Monday, May 30, 2005

Film Review: Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

First of all, I'm one of the seeming minority who really, really liked Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Yes, the dialogue was typical George Lucas, a little cornball, but hey, this is a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away - they talk differently there, okay?

But it was really, really compelling seeing the transformation from young man with potential to evil dark lord. And while critics slam the dialogue and acting of the Star Wars saga, what keeps it going is the power of the story behind it.

Seen as a whole, the Star Wars saga is really the life story of Anakin Skywalker. It's a study in how we all have so much potential, and we can really mess it up.

I liked how Episode III really got into why he turned: fear of loss.

Perhaps the best scene in the entire Star Wars ... what do you call a six-part series, sextology? ... anyway, perhaps the best scene in the whole series is the one where Palpatine (really the evil Darth Sidious) has what seems like a heart-to-heart chat with Anakin, opening his mind to the possibility of loss, and the thought, what if I could prevent loss, the thing I fear most, using the dark side, something I fear but know little about.

In Episodes 4, 5 and 6, the bad guys do some pretty terrible things, but Palpatine in Episode III - as portrayed fantastically by Ian McDiarmid - reaches the heights of evil. He appears, in his guise as senator, as a sincere, well-meaning old man, who just wants peace. Only when Anakin is already in thrall to him does he reveal his true nature.

It's only when he's been tricked by Palpatine into the dark side that Anakin says, "What have I done?"

It's a line that stuck in my mind. Because we all have choices, although few of us have such galaxy-affecting choices as did Anakin at that moment.

But from a galaxy far, far away come lessons for us today. In our everyday micro-choices, we get to choose good or bad - acting from fear of loss, or embracing life as it unfolds.

And it's often when we let go of the need to control life, that we find ourselves well and truly in the driver's seat.

So ... full marks to Star Wars Episode III, for being the scariest Star Wars instalment ever - and showing us our potential for good or evil.

UPDATE: After posting this, I found the Darth Vader Blog, via MessyChristian. Thanks Messy!

If you're at all conversant with Star Wars mythology, you'll appreciate the Darth Vader blog. It's very funny in some spots (especially Boba Fett's kiwi dialect!) and very profound in other bits. A talented person behind the blog... the force is strong with him. (Sorry, couldn't resist!)


At 9:44 AM, Blogger Borscht said...

Hm, I'm intrigued by the profundity of the lesson inherent in the film's plot, but let's not forget it's a movie and a series of visual images, and not the story exclusively. I mean, there's a great mythological tale on offer in the sextology -- but let me be clear and say that it's what people remember about the visual cues which make the film a masterpiece.

Now, my thinking (perhaps a little Machiavellian on the matter) is that Lucas knew the product was kak, and he wanted to buff it and burnish it as much as he could prior to release. Let's not forget the majority of the revenue stream these days comes from DVD exhibition revenues. I'm thinking most people will become evangelical converts to Sith the instant they've got a chance to comprehend the cerebral intentions behind the piece -- which is something that Lucas will embellish on when the time comes.

I think it's this sort of dynamic which you've locked onto, bro. This aspect of the sextology really makes Star Wars, **STAR WARS** for you, you know?

Once you see how much work has gone into a particular piece of work, you begin to appreciate more and more the value of said work. The same with anything.

I've noticed this has also been my attitude with respect to songs, with respect to other lame films, and the like.

But, to quote one of the masters -- Hitchcock -- if the audience leaves with a good feeling from the cinema, then it doesn't really matter what sort of story you've told.

Proof's in the viewing. And I guess for those who appreciated Sith, this adage holds true.


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