ninth symphony films - movie reviews


DIRECTOR  -  george lucas

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  sci-fi

LENGTH  -  146 minutes

RELEASED  -  19 may 2005

DISTRIBUTOR  -  20th century fox

OFFICIAL SITE  -  revenge of the sith

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $115,000,000
star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith - a shot from the film


buy the soundtrack from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith at

buy the soundtrack from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith at

fter three years of fighting in the clone wars, anakin skywalker begins his journey towards the dark side of the force, putting his friendship with obi wan kenobi and his marriage at risk.

originally, a young han solo was going to make an appearance in the film, living among the wookies on kashyyyk.


picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith

picture from star wars - episode iii: revenge of the sith


three out of four possible stars

It's a shame George Lucas decided to pen the dialogue for Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, because despite a level of expertise in special effects that seems to eclipse all other filmmakers everywhere on the planet, he seems to have lost the ability to create intelligent speech for his characters. When characters utter such flat and abused dialogue like, "you're breaking my heart," you know it's time to hang up the pen and stick to the things you're better at. Mr. Lucas, that would be special effects.

Lucas wrote the original Star Wars film and also directed it. And that movie was filled with humor and interesting dialogue. "Episode" six, The Return of the Jedi, was also written by Lucas and although it's considered the weakest installment of the original trilogy, those screenwriting efforts are leaps and bounds above the intelligence displayed through the dialogue of Revenge of the Sith and, to a greater and more detrimental degree, The Attack of the Clones and The Phantom Menace.

Menace verges quite often on the threshold of "boring" and Clones dances frequently with stilted dialogue, and although Revenge owns a better screenplay, comparatively speaking, being "better" isn't really a strong compliment. The one aspect of the screenplay that Lucas seems to have remembered to include this time around was that desperately needed element of humor that was almost completely missing from Episode I and II. Instead of having only the wry quips of Ewan McGregor's "Obi-Wan Kenobi," the audience is treated to multiple laughs from just about every cast member.

The large cast sports a number of enthusiastic performances including appearances from actors such as Ian McDiarmid, playing "Supreme Chancellor Palpatine," Samuel L. Jackson, playing Jedi knight "Mace Windu," Jimmy Smits, owning a few precious scenes as "Senator Bail Organa," and Anthony Daniels, voicing the beloved droid "C-3PO." The equally as beloved Chewbacca also makes a brief appearance in this film and is even played by the same actor as played the furry giant in the first films, Peter Mayhew. Christopher Lee also makes a brief yet strong appearance as the evil Count Dooku.

Lead actress Natalie Portman, playing "Senator Padmé" and the eventual mother of the famed twins Luke and Leia, probably suffers from the most inane dialogue of the film, though from her strong recent performances in other films such as Cold Mountain and Closer, one would assume the dialogue rather than Portman's performing capabilities was at fault. Co-starring lead actor Hayden Christensen has a suitable amount of romantic chemistry with Portman and though the duo shares some literally ridiculous dialogue together, they make a believable married couple.

Although the delightful interaction between the stars of the original trilogy has not been truly recreated here, there are some flashes of the "Star Wars" of the time of Luke, Leia, and Han. Or perhaps, since Revenge is a prequel, it should be said that the film contains just a bit of the character magic and humor present in the 1977 original film. But comparing this "prequel" trilogy to a set of films created over twenty-five years ago is futile. Two decades is a lifetime of change in a business whose history extends back to the tender year of 1896 and times and filmmaking have certainly changed since the late 1970's.

So it would perhaps be more constructive to compare Revenge to its recent sister films to gauge whether Lucas has retained or brought back some of the magic fans have needed. And in comparing Revenge to the other prequel films, it's clear that this is the strongest installment, despite a running time that a more responsible editor should have chopped twenty minutes out of and a script whose dialogue could have been freshened up by a freshman film student.

Another element of the story that might have viewers scratching their heads is the abrupt timing in which characters make life altering decisions or come to terms with something that will change the rest of their life. One of the most important scenes in the film, a scene that doesn't involve "light sabers" or dazzling visual effects, is the sequence where Anakin Skywalker, played very well Hayden Christensen despite the loopy dialogue, decides to turn to the "Dark Side." This decision, while based on logical reasoning, is made so swiftly and completely that the audience might find its head spinning at Anakin's abrupt jump to evil.

The scene itself is played well by Hayden and the person responsible for turning him into Darth Vader (a person that I'll not reveal to avoid spoilers in this review), but even if the dialogue is to be believed, the scene isn't really at home in the larger realm of the entire plot. And this scene is not the only one that might strike viewers as being too abrupt. It's almost as if Lucas threw in a life-altering scene every twenty minutes or so just to advance the plot so he could quickly get back to the action sequences. A more well-written script would have allowed the emotional "arcs" of the characters to proceed at the same time as the physical plot elements acting upon the characters.

But if one was to look at the screenplays of Episodes I and II, the sketchy characterizations and faulty plotting of Revenge of the Sith is still an improvement. This due in great part to the aforementioned humor sprinkled into so many scenes of the film, with McGregor's Kenobi and the loveable "droid" R2-D2 accounting for much of the humor. The venerable "Yoda," a completely digital character at this point, is still excellently voiced by veteran puppeteer and actor Frank Oz, with the actor handling both the humor and gravity of the character with ease.

What will keep viewers in their seats for the entire long running time of this film is the special effects and fight sequences. One not need be an action buff or a fan of the "Star Wars" universe to find themselves staring slack-jawed at the digital effects. Nearly the entire film was shot in front of "green screens" and in a studio and the number of special effects shots in the film are more than the combined total of Episodes I and II combined. The last half hour or so of the film is an unparalleled sequence of digital effects insanity that it might take viewers a few minutes to recover from.

And that's a very good thing for Lucas and Co. who will probably disappoint much of their older fans for the lack of character emphasis with this lesser installment but who just might be won over by sheer insanity of the special effects. You don't have to be a lover of digital technology to sit in wonder at the beauty of the ILM special effects. Revenge of the Sith is a fitting and beautiful conclusion to the prequel trilogy, but it's doubtful it could be honestly compared to the original films. It should instead be appreciated as a new kind of "Star Wars" for a different generation.

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.

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