Revenge of the Sith

posted in: science fiction | 0

So last weekend the whole family went to see the new Star Wars, and we had a rousing good time. To my surprise, the theater wasn’t particularly crowded (a rainy Saturday matinee show, just 2 days after the movie opened). We got good seats without knocking ourselves out. Trusty light sabers in hand (younger daughter had been busy custom-manufacturing props), we settled in for the show.

Definitely a major improvement over the last two, and a mostly satisfying completion of this part of the circle. (Satisfying enough that we sat down that evening with a tape of the original and picked up where the new story left off.)

Quarrels and observations:

*SPOILER WARNING*

(It’s not like anything I’m about to say will surprise anyone, because we all know the ending; but still…if you’d like to see it before I talk about the crucial bits, you should stop reading now.)

Aside from the stilted dialogue and predominantly wooden acting (even from the good actors), the only two things that really bothered me…

(I thought you were going to stop reading now. Oh, never mind.)

…were Anakin’s easy conversion by the other Darth, and Obiwan’s leaving him alive in agony on the hot lava (not just stupid, since Obi was trying to make sure the galaxy was rid of the danger, but unJedi-like: he should have finished him off as an act of mercy.)

As for Anakin’s turning, I thought they did a good job of laying the groundwork: fear that he would lose Padme the way he lost his mother, guilt over Windu’s death, distrust of the Jedi, etc. But the final, actual conversion, where he went from “What have I done?” to “Yes, master,” was much too facile. They missed a chance for a really powerful scene, I thought.

Having said all that, you don’t go to see Star Wars for the sensitive acting (not since Alec Guinness, anyway), you go to see it for the larger-than-life story and the visual imagination and the music. And there it delivered.

The political undercurrent was interesting, if unsubtle. The Boston Globe reviewer thought Lucas was making an anti-Bush statement, and that’s definitely one possible reading. The gradual accumulation of power through preying on people’s fear for the safety of the Republic…the fake humility while engaging in deceit…Padme’s comment that this is how democracy is lost, through wild applause (Patriot Act, anyone?)… the war based on pretext…. It could also be seen as a retelling of Hitler’s rise to power (and that real-life similarity is probably the most chilling thing).

One satisfying side note: in the end, Lucas did answer one of the most nagging questions of the series: Why did C3PO not remember Anakin in the original trilogy?

0 Responses

  1. tsmacro
    | Reply

    Wow we must think alike, because my biggest issue with the movie was exactly the fact of how easily Anakin basically “flipped” from wanting to kill Palpatine to calling him “master”. “Don’t underestimate the power of the Emperor” indeed! But overall I think it was a job well done and was certainly a fitting way to wrap up the saga. I do find it funny that people are pointing out the so called “political jabs” that they perceive are taken at Bush and his policies. Ummmm….as far as I can tell George had this storyline already laid out in his head oh about 30 years ago, long before we knew there’d be one Bush as president let alone two. On top of that as you pointed out the fall of the Republic into Despotism actually parallels history of other countries and empires on earth. So if people are seeing similarities between Star Wars and Bush’s presidency maybe they should study history instead of accusing George Lucas of playing politics. Oh well, guess it’s easier to be in denial, what’s that song from the 1980’s….oh yeah, “History Never Repeats” by Split Enz. Basically a song about wishful thinking if not flat-out denial anyway.

  2. Chet Twarog
    | Reply

    Good comments, Jeffrey.
    For more scientific blunders and errors in the movie, I recommend http://www.badastronomy.com

  3. Jeffrey A. Carver
    | Reply

    ts — It’s hard to know what Lucas had planned out 30 years ago. My guess is, he had a very sketchy outline, which developed more fully over the intervening years. And when he actually worked out the final script, there could have been many shifts in emphasis. So no, I don’t think he shaped the basic story to make a political commentary about the Bush administration. Far more likely that he had general history in mind (Hitler, etc.). But he could very well have shaded the actual dialogue to make a point about the current state of the republic, if he felt so inclined.

    I’m not saying he did, just that I don’t find it implausible.

    Chet, I love badastronomy.com. I’ll have to take a look. (Not that Star Wars ever made the slightest pretense of being scientifically accurate.)

  4. tsmacro
    | Reply

    Yeah I suppose it wouldn’t be altogether implausible that the “with me or against me” line might been a nod to W. But i’m not buying into the idea that movie was meant as political commentary against Mr. Prez as some would like to believe.

    As for scientific blunders, well this is Star Wars, which in all fairness is fanstasy in space and not science fiction. Just because it’s a “space movie” doesn’t make it science fiction.

  5. Erik
    | Reply

    I suppose the entire loss of democracy might be attributed to Mr. Bush, but seeing as the Empire is mainly compared to Nazi Germany in 4, 5, and 6, I belive that is more likely.
    Overall, this was personally my second least favorit Star Wars, after Episode 1

  6. Finbar Feannuri
    | Reply

    I don't agree with calling turning of Anakin facile. It may looked like that at glance, but wasn't Anakin tempted by Chancellor since he arrived at Coruscant, after battle of Naboo? He was like a father, mentor to him, spoiling him like a child and turning against strict Jedi and their not easy teachings. Thousands of little suggestions and allusions beared fruits at the end. Darth Vader told Luke, that it's too late for him. He always carried the guilt for killing Windu and thought there's no way back. Also he cared for Padme hoping Palpatine can heal her.
    He wasn't thinking rationally.
    Sorry for not-perfect english 🙂
    With regards

  7. FF
    | Reply

    Ah I sent it too early. My bad. What I actually wanted to say is that there was no need for scene of tempting like in episode VI since Anakin had no choice. He knew he would lost too much by not joining Palpatine and killing him instead. The question was in my opinion, not "if" but "what know". Thereby it went "smooth".

Post your comment before you lose your train of thought. (Mine already left the station.)