Confessions of a STAR WARS Virgin: Allison Watches EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH for the First Time

by     Posted 2 years, 24 days ago

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Our daily series where Allison Keene watches the Star Wars movies for the first time. Read her intro/explanation here, and here’s her reviews of Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

And this is how the series ends, not with a bang but a “NOOOOOOOOOO!” I can sense in the Force that the fandom probably, rightfully, takes a great deal of issue with Revenge of the Sith, but I think it may actually be the strongest of the prequel movies.

The rise of Darth Sidious was perhaps the best plot of the prequels, since it was cultivated well from the beginning.  Anakin’s development could have gone better, but I blame that primarily on Hayden Christiensen‘s lacking performance (particularly in this movie — he was never as scary or as lording as he should have been in the end).  There was a lot of mythology though that a different kind of film could have delved into more deeply — more about the Siths, the lightsabers, etc.  And though I think that digitalization can be a great boon to movies, I also think it can be used far too much and relied upon too heavily as it was here (and I for one was not a fan of digital Yoda, who was quite the hyperactive gremlin).  Hit the jump for my final thoughts on the series and the watch order.

star-wars-revenge-of-the-sithAnakin and Padmé’s relationship, which always had some creepiness to it, turned her into a mostly useless character in Revenge of Sith as she hid around trying to pretend she wasn’t pregnant.  This is Anakin’s movie, yes, but for all of my praise of Leia’s personality in the original trilogy and appreciation of Padmé’s resourcefulness in the first two prequels (less so in Episode II), the ball was dropped here.

Still, Revenge of the Sith created some real emotions as the Jedis were killed off and the Reign of the Sith Lord began.  It also tied in everyone’s stories reasonably well with the original trilogy, particularly Luke and Leia’s origins and why Darth Vader didn’t continue becoming more powerful as everyone kept saying he would (he only betrayed his Master in the end to save Luke and the last good piece of his soul, not because he craved power — at least, not until Luke showed up).

As much as I wanted, after The Empire Strikes Back, for Star Wars in its completeness to be the story of Anakin, it’s really the story of Luke.  Despite getting three movies devoted to him, Anakin is never really fleshed out in the way Luke is.  Luke also has the benefit of a very strong supporting cast, and even when the focus is not on him, we’re still interested in what’s going on (whereas when the story strayed from Anakin in the prequels, so did my interest).

hayden-christiansen-star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sithI don’t think that the prequels are a complete and utter disgrace (well, Phantom Menace maybe), but I can’t see myself ever finding much reason to watch them again.  The originals, however, I was nearly ready to pop back in after I finished Revenge of the Sith.  I’m ultimately glad that I didn’t watch the movies in chronological order, I don’t care what George Lucas says.  They ruin the surprises of the later movies (and even though I already knew those reveals, the way they played out was still interesting), and makes for an unfortunate transition from glossy digitization to old school effects, which is a weird jump.

There was another order considered before I began called Machete, which essentially suggests the watch order should be IV, V, II, III, VI (and leave out Episode I).  Ignoring the brush off of Episode I (which I think you might as well watch just as part of the canon), I actually support this a great deal.  It really heightens the stakes at the end of Empire, where, because you “know” Darth Vader so much better, his death is that much more full of pathos.

star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith-posterSo that’s all, folks.  It’s been a riveting journey through space and time, and I’m sad I don’t have another installment to look forward to tomorrow.  I guess it’s time for me to take a stance on this Disney Issue…

Episode III Roundup:

Favorite Character(s):  Obi-Wan, Darth Sidious for outsmarting everyone

Least Favorite Character(s): Count Dooku for being confusingly useless (sorry, Christopher Lee) 

Light Saber Color: Blue. No, green. Purple? Whatever the force chooses for me, but I guess I’m on the light side.  I see the appeal of the dark, though …

What worked best: Obi-Wan’s characterization developed nicely, and I particularly liked his interactions with Anakin at the start of this Episode.

