2005-06-10 / Columnists

‘Star Wars; Episode III – Revenge Of The Stith’ – Out With A Bang

For those dead-hard “Stars Wars” fans who have been disappointed by the last two pre-sequels, writer-director George Lucas’ latest, “Revenge of the Sith,” is a return to the thrill-ride fun of the first in the series 28 years ago.

The trick is to connect Jedi knight-boy hero Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) to the Darth Vader, the baritone-voiced metal head, who epitomized evil and the “dark side” in the early films. Lucas manages to make the Anakin-to-Vader transformation with far less plot exposition and much more action than used in the two preceding movies (which makes you wonder why they were needed at all).

What’s missing in all the pre-sequels is the joking of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) that loosened up the human-types, who tend to be stiffer than C-3PO. It’s amazing that Samuel L. Jackson of funky “Pulp Fiction” fame plays Jedi master Mace Windu so straight. Maybe Lucas forgot that the original “Star Wars” was a blend of classic science fiction and comic book wise-cracking. Somewhere along the line, things got serious.

Still, the special effects are exciting, with spectacular space battles and super light-saber sword fights. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) even gets to ride a wonderfully floppy giant lizard.

Acting-wise, Ian McDiarmid steals the show as the treacherous Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. He twists Anakin over to the dark side of the Force and against his Jedi brothers with the false promise that if evil is embraced, Skywalker’s beloved wife, Padme (Natalie Portman), will be saved from a foreseen death delivering their twins Luke and Leia.

The question is…after six episodes is this the end of the “Stars Wars” series? While Lucas has said yes, he reportedly has three more sequels floating around in his amazing mind. With enormous profits at stake, he will likely be Force’d to make more “Star Wars” movies.

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