Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)
Film Synopsis: After three years of
fighting in the Clone Wars, Anakin Skywalker concludes his journey
towards the Dark Side of the Force, putting his friendship with
Obi Wan Kenobi and his marriage at risk.
Rated PG 13 runtime 140 minutes
It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away
(27 years, to be exact) when George Lucas introduced the world
to the phenomenon of Star Wars. Now the saga is complete with
the sixth film in the series, taking us back to the beginning.
I admit that I did not see the last two installments
in the series. However, encouraged by positive reviews and the
desire to see the conclusion of the series, I returned for Revenge
of the Sith.
The central character is the young Jedi warrior
Anakin Skywalker, father of Luke and Princess Leia. The central
conflict is Anakin’s turn to the dark side and his development
into super-villain Darth Vader. Anakin is haunted by memories
of his mother’s tragic fate (apparently this happened in
one of the episodes I missed) and his conviction to protect his
pregnant wife Padme from harm. At the same time, the Jedi Council
asks Anakin to join them, without extending “master”
status to him because of his age. The evil Emperor Palpatine takes
advantage of the Council’s seeming rebuff of Anakin, as
well as his concern for his wife, and persuades him to come over
to the dark side. (I never understood how that would help Padme.)
Anakin succumbs and immediately exclaims, “What have I done!”
and then never looks back. He is fast on the way to becoming one
of the great screen villains.
I was not convinced by Anakin’s turn. There
is a lot of room for Jungian analysis, but Lucas, who wrote and
directed Sith, does not display a knack for character development.
He’s more interested in piling on the special effects. Certainly,
the computer-generated effects are cutting edge. But without a
stronger screenplay, all the computer generated effects soon become
tiresome. It’s as if Lucas is a kid with a new toy showing
everyone what he can do.
Lucas has forgotten what made his first two films so successful.
First and foremost existed a story, full of adventure, humor,
and wonder. And what about all those great characters? Those lovable
droids, C-3PIO and R2D2 have small roles in Sith, but never get
to do their Laurel and Hardy routine (“Here’s another
fine mess you’ve got us into!”) Chewbaca, our favorite
ill-tempered Wookie, appears briefly, and only gets off one good
roar. Han Solo’s wisecracking adventurer is sorely missed.
Sith is virtually void of humor.
My favorite of the series, The Empire Strikes Back,
was pretty dark in its own right. At its conclusion, Luke learns
that Darth Vader is his father and Han Solo is frozen. But Empire,
thanks to Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay, had far more depth
than Sith. I still remember the climactic laser sword duel between
father and son, simply framed by a deep blue background. It was
far more dramatic than the lengthy duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan
Kenobi in a sea of fiery lava (another example of an showy special
effect for no apparent reason.) The relationship between the mentor
Yoda and young Luke in Empire was great. Yoda has a prominent
role in Sith, but he has little to do. He could have done a better
job mentoring young Anakin! And annoying his manner of speaking
To give Sith its due, the ending is the best part of the movie.
The degeneration of Anakin into Darth Vader is complete with the
fitting of the black helmet over his deformed face. Then the labored
breathing and the voice of James Earl Jones. It is a chilling
moment, and definitely the most effective special effect of all.
Finally the twins Luke and Leia are born and transported to their
adopted parents. Luke arrives to the familiar scene of the desert,
where Star Wars begins.
George Lucas has now brought his epic saga full
circle. I only wish the end had been half as much fun as the beginning.
Tom Condon, OP