What didn’t work:  Samuel L. Jackson really shouldn’t have been allowed to introduce another color into the saber array.  It was already weird enough to have blue and green while the Sith lords only have red.  Now there’s a rainbow, and no reason behind it?  Weaksauce.  Also, Darth Vader appearing as the Bicycle Girl from The Walking Dead at the end before Dark Sidious scoops him up was ridiculous.  Oh and “wiping” the droids memories? Convenient …

Best Quotes: “So this is how liberty dies … with thunderous applause.”

If you missed my previous reviews, here’s Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

So that’s all, folks.  To help with my Star Wars withdrawal, I’ll be joining the Collision Podcast tomorrow to talk about the series and its future.  It’s been an illuminating journey for me through space and time, and I have appreciated you all coming along for the ride.

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  • Mavro

    Allison, you can’t pin it all on Hayden Christiensen’s performance. That’s unfair. He’s miscast, but he was given a very dry and unlikeable character on the page. In theory, we should have been rooting for Anakin and heartbroken by his ultimate transformation. The reality is we were never given a chance to like him. The moment he was introduced as whiny in Ep. 2, his character never veered off that course. Unlike Luke, Anakin needed to become a hero in the eyes of the audience and hit a high before his fall from grace.

    • ScaredForMovies

      I agree. Natalie Portman was also terrible. Too stiff. Lucas isn’t really known as an actors director.

    • Norris

      Hayden Christiensen pretty much is terrible in everything I’ve ever seen him in. Combine his talent with Lucas horrid direction of actors and that’s what you get.

  • Masshuu il Thulcandra

    I waited to read all your comments. What an ignorant evaluation to present. You were so obviously kowtowing to all the lame brained purists who think they know better how to make George Lucas’ stories.Apparently you all know the stories that Mr. Lucas wanted to make better than he did. Such self-righteous arrogance. The prequels are superior to the original. Mark Hamill was never any better as Luke than Hayden Christiansen was as Anakin. Nitpicking lightsaber colors is just dumb. Jar Jar is no worse than dumb Chewbacca or the annoying Ewoks (which I loved in there own TV movies).
    In one word you are a “JACKASS” like all the ‘so-called’ fans.
    If you don’t like the movies prequels or originals, fine. It’s only an opinion. They are only fantasy movies and everyone has their own opinions. I just disagree with all of them. May be because when the first original came out (I saw the first on its second day of release and I was 29 going on 30) so perhaps that’s why I can enjoy all of then without pontificating as all of you seem to feel you have to do.
    Remember – These are the stories George Lucas wanted told. You don’t like it – TOUGH!

    • Anonymous

      Your an idiot

      • Whodatninja

        If you choose to call someone an idiot at less spell YOU’RE correctly Mr./Ms/Mrs. Anonymous.

    • A to the F

      It’s only an opinion, that’s why you post your classless, mannerless insulting response? I’m sure your mom must be proud of raising such a buffoon and grade A jerk

    • Mavro

      Insults invalidate your comments. You just wasted your time.

    • ScaredForMovies

      You lost all credibility when you said Jar Jar was equal to Chewbacca. And you seem like the JACKASS. If you saw the originals when they opened and think the prequels compare you know nothing about movies. The impact of the originals is the only reason you have the opportunity to watch the prequels. The originals story was stronger & the effects were used more effectively. Lucas actually had to go on location to shoot these movies. He was ambitious and passionate about them. He didn’t sit in a chair all day looking at two TV’s while drinking coffee and thinking about merchandise money. All the while surrounded by a bunch of ass kissers too scared to make any criticism of his choices, good or bad. The prequels were still entertaining(especially Episode 3) but they don’t live up to the hype that original Star Wars fans built up in their imaginations for 20 years. They expected more from the story of Anakin. And they have every right to. It’s a free country. You don’t like that – TOUGH!

