grievous. Senator Palpatine has been kidnapped and Obi-Wan and Anakin have been sent to rescue him.

Right off the bat we start in the middle of a HUGE space battle with the most dizzying shots seen yet in a Star Wars film. It was like a roller coaster ride and I couldn’t help but grin as I saw many cues to Episode IV, the original film, in the designs of the ships. We get a great sense of the relationship between Anakin and Obi-Wan, much more believable and not forced like it was in Episode II.

Another total and complete grin-inducer is R2D2′s role in the opening sequence, where we get a full dose of the pluck that made the character so beloved in the original trilogy. It’s just a blast to see the dedication and resourcefulness of the little fellow. icon smile Review: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Soon we meet General Grievous, who sounds kind of like Darth Vader with a bad cough. I found the cough annoying, although I suppose it was to highlight the fact he is a cyborg and that it’s not a perfect meld of living creature and machine. He is appropriately menacing, especially when close-ups of his face (specifically his eyes) are shown.

I don’t think I’m giving anything away by saying the Palpatine is rescued and returned to Coruscant, the home of the Republic. Anakin is reunited with Padme, who reveals she is pregnant (again, that’s not giving anything away since we know she is Luke and Leia’s mother). Anakin takes the news kind of well, but it’s clear that his primary love is Padme and not any forthcoming child.

More and more we see Senator Palpatine corrupting Anakin, slowly drawing him to the Dark Side. To his credit, Anakin fights it as much as he can, but like the snake in the Garden of Eden, Palpatine is very smooth and plants seeds of doubt concerning the motives of the Jedi Council. Although we know that inevitably Anakin turns to the Dark Side and seeds are planted early on and throughout the film, somehow Anakin’s actual decision seemed to happen too quickly. The reason for this is that the focal point for his decision is his love for Padme, and that is once again the weak point in the story.

I’ve been vocal in my criticism of Hayden’s performance as Anakin in Episode II, but here it was Natalie Portman’s performance as Padme that left me cold. She seemed a pale imitation of herself from the previous two films and I just didn’t buy the “true love” aspect of the relationship… that was the weakest part of the film.

Hayden Christensen on the other hand was far better in this film than he was in the previous one. His angst over being pulled towards the Dark Side while wanting to be a Jedi was much more convincing and moving in Revenge of the Sith than it was in Attack of the Clones.

There are many scenes of battles taking place during the Clone War, including one that takes place on the Wookie home world. On the one hand it was cool to see where Chewbacca was from, but on the other hand the scene felt completely gratuitous. The only reason it was in the film was because, well, to show the Wookie homeworld since everyone likes Wookies. BTW, hearing the term “Wookie” used repeatedly during a council meeting by the venerable Master Jedis sounded kind of silly.

There is lots of action, lightsaber and otherwise and it was thoroughly entertaining. I would say that the first two thirds of the film were solidly PG (except for one scene involving Count Dooku early on), but the final third is most definitely PG-13. For a Star Wars movie it was quite violent, both explicitly and implied, and near the end it got downright gruesome.

Those of you with 5-6 year olds: You have been warned.

I really enjoyed seeing the designs of ships and such getting closer and closer to those of Episode IV, and if you look closely you’ll even see a fleeting glimpse of the Millenium Falcon in one scene. Lucas really made an effort to connect this film to the original and many questions are answered: Why Darth Sidious looks the way he does, why Yoda went into exile, how the Republic turned into the Empire, who decided where Luke and Leia would be raised, what happened to all the Jedi and lots of other details.

They even selected an actor that looked strikingly like a young Peter Cushing for a quick scene near the end of the film. As we approach the end of the film it ties in more and more to the original Star Wars which was really great to see. George didn’t muck this up like Berman and Braga did with the finale of Star Trek: Enterprise.

We get to see more Yoda battle action which is great, and the final battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin was well done, but for me not on the level of the Luke/Vader fight in “Empire”. A couple of things that bothered me about that final fight was one cheesy line of dialogue, and the way (story-wise) that Obi-Wan left Anakin alive, although I suppose one could argue that Obi-Wan thought that Anakin was dead.

There’s a nice self-fulfilling prophecy angle as far as Anakin and Padme are concerned, but one thing that bugged me as well was her death. I don’t want to give away details, but I’ll just say that she had two children to live for.

But after all is said and done I think this is one of the best of the series and a fitting end to George Lucas’ big screen Star Wars journey. I’d give it on a “Star Wars” scale, but I have to say overall. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was lots of fun, suspense, excitement and yes, even drama. I just wouldn’t bring the “younglings” to see it, or at least the final act.

Well done, George. Well done.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)

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TAGS: 3 star movies

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  1. I cannot believe this! You really, liked it! Okay then Vic, great review.

    And tell me, do you still cringe seeing Hayden on screen?

