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Empire Magazine Greatest Movies List - #330: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

As of 2013, it is two years from the release of the new “Star Wars” trilogy and eight years since the release of the last prequel, “Star War Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” George Lucas got a lot of flack for going back to the past with his new trilogy and doing what many fans, most notably Patton Oswalt, would say was a poor job. However, of those three films most people would agree Episode III is the best one. We finally get to see the rise of the evil empire, Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader and we get a great lightsaber battle between good and evil on a volcanic planet.

I’ve watched these movies at various points of my life. My parents showed me the original trilogy on recorded VHS tapes while we were living in Newfoundland in the early 90s. The new trilogy started coming out in 1999, when we were living in South America. By the time the final episode came out, we were back in Canada, so it all came full circle. I saw Episode III in theatres in Quebec City with my mom and my brother and once again after getting the DVD for Christmas. Now maybe 10 years I will end up getting some sort of nine-movie Blu-Ray combo pack.

As this episode begins you go in knowing things are not going to end well, but they do start with a bang. As the iconic opening credits inform the audience, war has been raging in the galaxy for a while now. The Jedis have been fighting separatists and their droid army led by dark Jedi Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and cyborg General Grievous (voiced by Matthew Wood). The Jedis fight back with their own army of clones, which they conveniently stumbled upon in the previous episode. The movie’s first battle takes place in ships shooting each other above Coruscant, the galaxy’s capital, and goes non-stop until characters crash land in the city.

While the battles rage on, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDermid) is pulling strings to become more powerful and eventually become Emperor Palpatine. The war has already granted him almost complete control over the senate, but he has other plans. He appoints Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) as his representative on the Jedi council. When they do not respect his authority, Anakin becomes Palpatine’s confidant. He tells Palpatine he has had vision of his wife Padmé (Natalie Portman) dying, In turn the Chancellor convinces him the only to avoid change her future is to embrace the dark side. Uh-oh.

After a deadly fight between Palpatine and Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson, who gets a great death scene) the evil plans are finally set into motion. Palpatine orders the clones to kill all the Jedis knights. Anakin walks into the Jedi academy and slays all the young trainees. Padmé, pregnant with twins, has to go on the run after watching the senate grant Palpatine full power. As for the droid army, it was just a matter of flipping an off switch.

The third act of the movie contains some of the most dramatic moments in the Star Wars saga. Hundreds of Jedis are shot in the back by soldiers with whom they had been fighting side by side. Master Yoda (Frank Oz) tries to kill Palpatine and nip the evil empire in the bud while there is still time, but he is defeated and goes into hiding. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) finally have the duel that will leave Anakin so scarred he will have to wear the most recognizable villainous helmet in movie history.

As with all of the prequels, the weakness here is the dialogue. For one thing, I can’t be the only one who thinks “Revenge of the Sith” sounds an awful lot like “Revenge of the Shit.” Also, who the hell says “younglings” when talking about kids? Some of the cheesiest lines come up when the romance between Anakin and Padmé starts to fall apart, as they state the obvious: “You’re breaking my heart.”

Despite the weak dialogue said by the characters whenever they are not fighting, writer and director George Lucas managed to close his new trilogy with a satisfying end. What was rather bizarre is that at the time of the film’s release people saw it as a critique of the foreign policies of George W. Bush. Actually, Lucas had started writing the film during the Vietnam War. It’s just an unhappy coincidence that decades later America would be once again stuck in an unpopular war and give unprecedented power to its leader. Once again, things had come full circle.

What I found the most disturbing was the odd resemblance between Emperor Palpatine and Pope Benedict XVI. Seriously, look at a picture of these two side by side and tell me they don’t look alike.

Once the dust settled and the fanboys stopped screaming, this turned out to be a good ending to one of the most famous sagas in movie history. Now, lets just wait and see if J.J Abrams can cook up a new trilogy with better dialogue in 2015. You never know, the Force might be with him.


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