    • DREDD

      What a dopey prick! You need some manners slapping into you boy!

      • whydoibother

        “These are the stories George Lucas wanted told – you don’t like it, TOUGH”

        The problem is, most fans of the original movies didn’t enjoy the new ones because of the decisions Lucas made in making them. When your actors are standing in a huge empty green-screen set, they need the director to help them emote. That is one of the biggest jobs of the director in any movie… the Director of Photography makes sure he gets the physical shot, and collaborates with the Director as he makes sure the actors get the script acted out properly at the same time. The new films felt hollow, and with mostly dry dialogue, the director needed to be making sure that the actors know the world that will be added around them. I have seen lots of great performances in mostly CGI films, and I have seen a lot of dead-eyed, rehearsing-a-play-with-no-set acting… The new films have the latter all through them.
        A big part of the fun in the old films was that the actors felt like they actually were there, even when it was just gun fights in hallways – it was REAL and fun – you were right there with those actors, even if their acting skills aren’t 100%. I’m not saying that Lucas should have built enormous real sets – but am I saying he needed to make sure his actors played it as though it was all in front of them and real. Some scenes were so hard to watch because the environment and the people in it felt incredibly disconnected.
        As for light saber colours – it is kind of silly to add a new colour into the mix when the film is in the middle of a large story, and the colour isn’t seen again, both before or after.

        There. That’s my level-headed approach to a maniac.

    • Whodatninja

      I agree with many of your points and respect your strong feelings but the tone and hostility makes it tough for others to relate to your opinions. If you really are a movie fans and specifically a Star Wars fan then I would imagine you’d rather want to engage other fans in a discussion instead of attacking them. The prequels are grossly under appreciated though.

  • Zepherous

    She really is clueless about the franchise, as is seen in this review. Pick up a book and read to fill in the gaps. I have seen these movies thousands of times, and never get tired of them. That’s the real magic of movie making. Revenge is our (my son and I) favorite Episode. She has completely taken everything out of context, and had, since this movie, 8 years of other movies to cloud her judgment. She is not taking into consideration just how awe struck we were in 2005 when this was put on film and nothing like it existed. She’s 27 years old and just now watching Star Wars. My Star Wars collection alone is probably worth more than the car she drives now. Say what you will, it’s a billion dollar enterprise for a reason. And George made billions.

    • Robert Downey

      I totally agree with you. She is a total idiot. Absolutely clueless about the beauty, wonder, and awe of the franchise.

      I’m glad these reviews are over. And look forward to never reading anything else you have written ever again.

    • Nom

      Are people actually angry at her for not watching the movies before now? Also, for having an opinion of her own that isn’t completely in favor of theirs? It’s like spitting in the face of a five-year old for not watching and loving The Lion King. I have known so many people that haven’t watched classic films, and when they do and don’t love them the way I did, you know what I have never done? Argue that person into the ground.
      This rabid anger splits most sci-fi movie fans… I could throw out some names like Avatar, Transformers, and the new Star Trek movie and this same anger ignites.

      Relax, people. Eat some fruit or something.

    • Chad

      LOL @ bragging about your “Star Wars collection”… butt hurt much?

      Oh, and she shouldn’t have to “pick up a book to fill in the gaps”… the movies should fill in their own gaps. Anytime a film series has to rely on outside sources to make sense of its nonsense, then it has failed. Get a clue.

  • Lance

    I have to say, as much as I hate the prequels, I’ve never had a problem with Ian McDiarmid’s performance. He always brought his A game to the movies, and where even capable actors like Ewan McGregor and Christopher Lee stumbled over the awkward dialogue, he found a way to be as big and epic as the role of the Emperor demanded.

    • James

      Completely agree. McDiarmid was spot on in all of the movies, especially the prequels. He’s so convincing in his role that when I watched the prequels for the first time, I started to doubt that he was actually the Emperor even though I knew he was. Very underrated actor.

