Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Movie Review (Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith)...

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith is a perfectly fine Summer blockbuster. It offers nothing new to entice anyone already uninterested in the Star Wars story. In fact, it may well be impossible to follow. But it is after all, a movie for the fans. This was always going to be the best of the prequel trilogy, due simply to what events must take place. Anakin Skywalker must turn to the dark side, and become Darth Vader. The twins, Luke and Leia must be born and separated at birth. The Duel, between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, referenced in the first Star Wars movie. Numerous loose ends are tied up and nods to the films of old are present and correct. Revenge of the Sith does its job, successfully leading the audience back to where it all began in the original movie.

It has taken him thirty years, but film-maker George Lucas has finally completed his six-part space saga. The box-office monolith that practically invented the summer blockbuster in 1977, has had its fair share of detractors, especially since the idea of a prequel trilogy was announced in 1997. Both Episodes one and two have come and gone, simultaneously attracting a new generation of Star Wars fans and excluding some disgruntled original trilogy ‘purists’. What the older generation of Star Wars fans seem to forget, is that when they first set eyes on a galaxy far, far away, they were kids, impressionable and looking for something to call their own. Lucas has stated that his Star Wars movies have always been aimed primarily at the 8 – 13 year old market. It’s as if the older generation of fans, presumably fuelled by nostalgia, refuse to recognise movies pre-1977. Understandably, everybody has a favourite movie, and for a lot of kids in 1977, Star Wars would be the yardstick to which everything else would be compared.

Of course, as with any film, if you dig deeply enough, there are layers of subtext to be found, characters based on established mythological archetypes, etc.(Lucas was a disciple of Joseph Campbell, an “expert in the construction and cultural resonance of mythology. His books ‘Masks of God’ and ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’ are widely considered the ultimate guides to what has enthralled the world for centuries”). Similar to the way in which ‘The Matrix’ movies have inspired some overly enthusiastic fans to study the cod-philosophizing and meditation on the nature of reality, the Star Wars Universe naturally lends itself to deeper investigation. Put simply, the viewer will get out of it, exactly what they want to get out it.

As Lucas realises that even the new generation are old enough now to watch the brutal incineration scene, decapitated villains and murdered ‘younglings’, he has pushed proceedings in a slightly darker direction this time round, compensating somewhat for the complaints voiced over the overly-cutesy shenanigans in the first and second episodes. Personally, the really interesting stuff is what’s happening behind the scenes. Episode 3 was filmed almost entirely on blue screen, with effects, sets, worlds and thousands of characters being added digitally. Some say that Lucas is all about style over substance. Arguably, true, but what is an indisputable fact, is that he has been the driving force behind digital technology, sound and visual effects in the movie industry. Wealthy enough now to be completely independent from Hollywood studios, rumour has it that his next film-making goal is to re-introduce to world to 3-D movies, “the way they should have been done.”

3 out of 5