Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
14May/112

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

I am a film geek and I am proud of it.  One of the jobs a film geek has is making sure his offspring are also film geeks.  When my daughter was very young I started showing her Star Wars films. After awhile, she stared getting into it a bit so I, of course, went out and bought her a light saber to seal her love for the world.  A light saber, droids and princesses would only go so far, and she was still a bit young for the films, so we started watching the Clone Wars together.  After watching the horrible animated movie, I thought it would be a chore to get through the series but then something funny happened; the show got a lot better.  The stories became epic, the characters fleshed out, and the world became real.  As I was getting into the series more and more, I realized something else.  The TV show was the first time I actually ever gave a damn about Anakin Skywalker, and that interest was something severely lacking in the prequels.

Revenge of the Sith is a film that is all about the payoff.  It is the final film in the trilogy, and the last one released in the saga.  It was going to be the culminating chapter, and should have been tragic with the fall of Anakin Skywalker.  It wasn’t.  The film was by far the best of the three (damning with faint praise there), and a good way to end the series, but I always felt it was more mechanical than emotional.  Even though the audience had spent two previous films with these characters and seen them grow, there was no deep connection to any person.  Revenge of the Sith used these characters to get them from point A (happy life and Emperor free living) to point B (dead Jedis, Darth Vader and Death Stars).  The characters were plot devices, and it was hard to care about the betrayal Obi Wan felt, the death of Padme, or the turn to the dark side of Anakin.

Anakin is pouty.

Of course I knew that Anakin would turn evil in the end so it wasn’t surprising, but if we liked the character, we would be rooting for a happier ending.  People knew the boat was going to sink in Titanic but since the characters were beloved,  people were rooting for the iceberg to miss the ship in the end.  In Return of the Sith, I didn’t care about Anakin falling prey to his worst traits.  I was just annoyed at how fast he seemed to turn. Rant alert: but really, one scene he is thinking about who to trust and is grief stricken by the death of Mace Windu and by the next scene he is killing children without a second thought?!  I know that he fell “to the dark side” but a little more build-up to his dastardly ways would have been nice.   I think a slow turn where each new compromise he made drew him closer to Vader is a better way to go instead of turning from Jedi to Sith at warp speed.

The storytelling in Sith was probably the best since Jedi and possibly even Empire, but everything in the movie just felt cold and methodical.  The movie did answer how Anakin fell and what happened to his wife.  It showed the Empire forming and the death of the Jedi’s, but without any passion or emotion.  When I started watching The Clone Wars, Anakin is someone that is a very good Jedi skills wise, but a horrible one when it came to keeping emotions in check.  Anakin feels for people, wants to help, and always goes into battle/action with the best intentions.  In the show, you see the friendship and respect Obi Wan and Anakin have for each other rather then characters telling you they are friends.  With this show, for the first time, I feel like Anakin was a character and not a plot device that turns into Darth Vader.

Anakin is Angry.

After watching a good chunk of the Clone Wars episodes, I came back to Sith and watched it again with fresh eyes and a new found appreciation of Anakin.  All of the sudden, I did feel sorry for Anakin and didn’t want him to go Vader.  I had a better understanding of his character, and it felt more tragic than before.  I gave a damn about the characters, and it is sad that I grew this from a cartoon and not from the movies themselves.

While Hayden Christensen has been given the brunt of the blame by fans, I think this is unfair.  The cast has had great actors such as Samuel L. Jackson, Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor all giving stilted if not career worst performances in the film. While Christensen might not be the most exciting actor, the way the films were written and directed did not leave much room for acting.    Anyone that would have gotten the role as written would not have been able to do much with the character which is a shame because there is such a rich back story attached to Anakin.

George Lucas is the creator of the Star Wars Universe and nurtured it into what it has become.  It is just a shame that the man who gave the world such great characters, as Han Solo, Darth Vader, Yoda and Luke Skywalker would be trumped in writing for these characters by the staff on the Clone Wars.  The rise and fall of Anakin should have been an epic and classic tale spread throughout the prequels instead of falling down the rabbit hole of pod races and new special effect.  Thanks to The Clone Wars, this tale is finally being told.  I know that when I get my younger daughter into the universe, I will definitely show her the cartoon between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. At least this way she will have an understanding of why Anakin’s fall is tragic and not just an excuse for another cool lightsaber fight.

 

Posted by Ryan

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  1. Maybe its because he watched to Clone Wars shows with his kid (started doing that with Quinn as well), but the fact of the matter is that the story as well as the characters were all half-assed devices to get us to Darth Vader.

    As much as I loved the Clone Wars cartoon’s Anakin, that is NOT the Anakin of the prequel films. Anakin from the films had a weak backstory. I won’t go into that much since t concerns the other 2 movies, but the amount of backtracking Lucas had to do at the beginning of this movie to remind us that Anakin is supposed to be a noble character is laughable. There are so many details involving the plot that leave us clueless: did Palpatine purposefully get kidnapped? Was Dooku in on it? Was Grevious in on it? Did Dooku know he was going to die? That’s just the intro.

    So much of what Palpatine did to orchestrate his takeover seems like it would’ve all come crashing down if one small detail didn’t go as planned, and relied on the complete ineptitude and stupidity of the Jedi Council. At one point Windu points out that it is dangerous to put Anakin and Obiwan together. Well, then DON’T DO IT! There are many examples of this lack of logical thought throughout this film, and the story is thus told not just from the Jedi but the Senate as well. “Hey, the Jedi tried to kill me and that’s why I look like Death now! Yah, they’re trying to take over, so I had them all killed. Some might still be out there though, so I need to suspend democratic proceedings and establish an Empire. I don’t have any photos or other evidence to back this up, just take my word for it, okay?”

    Bottom line: this story is told through the responses to characters and events, pretty much all of them either lacking basic logic or no explanation whatsoever. That is NOT good storytelling.

  2. Maybe calling it good storytelling wasn’t the right word. I still think it is the best of the prequels and at least SOMETHING happens in the film. I agree with your points and only wished the Anakin from The Clone Wars was in this movie.


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