May 20, 2005
Revenge of the Sith---the LLama Review
I went to the 10:15 showing last night, and the theater was half full with mostly college kids doing the post-exam drinking in public thing. No costumes, and surprisingly no cell phones ringing.
What to say about the movie?
To call the acting wooden is an insult to the memory of Charlie McCarthy. Let's just say I've seen cans of Dinty Moore stew with greater depth than Hayden Christensen. Mr. Bill was able to emote better. Padame? She basically spends the first two acts biting her finger nails and pouting from her balcony.
During the pivotal dramatic love scene of Act 2, I kept looking at Anakin and hearing him whine, "Padme, I think Chuck hates me....why does Chuck hate me? I think he wants to kill me, Padme..."
The first two acts are horrible: the Jedi synthesis of cold logic and hot passion, ie tepid water. Everything hateful about Episodes I & II are on full display--the whiny petulant Anakin, the lack of fershizzle to Padme, the CGI overkill, the presence of Jar-Jar Binks and Count Dooku.
The greatest failure is the writing out of Han Solo. Every other character that has any impact on the middle trilogy makes an appearance or is set up with a backstory---except Han Solo. Solo is what makes the first movie work: the disrespect for all the Force mumbo jumbo, the insouciance, the swagger--let's face it, Han Solo is fun. It's the element that the starting trilogy completely lacks--a sense of fun. It would be like the Harry Potter stories without the Weasleys, and it makes the betrayal by Anakin that much less believable.
The whole seduction of Anakin never really clicks. Othelo needs Iago, Macbeth the witches and his wife: Anakin has Palapatine, yet the tension never really is there.
The movie just doesn't work at the end of Act Two, when Anakin becomes Darth Vader.
It comes together in Act Three, when Darth Vader goes and kills the children at the Jedi Temple. This is the Vader we know, this is where the seduction and trickery of evil becomes clear, when the full price is clear of the sale of his soul. To kill the children--starting with a Jedi youngling who likes a lot like the annoying moppet Anakin of Episode I--is when Vader is really born.
The last Act delivers it all: all the good guys die, save Obi-Wan and Yoda. The juxtaposition of the birth of the twins and the birth of Vader. The movie is worth all the hype and all the crap of the first 2 2/3rds episodes simply for the scene of Obi-Wan, leaving the desiccated Vader at the edge of the river of lava, and picks up Anakin's light saber, followed shortly by the hooded Obi-Wan delivering the baby Luke into the hands of Aunt Beru and she turns to Uncle Owen, who is standing in the same position as Luke, looking out at the Tatooine moons in Episode IV.
The mythical line is complete: the wizard/priest delivers the boy-king wrapped in swaddling clothes to the kindly shepherd, and will wait patiently to deliver the sword of fire.Posted by Steve at May 20, 2005 12:30 PM