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First off, I will give no spoilers on this page (I'm assuming you've seen the other 5 movies), and only very mild of spoilers behind any cuts. I request that any comments be spoiler-free as well.

In a word, yay! This is by far the best of the prequels (and I really liked Attack of the Clones), and aside from a couple of hiccups it could be the best of the entire saga.

Covering the biggest criticisms first, Lucas can't write dialog for a love scene to save his life. This is unfortunate, but nowhere near as bad as in Attack of the Clones. The acting has improved some also. Hayden Christianson does a better job with angry than with angst, so this movie is better suited for him.

There's one scene- and a climactic one at that- where Palpatine's makeup is so bad that it almost ruins the scene! There was some laughter in the audience. Not a good sign, given the dark nature of what was happening.

Concluding the bad stuff, there are a few plot points that seem somewhat rushed, particularly regarding the fall of Anakin. This is less the case when you realize that the movie takes place over the course of several months, which isn't strongly emphasized. Given that this movie had a lot of ground to bridge to tie the prequels into the original trilogy, they overall did a surprisingly good job. They also fit in tons of little bitty stylistic bridges

Now the fun stuff. Given that everyone knows how this movie ends, they still managed to throw in a few surprises and make you care about what's happening. Just as importantly, Lucas clearly listened to some of the feedback and criticisms of the earlier films, and managed to neatly address several nit-picky gripes, inconsistencies and plot holes in a smooth and sensible manner, making things that seemed incompatible between the two trilogies mesh seamlessly. The last act of the movie in particular is filled with "ah hah!" moments.

This movie is dark. Dark dark dark. A lot of bad things happen to a lot of good people, and some of it is almost painful to watch (as it should be). BTW, gsaberrealisticcombat=1. If you've played Jedi Knight 2 you'll understand what that means. Good job, George.

Hands down, this is R2-D2's best movie. He get a lot of screen time and takes full advantage of it. I was seven years old when the original Star Wars came out, and R2 was my favorite character. I got the same feeling all over again. :-)

Likewise, the relationship between Obi Wan and Anakin is much better-developed, and less adversarial (at least at first, of course). Anakin's character has clearly grown since Episode II, and he's lost a lot of his whininess (thank God!). Obi Wan speaks highly of Anakin in A New Hope, and now that doesn't seem contrived at all.

There's really no need to get into the special effects much. The bar has been raised to the point that everyone expects them to be breathtaking. They are. `Nuff said. Likewise, all of the lightsaber duels and other action scenes are top-notch.

Samuel L Jackson requested that Lucas make Mace Windu's death appropriately bad ass for a warrior of his stature. He got his wish.

Obi Wan also proves that he's a bad ass.

But not as much as Yoda, who continues to prove his Master Ass-Whupper status. For a little green CGI muppet, he exhibits surprising screen presence! :-)

On the other end of the spectrum, yes, Jar Jar Binks is in this one. However, his screen time is very minimal, and - here's the best part - he doesn't say a word!!! YAY!!!

The Darth Vader we grew up with, with the black armor and the heavy breathing, really only has one significant scene. :-(

You learn a couple of interesting things about the psychology of clone troopers. I'll leave it at that.

A couple of cultural observations about the Star Wars universe:
1) It seems that there is a social convention against asking any kind of probing questions regarding pregnancy.

2) Astromech droids are always at the bottom of the target priority list.

So the executive summary is that the movie isn't perfect, but it's the best of the prequels and does a surprisingly good job of tying the series together. Oh the whole I like it better than any of the other movies in the saga, despite a couple of weak points.

By the way, I'd like to get some thoughts regarding a theory Kim has. This actually has little to do with Episode III. We were just speculating in the car.

The theory is this: In Attack of the Clones, Padme is originally seemed rather put off by Anakin. He really wants her, however, and for seemingly unknown reasons she quickly falls for him. Given that he's the Chosen One, strong with the Force, yadda yadda yadda, could it be that he willed her into loving him? Just a thought.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2005 03:43 am (UTC)
I would agree with all your points. My only major problem other than Haydens lack of acting ability is the way Obi Wan "ended" his relationship with Anakin.
May. 20th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
He really wants her, however, and for seemingly unknown reasons she quickly falls for him.

Kim may be on to something... but she may also be giving Lucas more credit than he's due. Could the total shift just be lack of romantic creativity on Lucas's part? Afterall, he's really not known for his love story plot lines and dialouge. He just knew he had to get Anakin and Padme to conceive Luke and Leia.
May. 20th, 2005 07:03 am (UTC)
As long as you remove dialog, performance, and direction from your judging criteria, you may just be right about it being the best in the saga. Effects, action sequences, cinematography, sound, score, even story (which is DIFFERENT than screenplay) were all fantastic. The only time the movie paled next to the original trilogy was when anyone opened their mouth to deliver a line. Still, even considering that, it was definitely the best of the prequel trilogy.
May. 20th, 2005 07:21 am (UTC)
*** Mild spoiler alert. Read after seeing the film. ***

Up front, let me say I knew a majority of the plot from reading the book, graphic novel, and some spoiler forums. Despite that, I really liked this movie even after seeing it only once so far. It was the strongest of the prequels, but not as strong as Empire. Hayden's acting was overall much improved, though I agree he and Natalie have serious problems doing a love scene together. Ian's performance was wonderful, despite some makeup/prosthetic issues which were quickly hidden under a familiar black cowl. His best line was calling Yoda "my little green friend". The clonetroopers should all seek professional counseling after this film. It was very difficult to watch so many Jedi die, but Mace's death was the most difficult to see. Even though his character is not well developed in the films, his presence just screams "bad MF". Lucas seemed to want Mace's death to be a turning point of the film, and he did it well.

The lightsaber duels were great, though they seemed almost too fast-paced. It was difficult to keep track of the action at time. Of particular annoyance was Grievous' twirling two sabers while attacking with two others. Thankfully, this seizure-inducing display lasts less than a minute. Speaking of the good General, why is he so bad-ass in the Clone Wars micro-series but so pathetic in the film? He's a cyborg for crying out loud, he souldn't have a freakin' cough or walk hunched over! Imagine a T-800 using a walking stick instead of a plasma rifle; that seems to be Lucas' vision of cyborgs.

Vader. What can I say but wow! Watching Anakin/Vader deal with the Seperatist leadership was nice, especially Nute Gunray. The duel on Mustafar was fantastic, and the imagry was well done with Obi-Wan in white and Anakin in black. Their dialog was well thought out and you could almost feel the rift in their relationship growing with each passing moment. Watching Anakin being transformed into his OT self was a momentus event. I was in awe of his first breath, and hearing James Earl Jones reprise "the voice" was great.

I definitely have to see it again (and again...) because I know I missed things. There was at least one YT-1300 freighter (Millennium Falcon) in the film, perhaps more; AOTC had three. I saw no reference to 1138 at all so I know I missed that. Overall this was a good movie and will make a welcome addition to my DVD collection in November.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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