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Kill ’Em All and Let the Force Sort ’Em Out

The Sith Hits the Fans in the Worst Bummer Episode of the Star Wars Series Ever

A BUN IN THE OVEN: Natalie Portman offers new evidence that hairstyles are hereditary as Padmé, Princess Leia’s mom, in Star Wars: Episode III—Revenge Of The Sith.

Star Wars: Episode III--Revenge of the Sith

Director:George Lucas
Cast:Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits, Frank Oz, Anthony Daniels, Christopher Lee
Release Date:2005
Genre:Action, Science fiction, Adventure, Epic

Opens May 19

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 5/18/2005

Hey, it’s the Revenge of The Sixth. Episode, that is. Screw that episode iii jazz they flash up on the screen when they crank up the supposedly final link extruded from director George Lucas’ big Star Wars sausage-link money and fun machine, the sixth Star Wars flick, the third in the prequel series if you will, which shows all the backstory stuff that happened before the original Star Wars movie and tries to explain just how it is everybody’s favorite bad guy, Darth Vader, came to be such an angry Space Hitler.

But there is no try, there is only failure. Swathed in a skin of mind-boggling special-effects segments, Episode III gives you more of what you’re funkin’ for if you dig on the digital wizardry and action sequences, and much less than meets the eye if you thought you were gonna get served a convincing, compelling answer to why that nice Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker ends up being the guy running around in a black robe and alla time choking people out telekinetically when they piss him off.

Hayden Christensen plays Anakin, who is on an emotional and mental downward spiral as a young man who lost his mother violently and did Bad Things as a result and who now is becoming increasingly obsessed with protecting his new wife, Padmé (Natalie Portman), from danger. But other than furrow his brow deeper in successive scenes, he really doesn’t bring much to the screen outside of acting like a surly teenager, especially when working against more accomplished actors such as Portman, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even the fuckin’ Yoda puppet-CGI-whatever for that matter, who struggle valiantly with the klunky expository dialogue they have to puke up so we can be spoon-fed explanations about all the political machinations and motivations that brought us to this Episode, where there’s a big war going on with clones and androids and Jedi dudes and dudettes and these anti-Jedi types called the Sith who dig on the Dark Side of the you-know-what, and there’s all kinds of wacky hardware and fantastical characters that will make great toys.

Ooh, and politics. Yeah, politics appear in Star Wars now instead of Zen pronouncements. Stuff about Democracy no longer existing and the Republic becoming the very evil We the People have been fighting to destroy. It’s a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away and they’re using the word “Democracy.” Yeah, Lucas lays it on with a trowel in case you don’t Get It while you’re maybe losing count of how many android and humanoid heads get separated from their fundaments, along with arms, legs, hands—jeez, we got a new college drinking game here, for real. Not that movie violence is a Bad Thing, but you might just wanna think hard about the advertised PG-13 rating and Trust Your Feelings before you bring little ones to this, seriously.

But whatever, hey, c’mon, Darth Vader’s a Bad Man, and that’s all that really matters, and yay, we got a shiny new pile of Star Wars, and it’s better than the last two, which sucked, so that’s not saying much. It’s dark and depressing, but you’re supposed to remember the “sequel” already got made in 1977, so go watch that right after this one in case you get bummed out. There’s some great digital scenery chewing by Ian McDiarmid as the sinister Darth Sidious with a fun English accent, and there’s more hum-swoosh-crackle lightsaber fights than you can shake, um, a lightsaber at, and there’s a mind-boggling spaceship battle and lotsa action and a weird-ass robot with emphysema or something—really, this one character, General Grievous (yeah, Lucas has really got a way with the names), has some kinda lung disorder, but he’s, like, a robot. Anyway, you’re gonna see just why it is exactly that Darth Vader wears that crazy getup (and it ain’t pretty), scores of men, women, and children are murdered (yeah, children get murdered—guess who?). This episode is a tragedy. Enjoy.

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