Directed by George
Lucas (2005, 20th Century Fox)
Starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, and
As the end of the Clone Wars nears, a young Jedi is seduced to evil
and democracy becomes an Empire.
August 7th, 2014 on blu-ray for the
My favorite part of this movie, I
think, is the opening scene, where we start out in a seemingly calm
environment, only to emerge into a full-blown battle once the cruiser
stops blocking our view. The acting is better in this one than the other
prequels, but probably only because the actors have finally found their
place in this universe. But I still find Anakin to be too whiny, and
Mace too moody, maybe more to do with the dialog they're given, but
maybe not. I still can't figure out why Yoda would give up, when the
Emperor was left hanging from a Senate box, but maybe he doesn't get to
fight much anymore, and he realized he was out of his depth. Aside from
the opening scene, the visuals and music were amazing, also.
March 31st, 2014 on blu-ray for the
Still a lot of fun, but as I noted
below, the full enjoyment depends on a few factors that might depend on
my mood as I watched the movie.
August 10th, 2012 on
blu-ray for the 7th time
There is so much to like in this
movie -awesome once again.
January 3rd, 2012 on
blu-ray for the 6th time
Once again, I think this was a
great movie, and I think the final rating depends unconditionally on how
believable Anakin's turn to the Dark Side was. I wish Yoda hadn't given
up so easily, though he was understandably beaten. It's too bad they
couldn't organize a group of Jedi to form a resistance. The novels are
so unsatisfying in that respect. Still, I love the music, and the
lightsaber battle, and the opening space battle. They make the whole
July 9th, 2009 on DVD
for the 5th time
Truly a great Star Wars movie. The
special effects were truly spectacular. I especially loved, this time
around, the opening space battle and the lightsaber fight at the end. I
get more out of this movie every time I see it.
June 2nd, 2007 on DVD
for the 4th time
I remembered this film fondly, and
it was better than I expected. There were a lot of subtle clues to the
future scattered throughout. I thought Anakin's turn to the Dark Side
went better this time. I suppose because I was expecting it more. But
Sidious plays him so well, skimming his thoughts so he knows about the
things Anakin won't tell anybody. He probably also has Padmé's apartment
bugged, knowing how close the two are. He sowed the thought that the
Jedi were staging an uprising, so Anakin had no choice but to confront
Windu, not expecting the Jedi leader to be killed. It was also a mirror
image of the opening confrontation with Dooku. Anakin didn't think he
should kill the Separatist leader, but did it anyway, possibly even
taking a Force-nudge from Palpatine. When Windu argued the same way
against Palpatine, that he was too dangerous to keep alive, Anakin
couldn't make the same judgment twice.
But Anakin's acceptance that every Jedi, even the younglings, were in
on the plot to take over the Senate, is a very large leap of
imagination, and is hard to accept. The Dark Side has certainly twisted
his mind if he can convince himself of that.
The dialog in this movie was much better than in the
and the action scenes, especially the opening space battle, were
outstanding. A truly enjoyable Star Wars movie.
November 5th, 2005 on
DVD for the 3rd time
Unfortunately, this movie didn't
translate so well to the small screen. I found the action just as good
as in any of the Star Wars movies, but the grand visuals just didn't
make it so well.
It seems to me that the Jedi really deserved what they got. They
were a very judgmental, arrogant and condescending group of people. Mace Windu was the worst of the lot. He obviously didn't like Anakin, but
that's no reason to treat him like dirt. Why should the Jedi take
control of the Senate if Palpatine was arrested? That makes no sense.
Try taking a group of senators like Padmé, Mon Mothma and Bail Organa
instead. Restore democracy. Even Obi-Wan didn't voice his fears about
Palpatine enough to Anakin. I would have liked to see him and Anakin
have a real discussion about the issue.
Yoda walks into Palpatine's office completely unprepared for a
confrontation. He knows that the Emperor is a Sith, and probably the
Master to the one who defeated Qui-Gon Jinn. He also managed to deflect
the Force lightning from Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones. So why was
he caught off guard and knocked nearly unconscious by Darth Sidious'
actions? It is very disappointing.