  2. LOL, no, I don’t cringe any more. And now it actually won’t bother me when I imagine him in the Vader suit in the original three films. :D

    Vic

  3. Hey, what did that exactly mean?

    How did you find his acting this time? Any better?

  4. I mentioned in a previous post that based on Hayden’s performance in Episode II, my enjoyment of scenes containing Darth Vader had been tainted because I would imagine a whiney teenager under the helmet.

    With his performance/transformation in Episode III, I no longer have that issue.

    As to what I thought of his performance:

    “Hayden Christensen on the other hand was far better in this film than he was in the previous one. His angst over being pulled towards the Dark Side while wanting to be a Jedi was much more convincing and moving in Revenge of the Sith than it was in Attack of the Clones.”

    Vader will now have more depth as a character when I watch the original trilogy. (I’ll probably watch Episode IV today.) :P

    Vic

  5. A good review, Vic. I very much agree with you. I thought the movie was great (well worth the 4 hour wait for seats to see the midnight showing), a very fitting end (or middle) to the saga. I’m sorry it’s all over (any cartoon and tv series aside).

    My only gripes (and they can be overlooked for the enjoyment of the film) are one, and this is a familiar one, the dialog seemed somewhat…cornball(?)…in places. Particularly, with Anakin and Padme (at least until the end). I definitely concur she seemed like a shadow of her former self. I think a lot of her material got left on the cutting room floor too…which brings me to my one other gripe. Things seemed hurried and rushed in places. Don’t get me wrong, I love fast moving action sequences, but the STORY felt rushed. There weren’t a lot of indications of passage of time and it seemed like Padme went from telling Anakin she was pregnant to third trimester in a flash.

    But again, great movie…I’m headed back tomorrow.

    I’d recommend the novel to anyone who wants some more background and other elements of the story that didn’t make it to the screen. Expanded “roles” for Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma (who completely got axed). Palpatine’s corruption of Anakin seems even more subtle.

    Dale

  6. Dale, thanks. I think I & II should have been one movie and III should have taken up two films. Lucas himself said that most of the story is in III and there was a lot of padding in the first two films.

    I agree with your points, BTW.

    Vic

  7. I am watching Episode IV right now and later will start the novel.

    I have that sinking feeling again since “Return of the Jedi”. :cry:

  8. That sinking feeling? I don’t understand. :confused:

    Vic

  9. Sinking feeling since it is the LAST Star Wars film, the last time I felt that way was with RotJ which we all thought was the last SW movie.

  10. Oh! Well, you can just get your fill when the monster 6 movie DVD set comes out. Start in the wee hours of the morning with a ton of popcorn and diet soda, crank up the volume and let ‘er rip. :P

    Of course there’s also the upcoming live action and animated TV series…

    Vic

  11. Yeah I know what you mean. For now I will do the Revenge of the Sith purge, just like when Anakin did a Jedi purge.

  12. Hey guys,
    I’m back again now that the film has been out, viewed and reviewed. Wanted to see what you guys had to say…
    Nice review Vic, I agree very much with your observations. You might remember though that I was one who also greatly enjoyed episodes I and II. I was really excited to see this one and it didn’t disappoint. I really wanted to see how Annakin went over to the dark side (since I didn’t read any SW books). One thing I have to say though, is that Star Wars has always been light, fun entertainment, but this film has left me strangely disturbed. To me it’s just a very sad story to see what came of Annakin and Padme, (not to mention the rest of the jedi). I really liked their characters in EI & II.

  13. DOES ANYONE REALLY THNK THAT THIS IS TRULY THE LAST MOVIE MADE IN THIS FRANCHISE? THE MOST SUCESSFUL MOVIE FRANCHISE IN HISTORY?(WITH MAYBE THE NOTED EXCEPTION OF THE BOND SERIES) NO,NO WAY. TRUE,LUCAS MIGHT NOT EVER DIRECT ANOTHER MOVIE AGAIN. FINE BY ME, HE’S A GREAT PRODUCER AND A MEDIOCRE DIRECTOR. LUCAS WILL ALWAYS CALL THE SHOTS ON STAR WARS, HOWEVER 10 OR 15 YEARS FROM NOW COUNT ON EPISODE VII. AND WHY NOT? THIS IS THE ONLY FRANCHISE THAT WILL GUARANTEE A STUDIO $500 MIL. AND WE’D BE TALKING ABOUT THE 6TH SEQUEL! SUCCESS LIKE THIS DOES NOT END WITH 6 MOVIES.

    • Guess you were right! lol

  14. Although your logic makes sense, I doubt very seriously that the series will continue on the big screen. Star Wars will continue on TV with a couple of series starting next year AFAIK.

    Vic

  15. Anonymous, why ALL CAPS? :x

  16. If a movie studio WERE calling the shots, they wouldn’t end it. They would keep churning them out until they ran it into the ground…and then they’d start digging.

    However, they have absolutely no say in the matter whatsoever.

