Stephen Speicher

Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith (2005)

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148 posts in this topic

Hey everybody,

I've finally gotten around to seeing episode III (scheduling conflicts prevented an earlier viewing). I gave it an 8. This is definitely the best of the prequels yet, with improvements in every actor, especially Hayden Christiansen, who I had serious reservations about previously.

I'm somewhat beside myself in that I agree in many respects with different people. I agree with Stephen and some of the others that the acting was good; but I also see the other side's point, in that it could have been better in a number of ways. For me, the best acting was by far that of Chancellor Palpatine and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Incidentally, if I had to compare Anakin/Darth Vader to a character from the Fountainhead, I'd have to choose Wynand long before Keating B).

The remainder of this is my reply to various posts throughout this thread:

Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

The Chancellor? He says, in effect, the Jedi are dogmatic and are telling you to evade thinking about the half of the Force that they're afraid of. He says: I know what you're going through. It's rough, but I'll help you through it. If I'm Anakin, I'm listening to this guy more than I'm listening to Yoda. But that's just because I want to pursue my own happiness.

Amen Joel! That's exactly what I was thinking when I juxtaposed Yoda's advice with Palpatines during the movie.

Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I think it is especially the desire to control other people.  Anakin was a rebel who resented other people, especially more knowledgeable and experienced Jedi,  who would tell him what to do.  He resented their rules and restrictions and, rather than decide not to be a Jedi, he broke their rules in secret and hid the fact that he was married from them.  Anakin resented, most of all, that he was the only member of the Jedi Council who had not yet been granted the title of Jedi Knight although he had, in fact, most of the powers and responsibility of a Jedi.

His resentment of the other Jedis was so strong and deep that, when Palpatine told him to kill the Jedi, he not only slaughtered the Council leader, but tried to kill every Jedi and everyone who might become a Jedi including all the children.

This strikes me as the behavior of a power-lusting value-hater, not a valuer.

Betsy,

I definitely grant you that all the elements you list were present in Anakin (incidentally, my wife agrees with you on this point); but I saw the fundamental reason behind Anakin's "conversion" to the dark side to be to protect Padame, to save her life. That was the lure which Palpatine used to gain his attention (think the parable he relates about Darth What's-his-face, who was so powerful he could prevent the deaths of other people - that was meant to gain Anakin's interest vis-a-vis his visions of Padame dying in childbirth, which he could prevent if he learned this power). When Anakin is sitting in the chambers of the Jedi Council, what are the words he hears echoing from Palpatine? Something to the effect of, "If I die, you'll never learn how to save her..." That is what prompts him to disobey Mace Windu and head over to stop him from killing Palpatine. After all, Anakin is the most powerful Jedi alive - why does he need Palpatine, if not to learn how to save Padame?

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It was... Star Wars.

I went in with expectations floating within the molten rock beneath the earth's crust. I am a big fan of the original trilogy. It shaped my life in some really important ways. The first film came out a couple of weeks after I was born. I saw the films for the first time on the big screen as a child when they were re-released in the early eighties and was completely blown away. My father took my to see <i>Return of the Jedi</i> at least ten times in the theatre. If it hadn't been for Star Wars, I probably would not be writing science fiction now. I loved Star Wars. I loved the world and the characters and the incredible adventure. The prequels, however, have left much to be desired on any number of fronts.

Leaving philosophy aside (and really, again, this is Star Wars), I feel the prequels have suffered from embarassingly bad writing (the dialogue is painful at times) and clumsy directing (at least of actors). This I put firmly on the shoulders of George Lucas as he has said that he doesn't think that part of filmaking is as important as the visual stuff. Well, it shows. As pretty as the CGI is, it doesn't feel nearly as solidly real as the miniatures and puppets of the originals. Lucas has a gripping, epic plot and a breathtaking world, but the execution falls short of the potential.

