Star Wars III: Revenge Of The Sith – Yes, it’s taken me ten years to get round to watching this film.
For some reason, I didn’t see it back in the day and it just sat on the back burner. Even when the 2011 Blu-ray boxset was released, I procrastinated, but now, with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens due out on Thursday, I figured I’d best get a shift on.
Perhaps one reason I haven’t seen this was because I was massively disappointed with the first two films. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace… well, we all know how badly that was received – as well as the inception of Jar Jar Binks, and then Star Wars Episode II: Attack Of The Clones was an extended soap opera love story that I didn’t care for, except when it came to the part when the big battle was about to kick off and then… THE END! WTF?!!
I also went through a period of just not going to the cinema. I kinda lost interest in it, and there was nothing that grabbed me that said “SEE THIS ON THE BIG SCREEN!”, which lasted from 2002 (Episode II, in fact) up until 2008 when Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull came out. At least these days I’m learning that if something’s going to be big and explosive, shift your butt and go check it out on the big screen, even if it might be a bit shit, like Hitman: Agent 47.
Despite being the second longest movie in the Star Wars canon to date, it’s also short on plot, but that doesn’t matter too much. Thankfully, it does start with the battle we were looking forward to, but even then there’s not a huge amount of it, but at least the film keeps up the pace once it’s over with Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) getting kidnapped, a fight between Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and with the latter wanting to get a seat on the Jedi Council and become a Jedi Master, they think Palpatine’s up to no good and want Anakin to report back on what he’s up to. Torn between two loyalties, who does he give in to? And I was wondering whether it was a test of whether he would actually do the spying, but I was clearly overthinking that – it’s George Lucas, not John Le Carré!
The hope is that Anakin must find out who the Sith Lord is, stop them, destroy the Sith and bring balance to the Force, with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) not wanting the young lad to let him down, but we all know he becomes Darth Vader in the end, so it’s going to happen, but it’s more about the journey he takes.
Natalie Portman, as Padmé, is very much relegated to the background, only popping up to simper over hubby Anakin before she gives birth to a certain offspring, while her better half keeps having visions that she’ll snuff it in the process. Surely not, eh? With such modern technology?
As for the cast, most of them rather just plod through their lines, with a few wisecracks from McGregor. McDiarmid camps it up nicely as Palpatine, but Christensen is as weak as ever. There is a decent amount of action, though – certainly more than the first two films. However, I would question why R2-D2 is able to use booster rockets, since we never saw in films 4-6. (thanks to movie writer/director Jon Rosling for confirming that, as per the extras which I haven’t yet seen, the feature was time-limited in Astromech droids i.e. only worked for a number of years. Jon also reminded me that R2 has used them in the second film, in the droid factory on Geonosis. That could be because I’ve tried to expunge every memory of that film from my mind 😉 )
Despite the lack of any deep plot – since it’s really just filling in the gaps between what we’d seen in Episode II and Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope – it’s pretty well-structured, and a damn sight better than than the first two. Trouble is, in being CGI-heavy, it doesn’t feel so in-keeping with Episodes IV-VI – the trilogy we know and love the best. At least George Lucas retained the scene-wipes from those films, and I trust (or hope!) JJ Abrams does the same with Episode VII.
I won’t be reviewing the extras, here. I was just getting in a long-overdue review for the movie before the latest film comes out. However, there are a mammoth 50 chapters to the film – more than I’ve ever seen before – and subtitle tracks aplenty, even for the commentary tracks. This 9-disc set just hosts the films on discs 1-6, then the extras for the first three films on disc 7, the extras for the next three on disc 8, and some bonus extras on disc 9. Click here for the full list of the extras.
Oh, and I’ll be seeing Episode VII on Thursday, with my review going online either the same day or Friday. I won’t keep you waiting until mid-July 2026…
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is available in the aforementioned 9-disc Blu-ray boxset, and click on the poster for the full-size image.
Running time: 140 minutes
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: 2.35:1 (Digital Intermediate (2K), HDCAM SR (1080p/24))
Released: October 12th 2015
Director: George Lucas
Producers: Rick McCallum
Screenplay: George Lucas
Music: John Williams
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ewan McGregor
Padmé: Natalie Portman
Anakin Skywalker: Hayden Christensen
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine: Ian McDiarmid
Mace Windu: Samuel L Jackson
Senator Bail Organa: Jimmy Smits
Yoda: Frank Oz
C-3PO: Anthony Daniels
Count Dooku: Christopher Lee
Queen of Naboo: Keisha Castle-Hughes
Ki-Adi-Mundi/Nute Gunray: Silas Carson
Captain Typho: Jay Laga’aia
Tion Medon: Bruce Spence
Governor Tarkin: Wayne Pygram
Commander Cody: Temuera Morrison
Mas Amedda: David Bowers
Sio Bibble: Oliver Ford Davies
Jar Jar Binks: Ahmed Best
Captain Raymus Antilles: Rohan Nichol
Captain Colton: Jeremy Bulloch
Terr Taneel: Amanda Lucas
R2-D2: Kenny Baker
Plo Koon: Matt Sloan
Chewbacca: Peter Mayhew
Queen of Alderaan: Rebecca Jackson Mendoza
Owen Lars: Joel Edgerton
Beru Lars: Bonnie Maree Piesse
Zett Jukassa: Jett Lucas
Wookiees: Michael Kingma, Axel Dench, Steven Foy, Julian Khazzouh, James Rowland, David Stiff, Robert Cope
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.