Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith comes the closest to capturing the original trilogy’s magic as any of the prequel films possibly could.
Unlike the original trilogy, Revenge of the Sith is the darkest of the first three films. There’s a lot riding on the film because it must complete Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) turn to the dark side. Anakin’s path towards becoming Darth Vader started in the previous film but let’s just say that there’s a lot of manipulation on the part of Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).
It’s been three years since the start of the Clone Wars and sure enough, the capture of Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and his subsequent death means that the end of the war is near. If only it were this easy. After arriving back safely in Coruscant, Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) informs Anakin that she’s pregnant. Thus begin the nightmares of her looming death and his slow turn to the dark side. This is one of the things that shocked me viewers given the way that Leia Organa spoke of her mother in Return of the Jedi.
Separatist Army leader General Grievous is the film’s main villain and it’s no quick demise for him. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) takes care of him. What comes after leads to what may very well be the film’s most emotional part. The news of his death should lead to Palpatine giving up his emergency powers. Knowing what we know, it’s a certainty that this won’t happen. Thus, Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) leads the Jedi Council to arrest him. But again, poor Anakin just can’t stay patient and intervenes much to the Jedi Master’s dismay.
What follows is the execution of Order 66 or as we otherwise know it, the death of the Jedi. Obviously, not everyone suffered this terrible fate because of what we see in Star Wars Rebels. We know it had to happen but that doesn’t stop it from being so sad. We get a few epic battles: Palpatine against Yoda and Kenobi against Skywalker/Vader. The latter of which takes place on Mustafar. Let me tell you, it’s as every bit as epic as one would have hoped it could be. The battle would do a number on Skywalker/Vader and turn him into the machine that he would later become.
The film takes us to a number of planets, including Utapau, Mustafar, and Wookiee planet Kashyyyk. We also see what very well could be the first time that Yoda (Frank Oz) met Chewbacca. It’s one way to tie in the prequels to the original trilogy even if the Han Solo appearance got written out.
Upon rewatch, there are some things I noticed that I didn’t really catch in previous viewings. For one, the look on Dooku’s face when Palpatine tells Anakin to kill him. Betrayal. What Anakin doesn’t know at the time is that Palpatine is really Darth Sidious. Moreover, the technology that allows General Grievous to breathe is certainly a prelude to Darth Vader’s suit.
George Lucas may not be the best person when it comes to writing dialogue but the action scene are among the most intense of the prequels. However, the political commentary felt rather timely for the United States in 2005. Skywalker/Vader turns on Kenobi with one of the most political lines of the film–telling him that if he’s not with him, he’s the enemy. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the biggest scene giving birth to the Rebellion in the Senate ended up getting cut out. We’re left with a memorable line from Senator Amidala: “So this is how liberty dies…with thunderous applause.”
Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith closes out the prequels on a much needed strong note.
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: George Lucas
CAST: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz