I'm just going to say it. I love this movie! It's my personal favorite of all seven Star Wars films and it's actually my second favorite movie of all time. This was a movie that I was so excited to see and to this day, it's one of my most favorite movie experiences in my life. I was 10 years old, I came home from a school camping trip, and my mom and dad decided to take me to the movies when I got home. I tell you I was so moved by this movie and at the time, I thought it was the last Star Wars movie I would ever see. 10 years later, I still see it as my favorite in the series and not just due to nostalgia, but because of the story and what it means to the saga. I wrote an essay last year in school that said Revenge of the Sith plays like a Shakespearean tragedy, and I think this is why I find it to be such a great movie.
As with most Shakespeare plays, they are divided into five acts. The first act consists of the daring rescue of the supreme chancellor who was taken from the capital city and held captive (depicted in Star Wars: Clone Wars), led by Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. In this sequence, there is much action, but there is also much comedy, coming not only from R2-D2, but from the two leads. Obi-Wan and Anakin have formed a brotherly bond over the course of the three films and it is here that you can see how comfortable they are with each other and the trust and love that exists between the two. Anakin eventually saves both Obi-Wan and the chancellor and is proclaimed the hero of the mission.
Now, in between all that are some great scenes. Obi-Wan is hilarious here and I love his one-liners, showing how he has become very comfortable with his one best buddy. The same goes for Anakin. Right from the start he is way more mature and a very powerful jedi. George Lucas pulled all the stops with this opening sequence and it is easily the most exciting of all the movies, returning to the space battles that were so great in the originals. Both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen establish their characters early on and I totally believe their bond.
Once they reach Palpatine, the film has some nice callbacks to Return of the Jedi. The lightsaber fight here is better than Attack of the Clones but I have one complaint. Obi-Wan, again, is defeated way too easily and I understand that they needed Anakin to be the hero this time, especially with the parallels to Return of the Jedi, but I just wished they had handled better because it doesn't make much sense given how powerful Obi-Wan is throughout the rest of the movie. That being said, I still enjoy the duel and I love the symmetry as Anakin holds the blue and red in his hand. Palpatine convinces Anakin to kill Count Dooku and you actually see his head roll across the floor.
Next, we meet General Grievous, and again, his animated version in the cartoon is more intimidating than here. Partially, that is due to the cough given to him by Mace WIndu in the cartoon, and also the different voice actor. It's rumored that Gary Oldman was supposed to voice him and I think that would've been a great choice. Grievous makes an escape and leaves Anakin to pilot and land the damaged ship and all of this is just the first half hour!
Once the heroes return to Coruscant, Anakin is reunited with Padme'. This is where the second act begins. Anakin finds out that his wife is pregnant and there is a nice scene between them and because you know what's ahead I actually feel bad when I hear Anakin say, "This is a happy moment. The happiest moment of my life." People really seem to have a problem with the scene on their balcony because of the dialogue, but this seems like a nitpick. Not every couple is Han and Leia. The love between Anakin and Padme' is built off of something else. It is a younger, more romanticized love. They see each other as an escape from their worlds, which is very important for Padme's character, but I'll get back to that later.
Anakin has visions of his wife dying in childbirth and, having already had this happen to him when he lost his mother, becomes desperate to find a way to save her. Christensen and Portman have another scene which I find quite mature and believable and I see that they have grown as a couple. Anakin first consults Master Yoda, who tells him to learn to let go of everything he fears to lose. Anakin does not accept this and when he is later appointed to be a representative on the Jedi council by the chancellor, he is denied the opportunity to become a Jedi Master, but is put on the council to spy on the chancellor, who the Jedi knights believe to be corrupt. When discussing the situation, Anakin and Obi-Wan have an interesting scene that again shows Anakin's maturity as well as his friendship with Obi-Wan and I think both of them act very well in this scene.
Anakin is uncomfortable with his situation and the chancellor is able to sense what is happening. Appearing to be acting on Anakin’s behalf, Chancellor Palpatine begins to convince Anakin that the Jedi have selfish intentions and that they do not trust Anakin. He at first denies these claims, but is intrigued by a story Palpatine tells him about a Dark Lord of the Sith who had the power to save people from death. Anakin wants to learn this power so that he can be able to save his wife from death. Now this opera scene is easily the best in the whole movie and Ian McDiarmid is wonderful in this scene.