  • Bill

    Allison-this has been a very fun journey w/you. Thanks for sharing. And if nothing else-thanks for the heads up about the Machete order. I am a long time fan but have never heard of it; can’t wait to give it a shot and see if it redeems the prequel for me in any way at all (which, right now, I totally avoid). Enjoy rewatching the original trilogy… :)

  • ryan

    The color of the lightsabers differ depending on the crystal used to focus the energy through. I know they don’t tell you that in the films but that’s the reason they are different. Jedi’s build their own sabers so they can choose which one suits them better. As for only one person having a purple saber; i just assume it was a rare crystal no one else had come across in their journey except Mace Windu. I’ve enjoyed reading about your star wars experience but i disagree with your thoughts on CGI Yoda. The only version of Yoda that truly sucked was the puppet they originally used in Phantom Menace, which is why I think that Lucas changing him to the CGI version in the re-release is the only acceptable change he made to the franchise after the fact. Know if only he’d go back and edit out Vader’s “NOOOOOOOOOOOO”….Makes me cringe every time.

    • Zepherous35

      Mara Jade has one, as well.

  • Mavro

    I agree. I don’t like CGI Yoda, but when you choose to make every backdrop greenscreen, and every creature full-CG, then to have a puppet in the midst of all that makes it stand out like a sore thumb, which is part of why he looked so bizarre in Phantom Menace.

  • DREDD

    Allison, great fun reading your virgin reviews. Personally, I’d rewatch the OT so your last impression will be pure. And you will i guarrantee find even more to love in those films the more you watch.

    Also, I highly recommend seeing all the Clone Wars series 1 through 5 so far, starts off ropey as hell but it now rates among the best of tv and has blossomed into something incredibly epic and thoughtful. It also is 1000 times better than all the prequels combined and answers most questions left by them and even the OT films. Best thing to come out of lucasfilm since the originals and Indy. Its highly addictive too. Some characters (ahsoka, you will hate in the beginning, but she is now the best thing to happen in Star Wars for a long time. )each series though it has a few bumps, gets better and better.

    there was also a great micro series that was 2D animated, worth a watch but its very stylised.

    • Ted

      This! Clone Wars is fantastic! bad start but surpasses the prequels by miles. Lotta people wrote this series off after the pilot movie, what a loss.

  • Strong Enough

    Revenge of the Sith is a perfect movie. Everything they teach you in screenwriting class is here. Protagonist, Antagonist, the rise, the climax, the fall and it is laid out perfectly along the movie. Sure Lucas got it right in A New Hope but this is something on a whole other level. The Sith is perfectly portrayed as the heroes and the villains as we see the MC struggle with light and dark. Sure it has flaws but what movie doesn’t? Is Anakan wrong or right? are the jedis evil just as much as the sith? or aren’t they? It is the ultimate structure of good vs evil and the asks the very question what is good or evil at the same time. It is very underrated movie and my personal favorite star wars.

    • Zepherous35

      Completely agree.

    • Dan Geer

      While I don’t think Revenge of the Sith is perfect, it’s definitely on par with the original trilogy, and even better than Return of the Jedi.

    • Anonymous

      I have to disagree; Sith is far from the perfect film. Sure, it may have the skeleton of a textbook screenplay, but so does the film Crank and that doesn’t make it great. I’m not saying it’s terrible (I like it the most of the new trilogy), but the CG environments reminded you that the world was not real every second of the film, the acting was atrocious from everyone except Obi Wan and the Emperor, and you never care about Anakin – EVER – which is crucial to the film. I will choose that over Episode I or II, but definitely not over the originals.

    • Anonymous

      “every thing they teach you in screenwriting class is here”…
      I guess this is the proof there is no formula in making a good movie…

    • sense 11

      Just because it structured right doesn’t change the fact that Its a terrible movie, stop lying to yourselves ,

    • Clay

      Did you just say it’s a perfect movie AND it has flaws? Why is it I feel Star Wars fans are so desperate to like these prequels simply because they feel like they have to? No, these movies are clearly inferior (sometimes painfully so) to the originals and you’d all just benefit mightily from admitting it to yourselves.

