Sunday, December 18, 2005

DVD: Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Genre: Sci-fi
Director: George Lucas
Released: Nov. 1, 2005
Verdict: &&&1/2

It's supposed to be about Anakin Skywalker succumbing to the dark side of the Force, but Ian McDiarmid's scene-stealing makes Revenge of the Sith more about Chancellor Palpatine as evil seducer. McDiarmid owns this movie: His delivery of lines like "Not … from a Jedi" and "Master Jedi, are you threatening me?" is simply chilling. His grand presence underscores the thinness of other performances – Hayden Christensen gets the youthful petulance of his role right, but he is hopelessly out of his league when bouncing lines off McDiarmid. And, if Samuel L. Jackson and Natalie Portman have ever come across more wooden than they do here, someone tell me where (Phantom Menace doesn't count). I think some critics gave George Lucas a bit of a free ride on Sith because it's the last movie and we all really wanted to love it. I do like it, but I prefer Attack of the Clones, with its thrilling assassination attempt/chase opening and water planet scenes. One of the best things about Sith is its visual bridging to Star Wars in the final scenes, creating a sense that the story truly has come full circle. Sith's second half succeeds in creating a sustained tension as Anakin moves further down the path to transformation and the Jedi come under attack, but this is also where the movie makes its biggest plot fumble – the failure to provide a single, believable event that pushes him over the edge. That event came in the wrong movie – Attack of the Clones – when Anakin finds what the sand people have done to his mother and gets in touch with his inner dark side. // DVD notes // For a six-channel soundtrack to a Star Wars movie, there's very little happening in the surrounds. The deleted scenes, including an action sequence chopped from the opening and some political maneuvering, are worth watching but not revealing.

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