Review of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

I continue with my quick hit reviews of the Star Wars movies.  My reviews of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Attack of the Clones are here, here, and here, respectively.  Again, I’m watching in the Machete Order, so I’m watching Revenge of the Sith before re-watching Return of the Jedi.  I’m watching Return of the Jedi now and have tickets to see The Force Awakens this afternoon.

Revenge of the Sith

 

So that’s done.  Again, not as bad as I feared, and effective as the world’s longest flashback during the interlude between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

 

The special effects again veer between gorgeous and jarring.  There is a bit of sensory overload at this point, as the movies keep going back to the same well (“another light saber duel!?!”).

Super R2-D2?  No.  Just no.

Revenge of the Sith contains just about the lamest attempt to score a political point of all time—“If you’re not with me, then you’re my enemy.”

Ewan McGregor is again a bigger problem than Hayden Christensen.

The emotional beats from the murder and betrayal of the Jedi, if not the betrayal of Anakin himself, hit hard.  But that effect is ruined by letting the movie drag on to long afterward.  It’s also ruined by Darth Vader’s Frankenstein act at the end.  The Machete Order guy is right, it’s Luke’s story.  The most effective emotional beats from Revenge of the Sith by far are the birth of Luke and Leia (er, SPOILERS) and Luke’s foster parents looking out at Tatooine’s double suns, paralleling the iconic shot of Luke from A New Hope.

The prophecy also neatly sets up Return of the Jedi, where Darth Vader does indeed destroy the Sith after bringing balance to the Force in this movie.

Watching the second and third prequels wasn’t as painful as I expected, but it left me with a concern regarding The Force Awakens that the problem with the prequels is as much modern moviemaking as George Lucas.

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About H.P.

Blogs on speculative fiction books at Every Day Should Be Tuesday.
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5 Responses to Review of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

  1. Pingback: Review of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

  2. Cirsova says:

    What’s weird to me is that the whole “Your father wanted you to have this” moment in New Hope when Obi Wan gives Luke his light saber would’ve made a hell of a lot more sense if Vader had actually had some time with kids before he went crazy evil.

    I rewatched the original trilogy over the weekend, and practically nothing Obi Wan says makes any sense in context of the prequels unless you make the leap based on the reveal in Empire that Obi Wan is actually a liar and just as crappy a mentor to Luke as he was to Anakin.

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    • H.P. says:

      The biggest problem with the prequels is that they snarled the continuity and for no good reason. It was just lazy writing and lack of respect for the original work. But I’m not sure that’s an example of that. It’s established within the original trilogy itself that basically everything Obi Wan tells Luke is a lie, and that is in character with prequels Obi Wan (the prequels are not kind to him).

      I will be interested to read you and Jeffro’s thoughts on The Force Awakens. It’s obviously looking to the original trilogy, but like D&D books with Appendix N, it shows up on a superficial level that largely ignores the pulp roots. (I should have a review up later today.)

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      • Cirsova says:

        Heh, thanks! I may be seeing it next weekend, so I’ll probably be sharing my thoughts on it sometime around new years.

        One thing I noticed in New Hope is that the old story is totally set-up for a Kenobi/Vader/Skywalker power trio adventure; three guys on space adventures until maybe they make one big score and Vader plugs Skywalker and gets off with fat bag of cash.

        The thing is, Alec Guinness is so lovable in New Hope that you don’t want to imagine that he’s a crappy dude, and it hurts to find out in Empire he’s a liar, and the awkward explanation (Guinness did not look happy delivering those lines) he gives in Jedi is painful because here we have the moral center of New Hope admitting to taking a morally relativistic approach to handling Luke. Then seeing how he acted in the prequels, you end up realizing that maybe Obi Wan is actually the crappiest dude in the Star Wars universe, which just feels so wrong!

        Also, watching the imperial military bothered me some; old guard guys like Tarkin are just as important, if not more-so, than Vader at making a crypto-fascist space empire tick; the prequels put undo emphasis on the heretofore unmentioned Sith rather than show the actual coordination between the military power brokers of the Republic that could lead to a coup on that scale. Also, the Trade Federation should’ve been humans.

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  3. Pingback: Review of Star Wars: Darth Vader vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen | Every Day Should Be Tuesday

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