Movie Review
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith poster
By Craig Younkin     Published May 22, 2005
US Release: May 19, 2005

Directed by: George Lucas
Starring: Ewan McGregor , Hayden Christensen , Natalie Portman , Ian McDiarmid

Running Time: 146 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $380,270,577
A breathtaking visual journey to tyranny, suffering, and death.
Revenge of the Sith is the last film in the six film series of Star Wars, and even though I don't understand why any one of these films is considered a classic, I do admire them for their craftsmanship. Sith is an improvement over "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones,? but it does take a while for it to finally find the beating heart this new set of three has been missing.

The story begins with the abduction of Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), a strong play by the Sith in the war against the Republic. Obi Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christenson) have been sent to free the Chancellor from the clutches of Count Dooku and a very cool looking android named General Grievous. There is a point in the rescue when Anakin is forced to save Obi Wan and the Chancellor, a test he passes with flying colors. The effort puts Anakin in the Chancellor's good graces, as later Palpatine promotes the young Jedi to be his trusted aide.

The Jedi council, on the other hand, is wary of Palpatine's doings. They don't trust him and enlist Anakin to spy on him. Anakin, already upset that the Jedi have promoted him to Jedi council but not to Jedi masterhood, reluctantly accepts the position. Palpatine (a.k.a. Darth Sidious), of course, does have something to hide. He is not only powerful but is the leader of the Sith army. He also knows every weakness Anakin has, the most important being Anakin's wife Padme (Natalie Portman). Padme is pregnant with Anakin's children, but he has dreams of her death during labor. He will do anything to keep her alive, even join up with Palpatine, who tells him he has the power to save her. This begins Anakin's dissent into the dark side, where he is no longer himself but...Darth Vader.

With the last two films, director George Lucas has proven that Star Wars is an indestructible force. No other franchise would be able to survive the unspeakable boredom that ran rampant through "Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones.? This series has had a very serious problem ? too much seriousness. The characters and dialogue have been wooden, the only attempts at comedy have been made by idiotically constructed sidekicks (Jar Jar Binks), and the movies have turned to dealing with issues (politics being the main agenda) rather than the fun that made the older films so entertaining. It's hard to believe that without the brilliant looking visuals and John Williams? heart stopping musical score that these movies could have been so much worse.

It's sad to see that Lucas has lost his sense of humor and sense of fun. Star Wars has succumbed to the dark side, readying the fans for only tragedy when they desperately could have used some heart as well. Revenge of the Sith, as the other two did, opens promisingly enough with a long action montage. We get a great shot following the two Jedi ships as they lead the attack on the Sith spaceship. Once on board the spaceship, Anakin and Obi Wan face everything from light sabers, to taser guns, to being trapped in an elevator shaft. The action in "Sith" is thrilling and the visuals are a wonder to behold, especially the shots of the buildings, the skyline, the attention to detail on the CGI characters and the many planets created in this galaxy. It's all so overwhelming, but at the same time, you just wish the narrative were as interesting.

"Sith" falters in the same places as the other films have faltered. The characters are just too wooden and the political aspects are too boring to be given any attention. For the first 40 minutes of this film, the action and the visuals are all the audience has to remain glued to the screen. Solace does come, however, when the promise of betrayal and tragedy finally rear their ugly heads. The remainder of the film is a spellbinding spectacle of all-hell breaking loose. Here we see the changing of the guards, as the Jedi fight frantically to save democracy while Hayden Christenson and Ian McDiarmid lay the evil on thick (McDiarmid especially has a lot of fun hamming it up). We are also treated to the light saber fight any fan has eagerly awaited ? Anakin vs. Obi Wan, where the best action and conversational exchanges of the series take place.

We, of course, knew this was coming ahead of time, but it doesn't matter. Hearing about it and seeing it are two different things, the latter being a breathtaking visual journey to tyranny, suffering, and death. He took a while but Lucas finally springs the emotional stability that was lacking for so long. Only now can we appreciate his older films even more, as the tragedy and bleakness can finally dissipate and the laughter, excitement, joy and wonder of his older films can take hold and take us to a galaxy far, far away.
Craig's Grade: B
Craig's Overall Grading: 340 graded movies
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'Revenge of the Sith' Articles
  • Weekend Box Office Analysis (May 20 - 22)
    May 22, 2005    A 40% improvement {over Episode II} would place Episode III at a total of $430 million, but if everyone did rush out, its total might end up slightly south of $400 million even with diehard fans and multiple viewings. -- Lee Tistaert
  • Scott's review B
    May 21, 2005    This kind of story is all about the parts where the world comes crashing down, and Revenge of the Sith executes these parts with style. -- Scott Sycamore