Of the prequels, Episode III is definately the strongest. I don't think the philosophy was nearly as bad as some have said (still bad, however), mainly because I think it was quite clear that both the Sith AND the Jedi have it all wrong in terms of personal values and personal happiness. The fall of Anakin is a true tragedy. I just wish it had been better executed. That said, there were some scenes that really resonated. Hayden Christensen and Ian McDiarmid played incredibly well off of one another in places and I thought Christensen's acting most especially had improved since the last film. Ewan McGregor was wonderful throughout and has done an incredible job playing Obi-Wan in such a way that when you watch Episode IV after seeing the prequels, the character meshes perfectly with Obi-Wan as played by Alec Guinness. The scene where the mask is placed on Anakin's face gave me chills. I knew that was where it was all headed, but it was still incredibly powerful. The scenes on the lava planet between Anakin and Padme as well as Anakin and Obi-Wan were heartbreaking.

The main flaw? No Han Solo B) Well, that and the giant plot hole of Leia remembering her mother.

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

One of the saddest moments of SWIII was near the end, when Vader, in his new black suit, breaks the shackles that held him to a table and staggers forward... a la Frankenstein. The whole idea is just so...unclever. And even that is not well executed.

And that's what personally bothers me the most. 20 years ago Lucas created a phenomenally creative universe. Yet today, the new trilogy is just a by-the-numbers effort at filling in the blanks. Leave aside the special effects and look at the story. There are so many possibilities, and what he gives the audience is just a connection between points A and B.

I realize many people here really liked the film, and that's fine. I really am not trying to ruin anyone's enjoyment of the films. But objective aestethic assessment is another matter.

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The Chancellor? He says, in effect, the Jedi are dogmatic and are telling you to evade thinking about the half of the Force that they're afraid of. He says: I know what you're going through. It's rough, but I'll help you through it. If I'm Anakin, I'm listening to this guy more than I'm listening to Yoda. But that's just because I want to pursue my own happiness.

Palpatine is offering emotionally appealing prospects to Anakin - agreed. But lets look at Anakin - his ethics, everything he has learn't as a Jedi, somehow does not encapsulate the concept of democracy - several times he states his preference for Palpatine's increased powers and rubbishes the senate as ineffective and slow. Given this, its certainly no wonder he rated Palpatines offer above Yodas, but an Objectivist would know regardless of what Palpatine offered he was pure evil, being a wannabe tyrant and all! Question is then; what was Yoda offering, and is it a good thing.

Incidentally, a point I didnt make earlier - I thought the saber fight between Palpatine and Mace Windu was excellent - the look of pleasure on Palpatines face! (Ian McDiarmid has obviously relished the thought for the last 27 years! B) )

Helen: "The main flaw? No Han Solo  Well, that and the giant plot hole of Leia remembering her mother."

Wow! True say - I hadnt considered that - theres no excuse!

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Helen: "The main flaw? No Han Solo  Well, that and the giant plot hole of Leia remembering her mother."

Wow! True say - I hadnt considered that - theres no excuse!

What was the context of her remembering her mother in the old movies? Who did she consider her mother, Padme or her adopted one?

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Leia remembering her mother in Return of the Jedi:

Princess Leia: Luke, what's wrong?

Luke: Leia, do you remember your mother? Your real mother?

Princess Leia: Just a little bit. She died when I was very young.

Luke: What do you remember?

Princess Leia: Just... images really. Feelings.

Luke: Tell me.

Princess Leia: She was... very beautiful. Kind, but sad. Why are you asking me this?

Luke: I have no memory of my mother. I never knew her.

I suppose you could argue that Leia didn't know who was or was not her real mother, that Bail Organa remarried later on and Leia thought Bail's original wife who adopted her was her real mother. I've seen people say that Leia was remembering Padme from when she was born (the Force or some such nonsense). Personally, I think Lucas messed up. Or at least made things awkward from a continuity stand point. And I wouldn't be surprised if in the next Super Special Ultra Edition of Return of the Jedi, there was some, er, editing.

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I've seen people say that Leia was remembering Padme from when she was born (the Force or some such nonsense).

"Don't underestimate the power of the Force." -- Darth Vader.

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Nothing to do with the quality of the film or the philosophy of the series, but another apparent discontinuity:

In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke leaves Yoda without completing his training, leaving Yoda and Obi-Wan thinking that Luke will fail. Obi-Wan says to Yoda (paraphrasing), "That boy was our last hope." Yoda replies, "No, there is another," meaning Leia.

But in Revenge of the Sith Obi-Wan was present at the birth of the twins, so he would have known that there was "another."

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Warning: There are spoilers about this movie in this post.

