Revenge Of The Sith
... hmmm ...

I finally saw Star Wars Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith on wednesday 22 June 2005. "Finally", cause the movie got a worldwide release, is in theatres since May 18 and I, a Star Wars-fan, still hadn't seen it.

I wanted to go on the day of the premiere (a full day earlier than in the US of A), but it's a tradition to watch these movies with the bros Raymaekers and the eldest, Willem, had far too much work for school to be able to see this damn movie. It turned out Simon was STILL busy with his exams when Willem and I wanted to go, but he assured us he didn't mind. So we went, without Simon.

It's been three years since the last "Star Wars"-movie hit cinemas across the stars - er - globe, so we were, needless to say, eager to see the next episode.

Well, what to say? It's better than "Episode II", that's for sure. But there are so many things I would've liked better. I know, I know, it's a selfish point. Mr. Trull from The Lard Biscuit said he too had some thougts after his first viewing, even more so after his second viewing but that he finally liked the movie after the third viewing. He also pointed out many fans have expectations that are so skyhigh, they can't be but disappointed. But! I rarely see a movie more than once in cinemas, so I can only comment on my first viewing.

I know there's a whole "subculture" of Star Wars-stuff out there, "Expanded Universe" with thousands of books and merchandise which have nothing to do with George Lucas, and there are also the so-called "spin-offs". A spin-off follows the original product more than an Expanded Universe-item does. Ok, so many fans saw the "Clone Wars"-cartoons, the spin-off Lucasfilm came up with in 2003 and 2004. But I never saw the Clone Wars-cartoons! So I didn't know why General Grievous had a bad cough! I didn't know why Palpatine was kidnapped. It's explained in the opening crawl, yes, but did you think I really read that? I wanted to see the movie!

The opening battle is too long for my liking, in general. It's yet another thrillride in the vein of the Endorchase or the Podrace in previous Star Wars-episodes, to quench George Lucas's own need for speed. That Grievous-baddie is just one more excuse to sell action figures. Did he rock the crowd? He didn't.

Ewan McGregor is very, very good. Really. The man should be commended for acting so credibly in this type of feature. He really adds subtlety and soul to the character we all love since Sir Alec Guinness played him. Thumbs up for Ewan!

Hayden Christensen is good too, yes. He can look really creepy. But! Look at "Billie" in "War Of The Worlds", when he shouts at Tom Cruise's Ray. Now that's touching! That's class! Hayden IS a good actor. I'm far worse than him. But the combination "crap dialogue/blue screen/..." makes his performance never memorable.

The Wookiees ... well, I saw 10 seconds of Chewbacca ... did Peter Mayhew really have to come back for this?

The famed Order66 ... I didn't shed one tear when Aayla Secura fell ... just as Belgian director Jelle Boucher said : "As a director, you have to take your time to introduce the characters to the public. Once you know who's who, you can genuinely care about a character. Compare the Battle Of Yavin in Episode IV - A New Hope to Order66 in Episode III." He's right! I cared when Biggs, Luke's friends, died. I didn't care when the Jedi died. Cause I didn't know them enough. I had no bond with them.

I always imagined Anakin would fall in the lava during The Epic Fight. Well, now he just lay there and slooooowly fell down and then burnt to a crisp like a match being lit. The Obi-speech ("I loved you ...") was touching, though.

I guess there are still more thoughts to come. Yes, Episode III is better than Episode II. Maybe I'm just nagging. Maybe I'm all wrong. Even the most cynical Star Wars-fans (e.g. Karel Crombecq) liked him. But I didn't. In closing, after six episodes, Episode IV is still the best. The first and best.

Julian De Backer, 5 July 2005