Twenty-eight years ago Star Wars ‘A New Hope’ made movie history and a phenomenon was born. Flash forward to May 2005 when George Lucas finally delivers to us his sixth and final baby of the epic space fairy-tale. (Don’t cry yet, he’s just announced they’re to make 100 hours of live action TV!) It’s been hyped as the darkest and most violent in the series, and after watching the fallen Jedi Anakin Skywalker burn to a crisp after slaughtering padawans (Jedi children), one can see how it justifies its 13+ rating. Many have gone all sentimental and refer to the original trilogy as the ‘Holy Grail’, damning the latest prequels as excuses for a billion dollar toy machine. They may have a point, but then again they once gazed at The Empire Strikes Back through eyes and minds a quarter century less jaded. In The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones many of the complaints were about wooden performances, lame script, weak plot, corny love scenes and the gluttony of CGI. Well it seems like Lucas might have been listening! Revenge Of The Sith still has a few flaws but it is the redeemer. The grand finale. ‘The one you’ve been waiting for’ proclaimed producer Rick McCallum, and for the most part he’s right.
Set three years after the outbreak of the Clone Wars, control of the galaxy is on a knife's edge. Coruscant, the galactic capital, is under siege and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiaramid) has been taken hostage by the leader of the breakaway Seperatist Army, the metallic ram-skulled cyborg General Grevious. The camera follows Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) as they set out on a rescue mission to the backdrop of the largest, most jaw dropping space battle ever seen on film, a visual and sonic orgasm. During this first act, it’s apparent how the relationship between the two has developed. Obi-Wan and his former understudy are now more like brothers, complete with humorous banter between them and less restrained formality. Everyone's favorite astromech, R2-D2, plays his usual role saving the day, unchampioned yet again. Once onboard, the crippled enemy capital ship Kenobi is knocked out in battle by the Sith Lord Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) before Anakin is manipulated and further turns to the dark side, decapitating the then defenseless Dooku. Prompted on by the onlooking Palpatine who later reveals himself as the elusive Sith Master and orchestrator of the war, declaring himself Emperor after gaining irreversible political powers and announcing the Jedi as traitors, all to be exterminated. Nice guy, sound like any other aspiring tyrants we know? Perhaps George is sending America a word of warning?
Anyway, McDiaramid is the star of this movie, he was the epitome of evil as the Emperor in Return Of The Jedi and in Revenge Of The Sith he plays the instigating puppet master with fiendish delight. This movie is an action packed treat that the casual viewer should thoroughly enjoy. Fans on the other hand, are guaranteed to completely freak out. McGregor gives his best performance by far as Obi-Wan, bringing subtle moments of comic relief with his sarcastic one liners and balls-out confidence as he hunts the escaped Grevious. The gigantic scale of the war is shown as the screen pans through conflicts from multiple star systems. The military hardware is an eye-candy overload and the new array of Clone Troopers kick ass with their rather stylish new designs. One highlight being the assault on the Wookie planet of Kashyyyk - a pornographic wet dream cut frustratingly short. The special effects that I.L.M. (Industrial, Light & Magic) have created are incredible. Yoda is completely computer generated, yet still completely convincing. His showdown with The Emperor will have the crowds howling in the theaters. That, inter-cut with Anakin and Obi-Wan’s climatic final light saber duel on the hellish volcano planet of Mustafar, will bring the audiences to their feet.
From a critical point of view, some of the earlier romantic scenes between Padme (Natalie Portman) and Anakin are still forced, but they improve as Skywalker’s anger consumes him and their relationship strains. The plot gives Christensen much more depth to his character than he portrayed in Attack Of The Clones and you really feel for him in his state of turmoil and desperation. The full extent of the tragedy is beautifully executed as Obi-Wan cries watching his dismembered ‘brother’ ignite in flames, telling him he loved him before leaving him for dead. John Williams' powerful and dramatic score incorporates many themes from the original trilogy and the final ten minutes see events play out seamlessly linking the saga together. Vader is revealed, The Death Star construction begins, The ‘Tantive IV’ Blockade Runner travels to Alderaan, Kenobi retreats to Tatooine, a new hope is born and as the nostalgia kicks in you thank the heavens George created that special place in a galaxy far, far away…
Source: Mark Hamilton of ASH