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***Official STAR WARS Episode III: REVENGE OF THE SITH Review Thread


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#1 of 88 Michael Reuben

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Posted May 04 2005 - 05:27 AM

This is the Official Review Thread for STAR WARS Episode III: REVENGE OF THE SITH. Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread. Please remember to avoid spoilers in your reviews.

This thread is being established early to allow for reviews by attendees at preview screenings. Any discussion -- including comments on reviews posted here -- should be directed to the existing Official Discussion Thread. (This is a new Official Discussion Thread now that the film has opened. The pre-release Discussion Thread can be found here.)

As with all review threads, this thread is for reviews only. Any other comments, responses to reviews, links to other reviews, announcement of plans to attend or other discussion items will be deleted without warning.

Thanks for your cooperation.

M.

COMPLETE list of my disc reviews.       HTF Rules / 200920102011 Film Lists

#2 of 88 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted May 04 2005 - 05:58 AM

Saw Revenge of the Sith last night at New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre in DLP projection at the first exhibitor screening. It was supposed to be an exhibitor-only show, but from the looks of the audience, a lot of people gave their tickets away.

Background:
I loved Star Wars (what is now known as Episode IV); saw it at least 12 times in 1977 and 1978. Rating: 10

Liked Empire Strikes Back, saw it theatrically four times but was always a little disappointed in many aspects of it. Rating: 8

Did not like Return of the Jedi, saw it twice and then played it for two weeks at a theatre I managed – more than enough viewings. Rating: 5

I thought Phantom Menace was okay, saw it twice but it’s too long and over-plotted; in retrospect, Jar Jar Binks was the best thing about it. Rating: 5

Found Attack of the Clones to be pretty awful – a very dull action-packed film with no heart. Barely made it through a second showing (the things parents will do for their kids!) Rating: 3

Revenge of the Sith – spoiler-free review

The story is now finished – or at least it’s now brought full-circle by George Lucas. I’m not unhappy at finally seeing it, but this movie suffers many of the same faults as the last two – it’s wildly over-plotted for what is a simple story and spends too much time with characters that are uninteresting. There are moments when the film comes to life, particularly in the last 30 minutes or so, but there is no forward momentum as it lurches from planet to planet. Another fault I have is that there is no sense of geography – I’m a reasonably attentive viewer and I had trouble remembering where the characters were at any time, there are lots and lots of rides in flying cars and spaceships.

The arc of Padme and Anakin is the main focus, and Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen (less wooden this time) do their best with the awkward dialogue. What does work very well is the relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, I think it’s Ewan McGregor’s performance that keeps it interesting as you do get a sense of genuine regret and loss from his character. Christopher Lee (the best actor in these last two installments – he knows exactly how to play a larger-than-life character in a fantasy film) is wasted in his small role as Count Dooku. Ian McDiarmid is good as Chancellor Palpatine but embarrassingly over-the-top when he’s the evil Darth Sideous – there were more than a few chuckles during his more dramatic scenes. The rest of the cast is fine given the limitations of their characters.

Technically, the film is virtually flawless. The frame is constantly filled with moving objects, to the point of distraction. The digital video cinematography is better than Clones, but there are still scenes that have a soft and flat look, which I have to guess is a deliberate stylistic choice. The John Williams music is grand and sweeping, but is spoiled by the director’s insistence on spotting the film with music heard in the previous films. Listening to several scenes on the CD shows that Lucas had Williams replace some newly written music with new recordings featuring "Duel of the Fates" from Phantom Menace. Sorry, but Mr. Williams knows the music better than Lucas and he should leave it alone.

A telling thing is that the best audience responses were reserved for characters and things we’ve seen before: Yoda, Wookies, the Rebel Blockade Runner (the first set we see in the original Star Wars), Tatooine, Darth Vader’s mask, R2D2, C3PO, et al. Nobody’s cheering for Mace Windu or Bail Organa. The best new character is the evil General Grievous, though I’ll admit I was waiting for his subordinates Captain Calamity and Major Disaster to show up Posted Image .

Yes it’s “darker” (a term I’m growing to dislike) than the last two. Yes it resolves the story. Yes it looks and sounds great. Yes there are some moments to cheer and boo. But I’m still left with an unsatisfied feeling.

Rating: 6 out of 10. For those who only need beautiful special effects and loud explosions, this will be nirvana.

The DLP projection was pretty good – it’s still lacking the depth and sharpness of film but is getting better. Since this was a digital production, I'll bet the DLP showings are better than the film prints - see it on the biggest and loudest screen you can.

(edit made to clarify section about the music)
"What we're fighting for, in the end...we're fighting for each other." - Col. Joshua Chamberlain in "Gettysburg"

 


#3 of 88 David Ely

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Posted May 04 2005 - 04:17 PM

Episode 1 - 7/10
Episode 2 - 2/10
Episode 4 - 8/10
Episode 5 - 10/10
Episode 6 - 7/10

Episode 3 - 3/10

SPOILER FREE

I didn't go in to Ep3 with high expectations, although I hoped it would be an entertaining watch. Instead, I found myself presented with a 2+ hour mess, which suffers the same flaws of episode 2 and then some.

Here are the few positive things I can say about the movie.

- Ewan's performance was good, considering the horrendous dialog
- The special effects were great
- Lightsaber battles (sort of ....)

Well ... that's about it. While the opening and closing of the film are action packed, it's quite boring to watch. The lightsaber battles have their moments, but are overly choreographed.

The plot is borderline ridiculous, with Anakin's turn to the dark side making absolutely no sense. Sorry, but I just didn't buy it. Also, the way they tried to explain away a lot of the holes between this trilogy and the original actually got laughs out of people in the audience.

