29 April

You are not going to like me for saying this, but I thought Revenge of the Sith was genuinely good. Not "apologetically finding nice things to say about it because of my buy-in to the Star Wars universe" good but "would have been a good film if I hadn't heard of George Lucas before" good. There a few lines which stick out like sore pseudopoda -- "I have the high ground" and "Only a Sith Lord thinks in absolutes." And there are a couple of odd bits of shoe-horning in background material that doesn't go anywhere; particularly the bit at the end about Obi-Wan communing with the ghost of Qui-Gon on Tatooine. (But it isn't quite George's fault that he put in set-up lines for a third trilogy he was never allowed to make.) My only substantive criticism is that it tries to cover too much ground in not enough time: Yoda among the Wookies needed to be a film in its own right, not a three minute vignette.

But over-all it strikes me as the closest of the nine films to what George Lucas originally intended The Star Wars to be. Flash Gordon with Politics. Flowing costumes; sunsets; big hand gestures; people sweeping in and sweeping out of rooms; conspiracy; sword fights; more sword fights.  A main plot about the centre of government collapsing intercut with scenes from a war which is going on in every part of the universe simultaneously. The Dark Side conceived as a belief system and an ideology, not just as the Evil Society of Evil. Hidden teachings in the Jedi Order. A conflict between the Buddhist Space Wizards and the political system they are supposed to protect. Spaceships. More spaceships. Further spaceships.

There is a problem in that episodes IV, V and VI are not the films which episode III is a prequel to; and that VII, VIII and IX, whatever their strengths and weaknesses, definitely revert to the style of the Original Trilogy. So Episode III is pretty much an orphan episode. But on the basis of this decade-later re-watch, I wish we could have had three more films in the style of Revenge of the Sith

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