Star Wars in Review: Episode III
A Review by G-Funk
Director: George Lucas
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Hayden Christenson, Natalie Portman, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz
Plot: Anakin Skywalker, a Jedi who remains secretly married (in spite of spending all his time with mind-readers), is driven by a vague dream he has to seek out the Dark Side of the Force.
Review: Out of the three Star Wars prequels, this is the one where Lucas begins to grasp the basic conventions of cinema. Whilst in the movies that came before there was no character development or logical plots, this third installment does allow the characters to be driven by emotion and the plot to follow a sensible thread. And although this isn’t the complete barrage of failure that The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones was, it is marred by some massive and idiotic plot holes and moronic motivations.
Showing the fall of Anakin Skywalker to the Dark Side, the plot centres around his desire to protect his now wife, Padme, from the danger he fears will take her away from him. Given how easily she survived a full scale invasion and dodged multiple assassination attempts you’d expect the threat to her life would be pretty extreme for super-jedi Anakin to sweat. You’d be wrong, of course, as there is no threat. Instead, Anakin has a dream in which, through fog, he sees that Padme is in danger. Based on this bad dream he butchers children, turns against everything he believed in and becomes the most evil creature in the entire galaxy. If Lucus expects viewers to accept this nonsense then either he’s an idiot, or he thinks we are stupid beyond belief. The rest of story may have worked if it wasn’t hinged on such a stupid premise.
The other plot thread, the one that gives Obi-wan a contrived reason to be in the movie, involves him chasing after disposable villain General Grevious. This guy is, without a doubt, the most moronic character in the entire series (and I haven’t forgotten about Jar Jar Binks). Lurching, cackling, wheezing (an asthmatic robot?) and flapping his cape around, General Grevious makes Mister Burns look subtle. I’m shocked he doesn’t spend a scene tying Padme to the train tracks while twirling a big ‘tashe. He’s a laughably bad creation who stinks up every scene he’s in.
Needless to say the dialogue is awful once again. “You underestimate my poweeeerrrr” growls Anakin in a flat monotone, and it raises a chuckle, but the reals laughs are reserved for Yoda’s disjointed speech patterns being applied to smack talk with the Emperor. This trash may have been passable with well directed actors, but the movie doesn’t seem to have any.
The big flaw with prequels is that they often try to rewrite history at the expense of the present. Revenge of the Sith is a textbook example of this, especially as Lucas doesn’t seem to understand what makes his characters unique or memorable. Yoda goes from being a wise, cryptic sage whose size betrays unseen depths to an unstoppable, back-flipping badass. The Emporer goes from being a shadowy puppet master, controling destinies from behind the curtain to an unstoppable, back-flipping badass. Darth Vader goes from being the ultimate evil in the entire galaxy to a whiny bitch who has a bad dream then gets tricked by an old man into becoming a bad guy, who also happens to be an unstoppable, back-flipping badass.
Once filling the Star Wars universe with varied and interesting characters, we now have a bunch of similar characters who don’t do anything (except for backflips, obviously). Plus, one of cinemas best villains of all time gets reduced to a guy who was hoodwinked into being evil.
Lucas forces the entire series into a death knell with a rushed ten minute epilogue that serves to tie up the loose ends he’d forgotton about until now. Padme was supposed to die, so now she catches a terminal case of ‘giving up on life’. Darth Vader gets told that he killed Padme to make him angry and evil, but a competent scriptwriter would know that it would’ve been easier if he had killed her, because then they wouldn’t be making up contrived reasons for him to be evil and her to die in the last scene of the movie. Finally, Jimmy Smits decides, randomly, to erase C3PO’s memory for no reason, because it didn’t occur to Lucas earlier that the entire series would fall apart if he’d included some idiotic in-joke like Darth Vader building C3PO as a child. This final scene is, frankly, beyond idiotic.
It does earn itself a couple of bonus stars for not being a total wreck.
Rating: THREE outta TEN
Getting tired of me hating on the Star Wars Movies? Next week we’ll be reviewing ‘A New Hope’ – surely there’s nothing bad I can say about that! Right?