I have to disagree with Peter as I didn't feel that General Grevious was a good villain. He could have easily been removed from the movie without affecting anything. Gary Oldman will probably be happy he was unable to do the voice acting for the role.

The sad part about all of this is I'll still end up buying this on DVD. Why? Because I couldn't stand having episodes 1, 4, 5 and 6 while missing 2 and 3. I'll probably see it again with some friends when it opens to the public, but I doubt my feelings will change (my score for Ep2 dropped each time I watched it).
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#4 of 88 Jack Savage

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Posted May 05 2005 - 06:13 AM

******SPOILERISH*************

Caught this movie at a Manhattan screening.

I am not sure what movie David was watching but I completely bought the turn. Anakin is selfish and wants to keep or consume everything he loves (note his reaction to Obi-Wan after Padme is injured). So he turns on the Jedi because of her and he joins the Sith because of her. I don't know what was difficult to accept about that. Everything he does seems to indicate that he doesn't believe that he can afford to lose another person he loves.

Also, Grievous was a great villain. He reminded me of a vampirish android with a case of vanity. He isn't all that brave but when push comes to shove he jumps into the fight.

The opening boring? Come on. Did you go into this movie trying to dislike it? There was nothing boring about it. It was paced very well and we moved from action to action at a good speed. I also felt that the humor was turned up a tad during the opening and it worked for me. The ending wasn't action packed so I don't know where you got that from since the last 15 minutes is the Vader/Padme/twins stuff. If you mean the ending action then again, what movie were you watching? I have to believe that you wanted to dislike this movie. I can't imagine anything else.

The acting was much better than in Attack of the Clones and the dialogue far less campy than the last two prequels (and for that matter, Return of the Jedi and A New Hope). McDiarmid steals the movie, followed by McGregor. I also felt that Christensen did a fantastic job and really owned the more dramatic scenes. He was a wonderful surprise for me.

Here are my grades for the saga:

Episode 1: 7/10
Episode 2: 6/10
Episode 3: 9/10
Episode 4: 8/10
Episode 5: 10/10
Episode 6: 6/10

#5 of 88 Steven Simon

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Posted May 05 2005 - 03:44 PM

Also just got back from NY screening. This movie simply rocked.... The last hour of the film will just send chills down the fanboys spines... Anakins turn was (un)believable, and IMHO Palpatine stole the show.. I can't agree with what was said above regarding the Mace Windu saber duel... Palpatines transformation in that exchange was chilling and shocking to say the least... The Yoda/Palpy and Obiwan/Vader duel was intertwined to perfection... Powerful, swift, and just good old fashion saber dueling, with some Senate pods being chucked to kick.... I truly believe Lucas Redeemed himself with the fans... This 30 year old fanboy is in awe.... The second half of this movie just felt like vintage Star Wars..... It ties to Episode 4 perfectly... The Dooku scene could have been a tad longer, but what the heck.....


Some may feel the first hour of the film follows the same mold as Ep 1 and 2. As soon as Palpatine reveals himself, it's like a 20 year flashback to the original SW quality!!!


4 of 4 Stars!!!
As Anakin layed on the black ash, with his legs cut off beneath him, you can't believe the anger and true emotion that engulfs him. His eyes turn Bright Yellow, and his skin pale.. He truely looked evil.


#6 of 88 CraigL

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Posted May 05 2005 - 07:36 PM

First off, let me preface my review by saying I'm in a real emotional place at the moment after having viewed this movie. As I stated in one of my other threads, Star Wars has influenced me in a multitude of ways including (most importantly) what career path to choose. It's probably the first movie I ever saw and I remember coming home to watch it every single day after school. I memorized it backwards and forwards...and I wasn't even born when the first one came out. I was entranced by it. By the ability to be transported to a completely different world by artists and craftsman. And that is when I decided that is what I wanted to do with my life.

Now onto the good stuff. Here are my reviews of the other films to see where I'm coming from.

Star Wars- 8

Empire 9.5

Jedi: 7

Phantom: 4

Clones: 6

And now...Revenge of the Sith. Mostly everything that I felt about this movie has been said already so I won't rehash it but will expand a bit. The entire opening sequence is mesmerizing. From one moment to the next, it's just pure unadulterated FUN. The characters are having fun. They're relating to each other. The R2 bits are not NEARLY as stupid as people made them out to be and our audience was applauding at each one of them. Everyone seemed to be there to genuinely enjoy it...and boy, did they.

The pacing of this movie is furious. I was NEVER bored. Not once. You're always waiting to see what happens next. Now, that's not saying that there aren't some moments where you go "ugh" because that's a lie. But the editing is such that it's MUCH tighter and even those "ugh" moments pass very quickly.

The weak points? HANDS DOWN: Samual and Natalie. They're both terrible and should never have been cast in these movies. I genuinely believe that they brought them down in some ways more than Jar Jar. The movie had it's first "bad acting" moment when Samuel shows up. He's just not good at all.
And that's all I have to complain about. I even liked Grevious. Nohthing to complain about there. Didn't look fake at all and didn't even mind his over the top line delivery nor the coughing.

LOVED the beast that Obi-wan rides to chase the general.

I'll talk about my "crying." Aside for shedding a tear at the beginning of the film, I have to say that the scene where the Emporer announces the "order" shook me up hard. I just started crying pretty hardcore. Seeing the troopers all stop and start slaughtering the Jedi is heart-wrenching. It's done with a lot of skill and emotion. It's one of the many moment in this movie that we've been waiting to see. It happens very fast and just rips your heart out. Dare I say it was THE most emotional moment for me in the entire movie.

Other highlights...and another moment when I cried was when Yoda says goodbye to Chewbacca. Dunno why this hit me but there was just a very sweet and touching moment where you realize that not only is this the last time these two characters are going to see each other but it's the last time YOU (as an audience member) will see these two characters. He says goodbye and you almost feel like it's George saying goodbye to you.