    From Lucas’ perspective the Star Wars movies encompass the story of the rise, fall and redemption of Anakin Skywalker…story told.

    Besides, anytime he gets in a Star Wars mood, he’ll probably content himself with “tinkering” with the six movies he already has (3-D versions starting in 2007 anyone?).

    From a money perspective he has no need. Beyond the existing mountains he has, Star Wars merchandising will keep him set forever. With ILM and Skywalker Sound (THX), he also pulls in a little change from (I’m guessing) 50% or more of any big budget film made.

    Not that one can’t change one’s mind (Han shoots first…no, Greedo does…no, both at the same time)…but I think the only shot you’ll ever have at another (Episode) movie is once Lucas has “become one with the Force” and he has passed on the reins to someone else.

  17. Dale, you had me laughing out loud with your points, all well made. :D

    Vic

  18. :-) sali sämä wiä gads ?

  19. It was a bore from the beginning. Hayden Christian has no weight as a ubervillain. There’s no damn good reason for Yoda to have a fight with the Emperor, and like most fights in this movie the outcome was predictable. Sith is about decapitations and severed limbs and insect imagery and nothing more. Everything takes too long. Almost all the dialogue sounds like bad Saturday morning. Darth slaughters children and yet we’re expected to feel for him. What are they smokin’ up there on the ranch? The fact that this film is getting four star reviews only goes to show that Ron L. Hubbard isn’t the only sci-fi creator with a cult.

  20. Ajaba,

    I think the reason that I and others have been so generous with this film is probably due to it being relatively better than the the prior two films and the emotional connection to the original three films.

    And yes, I did grade it on a “curve”. I actually adjusted my rating downward from the initial 4 stars.

    Your point are all valid and well taken.

    Vic

  21. Right on, Ajaba… I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Brian

  22. Well, I finally got around to seeing it this weekend. I really enjoyed it and agree with most everyone’s comments. Particularly, I didn’t like the way the killed off Padme either – it should have been something more.

    The final scene with ObiWan & Anakin was definitely grusome and creepy. With all the fire, volcano & mountain scenes, it reminded me alot of Lord Of the Rings.

    I do have one question, I can’t figure out if Yoda was CGI or not. In the original series he seemed much more slow (of course he is younger in these) and definitely more muppet-like. In the fight scenes, especially, he looks more computerized. Any thoughts?

  23. Terri,

    I guess it’s a testament to ILM’s skills if you couldn’t tell if Yoda was CGI. :D

    He was.

    Vic

  24. There were extremely excellent and the best scenes in the movie “Revenge of the Sith”.
    Good originality and great imagination, great story in this movie!
    Here’s Photo gallery for Hayden Christensen(Anakin) of this movie. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0159789/photogallery-ss-0
    I love Star Wars series the most!

  25. “Almost all the dialogue sounds like bad Saturday morning”.

    What the????

  26. I think he meant “bad Saturday morning” cartoons.

    Vic

  27. Star Wars Episode 3 made me cry three times. I think it was the best Star Wars ever made, possibly because I love Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Ewan McGregor. But, the parts that made me cry was when Anakin killed the younglings, when the clones betrayed all the jedi and killed them and the last scene with Anakin and Padme (when he chokes her with the force) :cry: But…I do agree with your review, but I do think that Anakin and Padme’s love was believable as true.

  28. I was so relieved when I read your review! Episode III is my favorite SW, especially with Samuel L. Jackson’s ‘frontin’ attitude. Even till the end, he kept it gangster, lol. You pinpointed my thoughts exactly when you said that Padme had two children to live for. But I suppose it needs to be observed from Lucas’ perspective on developing the story and heightening Anakin’s shift to the dark side. If Padme lived, Anakin would have been able to locate the babies and turn them to evil, and possibly even end up killing Padme…for real. I have a question about the Emperor’s words to Anakin after he is rehabilitated: He tells Anakin that in his anger, he killed Padme. Well, their ‘baby’ was not born yet when she traveled to Mustafar, and if he had choked her to death, she wouldn’t have been able to give birth, duh! OK, even if he doesn’t know that right away, wouldn’t it occur to him that once he discovers his son is wandering around Tatooine, that he in fact didn’t kill Padme? Well I’m not sure, maybe this did occur to him, and it’s part of the reason for his return to the light side. One last question: Do you have any recommendations for Star Wars books for someone who has never read a Star Wars book, but has seen all of the movies and knows the story? Also, would it be that beneficial to see the AOTC cartoon, or does it actually give more insight to the depth of Anakin’s character and his relationship with Padme? Oh yeah, and give Hayden a break, :P In E II, he was nervous, just like Anakin was about seeing Padme again, haha. Could you imagine growing up with these movies and being a fan of them, and then actually being cast as the most important character of the whole series?! yeesh.

  29. i think the guy who played anakin skywalker in the 3 movie rocks! wats his email? :D