Friday, May 20, 2005


By Reymundo Salao

Reiterating probably the most overused statement of opinion on almost all of the other reviews from varied film critics (from renowned critic Roger Ebert to film director and Star Wars geek Kevin Smith) for this film; "Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars movie since Empire Strikes Back."

After Episode I and II have failed to impress critics, audiences, and even infuriated some fans over how bad it was, Star Wars creator-director George Lucas had this one last shot to restore the faith of his fans, and the reputation of the saga. As expected by fanatics, Episode III is the darkest, most significant chapter in the whole Star Wars, the turning point of the entire storyline, the very foundation of the entire saga, the tragedy of Darth Vader that is being retold in dialogue on the later chapters. Lucas is pressured by the tale that he himself created, and what fans anticipate it to be, dictating him to better make this chapter perfect, not only for himself but for his fans as well.

In a great triumphant sigh of relief, REVENGE OF THE SITH (ROTS) was not only superb but it also managed to contest be as good as the first original trilogy. Much of the reason why the other first two episodes became a failure was that it never seemed to take the saga seriously. Lucas was accused of desecrating and destroying his own creation, making it too child-friendly and too crammed with unnecessary visual effects, depriving it of some human drama and profound storyline. ROTS is a far more superior episode, with a interesting storyline, sensibly emotional dialogue (free from any complex Star Wars jargon that only true-blue fans could understand), and a very human dramatic aspect, that makes the story less sci-fi, and more on the kind of drama that a common person could relate to.

The acting and dialogues for this film are more fluid, realistic, and sympathetic. While the love story of Episode 2 was too synthetic (and excruciatingly corny), and the political subplot of Episode 1 was too out-of-place to be taken seriously, Episode 3 has a human life that finally captures the full emotional attention and respect of its audience. The political subplot also has something that makes me sense some Anti-Bush (George W.) undertone (with the Chancellor not wanting the war to end, that it would only grant him more political and dictatorial powers, and Anakin's line saying: If you are not with, than you are against me. A line which seems to echo Bush's shallow rhetoric on his "war against terror")

ROTS is very dark. True enough, when you see Anakin slice off Dooku's hands, and finally his head, you get to realize that you are now in a darker world of the Star Wars (universe) that is very far away from the annoying wackiness of the Gungans, of Jar-jar, and of (the lame) podraces. No wonder Lucas himself told the press that he wouldn't recommend the film to be watched by children; the violence that Anakin's character inflicts is horrendous, considering that he's that cute kiddie-meal-endorsing kid from Episode 1, and the boyband-ish pop crush in Episode II, here, he must be the dark killer who surrenders his good side, and sign up to join the devil.

This story is an obvious tale of tragedy, oozing with a Shakespearean beauty of bleakness. The tale of dread in this movie is not of the "horror-movie" kind, but one that is actually a heart-wrenching tearjerker. In the middle of the film, you would even be suspicious and ask yourself, "Is Ridley Scott or Mel Gibson directing this movie?" George Lucas may have well indeed washed himself of the tarnished reputation that he got from Episodes 1 & 2. With this film, he earns back the respect, not only of the fans that got disillusioned, but also of the critics that used to bombard him with disapproving reviews.

Evidence of how good the dramatic aspect of the movie is relies on the fact that despite the idea that everybody (except of course to the naïve who have no idea about the Star Wars storyline) already knows what is going to happen in this movie; with the knowledge that Anakin will inevitably turn over to the darkside and become Darth Vader, still, it could generate a high degree of emotional response to the audiences. You ask yourself: "what else could I expect? I already know what's going to happen" well the answer to that is HOW great the vivid imminent impact this tragedy is delivered in. How the drama transforms you from just being an audience of a space drama, to putting yourself in the position of its characters. We get to feel the confusion of Anakin, torn between a distressed love for his wife, his fears of losing her, his sense of trust to his friend Palpatine and a Jedi Council who seems to underestimate him. We get to feel the fears of Padme, whose husband is losing his grip on sanity and morality, and that very unpleasant feeling of how a loved one transforms into something far negatively different from the person that he used to be. We get to feel Obiwan's sense of loss for his friend. He gets to be burdened by the task of vanquishing the brother that he knew, who has fallen into the grip of evil. He also gets to deliver a very sad dialogue when he has finally defeated Anakin and left him for dead in the flooding lava that has burned him. The main players Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, and Samuel Jackson did a wonderful job, along with the animators and the voice of Frank Oz who helped breathe life into Yoda, whose only equaled by Gollum in terms of CGI-created acting. Then there's Ian McDiarmid, an actor who may have had his breakthrough acting performance playing the sinister Dark Lord Palpatine, master of deception and evil, his acting has had geeks everywhere wishing him to win an Oscar.

ROTS answers many questions, but it also opens new mysteries, which would probably be answered by the Star Wars TV spin-off series, which would tell tales between Episode III and Episode IV. It's like getting you continually be hooked on the entire Star Wars expanded universe.

Praises wont be enough to satisfy how good Episode III is. A movie, which is a perfectly fit prelude to Episode IV: A New Hope, the first Star Wars movie made way back in 1977. Indeed, the Star Wars film saga ends with a bang. The circle is now complete. Only in the end will you understand.

It's now showing on Robinson's Movieworld on two theaters; Cinema 1 (sked: 10:35 AM, 1:15 PM, 3:55, 6:35, 9:15 PM) and Cinema 4 (sked: 11:00 AM, 1:40 PM, 4:20, 7 PM)

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