  • spider-fan14

    I’ve been promoting the Machete order for the longest time now as the best way to watch the films. Glad to hear you recommend it…thanks for the reviews, it was very interesting reading these from a first time viewer (and girl, nonetheless lol)

  • Austin

    Her articles mirrored the actual series perfectly!! The first three were great. The second three…not so much

    • Kendall

      Classic Austin…

    • Northern Star

      If films are supposed to represent their creator, the prequels perfectly reflect George Lucas; emotionally repressed and sterile! If the prequels never existed, would that affect in any way your understanding, enjoyment, or appreciation of the original Trilogy? If the answer to all three is no – which it is – then the prequels were unnecessary and a story that simply didn’t need to be told… that and the fact they stank worse than a whorehouse at high noon!

      • Northern Star

        … and it didn’t need to be that way either, George Lucas actually came up with a pretty good story arc, albeit one written on the fly, had he plotted them out in advance, gotten outside screenwriters and editors to work on each film, and ILM working exclusively on each prequel episode during it’s post-production, there’s every chance the PT could have been majestic, alas…

  • Melack

    ROTS is great! My third favorite SW movie. And personally I thought Hayden really stepped up his game for this one and I love him in it. Both him and Natalie nailed it at the Mustafar scenes and that segment breaks my heart everytime. Oh and the opening space battle is fantastic!

  • Moe

    Yup, Sith almost made up for 1 and 2. Almost.

    Still, I laugh everytime I see the birth scene. “What’s happening?” “She has lost the will to live”

    LMAO. So in the Star Wars world, if you lose the will to live during birth, you just die. How conveeeenient. Man, Lucas is terrible sometimes. Hey, I respect your opinions, but to those arguing that the prequels were great….you simply want to like it because it’s Star Wars. I get it, and OK. But I honestly lied to myself through the first two, tried to tell myself they were awesome. But after a few viewings I just couldn’t do it anymore. They are just not very good.

    The real tell tale sign is that so many who loved the originals don’t like the prequels. Star wars fans ALL wanted those movies to transport them back to being a kid again. Instead they got crap. Empire is universally acclaimed aas the best film, and Lucas did not direct. They just weren’t that great, whether you like them or not. My girlfriend loves Dune. It sucks. Some movies that we like because of personal reasons are good to us, but they aren’t good.

    It’s like this…if you can take a total newb into a movie and they come out loving it, it was probably a well made flick. If you have to convince them it was good, it probably wasn’t.

    • Tarek

      You girlfriend has a great sense of art. Dune is a masterpiece.

      • Moe

        Well, I have heard the arguments for and against. Personally I think it’s a mess, and David Lynch himself has disowned it. I can appreciate non-linear storytelling, but the pacing, the constant whispering inner monologue, the bad sets and costumes. I can’t convince myself that it’s good. JMO. She herself actually admits it’s awful, she just watched it like a hundred times as a kid and now it’s a sentimental thing.

        Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy certain art and indie films. Dune, and even Lynch says it, was just a movie gone wrong.

  • Tarek

    Revenge of the Sirh was Lucas ultimate attempt to thumb his nose at starwas fandom.

    Lucas was fed by all the negative critics he harvested, following his soulless ‘stawars for 5years old’ prequels.

    I can imagine Lucas sitting in the editing room, and having fun when he inserted the famous sequence where Anakin turned to Evil.

    Palpatine: join me Anakin and you will save Padme from death.
    Anakin: How can I do that?
    Palpatine: kill all the babies you can find, kill obiwan and maybe also Padme.
    Anakin: it makes sense. The dark side is a great way of live.
    ….