What I would have liked to see in that confrontation was a good fight
between Palpatine and Yoda. Palpatine thinks that the Dark Side can help
him to easily defeat Yoda- he has no doubt about his victory. But Yoda
is actually stronger. If Yoda had not made some very stupid mistakes,
then he would have won the confrontation easily (well, not easily, but
he would have won, anyway). Sidious' expression of surprise when Yoda
returned a Senate box to him with the Force tells a lot. He didn't
expect any resistance. Yoda, in the prequels, is just as arrogant as the
rest of the Jedi, however. I suppose he had lots of time to think about
it on Dagobah, but when I think about it, he is not much more humble, and still
quite arrogant to Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.
Speaking of Yoda, I watched the rap Easter Egg, which was cool, but
would have been funnier if he hadn't tried to sing. I liked his
The next time I watch the movie, I will try to express some more of
the aspects that I liked, rather than complaints.
June 16th, 2005 in the
Theatre for the 2nd time
I don't usually see a movie twice
in three weeks, but made an exception this time. As a result, the movie
didn't gain or lose anything. I was still thinking it over from the
This review, however, will contain major spoilers.
I have no desire to discuss everything that happened in the movie.
That will undoubtedly come with time as I watch and re-watch it in the
years to come. I still think that Anakin's fall to the Dark Side of the
Force happened too quickly. But it felt a little more believable, given
that I knew it was coming. Mace gave him no choice, I see, but to choose
The opening battle was one of the most spectacular things about this
movie. I loved the way the movie opened, making us think that these are
two craft just on patrol. Then, everything breaks loose! When I saw
Trek: Nemesis, I noted that nobody would have believed all the black
dust of destruction if we had not witnessed the World Trade Center
collapse repeated so many times. Reality shapes art. In this case, the
falling ship burning up in the atmosphere reminded me a lot of the space
shuttle Columbia's disintegration. The actual crash-landing looked like
it occurred over too short a range, though. At that speed, with that mass, I
thought the ship should have skidded more like Enterprise-D did in
Trek Generations. Still, I enjoyed Lucas' directing choices, especially
when a tower collapsed, and we stop following the ship to watch it
collapse, then return to our focus.
Listening to Palpatine speak in the opera house, I tried to pay more
attention to his story, to get more details. There is no doubt in my
mind that he and his former master are the Sith he is talking about. He
undoubtedly killed his master, as Maul and Dooku would have done given
enough time. (Vader also killed his master, but not because he was a
Sith -because he suddenly became an enemy to the Sith.) It also occurred
to me that Palpatine implies that his master had created Anakin! If he
could influence the midi-chlorians to create life, maybe he tried to
bring about the prophecy that the Jedi cling to, and bring balance to
the Force from his perspective. After all, the Light Side of the Force
had more influence at this time. Balance means bringing the Sith to
power. The Jedi never gave any indication as to what they thought
"balance" meant. If Sidious' master created Anakin, then Luke is
probably the one the prophecy spoke about. Of course, he doesn't really
bring balance until the end of the New Jedi Order.
It also appears that Palpatine knew about Qui-Gon's survival in the
realm of the Force. "Only one has defeated death" says that he knows it
can be done, but doesn't know how. In A New Hope, I believe that Vader
was surprised as Obi-Wan disappeared, and started searching for the
living Force connection himself at that time. He was successful by the end of
of the Jedi, though it appears that he kept the information from
I mentioned below that there appears to be an inconsistency with
Return of the Jedi. I laughed at how quickly Padmé gives names to her
children. We are led to believe that she died very soon after birth. I
suppose Leia's Force-connection allowed her to remember "images", even
though Luke didn't. But the dialog implies that Leia got to know her
mother at least for a couple of years. Of course, we are always looking
at these things "from a certain point of view".
There is also the question of the Death Star. The movie Contact
implies that governments will always build two of the most expensive
things instead of just one, so I suppose there could have been two Death Stars under
construction, or started only a couple of years apart. Otherwise, it
took twenty years to get the first one working, only only a few short
years for the second.
