Guest review by Andrew Sumner.
WARNING: contains more spoilers than a garage of riced-out pimp-rockets.
I have a friend named Dan who works at the Rialto Cineplex in downtown White Rock. Frequently, the entire theatre (all 24 screens, no less) is leased out by corporations who want to cordon it off for some kind of function, or other. Last Friday, I got a frantic call from him saying that I should get down there right away, and that I would not regret it. Little did I know that Dan would be sneaking me into a private showing of Star Wars 3!!!
Apparently, Dan says, Lucas has been showing the first 8 minutes of the movie to some big cheeses in the US, but little did I know that here just above the border he would be showing A FULL CUT to some of the executives that have vacation homes in Point Roberts Washington!!! Now, not all the graphics were finished, but I did get the chance to viewify what I think to be the full FINAL CUT of the acting portions- or at least something close to it. What follows is my review, and let me just tell you that this movie took my breath away.
Revenge of the Sit opens with what Dan called the ‘opening pub crawl’ LOL, but is actually the letters Star Wars crawling into space, followed by a synopsis of the story so far. Apparently, Emperor Palpatine has been kidnapped by the Separatist Banking Clan Trade Union Conglomerate, and there is a huge space battle going on above Coruscant to get him back. Anakin and Obiwan are rushing to the rescue, but what they do not know is that it may already be too late! Within a giant space-freighter (not the one they think he is in) Palpatine is being tortured by Darth Dooku (under the supervision of the absolutely badass General Grievous). Let me say here that the CGI in Episode of the Sith is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. General Grievous, while metal on the outside, clearly has something alive floating in him, and his eyes flow demonically behind his helmet. He is, unfortunately for the plot, a much more awesome bad guy than Darth Vader, who just prances around through most of the third act saying Yes My Master and choking people that are on his team. Anyway, so while that’s going on, Obiwan’s ship is suddenly attacked by little metal-eater droids, and Anakin comes to his aid, even though Obiwan doesn’t want him to for some reason. Actually, this part is kind-of dumb, as Anakin is the angsty teenager, and he’s the one that should be suicidal, not Obiwan. Anyway, Anakin succeeds, and they land on the big enemy command ship. Running through a hallway, and into a large chamber they hear and evil voice saying, “Ah, my friends.” Back in the freighter, Palpatine is screaming for mercy and saying he will do anything. Dooku springs the first plot twist on us! Become my apprentice he says (!!!) and we realize that Palpatine has force powers!!! Meanwhile, back on the command ship, Anakin and Obiwan have been cornered by DARTH SIDIUS!! OMG, Lucas totally whoppered the fans here, as we now realize Sidius and Palpatine are NOT the same person! This is where the movie really takes off, as all conventions have been shattered, and you have NO idea where it will go next.
I have to admit that, exciting as all this was, I’d neglected to take a piss in my rush across the city in White Rock’s peak hour evening traffic, no less (streets clogged with theatre goers and tour busses, etc), so I was really antsy, and ducked out for a few to use the john, and grab a coke. When I came back a few minutes later, some weird shit was going on. First of all, the graphics on this part were incomplete so there were little white balls and whatnot all over the place, plus Palpatine was holding a stick that I assume will someday be a lightsaver, but from what I could figure out Anakin was somehow dueling Mr. Dooku THROUGH PALPATINE using THE FORCE. While this was happening, Darth Sidius dueled Obiwan over a GIANT PIT. Actually, now that I think about it, most things in Star Wars take place above or near a GIANT PIT.
Anakin eventually uses Palpatine to kill Dooku, like all the spoilers have been saying (omitting that one CRUCIAL detail), and then we find out that General Grievous wasn’t there because Sidius called him to help with Obiwan (I guess this may have happened while I was buying my coke). Anakin, meanwhile, is unable to stop fighting, and attacks Obiwan from behind in some kind of crazy Jedi trance! He ends up stabbing Obiwan through the leg, and then Sidius knocks him out. Obi fights Sidius some more, as well as some moron in a blue suit with white balls all over it (I think it will be Grievous some day- none of the voice work for him was done, though, so I can’t really tell) and escapes from the ship. Palpatine has been helped back to Coruscant by Mace Windu.
Anyway, when Anakin wakes up, he finds that he is hanging in front of a blue screen, and Darth Sidius is there. Sidius begins taunting him, telling him he has killed Obiwan, and using the anguish of this lie to turn Anakin to the dark side. He also tells Anakin that Coruscant was taken, and the entire area around the galactic senate was razed to the ground. Now, Anakin thinks Padme is dead also, and it’s all over, which ironically it is, even though none of these things are yet true. Now, I don’t know if I should keep revealing the plot, as it is probably not too fair, so I’ll just talk about the highlights and flaws in the film.
First off, most of the dialogue is stilted and odd, and Lucas again creates a lot more contradiction and logical problems than he solves. Why some Jedi fade and some don’t is never explained, although as far as I can tell when obi-wan dies in this film he does not fade (he comes back to life later, claiming the force could not let him rest, until his task was done. Hmm… I wonder where Lucas got this idea from…). Also, Jar Jar Binks fights alongside Yoda- this was one of the more finished CGI sequences, and I assume it’s because ILM really wants to get Yoda right this time, and not have him bounce around like a damn fool. The whole fight still looks like crap, though, with Boba Fett already working for Sidius, as a teenager of some sort. The fact that he kills Mace Windu to avenge the death of his father is some nice drama, but the fact that it takes place as a cut-away from the yoda/jar-jar versus Darth Vader fight is just silly.
On the subject of Vader, again, I felt he was hollow and underused. After he finds out Obi-wan is alive, and doesn’t know what the hell to do, Anakin’s final moments of dueling are absolute badass. He is fighting Obiwan because he needs him dead to justify everything he’s done so far, and the tears in his eyes really show you this. But then, after killing (!!!) Obiwan (whom the force returns to life later) and THROWING HIMSELF in the lava (which, I admit was an incredible way to ‘kill’ Anakin Skywalker) Sidius simply fishes him out, makes him half-robot and that is that. There is no more suffering, nothing, just an empty bad guy. On the one hand this is a brave choice and incredible drama, but on the other it’s kind-of a cop-out. When Vader kills Padme in the maternity ward-area on coruscant, he seemingly feels nothing, nor remembers anything. I wonder if this scene would have been better, had he showed some inkling of remembrance. It was pretty cool that Padme didn’t realize it was Anakin there to kill her, but it would’ve been nice if he’d let on himself.
Other than this, the only other complaint I have with the story is that General Grievous apparently dies of natural causes. You don’t see it, and then suddenly all these droids are mourning his death. Although I did spill that coke over myself at once point and have to go wash up, so maybe he died while I was out.
Overall, I think this is the movie that will make the Star Wars trilogy. Not only does it have everything fans were hoping for, the graphics looks incredible, and they aren’t even complete yet!!! Some of the story elements are, as can be expected, BS and awkward, but overall there are enough UNEXPECTED (!!!) surprises and twists (I haven’t mentioned nearly all of them) that this story will keep you rocking and rolling until the bitter end.
I won’t tell you how this movie ends, but let’s just say Carrie Fisher may be getting a paycheck from Lucasfilm some time soon!!!