George Lucas’s final contribution to his epic Star Wars saga must rank as one of the most criminally underrated and most unfairly maligned films of all time.
Rarely has true brilliance been so blindly dismissed.
This isn’t just a great film; this is a work of immense stature, which exudes brilliance on almost every level – cinematography, editing, visual effects, choreography, score, and anything else you can think to mention.
This is everything; epic storytelling, visual art, opera, performance art on the level of ballet, immense mythology.
This is as good as it gets.
There is never going to be a cinematic experience on this scale again or of this stature again. And that’s just as a film and a work of art.
As specifically a Star Wars film, it does even more. Scene to scene, ROTS is just perfect; from those foreboding opening war drums, the glorious opening battles in space and the beheading of Christopher Lee‘s Count Dracula (or Dooku), to the breathtaking montages of tragedy and betrayal, the tension simmers and prods throughout, culminating in a climax of extraordinary proportions.
Let’s set the record straight. Revenge of the Sith is a masterpiece of Homeric proportions.
Everything from the absolutely gorgeous cinematography and CGI backdrops throughout to the superior special effects of the epic action sequences, to John Williams‘ heart-stirring music (the “Anakin’s Betrayal” theme that accompanies Order 66 and the montage of the slaughter of the Jedi is as powerful as ‘fantasy’-cinema gets), to the perfectly executed transitions between scenes (which Lucas is the absolute master of), right down to the dark, tortured and tragic story itself… everything about it, frame by frame, quietly whispers the under-appreciated genius of George Lucas and the pure capabilities of the creative teams he assembled at Lucasfilm.
Literally from the very first shot we are embarking upon a rollercoaster; those opening ten minutes or so of the battle in the upper atmosphere right through to the bleak confrontation with Dooku are extraordinary for how much is going on, every frame, every background, rich with detail.
Even when we leave the battle itself and shift to the interior scene we can still see so much going in space via the windows, the sub-battles all having their own continuity. And just within that first ten minutes we’ve got a complex, stunning war sequence, we’ve got Anakin/Obi-Wan banter, we’ve got a tense lightsaber duel, we’ve got the grim execution of Dooku, we’ve got the first stages of Palpatine’s evil manipulation and Anakin’s imminent journey into darkness, and we’ve even got time for Artoo-Deetoo heroics.
And the film has barely started yet.
But, moreover, the tone of the beginning of ROTS is more in keeping with The Original Trilogy than anything in the previous two movies.
While an existing connection to or investment in the Star Wars universe does make the film resonate more – certainly watching Anakin’s downfall is more meaningful if you’ve watched him as a little boy in The Phantom Menace, for example, or if the themes of Return of the Jedi are firmly embedded in your consciousness from childhood – but even without any previous interest in the galaxy far, far away, there is more than enough here to satisfy.
There are too many superb moments and shots to even fully account for in an article like this; a defeated Yoda falling, minus his cloak, and needing to be rescued gets me in the throat as much as a bewildered Obi-Wan being handed the newborn Luke Skywalker and fully grasping the scope of the tragedy that has unfolded around him.
From Anakin’s beheading of Dooku – one of the darkest, most memorable shots in all Star Wars – to his first (visible) breaths in the Darth Vader life-support outfit, the film is overflowing with the unforgettable. Epic action sequences, tense duels-to-the-death, emotional drama, broken relationships, betrayals, Wookie attacks, heartbreaking deaths and childbirths, falling Republics, slain children…
But it’s actually the quieter moments that really get you; the tension slowly building in the earlier scenes, particularly between Anakin and Padme, where you know Bad Things are going to happen, this foreknowledge tingeing every moment with bittersweet. Obi-Wan’s quiet, understated heartbreak, Yoda’s cleverly CGI’d sense of disappointment and loss, even Artoo-Deetoo’s palpable uneasiness as he accompanies the newly anointed Darth Vader to Mustafar to carry out his grim orders.
Some of the genius of the film is in its smaller details; for example, the tiny moment of Tusken Raider cries being faintly audible when Palpatine reminds Anakin of his mother’s death. Or the fact that Mace Windu actually defeats Palpatine: but it’s the intervention of Anakin (who Windu has treated questionably over the years) that seals his – and the galaxy’s – fate.