The only really unconvincing moment in the movie, aside from my
inconclusive remarks about Anakin's fall to the Dark Side, comes when
Obi-Wan allows Anakin to live long enough to burn up. If he was so close
to Anakin, how could he let the young man burn to death in such agony?
In character, I think Obi-Wan would have had to put his sword through
Anakin's vitals to put him out of his misery. It doesn't seem natural,
even if we suppose that Obi-Wan couldn't bear to kill his friend -he
did, in fact, give the mortal blow (if, in fact, Anakin had died, that
Aside from the questions that this movie raises, which will
undoubtedly be explored in the expanded universe of novels and comics, I
liked all the action, and the lightsaber fights -and there were a lot of
those! Palpatine's fight with Yoda was properly over-the-top, as he
started throwing senate boxes around! I wonder how they cleaned it up so
quickly, though, for the next scene.
And the action is what we go to see a Star Wars movie for. This was
definitely the best of the prequels, though the original trilogy will
always be better to me. In those three movies, we were not overwhelmed
by effects, and we had great character moments. This was pure whirlwind.
May 29th, 2005 in the Theatre
I've said this about all of my
favorite movies, and especially the Star Wars movies: there was just way
too much to get a grip on in one viewing. When asked about my opinion, I
just can't give a proper one, because so much happened, both good and
bad (in terms of a movie, not necessarily plot).
I decided to give the movie the benefit of the doubt with my rating.
It certainly was good, and is without a doubt the best of the prequels.
And yet, everything went about as expected, with very little in the way
of surprises, like for example, the side of the war the Clones were on
in Attack of the Clones.
I will try to keep this review free of spoilers, at least for the
first time. However, because of the very nature of the movie, being a
middle to which we know the end, there are some things that I do not
consider to be spoilers, and I will discuss them below.
Without giving away spoilers, there is very little specific to say. We know
how the movie has to end: Anakin turns into Darth Vader, Luke and Leia
are born, the Emperor takes control of the Republic, and all the Jedi
have to die, except for Obi-Wan and Yoda. We know this going into the
very first Star Wars: A New Hope. The important role of the movie is to
tell us how these things happen.
To the first point, I have to say that I wasn't convinced. Anakin accepted
the role of Sith Lord too easily. He accepted Palpatine's proposal, but
that didn't mean he had to embrace the deaths of everything he held
dear. Would the younglings be in on the "plot"? Would every single Jedi?
It seems unlikely. Surely Anakin could have tried to mold the others to
his new lifestyle? Also, because we know now who Anakin is, I think it
takes away from the very powerful line in
The Empire Strikes Back, where Vader
reveals his identity. It also adds a little bit of something different.
The second point comes in the form of Padmé's pregnancy. As a result,
Natalie Portman doesn't get to do much of anything in this movie. She
stands around and has good facial expressions, but doesn't even get much
talk in as a senator. The timing also seems very strange. Padmé says
that the Queen surely wouldn't let her continue as senator when she
finds out about her "condition" -which implies that most people don't
know. Yet she is visibly pregnant through most of the movie, and gives
birth at the end. I can't see the events of this movie as taking so many
months, however -weeks at most.
On the third point, Palpatine's manipulation makes a lot more sense
in this movie than the other two. It didn't require a huge combination
of favorable circumstances like Obi-Wan tracing an unknown dart from a
bounty hunter who hired an assassin who wasn't supposed to be caught...
The glee on the Emperor's face when he assumes power is actually quite
funny. He is in his element, and knows it. His glee continues into a
couple of lightsaber fights, too!
Finally, regarding the fourth point, we get some cool scenes. I suppose having
ordered the clone army in the first place, Palpatine had some hidden
commands embedded within them. I was disappointed to see Aayla Secura go
down without sensing anything at all. She was such an amazing Jedi in
the comics, especially Rite of
Passage. It's nice to see Lucas acknowledge the expanded universe
stories- even Quinlan Vos was mentioned at the beginning. Only Yoda sensed the betrayal, but I wonder if that was due
to the pain he felt for the others before his turn came. I loved the
looks on the Wookie's faces as they took in the scene: Oh, well, we
don't ask questions!
