TBT – Revenge of the Sith (2005)

This month marks the 10thanniversary of the release of the third episode in the Star Warssaga: Revenge of the Sith. As such, it marked the end of the prequel trilogy and the end of the three films that managed to break the hearts of so many people. Fans were fucking jaded and sad come 2005: the excitement pre-Phantom Menace a fading memory of a more naïve time in their lives. To a certain group of society, George Lucas was the fucking villain who pissed on their childhood thanks to an over-reliance on CGI and a fucking racist alien. Although, people still flocked to see the final film to get the closure they needed but they weren’t going to enjoy it. It turned out that after the abysmal first two films, Revenge of the Sithwas the best of Lucas’ modern trilogy but, really, what does that accolade mean?

As mentioned in my last post, Revenge of the Sithstarts with by swiftly slapping you in the face with an epic space battle taking place of Coruscant. It starts fast and the pace rarely slows. Well except for those moments when characters just sit in silence looking longingly into the distance: you can’t fucking get away from those moments. However, there is no denying that there is plenty of action on offer and enough Jedi duelling to keep your attention for the most part. If Revenge of the Sithisn’t a good film then it is at least a pretty decent spectacle. Even those maudlin moments of starring are fucking visual treats in their own CGI’d way.
Of course, in terms of story there isn’t much to write home about. Although, this is mostly down to the fact that Sithhas the awful job of revealing several plot twists that were revealed up to 30 years previously. That’s no excuse for the dismal use of language throughout, of course. Some of the lines in this film are so horrible that I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a necessary number of brain cells with each watch. I don’t think I can afford to do it again guys.
Poor Natalie Portman gets the brunt of these lines, having been relegated to pregnant love interest. It really isn’t the Padmé that was suggested to us from the last films. Although, to make it up to Portman, she is also given one of the film’s greatest lines: “so this how liberty dies… with thunderous applause”. That line gives me fucking chills every single time. Portman often finds herself lost in this shitty role that is becomes more emotionally charge than Padmé’s inevitable and uninspiring death.
Of course, acting was something that the films always had a lot of potential with and in Siththe likes of Ewan McGregor and Samuel L Jackson continue to revel in their respective positions as Jedi badasses. There are moments when it’s impossible to ignore the sheer joy on McGregor’s beautiful, beardy face as he nears completion in his transformation into Alec Guinness. Even Hayden Christensen seems to have taken some notes after Clones and started to really think about what his fucking job entails. Sure he’ll never be a great performer but there are moments when it’s almost forgiveable.
Of course, he’s in full evil mode now: something which is very apparent from the opening scene thanks to the tell-tale scar of immorality over his right eye. Although, to hammer the point home, Anakin is the only Jedi wearing all-black robes (you’d think someone would have picked up on it), only ever appears half-lit and looks fucking evil. I know we all knew he was going to become Darth Vader but this is half-arsed even for George Lucas.
So far, Revenge of the Sithsounds much like the first films but there are a few inspiring moments. I’ve discussed a couple in my last post and maintain that the fight on Mustafar and General Grievous in general are fucking fantastic. Then there is the almost perfect scene at the end when the action cuts between Padmé enduring a painful labour and Anakin’s “rebirth” as Darth Vader. There are some genuinely inspired moments of filmmaking from a director who’s name has become synonymous with shitting over a beloved series of films.
Of course, before we get too comfortable with Lucas again that are a lot of questionable choices within his direction. Most worryingly of all, his apparent obsession with extreme close-ups. There’s no need for it and they crop up at the most inconvenient times. He is on shaky ground still and attempts to mask the film’s many flaws by bombarding the audience with endless scenes of action and CGI wonderment. Sithtakes on board the frustration many felt with the prolonged exposure to Galactic politics and decided the best way to keep people happy is to blow all the shit up. Hey, as strategies go I’ve hear worse.
Revenge of the Sithis as good a science-fiction film as you’d want from 2005 once you remove it from the nostalgia tainted world of the Star Wars fandom. People were never going to welcome it with open arms and many stubbornly failed to see any of its good points out of sheer spite to Lucasfilm. It’s a visual feast and has enough within it to keep an audience entertained. I’m not ashamed to say that I have a certain fondness for this film despite my unending devotion to the original trilogy. It’s the part of the franchise that I’ve watched the most in recent years but that might have more to do with that beard I mentioned earlier. I’m not going to beat around the bush here: Sith is good. Not great by any stretch but a good film.

Until you start comparing your viewing experience with your first taste of original Star Wars. You can’t compare watching A New Hopefor the feeling you got for this film and come out singing George Lucas’ praises. Die hard Star Warsfans are, perhaps, some of the most stubborn people on the planet and would have no doubt hated the films even if they were Oscar worthy. Let us not forget the initial hyperbolic reaction when it was announced that JJ Abrams was to direct the next one. People acted like it was the worst thing to happen to mankind in the whole of existence. It’s about time they stopped being such fucking cry babies about everything. 

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