Meanwhile most, though not all, of the big moments we’d spent years waiting to see were handled superbly, from the apocalyptic Anakin/Kenobi duel to the transformation of Palpatine into deformed Emperor and the birth of the Skywalker twins who’s story will be told in the Original Trilogy.
While I openly admit that the big “Noooo!!” moment with Vader was terrible, it was one misjudgement amid a multitude of far greater moments.
Samuel L. Jackson’s Mace Windu attempting to arrest the Chancellor is one of the great scenes of the franchise. We know that it’s too late to save the galaxy at this point, but watching this critical duel unfold – a duel that will decide the future of the Republic and thousands of societies – is about as tense as Star Wars has ever been, as the scheming politician finally gives up his pretense and reveals his true nature.
Windu’s death is one of the best death scenes in Star Wars; but it’s all the details that make it fascinating – the fact that he defeats the Emperor, but that it’s Anakin’s emotional volatility and the easiness with which Palpatine has manipulated him, that ensures the Sith’s triumph and subsequently the fall of the Jedi, the Republic and democracy and the birth of Empire.
Palpatine’s stomach-turning performance of helplessness to secure Anakin’s intervention is about as evil as evil gets on screen and his literal deformity transforms him into the sick, monstrous Emperor we all knew from Return of the Jedi in a transformation almost as powerful as Anakin’s later in the film.
That scene in all its fate-of-the-galaxy-deciding tension is one of the very best in all six films, particularly preceded by that breathtakingly beautiful Anakin/Padme “silent scene” where Anakin is desperately trying to decide what to do. To go from a sublime piece of silent cinema like that – no dialogue, all stunning visuals, underscored by John Williams’ offbeat music – and straight into the most intense fight/action sequence in the film is breathtaking.
And that moment when Anakin drops to his knees before the Emperor and gives himself over was more upsetting to me than almost anything in The Original Trilogy, including Han Solo being frozen in the carbonite. I’m sorry, I know a lot of Star Wars fans will pooh-pooh that statement, but’s it’s true. The sadness I felt seeing Han encased in carbonite was the sadness of a seven-year-old; but the sadness I felt watching Anakin through ROTS is the sadness of an adult who understands the nature and complexity of what that character is doing and why he’s doing it.
And actually one of the most fascinating plot decisions by George Lucas was to have it that Anakin Skywalker’s journey to the Dark Side, although it involved various other factors too, was primarily driven by his love for Padme. It’s because of love that he embraces hate; it’s his obsession with the girl he loves that makes him so easy for Palpatine to completely control.
It takes the fall of Anakin Skywalker away from the dynamics of mere thirst for power or anything like that and makes it something much more human and simple that we can all immediately relate to.
The message ultimately, I think, is don’t fucking fall in love. You’ll end up slaying numerous children and eventually being burnt up head-to-toe in flames. But most of us probably already knew that.
The tragic, bitter irony, of course is that Anakin’s desperation to save Padme is based on his visions of her dying; this desperation makes him easy for Palpatine to turn with the promise of finding a way to save her. But it is Anakin who causes her death by trying so hard to prevent her death. How cruel is fate?
Man, if the Force had treated me like that, I might turn too.
It’s a profound twist in the plot, Shakespearean really – a profoundly cruel exploration of the pre-destination paradox.
Meanwhile the major sequence that perhaps the whole film was riding on – and that the whole trilogy was building to – was the Anakin/Obi-Wan duel; a scene that Star Wars fans had been imagining and waiting for for years and years.
And what a sequence.
The lightsaber fighting itself is spellbinding, but it’s the emotional dimension to the fight that makes it so extraordinary; here are two people who clearly have love for each other, who clearly don’t want to have to do this, who both know that they’ve failed each other (though only Obi-Wan admits it), and who both know they have to kill the other.
Aided by John Williams’ awesome ‘Battle of the Heroes’ score (a more bittersweet variation on The Phantom Menace’s ‘Duel of the Fates’ theme, as per Lucas’s request), this sequence, as not just awesome spectacle but spectacle with emotional undercurrent, is unmatched by any action sequence in any comparable film. Find me one – specify it – if you can: I’d be fascinated to know what that would be.
The fight choreography is sublime. It transcends cinema action and rises into the realm of performance art. It’s practically a ballet.
