Monday, August 29, 2005

Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith

Let me preface this by saying that I am not really a huge Star Wars fan. Yes, I saw the first Trilogy (oddly called Episodes 4,5, & 6) in the theatres when they came out. In fact, I remember my sister and I begging my dad to let us PUH-LEEEEZE go see Star Wars when it was HELD! OVER! 52 WEEKS! Everyone we knew had seen it, except us. So we finally got to do it. Must have been 1978.

I didn't really like the looks of Episode 1 when it came out a couple years ago. That Darth Maul.... :::shudders::: Ew..... And why would anyone need the backstory anyway? *shrug*

But then I realized I had a son who was more into Star Wars than he was into Lord of the Rings. (How did that happen, you ask? I am in no way responsible. I did everything in my albeit limited powers to influence him the other way.) So, he missed Episodes 1 and 2 in the theatre, due to me, but ended up watching them on DVD. And of course, he loved them. So when Episode 3 came out, he begged and begged.

It's PG-13, I said! It's dark! It's too intense! But, of course, LOTR is all of those things too. And so, I gave my permission for him to see ROTS in the theatre. My sister's husband is a rabid SW fan and I asked him to take David, which he did.

David was enthralled. He even said he nearly cried. I was amazed, but still had no desire to see it myself.

(Gosh, this isn't much of a review, is it? I guess this is episodes 1, 2, and 3 of How and Why Lisa Watched Star Wars. LOL)

Well, after being totally surrounded by light sabers, Star Wars books, drawings of TIE fighters and droids, and constant Star Wars chatter, it all started to sink in. Then David started READING Star Wars novels. Including this one. Matthew Stover's Star Wars Episode 3

Well, being that it isn't a KIDS book, I thought I had better read it too. To make sure it was appropriate and all. Well, it was a GOOD BOOK. Well-written. Interesting story. So, I thought, maybe I should take David to see Ep3 again.

And so, there we were, with friend in tow, buying tickets for a movie I never thought I'd see, at least not on the big screen.

The familiar music started. The words started coming up the screen, just like the original Star Wars movie. V. cool. David was so excited he was bouncing in his seat.

The movie didn't feel as long as it actually was. I was very into the storyline. None of it was new to me since the novel I read was a novelization of the movie. Actually I am glad I read it first, because there was a lot MORE in the novel than there was in the movie. Much more of the internal struggles each character, especially Anakin, faced. More introductory information for nearly every scene. And some scenes that evidently didn't make it into the movie at all.

The plot was tightly written, and it had to be - to end up where it had to go. We all know how it ends - and how Episode 4 begins - but it was interesting to see how the story got there.

The acting was not as highly developed as I would have liked. Hayden Christensen (Anakin) and Natalie Portman (Padme') seemed especially wooden and their dialogue was often corny sounding. But Christensen seems to have mastered the evil smoldering look, and that was enough for most of his scenes. He is also great at the fighting. Portman is good at standing around looking beautiful and innocent, which is mostly enough for Padme'. I found myself longing for an actor, such as Elijah Wood, who knows how to communicate emotion with just a glance. (Well, since I mentioned Elijah, I may as well point out the LOTR connections, eh?)

Christopher Lee (Saruman in LOTR) plays a very springy Count Dooku, who finds a bad end at the hands of Anakin Skywalker. Bruce Spence was the Mouth of Sauron in LOTR: ROTK and plays a character called Tion Medon in ROTS. (He was also the Trainman in the Matrix: Revolutions!) That apparently is the end of the LOTR-ROTS connection. Back to your regularly scheduled SW review.

Beyond those two actors, the acting seemed to improve - Ewan McGregor in particular standing out as extremely convincing. And what giant shoes HE had to fill as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

The fight sequences were exciting - we were all on the edge of our seats. The special effects are hugely improved over the original trilogy, which is to be expected since such great strides have occurred in filmmaking in the last 30 years.

Speaking of that, I was more than a little worried about Yoda. I thought it would be humorous to see his fighting scenes, but they were pretty convincing, as was his CGI self.

The violence I had heard about - the younglings being murdered, the horrible lava river scene, etc... - wasn't as bad as I had imagined it to be. Good thing too, since I had allowed my 10 year old son to see it without me.

I think I am at a bit of a loss, having only seen parts of Episode 1 and none of Episode 2. I know I don't have even a dribble of sympathy for Anakin. C'est la vie. Perhaps after I read those novels, I will understand his motivations, as my friend Jennifer tells me I need to do.

All in all, I am very pleased I went to see this film in the theatre. This one rates a really smiley Legolas!

IMDB Page Review

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