Episode 3 Review

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Well, last night I saw Star Wars Episode 3. I got a grand total of two and a half hours sleep, so this review is going to be a bit simple since I haven't had my coffee yet. I will also have spoilers, but I'll give a warning before I do.

First - my general, non-spoiler impressions. This was a wonderful film. Right now it stand as my third-favorite SW film, after Empire and A New Hope. The action sequences were - as always - quite cool - but even more so in this film. If you thought Empire Strikes Back was a bit of a downer, though, you ain't seen nothing yet. This film makes ESB look like a Telly Tubby show.

In summary - I thought the first two films were ok, but I never felt they "fit" very well into the overall SW story. This one seems to fit perfectly. It is what I would have imagined the prequel to A New Hope would have been.

And now for the spoilers. Let me be clear: SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!

The following are random notes/feelings/comments in no particular order.

The beginning space battle was amazing - and is my favorite opener to any SW film yet.

Grevious was not what I expected - he was better. Thank God Lucas let him talk a bit more than Darth Maul.

If you hate Jar Jar - don't worry. I think he has a grand total of two scenes, and I don't remember him talking at all.

Once again - whenever Anakin and Padme would talk of their love for each other - I wanted to throw up. For the entire trilogy, this was the most unconvincing part for me. I don't think Lucas knows how to write those kind of scenes - or maybe the actors simply can't do their job.

However - the scene where Anakin makes his choice to go the Dark Side - the one where he is alone I mean - that was very well done, and was of the most powerful parts of the film. It was very understated but so well done.

The massacre of the Jedi was.... beyond words. As I said above - this film is somewhat of a downer, and this is one of the most depressing parts of it. Lucas pulls this off well I think - but it definitely leaves you feeling quite sad.

Which brings me to the "younglings." In episode 2, we know that Anakin kills a village of sand people, including the women and children. In episode 3, we know he kills all the Jedi children. Maybe I'm too sensitive as a parent, but I really didn't think this was necessary. It could have been removed from the film and none of the darkness would have been gone. Yes, we know Vader is evil - but this scene was just unnecessary.

Darth.... well.... I'm conflicted. On one hand - it was cool seeing his creation. On the other hand - dang was he short. I guess this is fair - Vader, in this film, is still somewhat young. He will grow into the towering menace we see in A New Hope, but still, it was wierd seeing him so small.

The final battle between Obi and Ani.... dead on perfect. The best saber fight in all 6 movies.

So here is a question. At the end of the movie we see the Death Star being worked on. We know they don't finish for 18 or so years, when Luke is a young man. Yet the second Death Star is done (or operational at least) in Jedi - which I'm guessing is 5 or so years later. Is this just an example of the Empire learning from the first construction? Or am I being too geeky? I also seem to remember that one of the books, or comics, mentioned that the Empire built a proto-type Death Star first. Could that have been it?

Oh - one last note. The movie gets a +1 for mentioning adoption. I know - I'm probably the only one that cares - but hey - it's something to mention to my kids.

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Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Critter posted on 5/19/2005 at 5:43 PM

I was quite pleased with the movie. I agree with you on the younglings.. it took me a moment to figure out what was happening when they came out of hiding.. it /really/ could have been left out.

The musical score that went along with the massacre fit perfectly as well.. it seemed to slow down time as it went....

Comment 2 by Ian Winter posted on 5/19/2005 at 6:25 PM

I saw it this morning and at first wasn't sure, but, on reflection think it was a good movie. There are still a few questions though on how things happen between III & IV, which, may be in the books. Overall I think i'll go with a 7.5/10

Comment 3 by tcs posted on 5/19/2005 at 6:42 PM

I like spoilers. Long time fans already know most of whats going to happen anyway, although I'd forgot about Vader killing the kids. Thanks for reminding me of that, I was pretty sure it would be too dark for my ambitious 8 year old. Some of us do indeed care about adoption too! :)

Comment 4 by ksuh posted on 5/19/2005 at 8:26 PM

"Yet the second Death Star is done (or operational at least) in Jedi - which I'm guessing is 5 or so years later."

I suppose that both Death Stars were being worked on at the same time.

Comment 5 by ben[daemon] posted on 5/19/2005 at 9:15 PM

Just a few additional thoughts regarding the Death Star:

* Prioritised features
The Death Star was complete in New Hope. Jedi's was still under construction (albeit operational.) 5 years might have got the weapon systems online at the expense of the plumbing.

* Project experience
This first Death Star seems to have a different skeleton to its replacement. Perhaps construction experience and technology advancement reduced the build time.