The last 40 minutes of the film are sheer perfection. From the slaughter of the Jedi to the end is just absolutely amazing. Spellbinding. Some of the best scenes (if possibly not THE best scenes) in the entire Star Wars saga. I won't go on and on about it...but everyone was captivated. The final scene with Anakin and Obi Wan is so utterly moving and gruesome. I know I heard a LOT of people gasping when they were watching that scene. It's so much of what we don't come to expect from Star Wars but at the same time, knew it would be coming. You want to look away. It's really too much. And at the same time, you feel horrible...ESPECIALLY when you see the terror on Anakin's face as the mask is lowered. This isn't what he wants.

As a HUGE HUGE HUGE John Williams fan, i would be remiss if I didn't comment on George's great way of fucking up the score. Again...for the most part...mixed too low. And again...RE USE OF CUES FROM THE OTHER TWO MOVIES. The crash landing repeats anakin's "force theme" from the end of Phantom Menace. There were other moments as well where music was re-used but that stuck out because I love that piece of music. The Duel of the Fates is DEFINITELY tracked in from Phantom Menace. No re-recording. It's definitely the same. I know there are going to be a lot of Williams fans pissed about this as well they should. The end credits do not have the Throne Room Music.

And then...2 hours later (and several tissues), it was all over.

I turned to a movie reviewer friend (who actually got me the ticket and HATED Phantom and Clones) and she actually REALLY liked it. She said it was MUCH closer to the other 3 than PM or AOTC. On the other side of me, I had two friends who really like star wars a lot and she was crying. Oddly enough, she made fun of me before the screening and couldn't believe what she just saw. She said it was so NOT star wars and just was all at the same time. Absolutely loved it.

While we were joking around about it, the guy in front of me turned around and said that HE was crying as well. And we all bonded about our history with Star Wars as the final credits rolled. And just as the whole thing was ending...i shed my last tear. The last frames of the last star wars film...ever.

I remember seeing PM at the same theater opening night and how angry some people were. They felt cheated. Some people were ok with it. Others were questioning it. Some just didn't understand it.

AOTC had a better reaction...but there was still same sort of reactions.

Sith, although it has a horribly downbeat ending, was sheer bliss. I didn't see a single person walking out of that theater without a smile on their face. People in the bathroom were just amazed. Someone said that they just don't even know where to begin processing what they had just seen.

It's just that damn good.

No...it's just that damn great.

I give it a 9 out of 10.

Go and enjoy it, boys and girls. And may the force be with you...

#7 of 88 Jason Roer

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Posted May 06 2005 - 12:46 AM

My opinion of the prequels rests in moments. The Phantom Menace had a few great moments. Attack of the Clones gave us more. With Revenge of the Sith, George has found even more moments that will live with us forever. But they are only that - moments.

Sith opens in spectacular fashion, which to be honest, caught me off guard. I found myself thinking: All right; I'm listening, I'm listening. Followed directly by: Please don't let me down, please don't let me down. Followed even closer by: Damn!

First - The Good (and there was plenty of it as the film progressed!)

a) Everyone will be relieved to know the dialogue is significantly better on this outing. We're still not on Mamet levels, but hey - this is Star Wars! As anyone who has heard me speak about the prequels knows already, this was my biggest fear for Sith. There were a few clunkers in there, but overall I felt absolutely satisfied. Some of Yoda's lines were quite good indeed. I even wrote one line down to keep with me. On par with some of his wisdom from Empire.

b) The Acting! All around the board it was way up. Hayden made some excellent choices (a few odd ones, but nothing jarring). I found myself smiling along with him in many of the early scenes and I was surprised at how comfortable he looked. Natalie also had much more to work with and though she had some off scenes - overall her performance was much more natural as well. For the first time in the prequels, I found Ewen's ObiWan to be out of place, at least early on. He seemed less like a mentor and more like an ass. I realize ObiWan has a rebellious streak in him, but at the point in which the story takes place, he would have already grown out of it and even so, the way it was played just felt wrong. He turned it around when they moved on to the more serious material and Ewen still remains the best of the bunch when it's all said and done. Some of his scenes at the end were chilling. Unlike many of the other reviewers, I felt most of Ian's performance was way over-the-top. I was actually shocked. There were moments of brilliance, but I'd hoped for more with him. I found him to be more comical than chilling, particularly in Mace Duel and his unfortunate accident.

c) The special effects. What more can be said? Awesome. Really. You won't want to take your eyes off the screen during a single battle for fear of missing anything. Sometimes it's a bit too much, though - distracting. But no one is going to be disappointed here - of that you can be assured. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Oh baby - that Battle of the Heros! And make sure you check out the bottom right hand side of the screen after ObiWan and Anakin return from the opening battle. Really nice surprise.

Second - The Bad

a) Stupid Choices. I was trying to figure out why I was so frustrated with the first two prequels and I finally figured it out tonight. There were certainly some poor choices made in the Original Trilogy. Nothing jarring, but some things that I would have changed (granted we all have our own ideas - it's so subjective). And of course, there was a magic, charm, and charisma to the characters that carried us through even those few misjudgments. That is not the case here. With the prequels (and I'm afraid to say this includes Sith) there have been stupid choices. For example. The Trade Federation are an Alien species. They could have any number of possible accents. So why did George go ahead and make them sound like they are straight out of a Godzilla movie? Why? Because he made a stupid choice. I'm not going to go into what I thought those stupid choices were in Sith; if you really want to know, send me an e-mail and I'll get a list to you as soon as I can. Suffice it to say, there were enough here to take me out of the story from time to time. There were considerably less stupid moments in Sith than in the previous 2 prequels, but still they were there.

