I bet you’re wondering why I’m writing about “Revenge of the Sith” so long after its cinematic release. Well, because the film was a big winner at the recent 32nd annual People’s Choice Awards. And I just couldn’t let that go by without a few comments. Yes, this article is going to be a rant!
First, I’ll start off by saying that the movie was entertaining to a degree; just switch your brain off, eat your popcorn and enjoy the gloss on the screen. Maybe that’s why the movie did so well at the People’s Choice Awards. It was a win of gloss over substance. And may be that’s what people want.
However, this isn’t just any movie. This is the final instalment (OK, prequel) of a story that was nearly thirty years in the making. We get the chance to see how Anakin Skywalker, a person with hopes and great potential, becomes one of the (evil) Empire’s most feared protagonists. And what a disappointment the movie was when viewed from that context.
Where did the movie go so wrong? There were a lot of items. But let me explain a few of them.
1. Special Effects
Waaay too much CGI.
Some of the CGI was good from a technical perspective. And there were some really nonsensical ones too. Some were just too cartoon-ish. Especially some of the CGI fight scenes, where the movement did not seem natural. Perhaps it was the Force ;-)
At the beginning of the movie, Obi Wan, Anakin and R2D2 board a large spaceship. When the ship tilts then everything in the spaceships starts sliding. OK, the spaceship may have been close enough to the planet that gravity was still a factor so that a spaceship pitching could have had that effect. But the position of the spaceship and the planet looked all wrong. And they must have turned-off the artificial gravity on the space-ship to save power ;-)
The “fire-ships” that hosed the ship on fire as it flew through the planet’s atmosphere. Notice how the fire-ships were hosing water (or whatever it was) in the direction of flight? The physics is all wrong.
The acting was wooden. All the actors were bad. Bad acting or bad direction? Probably a combination.
The dialogue…what on earth was that?! Examine the scenes between Anakin and Padme. Or between Anakin and Palpatine. Actually, just look at all the scenes. And “younglings”…what’s wrong with “children”? Bad, bad, bad.
And the plot? ohmigod! Watch the original “Star Wars” after watching “Sith”. Why doesn’t Obi Wan remember the droids? I’m sure some Star Wars fanatic out there will come up with some convoluted logic.
And, err, let’s hide Luke with his uncle on their home planet so that Luke’s father Anakin/Vader can’t find him. Sounds like the best place to hide someone. I dunno, perhaps it’s the last place to look especially if you’re NOT looking for someone. But it just doesn’t seem likely, especially as it doesn’t seem to be a secret that Luke Skywalker’s father is called Anakin Skywalker.
Padme just dying like that because she didn’t want to live anymore? So after giving birth to twins she doesn’t have the will to live and decides to abandon her children? Yea, right. Whatever happened to Padme? She was a feisty character when we were first introduced to her in “The Phantom Menace”. Now in the move she’s just someone who looks out of her window all day wandering from room to room. What a waste of a character.
The newly-born Leia had a few seconds with her mother. Well, she must have had a hell of a memory as Leia tells Luke (in one of the other movies) that her mother died when Leia was quite young but that she remembered her being sad. That’s some feat…perhaps it’s the Force again.
Anakin sure defeated the powerful Count Dooku pretty quick. So much for any tension in the fight scenes. And another waste of a character. And Anakin doesn’t seem to dwell too much on killing off the (literally!) unarmed Dooku.
A new evil character is introduced, the organic/robotic combo of “Grievous”. I think it’s clear that George Lucas wants to merchandise Star Wars to the hilt. Nothing wrong with that but the way he’s done it is to further compromise the Star Wars story.
Notice the surveillance device in the Jedi HQ? Why didn’t the Jedi use that to spy on Palpatine rather than upsetting Anakin when asking him to spy?
When Palpatine revealed himself as the Sith Lord to Anakin, well, Anakin didn’t take much persuasion to turn to the dark side. Forget all the Jedi ideals that Anakin was so robustly trying to defend previously. Sure, he was a little grieved at not being appointed a council member. He just appeared too much like a spoiled brat who couldn’t get his own way. And his visions of Padme dying and the potential that the dark side could save her, and he believed everything that Palpatine told him.
I cannot ever feel intimidated or awed by the power of Darth Vader again when watching the original Star Wars trilogy. The damage is done; Darth Vader, the petulant spoiled brat.
The killing-off of the council members and the other Jedi. They sure were easy meat. At this point you expect the Jedi knights to be a bit better than that. So much for the great council.
The battle between Obi Wan and Anakin on the lava flow. Too much CGI. And the climax of the fight was a real let down. So much for Anakin being the wonder-kid fighter, even if he was on lower “ground”. And why didn’t Obi Wan finish off Anakin? Or take him prisoner?
So, Yoda reveals he can converse with Obi Wan’s dead master. A single statement right at the end. Seemed rushed to fit everything thing.
Why was Chewbacca in the movie? Oh right, I remember…merchandise.
The whole movie and the previous two films were clumsily put together. Bending the story lines to produce something “interesting” but introducing plot holes and inconsistencies.
Was there any character that I had sympathy with? No. And I really did try to like them. The original Star Wars trilogy wasn’t famed for the most brilliant of acting but the interplay between the characters and the humour really helped the movies to succeed. The prequels don’t have any real humour unless you want to talk about Jar Jar Binks but, most often than not, I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry when thinking of that monstrosity!
Oh the horror of watching Anakin/Vader taking his first steps after being put in the suit. What was George Lucas watching recently, some decades-old Hammer horror film? And then the final insult; the laughable…
There, there, Vader. Have a cookie.
Frankenstein’s monster and Hammer would have been proud.