Well, once again, working for Pixar Animation has its perks: yesterday we had company screenings for the prerelease of George Lucas’ sixth installment in the Star Wars saga: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I know you all will go see it anyway, so I won’t give any spoilers here.
It delivers on what you might expect: lots of gorgeous eye candy, and we learn how Anakin completes his slide to the dark side and becomes the evil Darth Vader. It is significantly dark when compared to other episodes, and there is a fair amount of swordplay, violence and treachery. The plotline is one straight out of Shakespeare, being a combination of Othello and Titus Andronicus.
I’d score it an eight out of then, with some caveats. Once again, George delivers on visuals, but leaves some dialogue which was absolutely cringe-worthy. On at least two occasions, actors are called upon to announce their feelings, rather than act their feelings. I mean ouch.
Natalie Portman is once again given very little to work with: almost all of her lines and all of her scenes with Hayden Christensen are just terrible. Amadala cannot accept that Anakin has gone wrong, but she has plenty of reason to believe that he has. Hello! Slaughtered all the Sand People? Doesn’t that count for something? Serial killers often begin by torturing animals? Didn’t any alarm bells go off in your head? The entire Amadala subplot (and to some extent that of Obi Wan) is based upon the absolute denial of these two characters that anything is wrong. I’m willing to buy denial, but you have to at least make it plausible.
Ironically, in the end you are perfectly comfortable accepting droids, The Force, space flight, Jedi’s, giant space fleets, but are let down (slightly) by the emotional subtext of the film.
Still, it is pretty good, and almost certainly better than Episodes I and II. Go out and see it for sure, and may the Force be with you.
Addendum: the security at our showing was considerably greater than any company screening we’ve ever had. They had security wand us all with metal detectors, no phones, no cameras. Pretty amazing.