b) Editing. Dear Lord give someone else the controls. It was a strange balance of either rushing important moments or slowing down moments that could have been told quicker. It was almost as if Costanza's opposite rule should have been evoked here. Let's face it, George has never been known for his pacing so this really isn't any surprise. I just wish key moments, like Anakin's turn to the dark side, had more meat to them. It was almost like a throw-away line when he pledged his loyalty to Palpatine. This was the case for many of those poignant events.

c) Grievous. Just should have been taken out of the film. In fact if he had been excised, there would have been more time to spend on the important moments. He was a cartoon character. Actually, he was kind of the prototypical bad guy in the old serials (talks a good game but goes down real easy!), so I guess Lucas kind of had a weird success there. Grievous was made out to be a real bad dude, but then was hacking like old man when he gets up in the morning during most of his scenes. And I couldn't get used to the jarring way he walked. And he was killed way too easily. All right - enough about him.

d) The comedy of the first act was so out of place and felt very forced. R2 and the other droids did have a few moments that had me laughing out loud (as did the entire audience) but then it became too much - like George was trying too hard.

Closing thoughts.

I could go on for hours about this movie - just ask my wife. I helped her fall asleep tonight! I have to say I was definitely satisfied overall. I am looking forward to seeing it again (I really did enjoy it!), but I feel it could have been much better. I wanted to feel more for the characters, but I didn't, as has been the case throughout the prequel trilogy. When it comes down to it, there are 2 major differences between the OT and PT. We already touched on the "stupid moments" theory. But the other is heart. With Luke and Han and Leia, you rooted for them, you wanted them to succeed, to fall in love, to defeat the Empire. With the PT, I found a serious lack of soul. I felt like George wanted to show off his new toys (and he has some really spectacular ones in his arsenal!) But just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

Cheers,

Jason

1) The Empire Strikes Back
2) A New Hope
3) Return of the Jedi
4) Revenge of the Sith
5a) Attack of the Clones
5b) The Phantom Menace

#8 of 88 Tom Brennan

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Posted May 06 2005 - 12:44 PM

****100% Spoiler Free Review****

First, let me say how I rank the previous films.

The Empire Strikes Back - **** out of 4
Star Wars - **** out of 4
Return of the Jedi - *** out of 4
The Phantom Menace - *** out of 4
Attack of the Clones - *1/2 out of 4

So, yes..I too saw the last Star Wars film last night at a screening in NYC. I got to the screening early, picked up my pass and got in line. The guy behind me had a big mouth. He was very chatty, and made it known that he knew everything in this movie…every spoiler. I was sure to tell him not to utter a word to me, because aside from seeing the two trailers…I was 100% spoiler free going into this film. The crowd grew long by the time they let us in. I was able to get great seats…right where I wanted to be…dead center, about 12 rows back. About 40 minutes went by until the moment of truth. The lights dimmed suddenly and I just was not ready. The THX logo came onto the screen, then the fox logo…it all came so fast. No trailers, no commercials…just the main event. It was here. The beginning of the end had begun at last.

This is a hard film to write about. I thought I could write something last night when I got home, but I couldn’t…my head was swimming. I thought I would be able to describe my feelings more accurately today… but it hasn’t been the case, but I will do my best.

I will not fall into any clichés here. You have heard them all by now. I will say this…I love this movie. Is this the best of the prequels? My god…yes. There is absolutely no question. Is it better than Star Wars or Empire? No… not for me, and I don’t think there was ever that possibility for me. Is it better than Return of the Jedi? I don’t know… it could be, but I don’t know. The way I look at it is this… this is a brilliant sequel to the prequels…as perfect of a sequel as you could have hoped for and so much more. However, is it a brilliant lead in to the original films? I just don’t know… I need to see it again to answer that.

The movie opens with the most action of any previous Star Wars film. This intense scene lasts about 25 minutes and you simply do not have time to catch your breath. This is the most exciting opening to a Star Wars film…the best of the 6. After the dust settles from this epic opening…the real plot begins…and yes…there is a plot.

This movie is unlike any other Star Wars film. Aside from being the darkest by far, it is paced very differently…it took some getting used to. There is a moment in this film…which is like a point of no return. Once it starts…you have to strap yourself in for the rest of the film…because it is one hell of a ride and you cannot catch up with your own thoughts. So many times I wanted to pause this movie and catch my breath, but of course I couldn’t…. This film is relentless.

Yoda and Palpatine steal the show. Palpatine especially shines….in many ways…this is his movie. The problems I had with Yoda fighting Dooku in AOTC did not duplicate here. When we see Yoda in action in ROTS…it is truly something special. It is not silly looking, and is very appropriate for him to be doing so within the story. I also loved…yes…loved… Samuel Jackson as Mace Windu. It took me a long time to warm up to the character, but I liked him in AOTC and I love him in this movie. His scene with Palpatine is truly amazing. It’s great stuff…absolutely gripping.

The dialogue is much improved this time, especially with the Anakin/Padme scenes. The delivery on the parts of Hayden Christensen and Natalie Portman also were greatly improved. I didn’t feel there were any flat deliveries with any of the cast.

I do have my problems with the film. There are many plotholes and not every question is answered. There are problems with the editing as was the case in the two previous films. There are some scenes that go on for too long and some scenes (and characters) that aren’t needed at all. So yes…there are things to nit pick over, however unlike the two previous films…the good far outweighs any bad. What I loved about this film… I really loved, and the things I didn’t care for, I can live with.

There are going to be people that don’t like this movie. I spoke to one of them after the screening was over last night. To say something like “if people hate this movie, they are lying” is just asinine. I can see people hating this film easily. It pretty much will go like this… If you are going into this film thinking you are going to hate it, you most likely will. You will find reasons to hate it by nitpicking and focusing on the negative.

