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Reviews for EPISODE
poster from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith
11 out of 1011 out of 1011 out of 1011 out of 1011 out of 10+
Rated: PG-13
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Current Voter Rating: 9.978 (1,572 votes)
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This may be the coolest movie that I have ever seen. This third episode completes the prequel trilogy and the entire six-piece set of Star Wars films. Audiences around the world have been waiting for Anakin Skywalker's journey to the Dark Side and for him to wear the infamous mask and helmet of Darth Vader.

The movie begins with a daring rescue amid a great space battle. Sadly, it is one of the very few space battles of the prequels and is a bit too brief, in my opinion. The Republic and their clone army are engulfed in war with the Separatists and their Droid Army. The Jedi, lead by Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), must first confront the Sith Lord, Count Dooku (a.k.a. Darth Tyranus, played by Christopher Lee), and then a new enemy, General Grievous, the part-alien/part-droid commander of the Droid Army, in order to rescue the Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

picture from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

Soon after, Anakin begins to fear for the life of his beloved Padme, who now is bearing his offspring. Gifted and powerful in his knowledge of the Force, he thirsts for more so that he can prevent the death that he so fears for his secret wife. Sensing this, Palpatine, as yet unveiled as Darth Sidious, the Dark Lord of the Sith, slowly begins placing seeds of doubt and confusion in young Skywalker. He reveals that there was once a Sith Lord who was able to control life and death, and that through the Dark Side of the Force one could weild such great power. Palpatine also plays to Anakin's own frustrations and ambitions concerning the Jedi. Eventually, Anakin discovers the true identity of Palpatine and turns him over to the Jedi Council, but not before his appetite for a greater power has been whet.

This sets up the emotional turning point of the film. As Padme watches the setting sun, John William's operatic score seeps into our souls. It is somber, not unlike a requiem. Mace Windu heads for Palpatine's chamber and Anakin debates within himself over his next move. As darkness falls, the Dark Side begins to take over...

picture from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

Of course, we all know the ending. Anakin becomes Darth Vader. Obi-Wan becomes a recluse on Tatooine. Padme gives birth to twins, Luke and Leia. But watching things as they unfold, especially the central theme of Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, is absolutely mesmerising. There are so many moments one can point to, going all the way back to Episode I, where a split second here, a wiser decision there, and Anakin would be remembered as a hero instead of as the dreaded Darth Vader. As an audience we become just as frustrated as Anakin, though for entirely different reasons.

One of the most sinister parts of the film involves the execution of Order 66. Darth Sidious initiates the command to the clone-troopers, who then begin turning on the Jedi, whom until now they have fought alongside. It is a dark and low point in a movie that continues to get darker. Shockingly, on the same day that I saw this movie (for the 2nd time) and wrote this review, I ordered a pizza and some breadsticks from LaRosa's, a pizzeria in Cincinnati. I was deeply troubled to find that my order number was none other than Order 66. So apparently I initiated Order 66! Even more disturbing was the fact that when I was faced with the choice of the Light Cola or the Dark Cola, I chose the Dark Cola. I know I shouldn't, but somehow I thirst for more!

Apparently the clone-troopers were pre-programmed to obey this Order 66 from the beginning, which takes us back to one of the mysteries of Episode II which was never adequately solved, even in Episode III. When Obi-Wan arrives on the stormy planet of Kamino, he is told that the person who placed the original order for the clone-troopers was Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas. However, when Obi-Wan radios back to Masters Yoda and Mace Windu, they discuss how Sifo-Dyas was killed almost ten years beforehand. Who was Jedi Master Sifo-Dyas and who really placed the order for the clone army? A decent answer to the former question can be found on Wikipedia. As to the latter, we may never know for sure, but can only assume that Darth Sidious was behind it all.

