Perfect "Episode III" is not. Good acting "Episode III" does not have. Special effects overwhelming they are. Disappointing "Episode III" is... entertaining yet.
Okay, I can't handle talking in Yoda-speak anymore, and some "Star Wars" fanboy is going to write me complaining about some grammatical mistake I made. Back to the review...
The movie begins with the scrolling text as always, and I was immediately disappointed to see that Lucas had cut a potentially good opening out of the movie. Chancellor Palpatine has been kidnapped by a coughing, wheezing android - and so Lucas starts the movie in the middle of a space battle with a couple of stupid-looking ships racing about. We finally discover (after we've stopped caring) that Obi-Wan and Anakin are flying the ships and are attempting to save the Chancellor. They get attacked by some little robots that look like rip-offs of the robots from "The Matrix," and instead of using the Force to get rid of them, Anakin bumps up against Obi-Wan's fighter to scrape them off with his wing. Stupid.
The entire first act is marred with some of the worst acting and dialogue known to man, and perhaps since this movie is supposed to be the best of the three the flaws stand out all the more. Lucas injected way too many one-liners and jokes into the mouths of his characters and the multitudes of silly robots. Immediately, Lucas lost the audience and it takes quite a while to get back into the film.
Thankfully, "Revenge of the Sith" does improve over time and by the closing credits has become quite good. The movie is best when it is dark and devoid of cheesy dialogue; the best scenes are where Lucas lets the music do the work and the actors show their feelings through expressions. As bad as the acting is, the problem lies solely in the screenplay, as the actors are much more convincing when they aren't talking. Even still, the dialogue does improve as time goes on - or you just get used to it.
"Revenge of the Sith" is much faster than the previous two films, and thus you're always at the edge of your seat even if Lucas is never able to fully engage the audience. The excitement factor is there, even though you know exactly how the movie is going to end (shots of Luke and Leia for those of you stupid enough not to guess). Some of the action scenes are quite good, including the first half of the lightsaber battle between Anakin and Obi-wan.
Still, what's most frustrating about "Revenge of the Sith" is that some of the scenes that should have been the most memorable are actually memorable for the wrong reasons. The scene where the Chancellor reveals his true nature is marred by terrible acting (and a bad makeup job) that had several people laughing. Anakin transitions way too fast from being a confused and thoughtful Jedi to a child-killer (except for children are called younglings for some silly reason). A part of the battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan is also ruined as the two duke it out on a couple of floating platforms that are moving along a lava river. I think being that close to a lava river would burn their flesh off. Worst is the first appearance of Darth Vader as we know and love him. As he breaks free of his wiring, he staggers forward like Frankenstein and shouts "No" at the top of his lungs. What should have been one of the coolest scenes of the movie is one of the funniest.
Other problems include the crazy graphics, which of course at times are spectacular and at other times just ridiculous. I don't know what Lucas's obsession with flying creatures is, but his plethora of winged beasts are just goofy. Even worse is the giant lizard that Obi-Wan rides in the dullest chase sequence ever committed to screen.
This sounds like a lot of complaining, and it is - but there's no way that you can avoid ripping this movie apart even if you enjoyed yourself. As much as people complain about the new trilogy, the same people own and probably watch the films from time to time. The truth of the matter is that even if the movies are way too goofy and cheesy, we still can get a kick out of them. "Revenge of the Sith" is nowhere close to being a flawless film, but at the very least it is fun and entertaining. I could suggest to Lucas that he should not have wasted so much storytelling time in the first two films, but that would be a lost effort. "Revenge of the Sith" is entertaining, and there are some parts that are really good.
George Lucas has massacred some very important scenes in the movie, but "Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" still is effectively entertaining. It could have been a lot better, but seeing Anakin Skywalker turn into Darth Vader and go on a murdering spree is worth it.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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