Director: George Lucas
Cast: Ewan Macgregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee
Plot: The Clone Wars draw to an end, as the Jedi have the Viceroy cornered, but within their own ranks, a certain Anakin Skywalker (Christensen) is getting seduced by the dark side.
Out of all of the prequels, Revenge of the Sith is more important. Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones had the benefit of being able to fall back on fun, but Revenge of the Sith needs to be more than its two predecessors. It needs to carry the full weight of the Star Wars saga and tell a story. This makes it the most divisive of all the Star Wars film out there.
Whenever this film looks like it is going to be a spectacular failure, it pulls an awesome set-piece out from somewhere. This could be one of the best openings to a Star Wars movie yet with a non-stop rescue mission. We are introduced to one of my favorite Prequel villains, Grievous, and get to witness an epic lightsaber duel with Count Dooku. The tone is always kept at that balance between constant threat and light-hearted fun; no one expects Obi Wan or Anakin to bite the bullet in this scene, so why not have a bit of a laugh? The CGI is at its best yet and when the controversy of a first watch is over, this scene makes Revenge of the Sith worth a revisit, at the very least to confirm if it is as bad as you recall. Midway through the film, Kenobi takes on Grievous, in a battle that is just as thrilling. Lucas has a few original ideas to throw into the pot, which is important, as Star Wars is the kind of franchise that threatens to run out of new things to do at any moment. Grievous’ wheel, four lightsabers, I even love the unique take on a droid, although I am one of the few that think that a robot with a heart is a good concept.
However, those set-pieces do not hold a candle to the finale of the three prequels. This battle was the line I drew in the sand for the prequels. As long as it got the climatic fight between Kenobi and a young Vader right, the moment we had spent three arguably awful movies preparing for, I would claim all three prequels forgivable. As it stands, the prequels are forgiven. The battle is tremendously amazing, beautiful and horrifying at the same time. It is a credit to Lucas as a director that he can keep a set-piece so exciting, despite us knowing how it will end. That first watch as you on the edge of your seat, feeling every clash between lightsabers. This is how you direct a lightsaber battle, helped by the fact that Mustafar is probably the most interesting new planet to be written in the prequels. A world covered in lava pits and beautiful cave formations. This scene could be the best in the three prequel movies.
Sadly, the moment we are taken away from the action, this film almost collapses entirely. The connecting scenes between those three amazing fights are played at the speed of a disabled tortoise. It is painful to watch Anakin’s corruption to the dark side. No one believed that we could go from that moody teenager to one of the most iconic bad guys in cinematic history. This is where some halfway decent dialogue would be appreciated, but with Lucas scripting things, we were never going to get it. The film crawls along, held together by political scenes we do not care about and history-butchering moments. Padme’s confrontation with Anakin on Mustafar should have had us in tears; instead it gave birth to cheesy ‘You’re breaking my heart!’ impressions. Portman is far better than this material. The ending is a quick tying together of plot points, connecting the two trilogies. It doesn’t feel clever or worthy of the original movies. I cannot wait for Abrams to begin salvaging the wreckage of this great movies.
Final Verdict: The best action is harshly juxtaposed with awful dialogue. It would have been easier to like if we weren’t toying with a childhood monument.