The two former friends are perfectly matched, their abilities almost exactly equal. In the end it’s Anakin’s anger that is the difference between them – it undermines him, drawing him into a move he should’ve avoided and resulting in his being cut down by a remorseful Obi-Wan (it’s the same move Obi-Wan himself used to defeat Darth Maul in Episode I, which is presumably why it doesn’t work this time). As we watch Anakin’s body burning up in flames, it’s the darkest, most harrowing moment in Star Wars.
But long before his body burns up, it’s Anakin’s mind that has been consumed already by the Dark Side and Obi-Wan knows this; the boy who once wanted nothing more than to “help people” and to go off on noble adventures as as Jedi now talks like a power-hungry ego-maniac.
This fight between the two of them is the ultimate fight between the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force; Anakin fights with all his hatred, anger and bitterness, along with, we suspect, guilt over what he has already done, while Obi-Wan simply gives himself over to the Force – that’s how he wins. He doesn’t want to fight or destroy Anakin, but he’s doing what the Force itself demands. This duality carries on into their very last words to one another; Anakin’s vitriolic “I hate you” answered by Obi-Wan’s tearful “you were my brother, Anakin – I loved you.”
Even all this time later, I honestly cannot watch that moment where Anakin is engulfed in the flames; not because of any visual horror, but for the emotional horror of both his own suffering and Obi-Wan’s having to live through it, and the sense most of all that he realises, as the flames are rising up his body, that all of this has been for nothing.
And seriously, anyone who thinks these films don’t have any quality acting in them needs to re-watch this scene for both Ewan McGregor and Hayden Christensen’s performances.
And when Obi-Wan picks up Anakin’s lightsaber – the lightsaber he will later hand to Luke – one stage of the great saga is over and we are immediately reminded that the other is waiting to begin afresh.
One of the other major moments we were waiting for, the Birth of the Twins, was handled immensely poignantly, particularly for Padme’s last words; the “there is still good in him” being whispered to Obi-Wan, as this plays beautifully into Luke’s attitude in Return of the Jedi.
For that matter, when all the dust has settled and enough time has passed, it’s Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith that are now the key pieces of the saga, the two entries that most resonate with each other.
People who complain that the prequels added nothing to the Original Trilogy are massively mistaken; for one thing, ROTS breathes whole new life into Return of the Jedi. In light of ROTS, Luke’s attitude in ROTJ makes much more sense; his belief that there is still good in Anakin Skywalker has been inherited from his mother’s love for the Anakin that’s been lost.
Luke inherits this conviction from a mother he never knew and concerning a father he never knew either. Luke is the ultimate hero in the saga, because he remains a noble figure, untainted by past bitterness and recrimination – this is why he can believe in the good in Anakin when Obi-Wan and Yoda refuse to.
The Original Trilogy is, in fact, full of moments and elements that are given new life by ROTS; the Luke/Leia ‘Force-connection’ scene in Empire Strikes Back, for example, where Luke is hanging off Cloud City, calling out to Leia and she senses him through the Force and goes back for him. That moment was always poignant, but now it’s married beautifully to the scene in ROTS of Anakin and Padme sensing each other across the Coruscant cityscape, trying to touch each other through the Force.
The difference is that Leia could come back and rescue Luke; but Padme was powerless to do anything for Anakin at that point.
And the dynamics of Palpatine’s attempted corruption of Luke in ROTJ are all the more fascinating to watch now that we’ve seen the seduction and downfall of Anakin Skywalker. Whereas Palpatine’s manipulation of Anakin takes place through a great deal of scheming and emotional games over a degree of time, by the time of ROTJ Palpatine is so all-powerful, so much further corrupted by the Dark Side, that he thinks he can convert Luke by sheer force of will. He doesn’t even consider Anakin/Vader a threat anymore, doing all of this in front of him and even belittling him to Luke.
The dynamics of the final showdown between Palpatine, Luke and Vader in ROTJ are transformed by ROTS. Now we know that Vader isn’t just watching his son being murdered by the Emperor; he’s remembering how he himself was seduced by the same man and made to betray all his friends and everything he’d once held dear. He’s seeing how he should never have interfered with Mace Windu’s attempt to end the Sith threat. He’s seeing too that he has become to Palpatine what Count Dooku was at the beginning of ROTS; just as Palpatine had goaded Anakin into killing Dooku so that he could replace him, he is now goading Anakin’s own son into killing his father.
