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Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith

The final film of the Star Wars saga is the best of the recent prequels but still lacks the charm and wonder of the original films.

The final film of the Star Wars saga is the best of the recent prequels but still lacks the charm and wonder of the original films.

Since George Lucas decided to make the three prequels to his original Star Wars trilogy, critical opinion has been divided and fans of the first three films have had much to fret over. It would be fair to say that the The Phantom Menace was one of the most eagerly awaited films in recent times in 1999 but the flat story line and annoying CGI sidekicks disappointed many despite the filmís commercial success. Attack of the Clones in 2002 was an improvement with more engaging action sequences but it still suffered the same problems. Revenge of the Sith still has the same problems as itís predecessors but nonetheless provides an agreeable bridge between the two Star Wars trilogies.

When the action begins war has engulfed the Galactic republic with Separatist factions invading the capital of Coruscant. After the Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christiansen) rescue the kidnapped Senator Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) from the Separatist leader General Grievous they gradually discover who is behind the unrest in the galaxy. However, Anakin is still protecting his secret love for Padme (Natalie Portman) and his fear that he will lose her eventually sets him Ė and the galaxy – down a dark and destructive path.

The third prequel (and sixth instalment) of the Star Wars saga is in many ways a mixed bag. Like the two previous prequels there is some truly dreadful dialogue but at the same George Lucas has managed to recapture some the excitement and wonder of the original trilogy as we see finally see the genesis of Darth Vader. Part of the improvement is down to pacing. From the opening battle above Coruscant to the climactic lightsaber duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan, Episode III moves with much more purpose than its two ponderous predecessors. It also benefits from having a substantial villain (Palpatine) rise from the shadows to become a central character. Ian McDiarmid steals the show with a performance that compensates for the blander characters that often surround him. His rise to power and the birth of the Empire is also a good deal more engaging than the ponderous political debates that dogged the last two films.

As you might expect the visual effects are state of the art and the sound design ingenious but as before they donít mix well with the live action performances. Too often the Star Wars prequels have featured wide, detailed shots of galactic landscapes whilst missing out on the inner lives of its characters. Here, the key plot strand of Padme and Anakin is badly handled as the dialogue between them borders on the ridiculous, so by the time we reach the climax there is little emotional investment in them. That said though, there is a lot more going for this prequel than its predecessors and towards the end as the plot moves closer to Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope it manages to remind us of why the series became so popular in the first place.

MORE DETAIL

> Official Site
> IMDb Link
> The Force.net – One of the best of the many Star wars fansites
> Wikipedia Portal devoted to Star Wars
> A Wiki devoted entirely to Star Wars
> An amusing Stars style take on Bush’s second term
> USA Today story on the political readings into Episode III
> National Geographic on how realistic the Star Wars films are
> Star Wars parody featuring organic food (of all things)

By Ambrose Heron

Editor of FILMdetail