Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

WARNING: this review contains spoilers but no carburetors.

4 out of 5 snowstones

In the last years of the nineteen-seventies and the beginning of the early nineteen-eighties, yours truly was still an innocent, blushing child, to whom The Dukes of Hazzard and Starsky & Hutch represented the ultimate thrill in visual entertainment. Until, that is, the Star Wars Saga came along. I didn't have the same obsession with Star Wars as some of my friends, who owned real AT-Ats and Millennium Falcons, but I sure envied them.

Then came some twenty-odd years of radio silence from the makers of the movie. Things had already gone steeply downhill in the third movie (oddly numbered "6") because it featured the most gruesome aliens known to adolescents: cute, cuddly, furry animals called Ewoks. Rumor also had it that the two-legged walking Imperial monster robots from Episode VI were simply the four-legged walking Imperial monster robots from Episode V, cut in half. I was also older then, and decided that Star Wars was, in fact, kind of silly and childish, and stopped obsessing over it.

Then, just a few years ago, came Episode I, which offered the same (and better) dazzling visuals as parts 4, 5, and 6, but took itself way too seriously and, worst of all, featured a whiny kid whom anyone could easily imagine turning to the Dark Side. Just the other week, I caught Episode II on TV, aptly nicknamed "Attack of the Pubes", and found the slightly older Anakin Skywalker only slightly less annoying, and the plot as confusing and serpentine as its predecessor's (note to Lucas: in a sci-fi action movie, avoid talking about intergalactic trade disputes in a way that makes EU conferences sound exciting).

And now, this weekend, my girlfriend and me were downtown and went to the cinema. Much to my surprise, "Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith" had two tickets available a mere hour before the start, so we decided to go see it. Sure, we already knew how it would end, but what the hell. Waiting in line, we saw a whole crowd of people gathering, though thankfully, none of them were dressed as Stormtroopers, Darth Vaders or, for that matter, Jabbas the Hutt.

The movie kicked ass.

Probably it was its connections back (or forward, if you will) to the Episode IV of yesteryear that triggered a whole lot of childhood neurons that had long lain dormant. Episode III made me want to wield a light saber again and make those "heng-heng" mosquito noises. The story is, for once, completely straightforward and action-packed. Lucas learned that one guy's tragic fall from grace beats the intricacies of otherworldly politics. It features awesome, stomach-turning space fights, quadruple light saber duels, and, of course, an evil overlord with an appropriately creepy voice. Of course, it finally explains how Darth Vader gets his mask and his bad temper (although his transition to the Dark Side is still somewhat abrupt). But best of all, like the best of the five episodes, "The Empire Strikes Back", "Revenge of the Sith" is dark and pessimistic, and there's not a furry animal in sight (the horrid Jar-Jar Binks only appears sporadically and keeps his mouth shut).

In short, back in 1977, George Lucas should have had the good foresight to give "A New Hope" the number 2 and create just one action-packed prequel. We would all be happier for it.

Posted by cronopio at 01:05 PM, May 23, 2005