Director: George Lucas
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, Ian McDiarmid
It pained me to admit that I could barely remember watching ‘Attack Of The Clones’ the first time. So it killed me to admit that I had no recollection of watching its successor, ‘Revenge Of The Sith’, three years later. I even started to question whether I had even seen it at all, but I must have! The end of the trilogy, the transition into another; arguably the most important of all six films from the franchise to date. Yet, for some reason, I was expecting this to be a letdown. I had never heard amazing things about ‘Revenge Of The Sith’, and with such huge pressure attached to the closing episode of the trilogy, this was going to have to be pretty special to avoid disappointment.
Three years after the destructive clone wars, and the dwindling number of Jedis are desperately trying to keep the peace in the galaxy against the growing threat of the Separatist movement. The future of the entire universe is at stake, but young Anakin Skywalker has more pressing issues at home, with Padmé pregnant and a troubling relationship developing with Chancellor Palpatine, who has his sights set on a dictatorship rule of the galaxy. The Jedi Order, spread across the galaxy, are weakened in their fight for democracy and ultimately powerless to prevent the birth of Darth Vader.
By the time you finish reading this review, I will have made a few bold and controversial claims anyway, so I am happy to confess that I personally think Hayden Christensen did a fantastic job in his portrayal of Anakin Skywalker. Long gone are the childish tantrums from the previous film, this time replaced by a fiery, formidable rage. I was always under the impression that Christensen had kinda messed up the franchise; I was very wrong. His performance in this final chapter is absolutely incredible, particularly the final third of the film where he brings to life the chilling transformation of his character. Natalie Portman builds on an improved performance in ‘Attack Of The Clones’ to leave the dull display in ‘The Phantom Menace’ a distant memory, with even more emotions on show here. Maybe it’s those hormones, but what a fantastic leading lady she turned out to be. One man I haven’t mentioned yet is Ian McDiarmid. I’ve been saving myself for this moment. The sneering, sneaky, manipulative portrayal of Chancellor Palpatine have all been building to this, perfectly foreshadowing what is to follow. McDiarmid delivers a truly terrifying performance with disturbing ease.
The story behind the ‘Star Wars’ franchise is arguably the best ever created, and the whole thing is drawn together perfectly here. Whereas ‘Attack Of The Clones’ was based in the heart of the battle, ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ is more concerned with each character’s delicate narrative journey, and the all encompassing galaxy of the franchise. Character development is absolutely crucial to building a successful franchise, and George Lucas and the team nail it time and time again. None more so than in this instance, with the all important transformations handled expertly. Despite the intricacies of this chapter, there still remains that intensity and abundance of action from start to finish which never lets up. I hardly dared to blink or breathe whilst watching lest I miss anything; the sign of a great film has always been the ability to halt our natural bodily functions right? Special praise has to be given to the construction of the volcanic world of Mustafar, stage to the final, riveting duel, which is a real triumph in visual effects.
What a film! This instalment was a thrilling and emotional end to the trilogy, and smashed my expectations on all fronts. I’m just sad that it’s all over until December, I need more! So, here comes more controversy; I have to place ‘Revenge Of The Sith’ above all but ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in my ratings of the whole franchise. I genuinely found everything about the film to be amazing, and the sheer intensity of the experience quite simply stunned me. Never before have I underestimated a film so much, only for it to exceed everything I could imagine.