Ramblings from the Desert

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. ~Benjamin Franklin

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Location: New Mexico

Author of the urban fantasy novel, The Music of Chaos, and the paranormal romance, The Canvas Thief.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith Review

In which we learn that Anakin is a Sithy boy and that even in a galaxy far, far away, maternity wear is ugly.

Revenge of the Sith is a coffee table movie. Big, beautiful and lacking any substance. Yet, unlike its two predecessors, it's fun. (Of course, this could be a function of very low expectations.)

In fact the first scene has much of the rollicking-space-opera energy that made the original trilogy so much fun. The scene opens with a battle in space followed by a show of Anakin and Obi-wan's light saber prowess as they attempt to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from Count Dooku. This is George Lucas at his best. Big breathless battles softened by a touch of humor (usually supplied by R2D2). Away from Padme and whine-free, Anakin (Hayden Christiansen) cuts a fine figure in black and is almost tolerable.

Unfortunately, that energy flags when the story moves to quieter scenes. Lucas seems to mistake "acting" for long looks and longer pauses, which only serve to accentuate the ponderous dialogue and wooden delivery.

But the movie's most significant flaw is Anakin's all-too abrupt decision to switch teams. Beyond the usual Skywalker whining (Luke was a whiner too; the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), our young Jedi-turned-Sith displays little more than a glassy-eyed stare when confronted with the Moment of Truth. Thanks to Lucas's utter inability to write a romantic scene, Anakin's motivation, his love of Padme, is grounded in a passionless and poorly-developed romance. (Note to George Lucas: A good romance requires that the viewer understand what each person sees in the other. Something beyond: "She's so purty." The trilogy is essentially a tragic romance; Padme and Anakin's relationship is the most important element in the story.)

Christiansen and Natalie Portman, good actors by some reports, read their (admittedly dreadful) lines as though under the influence of an overdose of Paxil. A romantic interlude between two droids would have had more heat. The cherry on the top of the unbelievable factor is Padme's delivery of The Universe's Most Enormous Newborn Twins; this despite looking about five months pregnant.

But there are compelling moments. Case in point, the betrayal and destruction of the Jedis. And the movie does deliver--splendidly--with two climatic face-offs made grander by a great score. Ian McDiarmid, as Chancellor Palpatine is masterful, somehow overcoming bad dialogue to bleed menace from the screen. Ewan McGregor, though burdened by a few dialogue bombs that hit the ground with a mighty splat, plods along gamely and his regret at the end is palpable. And questions are answered, yes.

Is it Empire Strikes Back? God no. I cared about the characters in Empire Strikes Back. Is it worth the price of admission? Yeah. Go see it. You know you need the closure.



Graphics and Content Copyright © Patricia Kirby 2005