But most of all, in Luke Skywalker’s resistance to Palpatine’s manipulation, Vader is seeing the Jedi that he himself should’ve been all those years ago, he is seeing in Luke how he should’ve handled the evil Sith Lord’s manipulations.
And getting back to that death of Padme/Birth of Vader sequence – the level of utter genius in how Lucas conceived and rendered this beggars belief.
If the Obi-Wan/Anakin duel is a ballet-like performance art, this sequence crosses into the realm of opera. Again, there’s practically no dialogue for most of it: it’s all visuals and juxtapositions and music.
Padme literally dies giving birth to the heroes of the Original Trilogy, while at the same moment Anakin is being forced into the suit and taking his first breaths as Darth Vader; while the baffled medical droid says “for reasons we don’t know, she has lost the will to live”, what we’re really seeing is Padme’s life-force being sucked out of her through the Dark Side of the Force and being channelled into the Birth of Darth Vader.
Padme is also a symbolic representation of democracy and the Republic itself – and of all that’s good in the galaxy – so that her death (and the siphoning of her life force) is not just literal, but also symbolically significant.
And even as this is happening, she still quietly insists to Obi-Wan that Anakin is not dead – there is still good in him, still hope for the future. And the way this whole sequence is juxtaposed, accompanied by John Williams’ haunting choral/gothic theme, really confirms for all time just how sublime and visionary a filmmaker and storyteller Lucas is.
This is Shakespeare. This is Homer. This is Wagner. This is Lucas.
And yet for everything I’ve highlighted in this post, there’s so much in ROTS that I know I’m forgetting to even mention; the glorious Wookies (the WOOKIES!), the Obi-Wan/Grievous showdown (“So uncivilised…”), the opera scene, the now-turned Anakin mercilessly wiping out the Separatist leaders one at a time while the Emperor declares the Empire to a cheering Senate – a scene-structure Lucas admitted was inspired by his friend Francis Copolla’s work in The Godfather.
Or the crestfallen Padme Amidala witnessing the death of democracy and the advent of the Empire and muttering those immortal lines (now the subject of many an online meme): “So this is how liberty dies – with thunderous applause…”
When I think of this film, I think of so many moments that moved me as a lifelong Star Wars fan; including the stunning “Order 66” montage with all the Jedi being assassinated by their own troops, caught off-guard. Accompanied by John Williams’ stirring choral theme, we see all the nobility and heroism being systematically eliminated from the galaxy by literally mindless clones. The death of poor, noble Ki-Adi Mundi – surely the coolest of the prequels’ minor characters – shot down by his own troops, gets me in the gut every time.
The callous extermination of the Jedi – reminiscent of many of the brutal purges that have accompanied coups in the real world – is as stirring, as epic, as Star Wars gets.
And when the Clone Troopers move in to assassinate Yoda in the same purge, they fail for once – I have never wanted to cheer so much in a film as when Yoda leaps up and beheads both Clone Troopers.
In the space of one montage sequence – barely a minute’s screen-time – I’ve felt sorrow and I’ve wanted to throw my fist in the air to cheer a double decapitation! That’s Revenge of the Sith.
And if Order 66 wasn’t enough, we then go straight back to the Jedi Temple where the children are hiding; and when their Jedi hero, Anakin Skywalker, arrives they mistakenly believe he has come to rescue them. I’m sorry, but if that moment didn’t get you in the gut, then I really can’t help you anymore – you probably are better off with Transformers 2 or whatever.
And yet the emotion-laden moments continue. When we see the once proud and dutiful Padme Amidala now reduced to a woman with no remaining will to live, even as she is giving birth to her children. The deceased and beautified Padme’s funeral procession amid the Renaissance-style splendour of familiar Naboo is yet another one of the most stunning, memorable visuals of the entire franchise, and when we see right at the last moment that she is clinging to the hand-crafted gift Anakin gave her in The Phantom Menace we are surely feeling something, are we not?
And when Obi-Wan hands baby Luke Skywalker over to Owen and Beru and the swelling of the familiar Force Theme leads us to a visual familiar to every one of us and embedded deeply in our consciousness – that of Tatooine’s twin sunset (symbolising, in my opinion, the twin children) – we remember where it all began and we have come full circle.
There is a new hope for the galaxy; and there is some Kleenex around here somewhere for those who need to dry their eyes.
For all the by-now-tedious talk about how the prequels failed or how they didn’t live up to fans’ expectations or desires, I personally – as a Star Wars fan since Empire Strikes Back at the age of seven – was not the least bit disappointed by Revenge of the Sith at the time. And I’ve only come to love it more and more with each passing year.
Lucas really did go out with a bang.
Even with its two or three questionable moments or moments that didn’t quite work for me, the film just astonishes me every time with its scale and scope, its gorgeous visuals, its details and nuances, and its sheer weight.
In fact, I’m not sure I can think of any other big-budget blockbuster type film that has ever come anywhere NEAR this level of across-the-board brilliance.
The child in me that was obsessed with Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi so many years earlier was satisfied by Revenge of the Sith; it felt like something a part of me had been waiting for my whole life. And the adult in me too was satisfied. And the adult and the child in me were merged, became one, for those two hours and for every subsequent viewing of the film too – a rare alignment of dual forces, for which I am forever grateful.
That’s Star Wars; and that’s Revenge of the Sith.
Make no mistake, Revenge of the Sith is a work of immaculate genius, breathtaking beauty and sublime cinematic vision. It leaves everything else in the gutter, as far as big-budget cinema is concerned.
In a hundred years time, when almost all other billion-dollar big-screen orgies of our time are long-forgotten, George Lucas’s original (as in, ENTIRELY original, and not adapted from a comic book, TV series, computer game or novel) SF opus will stand out from the prevailing ennui of today’s blockbuster cinema like the Statue of Liberty rising out of the sand in that famous documentary about apes…
Revenge of the Sith is my favourite movie and I agree with pretty much everything you wrote here. Thank you for writing this, voices like yours need to be heard in the sea of online negativity these days.
I will also say that the score in this is by far my favourite of all the Star Wars movies. Tracks like “Anakin’s Dream”, “Anakin’s Betrayal”, “Padme’s Ruminations”, “Anakin’s Dark Deeds”, “The Immolation Scene” are so hauntingly beautiful and tragic. Nothing from the other episodes comes close for me.
Thanks man. Yes, the score is stunning, all the way through. I think The Phantom Menace might have my favorite score, but Revenge of the Sith and Empire Strikes Back are both epic, wonderful collections.
Your review is also reflecting my opinion about the Revenge of the Sith. This is very good review my Earthling friend, thank you. Right now, I cannot remember that you made a review about The Force Awakens or not, but that one definitelly disappointted me. And last I’ve watched the The Last Jedi trailer, and there are so many lackness for me. How Rey could be so much powerfull, even Luke has been seen that he was very impressed by Rey’s strength at trailer, which is, Luke saw legendery Yoda, also his father, you know. At the trailer, as if Rey is most powerfull jedi all times. Where are the backgrounds of these characters? I don’t know, maybe I will not watch Last Jedi after seeing this.
Thanks, my otherworldly friend.
Yes, I did a very big review of Force Awakens. I liked Force Awakens, but I actually think The Phantom Menace is a more impressive, imaginative and epic film.
I agree with you about The Last Jedi trailer. It doesn’t seem that impressive – but it’s difficult to judge on a trailer.
I will tell you what I’ve told a lot of people: I always said that Return of the Jedi should’ve STAYED as the ENDING of the Star Wars saga – and that there shouldn’t have been any further films about Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, etc. Because Return of the Jedi is the perfect ending to the six-film saga – the Empire is defeated, the Emperor is killed, Vader is redeemed, balance is brought back to the Force and the galaxy, and it’s the ending that works best.
As soon as we go beyond that ending, everything becomes depressing. We get to Force Awakens and we find out Luke is a failure, Han and Leia had a failed marriage, the Empire (or a version of it) is back again, there’s a new, worse Death Star, there isn’t peace, and now the grandchild of Anakin is simply repeating the whole cycle all over again.
So what was the point of the original trilogy then?
Don’t get me wrong – I think films like Rogue One are fine; we can have lots of stories set within the existing six-film timeline. But doing the Old Man Luke and Old Lady Leia story isn’t helping anything.
“So what was the point of the original trilogy then?”, Yes! I have asked same question to myself, my Earthling friend. So, the answers to the questions like how did the republic become to this shape, or who established the first order are also unclear, but there is direct action at movie. And this new Death Star. This dark side never gets smarter, or the death star’s contractor company must be in the catbird seat, so the new one is always being produced without thinking money, haha!