    After his babies killing, his attempt to kill Padme (what a f***ing way to save her) and his jump here and jump there battle with Obiwan, on lava (how did they breath without oxygen at 2000 degrees? Oh I see they are Jedi. They do not even poop). Anakin gave to Lucas his revenge on those who have made fun on him.

    Now you can conclude Anakin:

    Noooooooooooooo!

  • Jonatan

    For me Episode 3 is the best star wars movie with empire strikes back. Its the most emotional one. The worst, with worst dialogue, worst performances and also most boring is episode 2 by far. Episode 1 has a least a ton of action and great seatpieces it was more near to episode 4. All the star wars movies arent perfect, has corny elements and are kids friendly. And i am brave enough to say that i like hayden performance in 3. For all the bad performances in both trilogy i blame more to Lucas than the actors . The worst move for the prequels were R2 and C3PO. They could be introduced in episode 3 or 4 as was normal. Sorry for my english

  • João Paulo (@JPaulo645)

    Allison, I like all Star Wars, my favorite is Revenge of Stih, so amazing effects, great performances and Dark Sidious is an amazing villain.

    This is my Star Wars final order: 3 > 5 > 4 > 2 > 6 > 1

  • spongefist

    This is a little know fact about Revenge of The Sith:

    It was actually Monty Pythons John Cleese in the suit at the end doing a Ministry Of Silly Walks move.

    That is a FACT

  • Ben

    Spot on, man. So few people see that this isn’t the story of Luke… or the story of Anakin… it’s the story of Sidious, and his parts in all 6 movies are *fantastic.* Of course, it’s pretty much the only fantastic thing about the prequels.

    My opinion is that Darth Sidious is treated equally well in the prequels as he is in the classics.

    Eloy’s link from the above facebook section is spot on. The whole prequel series is about false flag terrorism. That doesn’t make the prequels enjoyable, or worthy follow-ups to one of the best science fiction trilogies in history, but it does mean that George Lucas was trying to use his billion dollar franchise to say something pretty intelligent.

    Remember that this guy was obsessed with air warfare, dogfights, etc. and I’m sure he’s a World War I&2 history buff.

  • dad

    Not a huge fan of the last three films. What I wanted out of those films I only got in the last 30 minutes or so of the last one and then it all ended. I hope the new films don’t bore us to death with all the political stuff that bogged the movies down.

  • Moebius

    you should try the clone wars now

  • Mavro

    Caught some of it on TV today. Anakin killing kids? No no. I understand Lucas’ intent to mark this as the point of no return, but choose something that doesn’t liken an already unlikeable character to a child murderer/serial killer.

    And then Vader uttering the words: “Where’s Padme?” My roommate and I both looked at each other at the same time and facepalmed.

  • TK

    Yes, Padme has very little to do in this film, but part of that is because her story was cut down for time. She was supposed to be part of the origins of the rebellion.

    I think Sith has a few blips in it, as the whole trilogy does, regarding continuity. Part of this comes from how difficult it must have been to reconcile scattered facts from the original trilogy. People always complain about Phantom Menace starting with Anakin as a kid, but remember in Empire Yoda says Luke is “too old to begin the training” which means they start young. So Lucas wrote himself into a corner there. I do wish Padme hadn’t died right after giving birth because it makes us have to excuse Leia’s line about remembering “images and feelings” of her mother. And I’d rather she had just died from injuries then from a broken heart.

    but the droid memory wipe, though convenient, isn’t too crazy. Remember that’s what almost happened at the start of episode IV when Uncle Owen was gonna have Luke take them to Toshi Station to have their memories wiped.

    • James

      Padme dying from a broken heart (lost the will to live) is the most idiotic thing I’ve seen in any film, and I liked ROTS overall. How could she lose the will to live when she just gave birth to twins who would probably need her? I agree with you that Lucas just wrote himself into a corner.

  • joemama

    Allison, you are now my favorite part of Collider. Keep on keepin’ on.

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