Monday, November 16, 2015

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith ★★★

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    I find myself at odds when it comes to "Revenge of the Sith," George Lucas's final addition to what has been an erratic trilogy of films up to this point, and for the most part, I would say that this innate feeling of conflict seems to stem directly from the production's inorganic temperament. ("Episode III" can merely be viewed as yet another heartless digital product and CGI-fest, which, I suppose, pretty much summarizes the last two installments to some degree.)

    It is true: Lucas's previous directorial effort was clearly hindered by a number of imperfections, and they almost certainly reappear here in what is sincerely an example of poor scriptwritingI mean, there undeniably remains an overwhelming, amateurish amount of foreshadowing; much of the dialogue continues to embrace this flimsy, tawdry mentality; and the overall melodramatic ambiance of the picture never fails to mar several scenes that would otherwise be considered adequately dramatic and serious in nature. (Even a discussion of betrayal, which could be seen as a turning point in the film, transforms into this soap opera-esque display.) 

    Yet, here I am awarding this picture a passing grade. Why is that? I'm just a sucker, I guess, for films that actually have an explicit sense of profundity and a theme of sorts. And amazingly, Lucas was able to obtain these things despite the aforementioned weak points. (Our chameleonlike auteur reminds us that life, and the philosophies that come with itfrom egoism to altruismis only a matter of perspective and, therefore, subject to varying points of view.) Also, from an intuitive stance, "Star Wars Episode III" fares much better, I think, as an experience than the rather forgettable "Attack of the Clones."                   
    For those of you who direly warrant an in-depth explanation of the plot, I suggest that you utilize the valuable asset that is the Internetafter all, that is what it's for.

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    In all seriousness, however, and with all subjectivity cast aside, what George Lucas has crafted here is a piece that is surely as somber as it is monumental, and his creation of a modern-day tragic hero does deserve some form of acknowledgment. (Our title character turned antagonist, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), undoubtedly becomes a stark illustration of the long-forgotten Greek literary device; his lacking of an anagnorisis-induced moment, or flaw recognition, only makes him that much more piteous.) 

    Scenes are draped in shadows and characters are adorned in garments of black, and, fortunately for us, this bestows the picture with a much-needed change in tone. (As a matter of fact, this is the only occasion in the entire run of the franchise where an individual installment warranted something other than a PG rating.) I also have half a mind to applaud Lucas for his restraint when it comes to the personas of R2-D2 and C-3POa duo whose presence has become quite intolerable as of late. In actuality, it is this comedic relief deficiency that helps the film to rise above its predecessor. 

    Naturally, the most pivotal happening in "Revenge of the Sith" transpires just before the epic and climactic lightsaber battle (a mainspring of the franchise and a textbook ending if you ask me), and it is in this instance where our principal actors finally capture a believable moment on screen. Natalie Portman, an actress who continues to survive on her radiance and sincerity and who has struggled mightily in this franchise up to this point (through no fault of her own), nails the "big moment"; the same can be said of Ewan McGregor as the legendary Obi-Wan Kenobi. It is as if Lucas finally decided to involve audiences with human emotion unescorted by trivial plotlines and devices that evoke bewilderment more often than not. 

    The first three films of the "Star Wars" universe, chronologically speaking, will always be criticized for their limitations and inconsistencies. (In other words, they will live on as a perpetual showcasing of miscalculations.); and although I would consider "The Phantom Menace" to be the best of the lot and the least flawed as a standalone film, it just doesn't seem fair to contrast this trilogy with Lucas's previous productions. (Plainly, this triad of pictures pales in comparison.) The original set of "Star Wars" tales were hardly concerned with gimmicks, and, well, they simply came off as more human. In the end, I just wish that Lucas would have captured that same sense of wonder instead of battering audiences with an inordinate amount of special effects and digital hues.                        

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