In the same way, they seem that they went to the original trilogy as copy-paste samples in a way. In this case, I thought that Force Awakens after watching it, at the very least, the players should be able to represent the characters who are trying to be created again. On one side is Darth Vader, on the other side Kylo Ren will be. Where is Darth Vader’s charisma on Kylo Ren? You know when Darth Vader enters a scene, he becomes the most important thing in the scene, and the audience can not get away to watch him. Everything on the stage is unimportant except Darth Vader at that moment. It was the same at Anakin scenes, because it was very well played by player, besides, as you told in your article, Anakin character development was given to audiences very well. But when I watched Kylo Ren, for example Rey- Kylo Ren lightsaber duel, I was numbering the trees in the background; I am not kidding. 🙂
Probably, Han Solo, Harrison Ford, was aware of this situation. And I do not know it drawn your attention too, but as if Han Solo’s face had an expression like “what I am doing in here” in his scenes. Maybe film crew told him before, “Do not worry Han, in the movie we will kill you immedietly,” haha!
By thinking over your saying “but it’s difficult to judge on a trailer,” I will take this as advise, and I will go to the movie. Even it would be disappoint me, there would be another chance for me to read your view over it. (Which is I assume you would write a view on The Last Jedi) I don’t want to miss to join a conversation over it with your very good expressions.
Upps, I almost forgot. A sentence caught my attention at Last Jedi trailer. “We are the spark, that will light the fire..” This was very familiar to me. “spark that will light fire,” is very similar with a line of Alexander Ivanovich Odoevsky poem.(Or it may be translated as “a spark will start a flame”). Almost we can say that this line has turned into October Revolution’s motto. Искра (iskra), so “spark” newspaper was founded by Lenin, who was impressed by this poem and this line. And that newspaper has been the most famous source of the communists. It was highly respected publishing. I am sure attention of every communist who heard this sentence, will catch the movie. Maybe this is kind of subliminal-ad. Who knows. 😉
Great comments, friend. I look forward to reading your opinion of The Last Jedi too.
I actually really liked the Kylo/Rey lightsaber fight in the forest. But how many trees DID you count?
Look forward to your opinion, too, my Earthling friend!
And, if I remember right, I had stopped numbering the trees when the number became 38th tree.:)
Revenge of the Sith is much better than Return of the Jedi.
The first 45 minutes at Jabbas Palace sucked.
Dumb musical. Dumb C3PO moments. Dumb Salacious Crumb.
Boba Fett’s take down by a blind man from behind sending him head first into the Sail Barge then dropping him into the Sarlac’s mouth. C’mon Lucas seriously.
Annoying Salacious Crumb chewing on C3PO’s eye. That was almost as dumb as the worst Jar Jar moment.
Then we get to Endor. After the awesome Speeder Bike chase Endor just slows the pace of the film.
Then we meet the stupid Teddy Bears.
Why oh why?
Then the scene which Leia finds out Luke and her are family. The acting was unconvincing just like Attack of the Clones.
Then the Ewoks beats down the emperors best troops down with sticks and rocks.
Thanks Daniel; but I have to say I love Return of the Jedi. Jedi and Sith are probably my two favorite SW films. None of the fun, silly stuff in Jedi bothers me. I like the Ewok village. I like Jabba’s Palace, Salacious Crumb and all of that.
The one thing I’ll agree with is that Boba Fett got a terrible death. I think Lucas said that, at the time, he didn’t realise Boba Fett would become such a popular character – and if he had known that, he would’ve done something different.
But I’m glad to know your love for Revenge of the Sith – it deserves it.
Revenge is my favorite movie of all time!
It’s definitely one of mine too – probably one of my top 5.
Yes I can comment on the actual film now and I must agree that it stands as a great film on its own … I only know the bare bones of the narrative but I was particularly impressed by the many threads that I could see being brought together. This is from a Verhoeven, Ghost in the Shell, Terminator type SF fan.
I love Ghost in the Shell. But I lost track of Terminator after I watched the third one, which wasn’t interesting to me at all.
‘Total Recall’ is my fave … Never watched beyond T 1 & 2 … GITS manga is even better!