* Less feature-creep
Vader is sent to "project manage" the new Death Star construction. Sounds like they had quite a crew working there, maybe even temps to get the project over the line.

Comment 6 by Adrian J. Moreno posted on 5/19/2005 at 9:37 PM

Having read almost all of the Star Wars "Extended Universe" books, yes there is a prototype Death Star. Remember when Han said he ran the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs? The Kessel Run is a smuggler's path through an area of space laden with black holes. The prototype Death Star is hidden somewhere in this area IIRC.

The 2nd "production" Death Star has to have been under construction after "A New Hope". It was larger than the original and they had removed the "little flaw" that caused the first one's demise.

re: temps - "any contractor working on the Death Star knew the risks. If they were killed, it was their own fault." :P http://www.whysanity.net/mo...

Comment 7 by rd posted on 5/19/2005 at 10:59 PM

Oh i wish they would have spent more time on the last 15 mins of the movie, thats where all the really good stuff started happening. But all in all it was a great movie.

Comment 8 by Steve Church posted on 5/20/2005 at 2:21 AM

I loved this movie minus 1 scene. The "WHY!!!!" scene where Darth Sidious tells Vader that he killed Padme. Something about that scene didn't seem right to me. I thought it was a little cheesy for sure...but that wasn't it...something else I can't put my finger on.

Anyways...although I definately agree that the younglings scene was rough, but I really think that is were you really understand what he is capable of. I can't speak for all of you, but my stomach twisted when his saber lit up. Maybe that's just me having such a close relationship with my daughter (15 mths) but although we could have lived without it...it was a powerfull scene, and I'm sure will be the most talked about scene besides the Ani/Obi dual.

Overall...I'm saying 8.5/10.

Comment 9 by Critter posted on 5/20/2005 at 3:41 AM

no.. i agree with the cheesiness of that one scene.. the yell was just weird..

btw ray... what are your thoughts on your kids seeing it?

Comment 10 by Jason Sheedy posted on 5/20/2005 at 9:16 AM

I loved the movie. The only spoiler for me was Ani's acting, although it was slightly improved from Attack of the Clones, I still wanted to barf everytime he opened his mouth.. Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones seemed to be really targeted towards kids, but this one was a definate no no for the youngens.
- Jason

Comment 11 by Raymond Camden posted on 5/20/2005 at 4:22 PM

critter:
I think the most intense things - the massacre of the Jedi - the turn to the dark side - are a bit too subtle for my son. So I will take him. I'm going to cover his eyes when... well, I don't want to say - there is a death in the beginning - a death you just _know_ is going to happen - so I'll cover his eyes for that. For the "younglings" scene - I probably will as well, but I don't think he will get it.

After 24 hours or so - my appreciation of this film is growing. I'm looking forward to seeing it again.

Comment 12 by Kola posted on 5/20/2005 at 4:25 PM

Well I was dissapointed - rather than tie up loose strings I think he tied things up in knots! He is guilty of poor attention to detail:

If a lightsaber can cut off limbs and bodies in half then why did Obi one turn into a ghost when he was killed.

Why are the Jedi so easy to kill? If yoda can sense danger from behind why can't the other Jedi?

Why doesnt Darth vader ever recognise the droids?

Why does R2-D2 never rember anyone else (I know C3PO gets his memory wiped)

Darth vader almost crying??? Pathetic reminds me of a scene out of Toy story 2

General grevious: Good character but doesn't really bring anything to the story (nor does the inclusion of Chewbacca) and he has 4 Lighsabres, 4!!! yet he was so easy to beat?

At the end of a new hope R2D2 is hauled out of an Xwing yet in this film he can jump out as he feels???

Why do the Clone troopers always take off their helments - not a single storm trooper has ever been seen without a helment!

Why can Vader sense Luke is his son but not Liea is his daughter?

Final fight scene was a blur of CGi so the swordmanship isn't really that easy to make out.

Empire is still the best!
Han shot first!
Darth Maul vs Liam Nielson and Ewan McGregor best swordmansip in all 6 films (watch them in slow-mo to see what I mean ;-))
Best acting in Episode III? Yoda!

Nuff said :)

Comment 13 by Brad posted on 5/21/2005 at 1:32 AM

I really like this movie. I'd say that it comes in third overall (maybe even a tie for second). Here are my thoughts:

(1) The acting was bad. The best actor in the movie was Yoda. Now this may not be the actors fault...it could be from bad direction.

(2) The dialogue was poor. It was much better than Ep. 1 and 2, but doesn't compare to the banter in Ep. 4. I can't believe Lucas wrote American Graffiti and then wrote the dialogue for this.

