I know what people have said about this movie. It’s the best of the prequels. It makes up for Episodes I and II. It’s better than Return of the Jedi, and almost as good as the original Star WArs film.
To which I say: what? Are you ***ing kidding me?
Star Wars Episode III is dark, yes, violent, yes, and epic, yes. And sometimes darkness, epicness, and violence can be mistaken for quality. I know I made that mistake when I first saw the movie. Up there, on the big screen, in all its CGI-filed glory, with Sorround Sound blasting at you and John Silliams’ weeping orchestral score being pumped at youthrough sorround-sound speakers, it’s hard not to feel a little impressed.
But once you look past the surface, Revenge of the Sith is really not very good at all. The reasons it is not very good are so numerous and complex that I have no choice but to enumerate all of them in an epic review.
To be fair, Revenge of the Sith isn’t a terrible movie, just a horribly disappointing one. It might be better than the other prequels, in the same way that X:Men, the Last Stand is better than X:Men Origins Wolverine. It’s certainly not the worst of the prequels (cough, Attack of the Clones, cough). But it sin no way comparable to the original trilogy. Here’s why.
1. The Special Effects
In one scene on the DVD audio-commentary, George Lucas explains how he is really proud of one scene, because nothing in it except for the emperor (Ian McDiarmid) is real. Everything else in the scene, including the clone trooper soldiers accompanying the emperor, is CGI.
This pretty much sums up what is wrong with the entire movie.
CGI looks fake. The only reason people use it in movies is because it is the simplest and cheapest way to do things that otherwise would be impossible. Sometimes it is the only way. Most sane directors (directors who aren’t Michael Bay, or George Lucas) are aware of the fact that generally actual real props and sets look more realistic than stuff that is generated on a computer screen. What a surprise.
But for some reason, George Lucas not only uses CG when there are other ways of doing an effect, he uses CGI even when this other ways are easier and make more sense. Why make a CGI clone trooper soldier when you could just get a guy and put him in a costume? Why make a CGI jungle battle when you could just go and shoot in a jungle? George Lucas’ obsession with CGI isn’t enough to ruin the movie on its own, but it does lend every scene an extra dimension of fakeness that prevents you from becoming immersed in the world. The fight scenes are so over-crowded with spaceships, dragons (wait, what? Dragons fighting spaceships? Are you serious?) that it’s hard to even tell who is fighting who, what weird, improbably designed vehicle is on what side, or who is winning. Another problem with the CGI is that it enables George Lucas to stuff as many insultingly ridiculous objects into every battle. Tanks shaped like snails? WHY? Spaceships shaped like vultures? Again, WHY? The most insulting of all has to be the eye-rollingly named buzz droids, robots that the creators of this movie designed to look like flies apparently just because they could. Who designed this army of evil, anyway? P. T. Barnum? Dora the Explorer?
2. The acting/dialogue.
A fake-ass looking world wouldn’t be so disastrous if there were something besides the special effects to keep people engaged. Unfortunately, as we are about to see, the story feels about as real as the background it’s set in. By which I mean not at all.
You would think after watching Episode II and seeing that he’d written such bland, unbelievable, Shakespeare-sounding bullshit lines as “I wish I could wish away my feelings, but I can’t,” and “I am haunted by the kiss you should never have given me. My heart is beating, hoping that that kiss will not become a scar,” George Lucas would have realized that whatever talent he’d had for screenwriting had joined the force a long time ago and hire someone else to write the screenplay for his one last chance at redemption. Maybe Quentin Tarantino? I don’t know, someone.
But no, instead we get to listen to more lines that sound as though they were stolen off the insides of Hallmark love cards and from from second-grade textbooks on the American Revolution.
A few precious gems include:
“I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi.”
“Anakin, you’re breaking my heart. Going down a path I can’t follow.”
“Have faith, my love. Things will soon be set right.”
“This war represents a failure to listen.”
“I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi.”
“My allegiance is to the Republic. To DE-MO-CRA-CY!”
“I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi.”
Speaking of plots…
3. The plot.
The plot not only is retarded, it actually directly contradicts lots of things in the original three movies. You know you fail at making a prequel when you can’t even get it to match up with the original movies.
The plot revolves around Anakin Skywalker, who was already a selfish, arrogant, agsty little shit, turning genuinely evil. This transformation might have been more tragic and moving if Anakin Skywalker had actually been a likable character at some point, but never mind.
Anyway, the reason he turns evil is because he thinks the dark lord of evil can save her. You see, he had a dream. Yes a ****ing dream. About her dying in childbirth.
Wait. You’re telling me that the same people responsible for building a giant looting city with spaceships that can travel at the speed of light and talking gay robots, the same people who can make people robot arms and save a man with 3rd degree burns all over his body don’t know how to save women from dying in childbirth? Try a C-Section, you medieval dumb****s.
All right, whatever. So anyway, Anakin turns evil as we all know. What is the first thing he does? Attempt to start learning the dark magic that can save his pregnant wife, who is due to deliver in a matter of days? Hell no. He goes and kills some kids, ecause the surest way to save a pregnant woman’s life is by killing children. Oh, I’m sorry. Younglings.
Then he goes and kills a bunch of CGI people with a CGI sword. One you realize that it’s these are the assholes who built the buzz droids, snail tanks, vulture ships, and most of the other fake-ass looking shit in this movie, so it really is gratifying to see them get chopped into pieces by a super-heated plasma sword.
For some reason, this killing spree actually fails to save his wife, who does die in childbirth. It turns out that the medical reason given for her death is a broken heart. Wait, really? Apparently, George Lucas thinks he can get away with shoving Shakespeare crap like this into a movie containing the words ‘buzz droids.’ Sadly, he is mistaken.
Wait. She dies in childbirth? Something seems fishy…oh, yeah, that one scene in Return of the Jedi when Leia describes her mother. Beautiful…but sad. I guess you could call screaming in agony as you give birth to twins and then expiring a few seconds later…sad. It’s not quite the word I would have chosen, but it’s in the general ballpark of negative emotions. What I don’t understand is how a 5 second-year-old baby is capable of remembering this at all. Either Leia’s got some sort of super Jedi-memory, or George Lucas doesn’t actually know what happened in his own movies.
4. General Grievous
Is there any way to somehow make a four-armed, cyborg alien general not cool? If you thought the answer was no, then boy are you in for a surprise.
First of all, the name. General Greivous? Grevious? As in, say, a grievous injury, or a grievous defeat, or a grievous wound? Oh, damn George. That’s subtle.
I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything else from a man responsible for Count Dooku (say it out loud), Lord Tyrannus (Cause he’s tyrannical? Or something?), and Darth Maul (get it? Like, how animals maul you? It’s a pun, see.)
It turns out the name is the least of General Grievous’ problems. He staggers around each scene coughing like a guy who can’t quit smoking. Coughing? He’s a freaking robot who doesn’t have lungs, a mouth, or a nose. He does have a heart, though, as you can see when the armor gets ripped off his chest. Never mind the fact that he has no veins. George Lucas really doesn’t know how the circulatory system works, does he? Either this whole heart-inside-the-machine thing is a really bad metaphor or General Grievous is the dumbest idea since colored ketchup.
5. The fight scnes
Ok, the plot sucks, but this is an action movie. At least there are gonna be some pretty badass fights, am I right?
No, no you are not.
Half of the fights consist of fake-lloking CGI robots shooting at fake-looking CGI clone-troopers. They’re fighting a war, you see, because of..stuff? I guess it’s because the people who are building the robots are evil. I mean, if they weren’t evil, they wouldn’t be led by a giant evil-looking dude called General Grievous, right?
Anyway, the only fight anyone cares about is the epic, half-an-hour long climactic duel at the end between the two main characters. Which is so long, boring, and unrealistic it defies description.
If you’ve ever been near anything hot in your entire life, you probably are aware of the fact that heat radiates out from its source the same way that poorly animated clone wars TV show spinoffs radiate out of Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. This means that it is possible to feel heat/get burned without actually touching the source of the heat.If you know anything about lava, you are aware that it is very ****ing hot. Apparently George Lucas’ only experience with lava comes from playing video games, in which you can only die if you actually fall in. So we get twelve minutes of two people standing literally three feet above an entire planet of lava and not so much as breaking a sweat. If this isn’t enough to remind you you’re actually watching two people standing in the middle of a green room and swinging at each other with sticks, I don’t know what is.
So, what is good about it?
Well, the music is great. And there’s a few good parts, like when Samuel L Jackson fights a dude who can shoot lightning out of his hands. Oh, and that part where all the Jedi got shot is kind of sad. But only if you’ve read all the comic books/novelizations/whatever and know that the weird-looking guy with an orange head and a mask over his face is actually Plo Koon(tm). Apart from that, there is only the realization that no matter how disappointing this movie is, it could have been worse. It could have been this.