My problem is I just can’t get passed Schwarzenegger in any of these films. He’s like the least credible screen presence ever, no matter what film he’s in…
Completely understandable …
Well Nietzsche was the master of hyperbole … I think legitimate Christians are with us today but I have a problem with Paul’s creation of a Christology in order to explain away the delay of the parousia, when, as in John’s Gospel he should have been preaching and practising a realised eschatology.
OK, you need to stop using such big words; like ‘delay’ 🙂
parousia = return of ‘the Christ’
realised eschatology = apocalypse now
Christology = evil and malignant means of controlling others through fear, mutual suspicion and envy
Ah, okay. Yes, I loathe all of that too. Christian Zionists, people obsessed with ‘end-times’ lore, Rapture-philes, etc. It’s a dangerous, malignant force, particularly when it effects international politics. The same thing is going on in the extremist portion of the Muslim world too. It’s almost perverse how excited some people get at the prospect of the ‘end of the world’ and lots of people being ‘damned’ and lots of disasters occurring, etc.
If I were to make a list from best to worst would be:
empire strikes back, return of the jedi, revenge of the sith, new hope, attack of the clones, and phantom menace. I think people hate on return of the jedi cause the they think they are to old to like the ewoks. Whatever mane.
I’ve always loved Jedi more than Empire, even though I acknowledge that Empire is technically a better film. Your order is hard to argue with though.
I agree ROTS is underrated just like the Watchmen film for DC is severely underrated as well
I didn’t realise Watchmen was underrated. Do you mean even DC fans don’t regard Watchmen highly. I love that film.
Watchmen is class … the depiction of Rorschach is superb!
Agreed, NP. But Dr Manhattan was the most amazing character. Almost as good as ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’.
Ha ha … almost … ‘The time is now’ … that’s why the resurrection and heavenly reward should be removed from the Christian narrative!
What? No resurrection and how heavenly reward? What’s the motivation then? Kindness? Morality? The brotherhood of man? Humbug!
As I said ‘The time is now’ isn’t that a quote from Watchmen or was it another Alan Moore? i.e it’s not whether or not something happened in the past (the resurrection) or is going to happen in the future (heavenly reward). As Nietzsche rightly pointed out: ‘There is only one Christian who ever lived and that is the one that died on the cross … since the time of Paul Christianity has done nothing but practise the opposite of Jesus teachings and example … ‘ or something along those lines.
Well said. I probably agree with you in essence, though not semantics (I’m sure there’s been more than 1 legitimate Christian). But you’re right; ‘heavenly rewards’ has probably been one of the biggest distractions in all human history.
So there are more of us out there. Give it ten years and people’s opinion will turn around on these movies. When they watch them again or realize that episode 1 and 2 were setting up episode 3. I kinda like that people don’t like them. It’s a good way to figure out the smart people from the tools. Good review my friend.
Thanks Jake! I don’t think i agree that people will come around to liking the prequels better in ten years – I think people have made up their minds and decided it’s cooler not to. But I do get what you mean about liking that other people DON’T like or respect the prequels.
Yeah i got ya. But as I understand it people didn’t love “empire” back then like they do now. That’s really the only reason i think that. And i can’t tell you how many times i have talked to someone or read that they watched the phantom menace again and “didn’t realize how good it was.” But the hate for “Jedi” is still strong today. Well for the people who were there when it first came out, everyone else I know loves it. I love the movies and that’s really all that matters. I just don’t understand why people aren’t happy that they just got more star wars! I mean it was dead right? They should just be happy to get something more from the galaxy that they love. Well I guess if they were smart they would realize that nothing can recreate the feeling that it gave them when you were 7, like you very well know. But I guess if people were smart we wouldn’t have any problems in the world.
Yeah, the hate for ‘Return of the Jedi’ has always baffled me. I’ve never understood that.
But well said, Jake 🙂 If people were smart…
Great article. Over the past month, I’ve watched all of them in the order they were made. And I think I enjoyed Revenge of the Sith the most. I agree that it’s “cool” to make fun of the prequels, and I have my hangups about Episodes I and II, but Episode III is arguably the best of them all.
Thanks Chris. I’ve never done the all-in-a-row marathon, though I’ve always wanted to.
I absolutely agree with you.The Revenge of The Sith is a brilliant masterpiece,probably my favourite movie of all time.I remember watching it for the first time when i was 10 years old and i was just blown away.I would like to know what’s your opinion about Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker),cause i personally think he did an outstanding job in this movie,but a lot of people seem to hate him and i just can’t undestand why.Great blog by the way!