Another subtle mystery is unravled at the end of this episode, however. In Episode II, when Anakin is avenging his mother's death and attacking the sand people, Master Yoda, who is meditating, is able to sense the drama unfold. As he does this, we hear the voice of Qui-Gon yell "Anakin! Anakin! No!" How could this be? Qui-Gon Jinn was killed by Darth Maul in Episode I. However, we learn in Episode III that Qui-Gon has been able to retain his identity when he was "absorped back into the Force" (sounds like a little Hindu-ism rubbed off on Lucas there). Through meditation, Yoda has been able to contact him and instructs Obi-Wan to train himself to do the same. The real miss here, however, in my opinion, is that we don't get to see or hear Qui-Gon Jinn at all in this movie. That would have really made this movie absolute perfection if we could have had just a glimpse of him. Hopefully Lucas may tinker with this movie a bit and add a scene or two by the time this comes out on DVD. We can only hope.

picture from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

This is probably the most exciting, action-packed movie of the entire Star Wars universe. However, it is also the darkest and scariest of them all. Its violence alone made this the only film of the series to be rated PG-13 (on this point, Lucas himself said that he would not edit anything to get the PG rating, but also stated that he would take a 9- or 10-year-old to see it but never a 5- or 6-year-old and I'd have to agree with him. I took my 10-year-old daughter to see it; she said that it was awesome, but she did have some trouble getting to sleep that night. I would not have taken her to see it a couple of years ago, but every child is different. If you are debating whether or not to take yours, I suggest screening it first). It is sad and depressing as well. Many of the characters that we have grown to love wind up dying in this movie. Yoda and Obi-Wan, once powerful Jedi Masters, wind up disgraced and in exile. And the boy we've been rooting and cheering for has become a monster.

The final battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan is powerful, not just in the intense swordplay, but in the conflict of emotions as well. "He's like my father!" Anakin once told Padme of his mentor, Obi-Wan. "Do not send me to kill him. I cannot do it." says Obi-Wan to Yoda before the decision is made. It is painful. It is good versus evil, but it is an evil that should never have materialized. Obi-Wan cries out in anguish towards the climax of their battle, "You were the chosen one! You were supposed to destroy the Sith, not become one of them!"

picture from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

This movie has many powerful performances, unforgettable action, and memorable quotes such as

Anakin: "Is it possible to learn this power?"
Palpatine: "Not from a Jedi."
Padme: "So this is how Liberty dies...with thunderous applause."

We are introduced to new worlds, ships, and characters just as we are reunited with familiar ones. First and foremost, there is the introduction of a great new character, General Grievous, leader of the Droid Army and a great addition to the host of Star Wars villains. He has a reputation as a Jedi killer, collecting their light-sabers as he goes, and as Obi-Wan Kenobi soon discovers, he is able to wield those light-sabers as well (and not just one at a time either...) setting up one of the film's most thrilling moments.

picture from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

In the last movie, we laughed when Yoda wielded his light-saber. But by this movie, it seems natural. One of my favorite scenes is when he enters the Emperor's chambers. As the Crimson Guards move to confront him, Yoda jerks his shoulders slightly, and the guards go flying backwards into the wall, crumpling to the floor. As for the Emperor himself, Ian McDiarmid's performance as Palpatine/Sidious in my opinion really steals the show. He is manipulative, slippery, and pure evil. We see Bail Organa (Jimmy Smits), eventual step-father of Princess Leia, aboard his ship, the Tantive IV (which is the first ship seen in the original Star Wars, Episode IV). It is on this ship that we finally see the birth of the twins, Luke and Leia. This scene is inter-cut with the construction of Vader's suit and mask, which is a real treat for all of us, as is hearing James Earl Jones' deep and menacing voice once again. It is worth noting that from a distance, Vader's helmet, how it flares out at the bottom, resembles the hood worn by Jedi and Sith alike. Interesting.

This movie gives us everything that we, as true Star Wars fans, could have hoped for including even seeing Chewbacca and the Wookies on Kashyyk. It is the final piece of the puzzle (sadly, Lucas now claims that six episodes is it for Star Wars, reversing his claim in the 80's that there were originally to be nine of them), and the saga is now complete. We now understand the rise of the Empire, the fall of Anakin, and the ancestry of the Skywalkers.

Would I have liked to see more space battles, more Wookies, more lightsabers, and a glimpse of Qui-Gon Jinn? Sure. But would any of us ever be satisfied that it is all over? Probably not. We can only say "Thank you" to George Lucas for taking us, six times no less, to a galaxy far, far away.

May the Force be with you.

picture from Star Wars:  Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith

thumbs up!This may be the best Star Wars yet, which might make it the best movie ever made. Don't miss it!

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So far, the average rating for Star Wars: Episode III - The Revenge of the Sith is: 9.978 (1,572 votes)

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