Act three begins as Obi-Wan heads off to another planet to find the droid general who is crucial to stop in order to end the war. Here, the comedic element and the spectacle of action is added again as Obi-Wan battles General Grievous, however the comedy stops there. As Anakin’s story continues, his fear begins to cloud his judgment and he becomes paranoid of the Jedi and their trust in him due to Palpatine’s continuing manipulation. Palpatine eventually reveals himself as the Sith Lord that the Jedi have been searching for and claims that he can help Anakin save his wife. Here is another great scene with some nice acting from McDiarmid. Anakin at first does the right thing and reports this to Jedi Master Mace Windu, who decides to face Palpatine. They have a fierce duel and when Anakin intervenes he is forced to choose. Driven by his desire to save his wife, he ultimately sides with Palpatine and severs Windu’s hand, allowing Palpatine to murder Windu. Ashamed of his actions, but knowing that he cannot go back, Anakin has no choice but to turn to the dark side and become Palpatine’s apprentice. Anakin is then given the Sith name of Darth Vader.
From this point on, the movie becomes much darker and it becomes a struggle to stay alive as they Jedi are hunted down. The order 66 scene is still effective to this day, mainly because of the score from John Williams. The scene with Yoda feeling the destruction also makes quite an effect. Obi-Wan and Yoda survive and attempt to find out who's behind these attacks. After learning of Anakin's turn to the dark side, Obi-Wan has no choice but to go and stop his former friend.
The final act of this movie is so moving and heart-breaking as you watch the events that shape the original trilogy unfold. Anakin attacks Padme', leading to the big showdown between Obi-Wan and Anakin. Now I know people don't particularly care for the choreography in this fight and they think it drags too long, but I think that's the point of the fight. These are two men who have known each other for years. One trained the other, so they would know each other's moves inside and out. And the length of the fight isn't really that bad when you compare it to the Luke vs Vader fight in The Empire Strikes Back. There is also some good dialog near the end and I like that it doesn't come until the end of the fight. The music is telling enough of the story and conflict that these two brothers are feeling. The fight reaches a stalemate and I think the last scene of this fight is so heartbreaking. Ewan McGregor gives it his all in just a few sentences and I remember as a kid finding it really hard to watch Anakin burn like that.
The last ten minutes wrap up everything and set us up for Episode IV. I have trouble accepting how Padme' dies of a broken heart but I also find it sad that she dies still believing in Anakin, and that's the tragedy of her character. It's the destruction of her character that I believe is the point. She started the trilogy as a queen and her love for Anakin was the ultimate escape from all the fighting and turmoil. When she loses him to the evil he has become, It's also a nice touch that her death is cut with Vader's birth. I get chills when that mask is put on and you finally hear the breathing sounds. Another scene people find cringe-worthy and even laughable is Vader's "No!" Personally, I can forgive it for the fact that you have to remember that this is still Anakin in there and it is a believable Anakin reaction to Padme's death. The last few shots are beautiful and when the movie ends I really do find it sad that so many people have died by the film's end and that this film is truly a modern day tragedy.
Overall, I admit that this is not the best Star Wars movie ever made but it is MY favorite. It honestly has the best plot of all of them. It has a clear beginning, middle and end. However, there are some flaws. I now see the problem with all of the CGI, Natalie Portman is underused, General Grievous isn't very intimidating, and there are some unecessary move connections like Yoda knowing Chewbacca. However, the positives outweigh the negatives. It has an epic feel, Great performances from Ewan McGregor and Ian McDiarmid, and even Hayden Christensen improves greatly as Anakin. The battles are awesome. I love seeing the Wookies in action. The fights are awesome, and you could tell that George Lucas thought this would be the last go around. I remember watching the movie one morning on DVD and it actually made me cry. I really don't understand the hate this movie has received over the years, but I think this movie is just as great as any of the originals. I give Revenge of the Sith an A-