The run up to Revenge of the Sith, for me, was fraught with anticipation. Through the first half of 2005 I was in full Star Wars mode. I bought absolutely everything I could. We had gotten the teaser in the November before and from then on that was it. Lucas had me and my money locked in.
I became consumed by the film. I bought toys in the lead up, the Jedi Starfighter and the Sneak Preview General Grievous figure. I bought the tie-in novel ‘Labyrinth of Evil’ by James Luceno and I devoured it.
Any magazine that had the film on the cover I had to buy it, just in case there was a new bit of information to digest.
The week that the first wave of merchandise I went into town ready for a shopping spree and I came back with some action figures and the novelisation of the film. I was in a new relationship at the time, you know that time when you can’t stop talking, texting, instant messaging (it was 2005)… and I ended up ignoring her until I had read the book. Trust me it didn’t take long to read and I loved it so much I started reading it again.
That relationship ended just before the film came out and I was a bit of a mess but it was Revenge of the Sith that really helped me through those first few weeks of newly singledom.
The Nintendo DS game was a lot of fun even though I disliked the graphics, I had the soundtrack and I managed to wrangle the first issue of the comic adaptation out of my local comic shop a couple of weeks early.
Then it came out.
I saw it four times at the cinema in the opening weekend. Once with a friend, once with my Dad and twice on my own.
And it was amazing.
From the opening shot above Coruscant to the final shot of the Lars family looking out at the Twin Suns it was a masterpiece. The story phenomenal, the acting, not amazing but, either it didn’t matter to me as much this time around or it was better than Attack of the Clones, either way it didn’t make me cringe in horror. I laughed at the right parts, I cried as Order 66 began… and when Anakin and Obi-Wan started their duel… and when Anakin fell… and right at the end… yes I was a blubbering mess.
The film is intense, and that’s all because we are waiting to find out about Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, which is beautifully played out between Ian McDiarmid and Hayden Christensen. The Opera/Darth Plagues scene is one of the best scenes in the whole Saga. Had I not already known that Palpatine became the Emperor I would almost believe that he was just telling a story.
The power play between Palpatine and the Jedi Council for Anakin is well played and you almost feel for Anakin and want to side with Palpatine given the way Anakin is treated, especially by Mace Windu, whose proclamations of mistrust towards Anakin seem to be unfounded at this point. It’s not like Anakin has done anything we know of to cause those feelings in Mace until he is appointed to the Jedi Council by the Supreme Chancellor. Honestly, it should be Anakin not trusting the Council given the fact they manipulate Obi-Wan into getting Anakin to spy on Palpatine.
The romantic dialogue is better but not by a lot, again the Anakin and Paine relationship feels unnatural but again that feels like more of a directorial/writer choice than that of the actors.
The CGI had developed over the years between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and you could tell, I could not fault any of the CGI shots in the film for their quality, just look at that close up of General Grievous when he fights Obi-Wan on Utapau, the one where he says “Army or not…” it looks awesome.
I do have some issues though. Place yourself in 2005, there is no Clone Wars TV series on the horizon, just the films. We are told that there is a three year gap between AOTC and ROTS and in that time Anakin and Obi-Wan have gone from petulant teen and overbearing, condescending teacher to best friends making quips and acting like life-long besties. Also Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side seems a bit too easy, like he’s already turning from the Jedi at the beginning of the film. I completely get his motivations, he’s doing what he feels is right to save his family, I would do the same if I were in his position.
John Williams once again knocked it out of the park with the soundtrack. It’s grand and devastating theme ‘Battle of the Heroes’ sets the tone for the film where the more haunting themes ‘Padme’s Ruminations’ and ‘Anakin’s Betrayal’ just highlight the darkness in this film.
Any post about Revenge of the Sith would be lacking if the lightsaber battles weren’t mentioned. Starting with Dooku vs Anakin and Obi-Wan. We are led to believe Anakin and Dooku haven’t fought since Geonosis but they have but always reaching a stalemate. Once Dooku bests Obi-Wan, the fight becomes almost a mirror to the Vader and Luke fight in front of Palpatine twenty-four years later above Endor. Anakin beats the Sith Lord and kills him at the behest of Palpatine, who it seems has begun to get his claws into our hero and is slowly starting to pull the strings.
Obi-Wan vs Grievous is just an all out brawl using whatever they can against each other and the Palpatine vs Jedi Council is exactly what it needed to be, short, sharp and to the point. Mace should have taken a few more Jedi just to be sure.
The Yoda vs Sidious fight was a force to be reckoned with, both Masters using everything they knew and more to fight for the fate of the Galaxy.
And of course, the reason we all went to see Revenge of the Sith in the first place, the masterpiece that was the Darth Vader vs Obi-Wan battle. It’s flashy, it’s fast and it’s brutal. The two best friends who became brothers in arms, fighting side-by-side now fighting each other and it’s hard to watch from an emotional stand point. Ita a good ten minutes of film and there was some cut for time as well. The end when Vader is defeated and Obi-Wan shouts “You were my brother Anakin, I loved you!” is so gut wrenching, especially when Anakin responds “I hate you!!!” oh the tears.
Revenge of the Sith is without a doubt one of my favourites of the Saga, along with ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘The Last Jedi’ it has been and will continue to be one of the ones I watch the most.
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