Obviously, if you loved the first two prequels…you will be in another world while watching this film. Those of us who found flaws in the prequels should go into this movie with an open mind and not let the problems of the previous two films plague your judgment. Just let the film take you over, because it will. Those people with no emotional investment in Star Wars will view it differently of course… I can’t even pretend to imagine what they will take away from it.

This film forever changes the way you will look at the original films and the overall saga. I for one will never look at Vader the same way again after viewing this film. I hated Anakin at the end of this movie…hated him. I wanted Obi-Wan to finish him off.

One thing I do want to address is spoilers. If you have remained spoiler free at this point, I beg of you to stick it out just two more weeks. Don’t read any reviews that aren’t spoiler free, don’t read magazine articles, don’t watch the tv spots, play the video game, go to spoiler ridden forums, etc.. Trust me…your patience will pay off in abundance when you finally sit in that theater and watch the film. After the film was over, I ran into the guy I was on line with (waiting on another line for the mens room). He loved the movie, but he told me he envied me in being able to watch it spoiler free. He said he regretted reading the script and all the spoilers and wished he had just had a bit of patience. The word spoiler rings true here I think… you do spoil the film for yourself a bit by knowing everything that happens. I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me to be able to sit there in this theatre…watching a new Star Wars film for the last time… and not know what was coming next. I knew where the film was going…but did not know how it was going to get there. When the pieces come together for you…there is just nothing like it. It’s magic, it really is. So please remain spoiler free if you have done so already. Seeing this film come alive on the screen…there is just nothing like it.

I have too many emotions swimming through my head to flesh out this review any further. This movie takes a lot out of you. It is emotionally draining. I have never watched a film in my life where so many different emotions poured through me. I felt just about every emotion I could possibly feel while watching this film. I simply cannot say that about any other film I have ever viewed.

After the film was over, I found myself questioning my feelings on the film. Am I just letting the excitement get to me? Am I caught up in the moment of it and not seeing it for what it really is? I don’t think so… but who knows… you know what… who cares? My advice is let the excitement take over when you watch this film. Let it take control of you and swallow you whole and enjoy this last Star Wars film. There is so much that happens here…. So many great moments. So many dark moments…so many moments that bridge this film to the next trilogy. If you think you are ready for this movie…you’re not. There is no amount of preparation you can give yourself. This is an epic event movie.

***1/2 out of 4
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#9 of 88 Chris Harvey

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Posted May 06 2005 - 07:02 PM

Caught it at a media screening in Westwood last night.

Like (practically) everyone, I grew up on the original trilogy, so I probably can never be truly objective about them. I love 'em all, even JEDI, which I think was the weakest of the original three (by far)... and which now I can notice has some truly wretched dialogue.

Regarding the prequels, I've enjoyed them generally, but been underwhelmed overall. I don't wildly love them, but I'm not especially bitter about them at this point either. I liked parts of them a great deal when I saw them, other parts bored me or just didn't work (IMHO) the way Lucas intended. I own 'em on DVD, but it's been literally years since I watched either of them.

I think I can sum up REVENGE OF THE SITH best by saying, simply, that it made me immediately want to see A NEW HOPE again (in a good way). Simply for that, I consider the film a success.

That being said, it definitely is part of the prequels. If certain aspects of TPM or AOTC bothered you, you'll probably be bothered by the same things in ROTS.... though at a significantly reduced level. There are a couple of lines that are howlers, but far less than AOTC. The plot is still (IMHO) over-plotted, but because the film is working hard at essentially resolving storylines, this doesn't hurt as much.

In a way, I think this film is hurt by what made JEDI work: the previous films in the respective trilogies. JEDI, I think, coasts a lot on good will earned by the first two movies. It has good moments that are made great by our investment in the characters. Conversely, ROTS makes a much better *effort* than JEDI to work on all levels.... and falls short in some areas not so much for its flaws, but because to some degree TPM and AOTC didn't successfully make us truly *care* about some of the characters and relationships. I can understand on a logical and intellectual level that Anakin and Padme are supposed to be madly, passionately in love.... but AOTC never made me feel that.

There are moments in ROTS that are great, but fall juuust a bit short of being truly awesome because that prior connection was never made.

So far my review has been mainly pointing out problems in the film, so I should reiterate: it was a LOT of fun. There is much that is wonderful here. The acting is better, the effects are superlative, the story appropriately tragic. There are a few slipups, but nothing that isn't overcome. And it ends on a really perfect note.

Full points for effort, minus a point for execution (with the caveat that this is a criticism more of the whole prequel trilogy than ROTS specifically):

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image out of Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

#10 of 88 Chuck Mayer

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Posted May 12 2005 - 04:04 PM

Well, at long last. A review on the first page of a SW thread Posted Image

I'd love to write and write about my feelings, my experience tonight, and all that crap. But it's just crap. I'll save that for the discussion thread, and get right to the film. I'll save any major spoiler bits (stuff not in trailers, etc...just trust me, I won't spoil anything until the black box portion) until the end.

Revenge of the Sith is the best of the prequel films, and has moments that match ESB for their poetry, AOTC for some poor dialogue, and ROTJ for their emotional impact. It brings some of the weaknesses from the PT, and brings much of the energy that inhabited the OT. In that respect, it's a hybrid of the two trilogies. And I'll admit, I drank the Kool-Aid from the get-go. I watched TPM and AOTC last weekend, and it really helped me (I have previously seriously disliked AOTC).

