Yesterday I was in a Star Wars mood, so I plowed through a couple of the prequels. Episode II in the afternoon, and Episode III in the evening with my wife and daughter. This is by far the best of the three prequel movies. Might not write as much about this one as some of the others, but that’s because it’s all good, I can’t think of anything I actively disliked about this movie.
I remember when it was first announced that George Lucas was doing the prequels, I knew I would like this one, because it would by default be the darkest one, fall of the Jedi, and the Sith taking over everything. Turns out that was absolutely correct – that’s the way this one went down. Jedi were almost all killed. watching Anakin’s transformation to the Dark Side. Was all good.
This one I think I’m going with mostly bullet points as for things I liked and didn’t like…
After watching it again, two major bullet points in everything stick out to me. If these two things had not happened, the Star Wars universe wouldn’t have turned out the way it did.
- The motion to give the Chancellor executive powers was put forth in open council by Representative Jar-Jar Binks. So Jar Jar was responsible for the creation of the Empire.
- Towards the end, Mace Windu asked Anakin to stay at the Jedi Council, and wait while they had gone to arrest Palpatine. He didn’t and interfered in the events, there. Had Anakin not been his usual impatient self, the Empire would have likely not happened.
But this film had a LOT going for it. In fact, I don’t have a lot I don’t like. The handful of things I didn’t like were:
- There were still moments where Anakin was too whiny, but that was rolled back from the first one. Guy was definitely a brat, but the acting wasn’t as whiny as before.
- Also, the huge saber duel at the end of the film that results in Anakin’s defeat went on a bit too long. It wasn’t bad, but it could have been shortened a bit.
- Padme’s death in childbirth. Yeah, I know that kind of stuff happens, but the stated reason for her dying was just awful. She had just recently been knocked out by Anakin, it would have been super easy for her to have had died from injuries sustained from that. But to say she died because she “lost the will” to live? Yeah, that was bad.
- Padme in general. The character had next to nothing to do in this movie.
Things I did like…
- The opening battle with Christopher Lee was much better than the one in Episode II.
- Yoda’s light saber fight here seemed better than the one in Episode II
- The action in the opening part, from space battle, to elevator shaft, to crashing the ship – was all a ton of fun.
- Yoda’s larger battle with Darth Sidius was rather impressive in scope. Plus it had the Duel of the Fates music with it.
- The fact that Anakin still was trying to do the right thing almost up towards the moment he went to the Dark Side. It still seemed like a single choice would have changed everything there.
- The ying/yang of the scenes of Darth Vader’s suit being constructed and the birth of the twins.
- General Grevious using four light sabers at once.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi. Again, the best thing in all three prequels by far was him.
- The bit at the end of the Vader / Kenobi fight where Vader gets his legs cut off, and then catches on fire. Easily the most harsh moment in any Star Wars film.
- The scene where Vader marches on the Jedi temple to wipe everyone out. Especially the scene where he goes to wipe out the kids. They don’t show that, but the mere implication that he did was pretty disturbing, which I presume was the entire point of that.
Amusing story about opening night…
This film, like all the other Star Wars films (except the original) I saw on opening night. I saw that just to mention the theatre was packed, and filled with fans who really wanted to see the film. All was well until the point that Anakin had burnt already, and Anakin was going back on the ship that took him where he had his battle. On there was Padme, and a second or two after that, the film got stuck – and melted. It was a hell of a time for this to happen. Right towards the end of the film. People freaked out. Some ran out of the theatre to try and get in one of the other showings, but management was in quickly, and asked us not to go anywhere. We were down for about 5 mins, and when it came back, it was the next reel of film. That reel started with the helmet being lowered onto Darth Vader’s head. We missed the birth of the twins and most of the Vader suit construction. I even have a picture of the melted film as you can see to the right.
We all got free passes, and I recall that night rushing home and finding a bootleg copy online so I could see what I missed. That will not be a problem with Episode IX now, as everything’s digital. But it was a very inopportune moment for film to melt.
- Biggest Problem: Hard to say, nothing here struck me as a major bone crushing flaw.
- Biggest Strength: It’s got to be Ewan McGregor.
- Overall Rating: A