(3) The story was great. This goes to show that a great story can overcome bad acting. I think it brought everything together. I wish they would have turned the last 15 minutes into an hour. The ending was pushed to wrap everything up. We need and episode 3 1/2.

(4) The CGI was great, but I have mixed feelings about it. This movie has some of the most realistic CGI I've ever seen. However, it was overdone. The opening fight scene was amazing, but there was so much going on that it was almost overwhelming. I thought the ships looked good, but I thought the CGI C3PO and the CGI babies looked pretty crappy.

I really wish the CGI was used to enhance events instead of becoming the focus. I still think Close Encounters has the best special effects ever made and I would like to see a return to those days. It was cool that the interior ship sets used at the end of the movie were exactly the same ones used in Ep. 4.

(5) Vader - really cool how he became to be. As Steve Church said in his post, the scene where Vader finds out that Padme is dead was just WRONG. I think everyone sees Vader as cool and calculating. A machine with no feelings. Basically Vader was crying...it's sort of the same feeling if I saw Clint Eastwood cry in one of his old Westerns. Also, when Vader broke loose it looked just like a poor reenactment of Frankenstein.

(6) Vader kills the kids - I think they should have just left it with him walking in the room with a lightsaber. The scene where they find the bodies was a little much. However, I think it was mainly a used so that Padme would believe that Ani had really lost it.

(7) Grevius was pretty cool. Although when he pulled out 4 lightsabers, I was waiting for Harrison Ford to walk up with a blaster and kill him a la Indiana Jones (that would have been too funny).

I know there are a lot of things to be critical about, but I really think this movie was an 8.5 out of 10. I'm going to see it again, just to catch a lot of things I'm sure I missed.

--Brad

Comment 14 by matt posted on 5/21/2005 at 2:45 AM

I liked it, but it felt rushed when Anakin turned to the Dark Side. One moment he was turning in Sidius, the next moment he's slaughtering children. Feh. I would have preferred a bit more meat to the transition.

Also, I was disappointed with Anakin's participation in the slaughter of the Jedi. When I saw the original movies, you hear about how Vader hunted down and killed all the Jedi. It turns out he just kills the younglings, while the clones somehow get to ambush everyone else. It would have been nice to see him saber duel at least one.

Comment 15 by Kola posted on 5/21/2005 at 12:15 PM

Matt I agree - I think that everyone was actually expecting to see Vader hunt the Jedi down one by one but I think I read in Empire that Lucas said "thats not the story he wants to tell" :(. I'm watching it again today so maybe I might see it in a more favourable light ;-)

Comment 16 by Rick posted on 5/24/2005 at 5:18 PM

Ray,

Personally, I thought the most powerful part of the movie was Ewan McGregor's lines after Obi Wan defeated Anakin - when he shouts "You were like a brother me to me Anakin! I loved you!". I really felt his pain and emotion there.

As for the slaughtering of the younglings, I'm a father too, and it really made me sick to my stomach to see him walk in that room with the younglings looking to him for advice.

However, I'm glad they left it in. That sick feeling did add to the darkness.

I'm with you all the way about the romantic banter. Bad.

Comment 17 by Jeff Wilkinson posted on 5/26/2005 at 11:57 PM

glad to have the warning about the younglings slaughter scene... definitely puts a hold on my kids seeing this...

just for a laugh on the SW topic, have you all seen this yet? pretty funny.

The Darth Side: Memoirs of a Monster:
"Journal of Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith and Servant to His Supreme Excellency the Emperor Palpatine" (Darth Vader's blog)

http://darthside.blogspot.com/

Comment 18 by Raymond Camden posted on 5/27/2005 at 1:56 AM

Oh yeah - I blogged about it too I think. Thought it was hilarious - but haven't read it recently.

Comment 19 by Marlon posted on 5/27/2005 at 7:11 PM

I still think the lightsaber battle in ROTJ was the best of the whole trilogy. With the new lightsaber battles, I feel like I'm watching a version of the matrix. The older ones had more of a real 'swashbuckling' feel about them. Everytime I watch ROTJ and the scene comes on where Darth and Luke are fighting on the walkway and you see them from the sides and you hear the choral music getting louder, it sends chills down my back :)

All in all, I really did like this movie. Kola, I think they answered the question about Obi's battle with Darth pretty good. Near the end, Yoda tells Obi about how Qui-gon has been able to cross back over after death. Yoda tells Obi to start studying this further, so I'm convinced that Obi finds a way to to make the trip himself to where he instantly becomes part of the force.