The bad: there are some minor (and not-so-minor) missteps in the choices department: lines, shots, takes, etc. None of them were dealbreakers for me. Which is a change from the previous two films. There are certainly moments that could be better, notably two of them. One is spoiler material (Anakin's turn), and one really isn't. That scene, which I think should have taken more time, is the moment where OW learns what Anakin has done as Vader. It's not bad. But it's not what it could be. Other notable things I did not like: SLJ flat-out sucks as Mace; oddly enough, I cared much more for McDiarmid as Palpatine than I did the Emperor (more nuanced, more subtle, more in control); and some minor quibbles such as Battle Droid voices and dialogue.

That's it. I'll get to Anakin's turn later.

What surprised me were the moments I wasn't expecting. And there were quite a few, and it made the movie near great for me. Most of them I'll mention in the small spoiler box as notes.

This is the most assured of the PT films. Lucas has clearly found his footing. The direction is clear, intelligent, and creative. I'd like to think Lucas took a note from PJ/LOTR (no comparisons please) in terms of establishing shots. He really lets the visuals breath, and it enhances the reality and impact of the story. The acting is better. NP and Hayden still have some bad dialogue, but share a few great moments. NP is noticeably improved. Hayden has a few missteps, but again, nothing huge for me. Ewan is excellent, as expected. I wish he had more screentime, but there you go. Ian McDiarmid is excellent as Palpatine, but either he or the writing go a little crazy once he "shows himself", so to speak. I also quite liked Jimmy Smits in his small role. One other major note, 3PO doesn't intrude much, and R2 deserves all the praise he is getting. He got raucous cheers. Lastly, the scenes with OW and Anakin in the first half are quite good. They right much that I disliked in AOTC. They don't necessarily right AOTC, but they work here. It really helps the story.

As expected, this movie is a visual masterpiece. There is more to see in this film than the previous 2 (or 5) combined. It is rich, sumptuous, and deep. Most importantly, it's not showy. The effects are so good, you start to not see them. Again, they are not flawless, but they are as close as any film has come. And there are more of them here than in any film before. And it ain't close. They also do more.

QUICK EDIT: Major credit goes to the Art Department as well. The designs in this film are the best in the saga.

I think the film is masterfully edited, something that was rather weak in TPM, got noticeably better in AOTC (but didn't have such a story to tell), and nails it here. I see some above me disagree, but the cross-cutting during a key middle scene, and towards the end was exceptional. Kudos where deserved.

The score is the real strongpoint for the film. The film is at it's strongest when JW is telling the story with GL's visuals. Many of my favorite scenes had no dialogue. Truly a fantastic score.

Brief spoilers:
The big debate is going to center on the effectiveness of Anakin's turn. Bet on it. And I can already see excellent points on both sides. I think the set-up was quite good. The opera scene was one of the best in the saga. The follow-up where Sidious reveals himself to Anakin is also quite good. Where it gets ugly is the actual moment it occurs. I still buy it, but the scene itself is a bit sloppy. This is a place where GL could have really boosted it. But again, there is material in the story beforehand to make it work. The actual moment is herky jerky, and leads too quickly into what follows.

Also, the Yoda/Sidious fight was good for the fanboys. Very well shot and executed. Didn't do much for me. Except when he walked in the room.

Favorite scenes:
- Everything on Kashyyyk is gold.
- The best opening action sequence in any of the SW films, save maybe ESB.
- The Order 66 sequence (esp. the editing) is top-notch. I was surprisingly moved.
- Vader in the Temple was chilling. Everyone is going to have their opinions, but when I see Vader at the end of ROTJ, I'm going to remember him in the council chambers. Always.
- OW and Vader on Mustafar, the dialogue and visuals at the end


My surprise moments:
- Anakin first meeting with Padme. "This is the happiest moment of my life."
- Anakin saying goodbye to OW for the last time (as OW goes to fight GG)
- Anakin and Padme (but not together) as the Jedi go to face Palpatine - probably my favorite scene in the PT, and one of my faves in the Saga, I loved this scene. Beautiful. This scene alone could have saved this film, if it needed to.
- Anakin and the Younglings, great direction. Great decision. Very upsetting.
- Cross-cutting Vader and Padme giving birth/dying, poetic and brilliant
- Overall, the reckless OW on Utu...whatever, great action
- Of course, the ending sequence


I could think of more, but I need to sleep.

Super spoilers, save 'til you see the film:
Loved when Yoda climbed on Chewies back.
Meh on seeing Death Star.

Not perfect. Doesn't save the PT (frankly, where was this direction in the last two films). GL dots EVERY "I", and crosses EVERY "T". I didn't find that necessary.

But the overall effect is meaningful and skilled.

It's Star Wars.

9/10

My third favorite film in the Saga,
Chuck
Hey buddy...did you just see a real bright light?

#11 of 88 Adam_S

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Posted May 15 2005 - 03:31 PM

Revenge of the Sith - Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image1/2
Digital Projection
05/15/2005


It is a dark time for the Republic. Chancellor Palpatine has been kidnapped as the clone wars draw towards a brutal but victorious close. Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi crash onto the droid command ship that holds the Chancellor, Count Dooku and droid General Grevious. They rescue the Chancellor, Anakin has little trouble with Dooku while Obi Wan takes the brunt of Dooku's assault and Grevious gets away. Following these opening moments the film barely slows down as it moves from action to action upon which the fate of the galaxy rests.

I'm still on the high of seeing this film, there's hardly anyway I can rank it. I'm most disapointed that the space battle is so insular to Anakin and Obi Wan, and that its over in a minute. And that is perhaps the biggest problem with this film, it moves from set piece to set piece only slightly slowing the pace to allow a bit of dialogue in. There is no realistic sensation of time in this film. It seems Amidala is only a month or two pregnant at the beginning, but already full term by the end, but no more than a week (if that) seems to have passed for the characters. Anywhere in the galaxy is accessible in a matter of hours which is absolutely annoying (read to much of the EU when I was younger). The dialogue is occasionally appallingly bad, and occasionally recaptures the sparkling repartee of the originals, over all slightly better than the other two prequel dialogue, excepting Vader's horrendous dialogue and Anakin and Amidala's gritting romantic interchanges (better when they are struggling with one another).