The main characters, although they mostly take a backseat to the
action sequences, are very well drawn. By main characters, I mean,
Anakin, Obi-Wan and Palpatine, in that order. Hayden Christensen is
terrific as Anakin, except in a few small scenes. He doesn't seem to do
grumpy very well here, but he knows what he should be doing, and even
though he is reluctant, he does it. But he seems to be quite handsome,
and his footwork and lightsaber technique were awesome. I suppose that
his lack of practice by the time of A New Hope
(with no Jedi to battle) would "explain" why his technique looks
so bad comparatively speaking!
Ewan McGregor once again becomes Obi-Wan, the only character who I
can see as a growing from young man to old man through the six movies.
The actor did an amazing job, once again, of becoming Alec Guiness. He
also has terrific lightsaber technique, whether it's battling battle
droids, the new villain General Greivous, or his old Padawan, Anakin.
The Emperor gets to shine now. He gets so many action sequences,
against more than one Jedi. When his plans finally come to fruition, he
no longer has to hide. In a scene we've probably all waited for, he and
Yoda battle, and the look on his face is priceless!
Compared to the previous two prequels, the dialog in this movie was
much better. In fact, a lot of it was recycled from the original
trilogy. There is the standard "bad feeling", but so many other lines
were used in proper context, reminiscent of the three original movies.
There was also an infamous line most recently used by a certain US President. I'm not
sure it was appropriate, but Obi-Wan wonderfully responds "only the Sith
deal in absolutes" (essentially making him a Sith by using this
We get to visit so many planets in this movie, though some of them
are only seen briefly as the clone troopers turn into stormtroopers. We
didn't get to see enough of Kashyyyk, as far as I'm concerned. Lucas has
always said that the Battle of Endor was a substitute for a big battle
on the Wookie planet in his original conception. This was nothing of the
sort; just some long shots of Wookies and battle droids clashing
together on a beach -where are the so-tall trees hundreds of stories
above the ground? Still, other locations were very impressive. Mustaphar
was amazing, an actively volcanic planet where the final showdown takes
place. Where Obi-Wan takes on Grievous was also impressive, and I liked
his dragon-like mount.
Coruscant was beautiful as ever -actually more so than in
the Clones. The opening space battle was as amazing as the final one in
Return of the Jedi. I prefer the long shots of that movie, however, to
the myriad close-ups we get here. Although I like close-up shots
sometimes, the best ones were those that showed the huge scale of the
battle. Totally awesome.
R2D2 is a true hero in this movie, at least in the opening sequences.
He can do just about anything! I wonder how he and C3PO were switched,
though. R2 belonged to Padmé, while Anakin built 3PO. Here they have
I think part of the appeal of the original trilogy is the chemistry
between the three main characters, who share almost the entire journey
together (with the exception of Luke's training in
Empire and his
confrontation with the Emperor in Return of the Jedi). They felt very
natural, and relied on each other. That didn't exist in the first two
prequel movies, and it only exists in part here. At least in
Attack of the
Clones Padmé, Anakin and Obi-Wan fought side by side at the end. Here,
Anakin and Obi-Wan complement each other perfectly at the beginning of
the movie, in every aspect. That made the betrayal so much more
difficult. Their friendship was obvious throughout, and the pleading
request Obi-Wan gives Yoda near the end was heart-wrenching. Yet we
never get all three together in a natural setting where they can
interact like Luke, Leia and Han always did.
(There also seems to be an inconsistency with one scene in
the Jedi between Luke and Leia on Endor. I can't reconcile it
properly... but I'll save discussion on that for a later time. I also
want to comment on Qui-Gon's trick, but that will also wait. I wish we
got to see him.)
Still, this was one blood-pumping action movie, more so than any of
the others. It was entertaining, and there was lots to see, and not much
to complain about. When considering that this is the last Star Wars
movie (not including TV shows that seem to be in development), it
certainly went out with an impressive bang. All in all, I can honestly
say that I liked it a lot.