reviewed by Tom-Tom
How does one even begin to review this movie? It’s like reviewing the ABC’s or the Green Lantern oath or the Konami up up down down etc code. Star Wars is an integral part of our culture, language, idioms, and even philosophy, whatever apocryphal horrors inflicted on the franchise by its very maker, which sounds like an oxymoron and it is. I will endeavor to view it as a first-comer. Who knows what I’ll find.
The film captures you from the beginning with the 20 Century Fox fanfare and then explodes into the inimitable John Williams Star Wars theme from which the cool font heads into the distance and the written prologue scrolls up serial style from bottom to top. This alone convinces the viewer that this film is large scale and not to be taken lightly. This is serious stuff. Or it was until Episode I.
Making a prequel is a hard job not to mention a prequel trilogy. Everyone knows what’s going to happen eventually so the only amount of mystery and suspense that is allowed is figuring out how it all happened. The last film revealed the clones mentioned first by Princess Leia way back (or way forward depending on how you look at things) in Episode IV when she told how General Kenobi helped her father during the Clone Wars. We know now that they were cloned from the very able Jango Fett whose “son” Boba would grow up to cause Han Solo so much trouble. At present, they are invaluable to the Republic as their main source of troops to fight separatists who are led by Count Dooku (Christopher Lee, always fiendishly charming in whatever trilogy he finds himself in) and aided by a General Grievous (methinks George Lucas has run out of interesting names to call characters).
The film has mostly learned from the mistakes of its predecessors, though, and I am loathe to try explaining this to those who always lump it together with the other two. Anakin has matured somewhat and his dialogue with others is almost completely free of the Razzie worthy one liners Episode II was full of. The action sequences are all eye-poppingly gorgeous and exciting from the beginning to the end from the ship to ship battle to the in-base lightsaber battles to the later escapades on the Wookie homeworld Kashykk, the center of the Republic Coruscant, Obi-Wan’s epic battle against the four armed (with a lightsaber in each) Grievous, on Utapau, and the ultimate showdown between Master and Padawan in Mustafar. a lava planet. Along the way, we get glimpses of the Corellian Corvette, proto-type walkers to the AT-ST’s and AT-AT’s, and even mouse droids! There’s so much to see and love that we can forgive the occasional dialogue misstep or that weird facial expression and voice the Chancellor makes when “Sith-ing” out.
The emotional confrontation between Padme and Anakin is heartrending as is the duel between him and Obi-Wan although more action packed. There is a tense moment before all this when Chancellor Palpatine enacts Order 66 which is shocking and dramatic. Many things happen in many different and beautifully rendered worlds on land, near the sea, in the air, and in between. The two juxtaposed scenes in which two kinds of “birth” are being counterpointed are masterpieces of cinematography and drama, their quality not completely counterbalancing all the lack thereof up to this point. Unfortunately, the severity and drama of the situation are upset by an unnatural exclamation which George Lucas apparently liked so much, he put it wily-nily at the end of Episode VI where it never belonged.
That still didn’t ruin this movie for me, the last and best of the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy.