Friday, May 13, 2005

War is Over

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the SithPosted by Hello (SPOILERS!)

And so it ends.

While Revenge of the Sith is studded with numerous glossy CGI effects all over, it’s still about the beloved and reviled characters of the most popular fantasy movie franchise. It satisfyingly draws to a close George Lucas’ 6-part space opera and the saga of the Skywalker clan, as we say our goodbyes (and yes, hellos) to heroes and villains that many of us adored as children. It answers a lot of questions, and raises a few more. But overall, this prequel installment is, in a word, awesome.

Everyone knows how tragically this story will end, except maybe children or new fans watching the movies chronologically. So everything is dependent on how Lucas fills in the blanks and renders in the details. And render it, he does. Yes, Anakin (Hayden Christensen) goes massacre-crazy (“You shall be called Darth…VADER.”). The conflicted young war hero has been getting prophetic visions of his secret wife Padme Amidala’s (Natalie Portman) death, so he voluntarily turns to the Dark Side of the Force to learn the secret of immortality and save her. And that’s when he gets exploited and manipulated by the daddy figure he never had.

Palpatine (the compelling Ian McDiarmid) finally reveals himself as the Sith Lord orchestrating the Clone Wars (“The Sith will rule the galaxy… and there will be peace.”). The Jedi Order is decimated by “Order 66”, the new Emperor’s ordinance to the Clone Troopers to turn on their peace-keeping allies. But Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor), as we all know, puts the kibosh on Vader’s rampage and flees with Jedi Master Yoda and, in the last few scenes, future rebel heroes Luke and Leia.

Gripe-wise, the dialogue sometimes really clunks with Padme and Anakin’s scenes (“Anakin, you’re breaking my heart!”). But not a lot of eye-rolling ensues, fortunately, as Palpatine’s and Obi-Wan’s lines were mostly very piercing.

Story-wise, there are questionable out-of-character moments. Why did Yoda just quit fighting and decide to hide? He would have found a way to rally freedom-fighters to his cause and not let the new dictatorship get out of hand. And why was General Grievous not as threatening as in the Clone Wars animated series (aired by Cartoon Network last month)? He hunted and killed multiple Jedi knights but was easily humiliated (and defeated) by Obi-Wan.

Still, Revenge of the Sith neatly put future elements in place, such as the construction of the Death Star, the separation of the Skywalker twins, and the explanation to Obi-Wan’s spectral form in subsequent episodes.

It’s sad to bear witness to harrowing tragedies in the lives of these heroes, but Lucas, while his storytelling abilities will be questioned for many years to come, stuck to his vision and made these characters as real and as prone to failure as anyone. As the final piece in the Star Wars puzzle, the film adds dimension to an ex-slaveboy who wanted to be a hero and ended up as his future children’s ultimate tormentor. We hear James Earl Jones’ voice again, and when he mentions the name “Padme”, we finally realize and believe that the original Star Wars villain was a broken-hearted man who gave away everything he had for love.

And lost.


JaymsterBean said...

i saw it last night :)

errr... this morning na pala. hehe. had to go to two cinemas pa to see it and ended up watching the 12:30 am screening. ayuz! hehe.

astig! i want to see all six movies straight tuloy. hehehe.

OLIVER said...

Cool. So puyat ka pa pala.

I wanna watch my old remastered version of Episode IV again. Maybe fast-forward it to the nice parts. It's gonna feel weirder and a little gross to see Luke get flirty with Leia again, hehe... :D

rmacapobre said...

ngayon ko lang napanuod ang starwars. di ako masyadong impressed .. the jedis could have tried to fight back a bit. some just dropped dead which was a huge disappointment. my favorite is the easy going and good natured obiwan. il a bon sourire. n;est ce pas? hee hee hee

OLIVER said...

Hi Max-

"il a bon sourire. n;est ce pas? hee hee hee" What does this mean?

Those who've seen Star Wars either like it or hate it with a passion. Been seeing reviews all over. And those who did like it can see that it's quite flawed from the get-go.

The Jedi betrayal was a good scene for me, but I have to agree that it's disappointing that some of them were killed without putting up a fight (poor Ayla Secura--she was cool in Clone Wars!).

Obi-Wan... he's always been easy to like. Good that he was able to shine.

OLIVER said...

Correction: I meant to say, "The Jedi betrayal was a good series of scenes for me..." Plural.

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