Natalie Portman is radiant and carries everyone of her scenes with much more assurance and craft than in the previous two films. Hayden Christensen does an outstanding job and Ewan Mcgregor just owns every single scene he's in--never an off line. Ian McDiarmond is the standout though, his presence dominates every moment of the film and is the best part about it. Mace Windu actually has some great stuff to work with. Yoda is a bit of a disapointment just because I don't think he's as effective as an active character as he is as a more passive mentor as in the originals, but that's personal preference.

Overall I can't wait to watch it again. Highlight of the film is the Windu-Sidious confrontation, the transformations and dramatic aspects of this scene is the best part of the entire film. Slightly disapointed with THE DUEL, it felt too short and and sprawling, still nowhere near the absolute perfection of the Darth Maul duel. Yoda and Sidious is okay but at that point its almost overload.

My biggest complaint is I'd like to see more aspects of the force. There's only lightsaber fights, force throws, force blows, force chokes and force lightning. What is it Palpatine could do to raise the stakes above what Dooku was capable of and which Yoda can still handle. I wish he had an even more powerful darkside attack that he pulled out at great cost to himself when Yoda handles the lightning. I wish Yoda were such a master that he has a counter/equivalent to the lightning from the lightside. I wish there was less a focus on Jedi agression (drawing lightsabers first) and more things along the lines of Qui Gon's meditation in TPM, That compared to Maul's rabid pacing was such a brilliant way to visually contrast the different philosophies of light and dark sides of the force. And Qui Gon's control compared to Obi Wan's impatience demonstrating the difference between master and apprentice.

I loved this film but I wish we understood more about the prophecy, about the sith, about the balance of the force, about the jedi, about the whole universe. I wish we saw things we had never seen before instead of primarily variations carried to the nth power of what we've seen already. This was magnificent, and there were enough events to carry two films, it's a shame its all packed into one.

Wonderful, intense, fun extraordinary experience. I cannot wait to see it again, especially with a rabid midnight crowd. I need to go buy myself a toy extendable lightsaber to wave around in and before the midnight screening (can't afford the kick ass ones they've come out with though I saw one today and wanted it soooooooo badly!).

Considering the current box office atmosphere this film is indominatable till Batman (or perhaps mr and mrs smith) at the very least. It's the only thing to see for the next three or more weeks, it's going to be massive because it's incredibly satisfying. And when you see what happens to Anakin you'll know why it gets a PG13, intense satisfying kick ass experience. FUCK YEAH!

Empire Strikes Back, A New Hope - four stars
Original return of the Jedi - four stars
Revenge of the Sith - 3.5 stars
SE return of the Jedi, Attack of the Clones, and the Phantom Menace - 3 stars.
 

#12 of 88 Sam Davatchi

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Posted May 18 2005 - 03:05 AM

Saw the movie this morning. I won’t give it stars or compare it to the original trilogy because you really can’t truly measure a movie on the first day. The true measure of a movie is given by time. So all I can say is how I feel right now. This is definitely the best of the prequel movies. When the movie ended I was crying.

The acting is definitely better this time around; everyone, including Natalie Portman. The interesting thing is that even Samuel L Jackson’s questionable acting didn’t bother me that much. Maybe this is also the case with the original trilogy. When you are engaged enough with the story and the characters, the story passes by better and you don’t mind some of the flaws in the acting. I say this because I had seen many disjointed clips from episode III before and they had weak and some horrible acting. But seeing the entire movie, they didn’t bother me as much as when I saw them separately.

I feel ROTS will get better with repeated viewings.

The following contains spoilers, don’t read the rest. Here are the points that bothered me.


- The humor with R2 didn’t bother me but the humor with the federation ships bothered me a lot. It’s where they jump and start to fly and it looks like they are talking to each other.
- General Grievous. I didn’t like him. His voice was terrible.
- Anakin’s turn to the dark side didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me a lot was actually at the beginning where he kills Dooku. It was too fast. He says it’s wrong and suddenly he kills him without any hesitation or manipulation from Palpatine! A more skilled director would have made it more dramatic. It just doesn’t work.
- At the very end I didn’t have too much problem with Vader’s "Noooo", my major problem was with his Frankenstein walk. Ridiculous.

And of course it’s without saying that with more care things could have been even more dramatic. For example when Mace goes to arrest Palpatine, it could have been filmed more dramatically. Like showing the jedi walking across halls and people looking at them. Or Palpatine saying to Mace “you will finally see the true power of the dark side” and etc, etc.

But these are just nitpicking. This movie has emotion.

#13 of 88 Brendon

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Posted May 18 2005 - 02:39 PM

Very short review (it's 3:37am UK time!)

Wonderful!

Best of the prequels, better than ROTJ. Shy of ANH & TESB.

The last 30 mins has so many cool, fanboy pleasing, answer every last niggling question about the series type moments in it, I was grinning like a loon.

Oh, and it's bleak.

Longer sentences and more coherent thoughts after I've had some sleep...

Brendon

#14 of 88 Michael Mathius

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Posted May 18 2005 - 06:38 PM

Well I just got back home.

Great the FORCE was Posted Image

I now feel like watching Episode IV but I got to be at work for 9.Posted Image
Don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry.

THE LOFT

#15 of 88 zomgjon

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Posted May 18 2005 - 07:06 PM

I got back 3 hours ago and i'm still digesting what i saw. RoTS is the best film of the prequel trilogy - i don't think anyone would disupute that. That said, there are some parts that do drag the movie down.

