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Revenge of the Sith review

ETA : With very big SPOILERS inside, for people on RSS who don't get the LJ-cut tags.
Is there more than one reader on RSS? I feel all gaimanish suddenly.

Gaaah... I had nearly forgotten to do a review, but I was listening to various music on my PC, and the Star Wars opening theme blasted in my ears and my heart missed a beat...

So, I went in one my favorite theaters for this, one that airs movies in subtitled original version, has a huge screen, and is more famous among "artsy" movie-goers. Which spares me the overly noisy audience.

The waiting music was a Star Wars soundtrack, which gets you in the mood quite fast. Even then, when the lights turned completely dark and the opening theme rang loud and clear (it's a THX + Dolby Digital equipped room...), I felt the usual "Yaye, HOME!" exhilaration.

Contrary to the other two episodes, it didn't disappoint. I'm not sure it'll rank as high as any of the original three, because it lacks in several departments (though seeing them on T.V. now, they weren't stellar in dialogues or subtlety either...), but at least it's not a shameful addition to the myth.
So it closed the trilogy nicely.

Besides, lots of Anakin screen time. I have to be quite happy that it was all about him, because it's so easy for me to relate to him (though honestly, I hope I don't come out as whiny and immaturely stomping as he does...).

And not much comic relief (no Jar Jar Binks, except a cameo, yaye!).

I didn't see the cartoon, so I was a bit lost about Lord Grievous, though I just assumed that he was another "rather under-written and unimportant character". What was pretty obvious to me, though (and even just from the posters) was that he was not a complete droid. Droids don't breath or spit their lungs... So yeah, it was also obvious that to defeat him, one had to target the "living" parts of his anatomy (from the sneak peek that Obi-Wan had at it, they kept the head and the whole heart + lungs system to irrigate it, probably).

A couple of suspicious stuff can be deducted / fan-wanked :

1) I'd hope that there are force fields and antigrav generators all over the ship that crashes in Palpatine's rescue by Anakin and Obi-Wan, otherwise I don't see how half a ship could hold together and slow down enough after having lost the back half supporting the propulsion, to land in a single piece without simply exploding or melting while falling through the atmosphere...

2) a "not spiritual" possible explanation was given for Anakin's birth, yaye! Nope, doesn't have to be a higher power or the "Chosen one" (Buffy flashback, eurgh), he may just be the result of Palpatine's master's skills of using midi-chlorians to create life - which might explain why Palpatine was so fast to take interest into Anakin, also.
Though as my brother mentioned "He may have found the way to create life, but not _intelligent life_, it seems..." *eg*

3) Palpatine going all weak during his fight against Mace Windu, then suddenly recovering to blast him? Looked quite clearly like a trick from Palpatine to convince Anakin that the Jedis had lost it, to me.
Okay, so Anakin was too stupid to realize it, which hurts, but let's just assume that he was somewhat brainwashed by Palpatine's powers, right?... It pains me to think of Anakin as an idiot who can't see he's being manipulated by someone who makes quite clear that he is a Sith Lord.

There was a thing that made me laugh : Obi-Wan losing his lightsaber all the time, and wondering what Anakin would say of it, considering how Obi-Wan chastised him for not taking care of his weapon in Ep. II.

On the other hand - yeah yeah, I know, I'm too negative... but these things did bug me while I was watching, as they "suspend my suspension of disbelief" -, some stuff made me go "Hm?... Whatever..." :

The little things :

1) Naboo-ians spaceships haven't changed much since Ep II : they still have that "all-purpose" button that does everything. I'd noticed that in Ep II : when they're in the ship on Tatooine receiving the call from Obi-Wan, Padme pushes that one button to "transfer" his message to the Jedi Council, then 5 mn later when she says she's going to his rescue, she pushes the same button again to start the reactors...
It's the Telepathic Button. It guesses the intention of the one pushing it, and acts upon it.
In Ep III, it was the same control panel, and among the dozen of available buttons, she still pushed the same.
I'm thinking that it's because it's the only one that the tech crew wired so that it would get lit up when it's pushed...

2) in A New Hope, Obi-Wan explains that the Force is generated by every living being. Shouldn't Jedis be able to feel when a woman is pregnant by a few months?

3) when Obi-Wan watches the security recordings, he sees the scene between Anakin and Palpatine *face plant*. Yeah, because when you're a secret Sith Lord trying to gain a Jedi to your cause, and the Chancellor, you're going to let Jedis have access to recordings of your quarters... It's not like if after seeing Anakin killing the younglings, they could have doubts about what happened.

4) Obi-Wan receives a metal deck on the back, and all it does to him is conveniently knocking him down for a few minutes while Palpatine convinces Anakin to kill Dooku?... His spine is made of steel?

