Saturday, May 21, 2005

Movie Review: Star Wars: Episode III

Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith is a brilliant conclusion to the Star Wars saga that began 28 years ago. It's been a long wait but worth it. After the predictable titles scrolling into space we are gripped immediately by heart-stopping action that doesn't let up for the whole 140 minutes which seems to go by in a flash. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christenson), after fighting for three years in the Clone Wars, begins his downward slide to the Dark Side of the Force and his relationships with his wife, Padmé (Natalie Portman) and long-time friend, Obi Wan Kanobi (Ewan McGregor) are strained to the limits.

This episode is rich in religious themes and allusions which are never overshadowed by the relentless action. The dramatic special effects always serve the story. One of the most interesting lines of the movie is delivered by Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) who convinces Anakin that good is a matter of point of view. Acceptance of this perspective on morality is the beginning of Anakin's decline to the Dark Side until evil becomes good in 'the Chosen One's' world view. The Revenge of the Sith is the darkest episode of the whole series because it deals with a good man's descent to pure evil.

The only disappointment of the movie for me is Ewan McGregor who puts in a stilted, artificial performance. The rest of the cast are excellent. This great film would be worthy of repeated viewings -- I'm sure that there is more to uncover than noticeable the first time around. This episode has been compared with Greek and Shakespearean tragedies. Episode III is definitely the best of the series since Episode IV: The Empire Strikes Back. Go see it!

My Rating: ****1/2 (out of 5 - the movie lost 1/2 a star because of Ewan McGregor's acting!)

Best Review

'The movie grabs us from its heart-pounding opening sequence and pulls us inexorably along its trajectory with the grip of the last gruesome act of a Greek tragedy. Its fascination is not what happens but HOW it happens.' - William Arnold/Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Worst Review

'The general opinion of Revenge of the Sith seems to be that it marks a distinct improvement on the last two episodes, "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones." True, but only in the same way that dying from natural causes is preferable to crucifixion.' - Anthony Lane/The New Yorker

Content Warnings

Sci-fi violence and some intense images


  1. "The only disappointment of the movie for me is Ewan McGregor who puts in a stilted, artificial performance. The rest of the cast are excellent."

    You must be joking.

  2. Perhaps I should put it like this: Given the genre and the overall context of the whole saga, the acting was good. I wouldn't put any of them up there with actors like Meryl Streep, say. Of them all, I'd say Natalie Portman gave the most nuanced performance. (Yoda was pretty good too! :-)

  3. There's are many vastly different opinions of ep3's acting. Some people (not me) think that Portman was horrible, I thought that Palpatine's portrayal was over the top and fake, but others disagree.

    My main issue is that you think McGregor was the worst actor, when in my view his character was the only (human) one that seemed realistic. There was certainly a difference between his acting and the others, which IMO were far more hollow and vapid, but perhaps they fit the prilogy's style better.

  4. Interesting perspective. Whenever McGregor was on-screen and saying anything I kept thinking it was obvious he was acting. Anyway, what did you think of the movie overall?

  5. Not sure yet, I'm a fairly big fan so I mostly just absorbed the story and am a little preoccupied with what it could have been. I'll need to see it again before I can give it a fair review.