Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of The Sith

So I watched Revenge of The Sith…

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This is the only Star Wars film that I had the opportunity to see at the cinema. I remember seeing it with a friend and both of us loving it. It felt, in many ways, like the first Star Wars film I ever watched because I didn’t have a solid memory of the other films going into it. Watching it now I still feel that same love I did the first time and think it’s the best of the prequel trilogy.

Okay, basic plot: The galaxy is at war! The battle between The Droid armies of The Separatists and The Clone Troops of The Republic is reaching a head.  The Jedi have been sent across the galaxy to assist in the war. As the end of the war looms closer and closer, The Jedi uncover a scheme by a Sith Lord – Darth Sidious – to overthrow The Senate and seize power for himself. With time running out, The Jedi must act quickly to stop Sidious’ plan; but, little do they know that, their ranks have already being infiltrated and Sidious has taken a new apprentice, Darth Vader!

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I guess third time really is the charm. This film is a return to form for George Lucas. He finally figures out how to tell the prequel story and link the two trilogies. Before I started watching the Star Wars movies, I was an avid reader of the novels. These novels were actually prequels to the prequels and focused on a young Obi-Wan and his adventures with his master –  Qui-Gon Jinn – before the events of The Phantom Menace. They went out, carried out missions and we got to see the progression of the relationship between master and student. So when I started watching the prequels that’s what I was expecting to see – the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin and Anakin’s eventual seduction by the dark side of The Force. This is the only film in the prequel trilogy that showcased this.

I loved the way this film started! It’s exciting, high-energy and such a refreshing change from the trade union disputes and senate meetings we’ve, unfortunately, had to become accustomed to. Anakin and Obi-Wan are on a mission but, more importantly, they’re talking and sharing jokes like old friends. There’s a tangible sense of brotherhood between the two and this brotherhood makes the coming events of the film all the more meaningful. Yes, they once again, spend half the movie away from each other but starting the film in this way and establishing their friendship so strongly is a facet that was sorely missing from the previous two films. Hayden Christensen also seems so much more at ease with the character of Anakin. He’s less robotic and has a charm to him which I enjoyed seeing. Ewan McGregor puts in his best performance as Obi-Wan. He’s assured, powerful and brings a regal elegance to the character.

There’s also a shift in focus in this film from boring senate meetings to action-packed battles. The politics of The Republic is pushed to the background and the action allowed to flourish. There’s also greater focus on the central characters of the story. That’s another shortcoming I felt the prequels had. They tried to show us the entire galaxy and how our characters fit into it; instead of showing us a handful of characters and how their actions influenced the galaxy. I felt like I was provided with greater understanding into the character of Anakin in this film than I was in the two before it.

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The action in this film is also superb. The lightsaber battles are exquisitely choreographed. I remember watching featurettes on the making of this film and how much work was put into choreographing all the fight scenes, in particular, the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan. It’s probably my second favourite fight scene of the entire saga. It takes the emotion of Luke’s final confrontation with Vader and injects the high-paced, beautifully elaborate choreography of Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon’s battle with Darth Maul. Seeing these two former friends, brothers battle was amazing. The emotions I was feeling – I was on the edge of my seat.

I also loved the darker tone this film had – it’s reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back. This film marks the death of The Jedi and the birth of Vader. The way the transformation was displayed was absolutely phenomenal. From John Williams’ score slowly signally the transition, to the heinous acts Anakin commits as he sheds his former self – it’s handled with not only precision but also a wonderful sense of poignancy. The moment where the helmet is lowered on Vader and he takes that first signature breath still gives me goosebumps. I remember my friend and I just turning to each other and saying in one voice, “whoa!”

Overall, Revenge of The Sith is one of my favourite Star Wars films. It has incredible fight scenes, strong acting (for once), great character development and, as always, a sensational score from John Williams. If you watch any of the prequels, make it this one! 8/10

 

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