Set page style to Deep Space Set page style to Venusian Set page style to Hull Grey
Capt. Sage's Review of
Star Wars Episode III
Revenge of the Sith

I don't really care if I sound like a parrot of other people here: I find Episode III to be the best of the new Star Wars episodes. Perhaps this would be a good time to reiterate my opinion of the new episodes: They're better than most of the movies you'll ever see, but I like them less than the old Star Wars episodes. Some people may take my opinion on this matter with a grain of salt since Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, is my favorite from all of the episodes.

Laying aside Star Wars fan politics, I'll try to get on with the actual review. The movie opens very excitingly, with an incredible space combat scene. It's not the Helm's Deep of space battles only because it has a different mood and isn't supposed to be Helm's Deep. The opening of Revenge of the Sith successfully creates the impression of two huge combat forces at the height of their powers battling over an immense area of space. The action not relevant to the heroes is also tastefully kept in the periphery and background, successfully setting the scene and delighting battle junkies like me, and not interfering with the story.

The story, as you almost certainly must know, ends sadly, unlike the vast majority of Star Wars movies. Like any story about the Titanic, this movie had to end with sadness. Anakin's fall moves to center stage for Episode III, and the other story threads are for the most part appropriately integrated into it.

Fortunately for fans like me, Yoda once again picks up his lightsaber. In fact, practically everybody does, which makes for plenty of exciting fight scenes. They aren't mere flash, either- they actually advance the plot and explain just how, for example, a whole templeful of Jedi could've lost out to the Dark Side.

The plot of the movie is simple, but brilliantly executed in the major detail. Unfortunately, all of the loose ends were left for this movie to resolve, and since nearly all the movie is spent tying them up, we hardly get to spend a good amount of time on any particular plot thread. Ironically, this occasionally leaves some minor loose ends lying around for us to gnaw on until the end of time. Ah well, that's what the novels and fanfictions are for!

Revenge of the Sith's good performances and exciting battles make this movie a wonderful conclusion to the new trilogy, while also providing a good bridge between the old and new trilogies.

SPOILERS

What is the point of having Qui-Gon talk to Obi-Wan? What additional training does Obi-Wan need? Qui-Gon said he had taught Obi-Wan as much as he knew two whole episodes ago. They're presumably talking about having Qui-Gon talk to Obi-Wan as a Force ghost, just like Obi-Wan does for Luke in Episodes IV and V and VI. Still, I don't understand what more training Qui-Gon has to give. Perhaps it was more companionship, although Yoda could've said that in the first place. I just don't get it.

As far as I'm concerned, many of the plot problems come from a rather off-kilter view of good and evil. There's one particularly weird line at the scene on Mustafar, in front of the ramp of Padme's ship, where Obi-Wan is telling Darth Vader that only the Sith deal in absolutes. I felt like the movie makers were trying to lecture me, and it didn't seem like an actual statement of truth. First of all, the statement is itself an absolute, but is spoken by a Jedi, not a Sith, and thus self-refuting. The second and somewhat more important thing to note is that the statement isn't true. If you'll recall, the Jedi tend to stand for moral absolutes of good, like not taking over Empires, not kidnapping people, not assassinating people, and are willing to risk their lives to defend them; Obi-Wan believes in moral absolutes. The Star Wars series also sometimes tells us that the Sith deal in gray areas more than in absolutes. It is, if you will recall, the Emperor, in this very episode, who advocated ambiguity in morality. Remember him confusing Anakin when he revealed himself as a Sith? "We need to explore all of the aspects of the Force" or however it went? The movie makers seem to know quite well that is how evil talks and thinks: so why did they then give Obi-Wan that line about absolutes? Obi-Wan is trying to counter Anakin's line when Anakin talks about absolutes, but there are plenty of other counters to Anakin's line, like "Maybe so, but you're against the Republic" or "I'm against you because you're evil."

Of course, this isn't the only disastrous line on good and evil from the Jedi. Remember in Episode VI Return of the Jedi when Obi-Wan's Force ghost says that "many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on your point of view." It's disturbingly slimy for a Jedi to excuse his lying in this way. His lie nearly allowed evil to triumph, because the Emperor and Darth Vader are nearly able to turn Luke to the Dark Side by exploiting the surprise of Obi-Wan's deception and Luke's previously unknown father. In Episode III, this idea of points of view being all-important is far more appropriately placed in the mouth of a Sith: Chancellor Palpatine said that good and evil are both only points of view in the opera box.

Yoda is supposed to be wise, but he's never in any Star Wars movie been all that great at personal relationships. His advice in this movie, given to Anakin, comes off as "Just don't care about people and you'll be all right." It's not exactly inspiring to hear one of the leaders of your order tell you that love is a bad idea.

We are therefore left to wonder just what the entire Star Wars series considers to be the moral high ground.

I was also rather disappointed that Count Dooku was killed off so fast. We hardly had any time with him either in this movie or the last one, so his character ends up feeling unfinished, like we were supposed to see a lot more of him but didn't. At least it was the Emperor who finished him off, by encouraging Anakin to kill him: I'd suspected that the count would die at the Emperor's hands, and he was indeed betrayed by his master the Emperor.