Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) Directed by George Lucas. With Hayden Christensen, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, Samuel L Jackson, Jimmy Smits and Christopher Lee.
Upon release, many fans saw this third and final instalment of George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels as a surprise success. All but gone is the nagging irritation that is Jar-Jar Binks. Gone too are the farcical elements of over-stretched comedy set-pieces – such as the droid factory calamity of Attack of the Clones. Instead, Lucas shifts his focus on what ought to be the most interesting and dramatic part of the prequel trilogy. And it is…just.
While Binks and other annoyances might have been sidelined, many of the things that have made this batch of Star Wars adventures so desperately disappointing, still exist. Firstly, and rather predictably, the digital effects are still over emphasised. I’m not sure at which point George Lucas became the sort of artist that believed that more-is-more, but he still seems intent of filling every frame with as much pixelated nonsense as he can. And once again, it drowns his film. Secondly, the dialogue and performances are what can only be describes as patchy at best. While Ian McDiarmid is back to the Emperor we lovingly hate from 1983’s Return of the Jedi, Hayden Christensen still struggles to emote as Anakin Skywalker makes his descent to the dark side.
All sequels should stand the test of standalone scrutiny, so what does ‘Sith’ actually say? What does it stand for? Sadly, little more than join the dots. This is supposed to mirror something like MacBeth, but the screenplay is shallow and Anakin’s inevitable turn to the dark side, after all the endless scenes through two prior films of senates and trade disputes – boils down to little more than the flick of a switch. One word; unconvincing. If you can’t get the heart of the story right, then the rest falls heavily by the wayside – no matter how colourful and energetic it tries to be.
By the final credits, there is an overwhelming sense that Star Wars deserved better. Sure, ‘Sith’ is the strongest of the three films, but it’s still a deeply flawed blockbuster that misses more targets than it hits. There are glimmers of the old magic trying to break through, but George Lucas was either too stubborn or just overlooked giving the audience what they really wanted to see. Roll on 2015. 3/5