Review by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: May 15, 2005
DIRECTOR: George Lucas
CINEMATOGRAPHY: David Tattersall
WRITER: George Lucas
MUSIC: John Williams
In 2005, writer/director George Lucas concluded his controversial prequel trilogy with “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith”. Thankfully, he ended on a strong note and “Revenge of the Sith” is definitely one of the stronger entries into the series, even if it still has a few issues. This time, the action picks up near the end of the Clone Wars.
We reunite with Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) as they battle a droid fleet high above Coruscant. They are trying to save Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and General Grievous. Once this is accomplished, Obi-Wan is sent to go after Grievous while Anakin is asked to do something against the Jedi code and spy on his friend and mentor Palpatine.
In addition to this, Senator Amidala (Natalie Portman) is pregnant and this is a problem as Anakin and Amidala have to keep their marriage a secret from the Jedi. More importantly, though, Anakin is having nightmares about Amidala dying during childbirth. What he will do to secure her safety is what will ultimately put him on a path straight for the Dark Side.
First, the movie still has problems that appeared in the previous two entries. There are a few love scenes between Anakin and Amidala that are just as bad as the love story found in “Attack of the Clones”. Also, the wooden writing rears its ugly head at times, once again proving that Lucas just doesn’t have an ear for clever or even remotely decent dialogue.
The key difference this time out is that these problems are extremely minimized when compared to the first two episodes. Everything from the special-effects to the action and even the performances are greatly improved this time out. In particular, while he still has issues, Christensen gives a more confident performance, probably because he was able to do more of what he wanted instead of the whiny performance Lucas asked of him in “Attack”.
The standout performance, though, goes to McGregor as Obi-Wan. If there is one casting choice Lucas definitely nailed, it was hiring McGregor. In this film, he is a character that is finally closer to the old man we met in “Star Wars: A New Hope” and there are moments where I feel like I can sense the spirit of Alec Guinness in McGregor’s performance.
In the special-effects department, almost everything dazzles including the opening space battle all the way to the climactic showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan. There is also a thrilling fight in the Senate Chambers where Yoda and the Emperor are fighting. Palpatine uses the Force to throw the hovering platforms at Yoda, giving us a physical manifestation of the Republic’s downfall.
The movie does a great job of tying up loose ends from the prequel trilogy while setting up the events found in the original trilogy. It may have been a rocky road getting to “Revenge of the Sith”, but thankfully Lucas finished the prequels with a genuinely entertaining bang! It also set the stage for popular shows such as “The Clone Wars” and “Rebels” in addition to adding to the overall mythology that Lucas created way back in 1977.