The big things :

A) so, Anakin and Padme have this big suppah sekkret that they're secretly married but they can't tell anybody because it would get Anakin banned from the Jedi or something... Yet :
1) they don't even wait for the whole Republic big names to have left the spaceport to run in each other's arms, after Anakin's heroic rescue of Palpatine
2) they apparently share a comfy apartment on top of a high class building whenever they're both on Coruscant, with huge windows, in a world where everyone uses hovercars
3) when looking for Anakin, Obi-Wan goes straight to Padme's apartment
4) Padme is obviously pregnant (are her gowns supposed to hide it? A 6-months or more pregnancy? Uh... Yeah right), won't tell anyone who the father is, and nobody asks themselves (or her) why? She's still a Senator, don't they have tabloids or even randomly curious people in the Republic?

And nobody but Palpatine would have figured out the obvious? Do these people actually talk to each other?... Look at each other? (though considering how nobody seemed to see it coming that Anakin was more than a little unstable for a Jedi, or that he trusted Palpatine too much... Nope, obviously they do NOT look at each other, at all).

And if some of them figured it out... Especially Jedis... Shouldn't have they stepped in, as it was pretty obvious that Anakin was already "confused" enough like that without adding another infringement to the Jedis' rules to the risks it represented that he might fall into the Dark Side?

B) everyone goes all ooh-aah about the fact that it fits just right with the Episode IV, but having seen said Ep. IV the day after, uh, not so much. I suspect Lucas might get out a re-remastered version of it so he could edit some pieces of dialogue.

The point that bugged me most was thinking of that scene in Return of the Jedi where Luke asks Leia if she remembers her real mother, before he tells her that they are twins. And Leia says that she only remembers a little, that "she was very beautiful. Kind, but... sad".
So when Padme dies in RotS, I was in complete denial, because I had always assumed, due to Leia telling this, that she had survived in exile on Alderaan at least a couple of years or months.

From the script, we're supposed to buy that the look that Padme gives her right after her death will leave a "lasting impression" on Leia, but I doubt that a newborn is physically / mentally able to remember anything...
And I was there pouting "Okay so it's nice for dramatic intensity, but in terms of continuity, it's screwed up".
And I have issues with authors who favor dramatic intensity over continuity. Dude, if you didn't think of it when you built the plot, then find a believable way to make it match.

C) character development was... rushed. Or as subtle as a AT-AT crashing on you.
You can portray love in other ways than having your characters (supposedly married for a few years) dropping enamoured cheesy love declarations like only emo teenagers do in soap shows. No, really.

I'm sure you didn't need to make a whiny idiot of Anakin to show his descent into the Dark Side.

I'm not even going into the dialogues. The good thing with this trilogy is that you can totally sit through it and think "You know, I could write better dialogues than that - and I suck at love lines".
But then, in a documentary, Mark Hamill commented that his first reaction while reading the text for his audition was "Who talks like that?" and then tried to play it with conviction. Now that's a challenge. And that's why he was better than other Luke test scenes I've seen.

D) Too much CG effects. Yes, I know that reproaching special effects to Star Wars is like complaining that the sky is big, but... The space battles were already weird. Apparently, the guys who code CG effects, unlike the ones who planned models battles, don't know what gravity is.
The fights with Jedis jumping around in little blurry silhouettes because they're all CG and not precise enough to make close-up were tacky. They have to make it too fast to avoid people spotting how fake it is, but it doesn't work very well. And it makes it even less realistic.
But the last draw was when Cody (the clone captain played by Jango Fett's actor) removed his helmet to report to Obi-Wan, and obviously enough, all of his armor / body was CG. WTF?
I demand the good old Stormtroopers armor! Made of plastic! They look more realistic than that!

E) the Big Dramatic Scene where Obi-Wan cuts off Anakin's limbs? *face plant*
Yeah, because Anakin was so totally stupid enough to jump from his floating debris right onto Obi-Wan, and couldn't have jumped, say, a couple meters away, or behind, or... No, seriously.
Not to mention that, like in the Big Dramatic Scene at the end of Lord of the Rings 3, I do think that being that close above lava for such a long time should get you burn / suffocating anyway.

Actually, I think the need for continuity screwed up a lot of things, by forcing Lucas to explain stuff, in ways that didn't always come out right.
Like the Emperor's face, for example.

I felt no need to "justify" that he was "difformed" in A New Hope. For one, 20 years pass in between, so obviously he's going to look a lot older and wrinkled. And as far as we actually see him in it... I'd have been happy to assume that using the Dark Side consumes your energy. Or there could have been more fights in between. Whatever.

No explanation would have been better than being given the "I'm frying myself by sending lightnings on Mace Windu even though his lightsaber reflects them on me, because I'm a Sith Lord but I'm stupid, and I want Anakin to pity me" one.


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Jun. 3rd, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)
For the record, the labels of your LJ-cuts aren't shown in the RSS feed or (obviously) the full post, and it is entirely possible to write a review without spoilers, so I was already several paragraphs in when I realized that you wouldn't spare any spoilers.
Jun. 3rd, 2005 05:36 pm (UTC)
Jun. 9th, 2005 05:28 am (UTC)
YOu know: I'm glad that you gave such a thorough review. I didn't actually notice those things when I saw it: but I was pretty distracted. I haven't seen the original SW movies in a LONG TIME, so I can't even remember them that well.
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