Revenge of the Sith

Just finished watching Revenge of the Sith.

I finally rented it, and yes, it was JUST AS STUPID as I thought it would be. Unbelievable. Is every single character told to “follow your feelings?” Mine change from minute to minute. Following them would be like following a butterfly. Small wonder that Anakin “follows his feelings” to death and destruction, though Lucas tries to soften our revulsion at his slaughter of the innocents by calling children the rather animalistic “younglings.”

Revenge of the Sith is a typical latter-day Star Wars movie: all plot, and as achingly, bottomlessly, awfully empty as the void of space. (Which, come to think of it, is not too dissimilar to the original Star Wars movies. But at least they had an awkward, artless, lovable campiness to them. And they had a real actor in Harrison Ford.)

How on earth could Ewan McGregor and Samuel L. Jackson and Christopher Lee ever have signed on to make this horrible, horrible picture?

I hate to be a pedant, but the space scenes are incredibly mindless. Never mind the noise in a vaccuum – that’s been done to death. How about kilometre-long ships battling it out dozens of metres from each other? (Remember, this is space, which the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has just reminded us, is big. Really big. Mind-bogglingly big.)

Of course, that doesn’t stop Padme and (stowaway) Obi-wan Kenobi from making it thousands of lightyears from the capital planet to where Anakin is exterminating dozens of other luckless sentients (remember, the rebel alliance is hiding out on the fringes of the galaxy, and capitals are usually at least vaguely central) in about the time it takes mere mortals to have a coffee break.

Characterization has never been an Lucas strong point, but he reaches record lows in Revenge of the Sith. 3 minutes of screen time and perhaps 30 minutes real-time after Anakin is protecting Senator Palpatine from incipient death on the basis of the argument “it’s not the Jedi way,” he’s murdering children – Jedi children. Not, in the understatement of the year, believable.

And while movies are not big on simple solutions to simple problems (where, after all, would Dr. Evil be without his “la-ser” equipped sharks to rid himself of troublesome British secret agents) it’s hard to imagine a society that can virtually rebuild a ravaged, chopped, charred human being into a prosthetics-equipped cyborg not being able to offer Padme a simple way to avoid dying in childbirth. After all, we have C-sections today, don’t we? You might think that Anakin, who wants to save her life, might think this is a preferable solution to selling his soul to the devil, killing all his friends, and betraying all he once believed in.

At least, that’s what I would think. Perhaps I’m naive.

Frankly, it’s just too hard to suspend your disbelief at this and other monstrous gaping cracks in the plot – the viewer is jolted out of the world of the movie … forcibly reminded that this could not possible be happening. It’s just too … dumb. And that is the kiss of death for a supposedly immersive work of art.


Well, at least I can say I’ve seen it now.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Just as an aside, regarding your comments to the ‘follow your feelings’ thing. I think that the feelings they are supposed to follow are not the moment to moment ones, but the overriding feelings or morality we all (should) have. My feelings change from moment to moment, but the overriding knowledge/morals/feelings that tell me not to kill the younglings and not to throw my cats out the window keep me relatively true to course. Or something like that.

    Yea, not that great a movie I agree though 🙂 Better than the first 2 IMO.

  • Hmm …. gotta disagree, Alan.

    I think the word you’re looking for is “principles.”

    Feelings are affected by how much gravy you poured on your potatoes last night and whether you’ve had a long hard day at the office where absolutely everything that could possibly go wrong has.

    Principles are things you believe are right or wrong … as unfashionable as those words are to the modern ear.