I saw this last weekend but was dog-tired when I did, the result of a long work-week. At that showing, I lost and regained consciousness intermittently for the first half of the film, only to rejoin the story when the Emperor was about to be arrested. Drama at last, I murmured into the theatre's darkness. I found the rest of it fairly thrilling, especially the duel between Obi-Wan and Vader. But, what struck me most overall - of the parts I did see - was the outstanding attention paid to the arrangement of the elements in each frame of the film. In that respect, I was very impressed even if sleepy.

Why did I go to see it with droopy eyes? Because I'd read so much about it that I risked "seeing" the whole movie in words. So, I told myself: you may not get the best out of it, but at least, you'd have seen it first-hand. Well, that was my thinking.

Since it was so unsatisfying the first time, I went to see it again several hours ago.

The first thing to be said is that everyone should see it a second time.

Is the philosophy incorrect from a human perspective? Yes. Could the dialogue have been more passionately delivered in some places? Perhaps. Could the robing of Darth Vader have been a tad more original in execution? Maybe.

But these are not at all important. The good far outweighs the bad. The best aspect of the film is that virtually every scene has something important to contribute to the plot; the next best thing is the composition of the elements in every scene; and the icing on the cake is the score by John Williams, which in some places just threatens to be too brilliant to listen to.

My favorite scene is the duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin where I think Lucas almost out-does himself esthetically. In that act, you just know that the fate of all life in the universe depends on the outcome of that battle. I also thought that Anakin's mission to slay the Viceroy and the heads of the separatist movement was brilliantly handled.

The shots were simply magnificent; the set-pieces excellent; the editing, fantastic.

[i didn't analyze the philosophy too deeply because I knew that Obi-Wan, Anakin, Padme, the Emperor, Dooku, etc, were not necessarily earthlings; and that perhaps they had a different conceptual apparatus from the humans on earth. As for the Force, remember that metaphysics does not specify that a physical world exists, so when constructing a moral universe on other solar systems, any kind of metaphysical manipulation is fair game. B) ]

Lucas' grasp of politics is quite good. He understands the doublespeak about "safety, peace, and security" that tyrants use. He understands that republics are superior to empires. (He unfortunately, however, uses the word 'democracy' here.)

The philosophy of the Jedi seems based on Stoicism. The Force is similar to the logos which the Stoics held that humans came from and, upon death, returned to. (See Marcus Aurelius' Meditations.) As someone has already mentioned here, the politics in the Star Wars movies is reminiscent of the ancient Roman Republic.

I think I can see this one again and again; I even went to my local video store right afterwards to rent Episode IV, just to remain in that universe, but I had been beaten to it by more enthusiastic Jedi-wannabes.

This movie is a 9.

Take my advice: see it twice.

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Doesn't Deepak Chopra's theories on reality sound an awful lot like the force? The-everything is connected, feel everything, don't trust your mind and its assumptions. Reading the first parts of "Fire in the Heart" really resonate with Lucas' depiction of philosophy/reality in the movie.

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It would be more cynical (but perhaps more accurate) to say that "The Force" sounds a lot like nearly everything else; it's a pretty generalized mysticism that grants one everything from telekenesis to precognition to the ability to drive really, really fast.

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Spoilers ahead.

The Jedi are stoics who urge Anakin to stop caring about worldly values. Anakin rightly refuses to renounce this world. He loves his wife and will do anything to save her -- and so he is forced to the dark side. In the Star Wars universe Anakin is punished not because he is worse than the other Jedi, but because he is better! He is punished for the best within him. Pretty sick.

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Actually, my father said that. Darth Vader.  B)

I thought he was MY father!!!

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Ok then which one of you is Leia? 'Fess up.

I've lost my Force... Anyone see my Force???

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Spoilers ahead.

The Jedi are stoics who urge Anakin to stop caring about worldly values.  Anakin rightly refuses to renounce this world.  He loves his wife and will do anything to save her -- and so he is forced to the dark side.  In the Star Wars universe Anakin is punished not because he is worse than the other Jedi, but because he is better!  He is punished for the best within him.  Pretty sick.

Except for the fact that the Stoics DO care about worldly values, especially the better ones like Seneca.

Take Yoda's statement in context of a Jedi Knight-it is not meant to be a Universal.

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