It isn't perfect, but darn it could have been a masterpiece. It bridges the gap over to ANH perfectly - i found myself flipping in the disc the moment i got home. RoTS is going to change the whole way you watch the saga. In terms of emotional power, i would say it's on par or even stronger than ESB.

What i liked/loved:


The opening sequence. 25 mins of nonstop, breathless action. Just plain fun!

Dooku. Even though Christopher Lee's screentime was limited, he owned that chamber scene till he got offed. Kinda sad really, seeing how powerful and badass he was in the Clone War series.

Grievous was cool as well, although i did had a good chuckle when he wielded the 4 lightsabers lawnmower stylePosted Image

Padme looking out to the Jedi temple from the apartment balcony with the intercut to Anakin faced with the conflicted decision he has to make in the council chamber.
Incredibly moving scene, and by far my favourite of the movie.

Anakin force-choking Padme. I wasn't expecting that(stayed spoiler free) and damn it was chilling. You could see the hate pouring through his eyes.

The closing shot. Beru & Owen, holding baby Luke in view of the binary sunset with the strings of the Force theme swelling to a close. Awesome.


What i didn't like :

Padme's death. That was just handled so...... badly... Ugh. There wasn't any feeling of emotional connectivity in that scene. Of course, Vader's 'STELLA!!' moment and his Frankenstein walk. That took me out of the movie for a second.


But damn, what an experience. I can't wait to watch it again on sunday.

#16 of 88 Patrick Sun

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Posted May 18 2005 - 07:15 PM

While the world of Star Wars was more than amazing, the main thing I didn't like was Hayden Christensen's acting in the 1st and 2nd act, as the one-on-one scenes just laid flat on the screen. The cringe-inducing dialogue was just poor because it didn't feel natural, but rather forced because of all the burden from having to bridge the history between the OT and the PT together. The film is a lot better in the final act where the action is almost non-stop, and the acting is better and dialogue is minimal enough not to induce more cringing from me. There were some inconsistencies in the film w/r/t the rest of the OT, but I'll save those for the discussion thread.

For now, I'm going to give it 2.75 stars or a grade of B- (mainly for the last act because I'd grade the earlier acts a C for uninvolving sequences that felt perfunctionary and stilted.)
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#17 of 88 Bryan Ri

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Posted May 18 2005 - 07:25 PM

I'm just going to share some brief thoughts:

- Going to see a Star Wars film is much like going to a sporting match. We boo, we cheer, and we clap. Seeing these movies in the theater are experiences that will stay with me forever, and Episode III only will increase that sense of nastolgia.

- Kudos to a fine performance by Hayden Christensen. I'm not afraid to say it, he was GREAT in Episode III.

- I loved the pace of the film, the intensity builds steadily from the first frame to the last frame.

- I could have used a scene with Qui-Gon, and a couple more scenes of Bail, possibly plotting with Padme.

- The Yoda/Sidious fight ended abruptly, I could have gone for a better finale to it.

Overall, I am very pleased with the film I saw tonight. The initial excitement will have to wear off before I can rank it with the other pictures.

#18 of 88 Ronald Epstein

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Posted May 18 2005 - 07:49 PM

I'm going to be the cog in the wheel here....

I did not enjoy Episode III

It's basically the same "dreck" as the past
two films.

It basically comes down to this....

On a technical standpoint the film looks fantastic,
that is, until the onpouring of CGI gets you nauseus
because it's the only thing there to uphold the absence
of any story substance.

Yeah, there is a story here, but it isn't told
with believable dialogue or passion. I felt absolutely
nothing for the tragic circumstances of these
characters. The entire film consisists of various
action sequences filled out by weighted scenes of
bad dialogue that overextend their welcome.

This film ran 2 hours 20 minutes and I am not
exaggerating when I say nearly 2 hours of it was
filler material against a busy backdrop of CGI.

I appreciate Lucas kept the silliness to a minimum.
I am sure I speak for everyone when I say that I
applaud the fact Jar Jar didn't have a single line
of dialogue.

Maybe I am getting too old for movies that look
like videogames.

To give the film credit, it is the best of the
three films with the final 30 minutes devoted
to the aftermath of a volcanic duel and the
first glimpse of a suited "Vader" being the
best Star Wars has been in the last 20+ years.

I wanted to like this, but in the end, it was
not a good film.

Sorry, that's my opinion -- deal with it politely.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#19 of 88 Diallo B

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Posted May 18 2005 - 08:19 PM

great movie. forced me to pop in ep. four as soon as i got home. i watched that movie with a whole differnet mindset now.

i enjoyed everything with the exception of s little wooden acting. but other than that go to the film prepared to have some fun.

i know that you will.

edit:

saw it again today. this time with the digital projector. i was not impressed. i had a better seat today so it sounded much better but there was ALOT of times when i could see pixels. it bothered me, but most other people probably did not notice.

still a fun movie, but i don't think that anakin's fuel for transformation was convincing enough.

listen with your own ears...
watch with your own eyes...
make your own decision.
_______________________________________

#20 of 88 Peter Kim

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Posted May 18 2005 - 08:19 PM

This movie was digital noise to me. Sometimes, I could tune into some fun lines and scenes. And while it shed light on a lot of unknowns, I was left overwhelmed with cgi and stilted dialogue.

With the OT as a whole, I fell in love with all of the characters and their story was compelling.

In the PT, culminating with RotS, too much focus on the minutia, leaving mostly hollow for the overall story.

The OT captured the fun and swashbuckling spirit of Sergio Leone. It was fun, wild, and reckless.

The PT was an exercise in tedium, caving in under its own weight, along the lines of latter day Bay, a la Bad Boys II. It was silly, dour, sterile, and ponderous.
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