Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Almost an entire month after its theatrical release, I finally got my rear into a showing of Revenge of the Sith. As it was, I ended up alone, late, and entirely overcharged for the experience, a far cry from the opening day celebrations I participated in for the previous two films. By the time the disembodied plot outline began flying into space, my mood was a wonderfully nasty mix of angst and annoyance — and suddenly, I began to relate to Anakin’s descent to the Dark Side. Outside of being 6 foot tall and married to Natalie Portman, he and I could practically be the same person. Well, and I don’t have a prosthetic arm. Or mad lightsaber skillz.

Okay, we’re not really all that similar. But I digress.

The point is that this time around I finally felt an emotional twinge, a familiar nostalgia that grew as the film progressed and peaked with John Williams’ return to Luke and Leia’s musical cues from the original trilogy. Credit is largely due to Ian McDiarmid’s performance as the evil Emperor Palpatine, who (finally) played a much larger role than in any of the previous five films. Hayden Christensen also had a better opportunity to act rather than sulk, though (as I’m sure everyone has already agreed) his romantic moments with Portman are cringe-worthy. And Ewan McGregor finally convinced me that Obi Wan, one day, turns into old Ben Kenobi.

After the film is all said and done, I finally began to understand what George Lucas has been saying all along: the Star Wars saga was meant to be a heightened version of Saturday matinee serials, cheesy dialogue and overblown settings and all. While the prequels accurately reflected that ideal, I think it’s hard for Star Wars fans (like myself) to accept them since the original trilogy far exceeded such low expectations and became cultural icons. Nonetheless, recognizing that helps me to watch the new trilogy and enjoy it, if not as much as the originals, at least enough to feel like a little kid caught up in an exciting adventure once again. And so, here at the end of the story (or is it the beginning?), I’m content.

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