Thanks man; and yes, it is an awesome movie – I encounter a lot of people who seem to hate it, and I don’t understand why. As for Hayden Christensen, I think he broadly did a good job with his portrayal of Anakin in ROTS; there were some moments where he wasn’t that great, but I think this was down to the way he was scripted and/or directed. I didn’t like him so much in Episode II, but in ROTS I think he was very good.
Just finished the Star Wars marathon… We’re obviously the same age and I was a Star Wars fanboy as a kid… It was special to watch the whole series 1-6 for the first time in order with my 8 year old (a new age fanboy). I can say, without question, that episode 3 is the best of the bunch. It’s by far my son’s favorite and really has everything (action… drama… storylines) I remember being disappointed the first time I watched I and II, but even those (in context with the whole series) are quite good and really set up Ep 3. When I watched Episode 3 for the first time I was blown away… and now watching with the rest of the films, I realize just how great it is. Thanks for the post as I had to google “Star Wars Episode 3 underrated” to find others who feel the same…
Thanks Jesse; nice to hear from someone who agrees with what I’m saying, especially because most people seem to disagree. I personally don’t get how anyone can watch ROTS and think it’s somehow not a good film.
Interesting point, and I always find a very strong, polarizing argument to be compelling. I agree that sometimes Harry Potter gets a free pass on it weaker entries. But the Lord of the Rings are far and away better films than Episode III: acting, editing, direction, scripting, effects, etc.
Either way, this was an interesting read, and I appreciate your comment. You’ve made a follower out of me.
Thanks dude. I disagree with you completely about the LOTR movies, however.
I couldn’t disagree more strongly. Actually, the Lord of the Rings films make a great contrast with the Star Wars films. LotR DOES have better acting, editing, direction, scripting, effects, etc. than SW. But for all that it gave up the soul and vision of Tolkien’s masterpiece. Instead of the deeply philosophical vision of the books we are given the standard action blockbuster with a fantasy twist; technical proficiency alone is insufficient for truly great art.
By contrast Star Wars is a brilliant vision only marred by Lucas’ lack of skills as a filmmaker. Still, the glimpses of that vision blow the Lord of the Rings movies away.
I love the Star Wars movies…all of them…and won’t even pick a favorite. I will admit, however, that I can’t even watch Episode III with my daughter without a box of tissues because we end of crying so hard. It is definitely intense, tragic and beautiful. The other films you mentioned in your blog…I never heard of…except the one about the apes, lol. MTFBWYA!
Perhaps I have misunderstod something that you’ve said, and if that’s the case then I’m sorry. But to state that ‘when things are too big, not matter how good they are, folk are lining up to tear them down’, makes no sense to me considering that the Harry Potter franchise is in fact the biggest in the world and therefore should be ripped apart even more than the Star Wars prequels, right?
Also I found it interesting that you thought this was the best of the SW films; it would be interesting to see your best to worst list of the six films.
Hi, mate, thanks for commenting. People do rip apart the Harry Potter franchise – myself included. There are a lot of people who dislike those films.
As for the the best-to-worse Star Wars list, mine would be as follows… Revenge of the Sith, Return of the Jedi, Empire Strikes Back, Attack of the Clones, Phantom Menace, New Hope. I’d love to know yours. Cheers.
True, I’m not a massive fan of them myself.
Anyway, that’s an interesting ranking – probably the first time I have ever seen New Hope placed at the bottom of a Star Wars list. As it happens I actually prefer watching Phantom Menace to Attack of the Clones, although I’ll admit, I’m not a fan of either. I have been a big fan of the Darth Maul lightsaber fight ever since I first saw it. and I’m not a fan of the romance in AoC.
OK, my list would look like this:
Return of the Jedi, Empire Strikes Back, New Hope, Revenge of the Sith, Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones.
Empire is and will always be my number one. I enjoyed your article and can appreciate your fananitism, but in my opinion, all of the prequels felt like forced melodramas compared to the originals.
Thanks Mike Landers. The truth is I was being fanatical in my celebration of ROTS partly because it doesn’t get the love it deserves, I feel. Whereas Empire certainly does. The truth is that I can’t really pick a favorite SW film – Empire, Jedi, ANH, ROTS – they’re all so good.
Empire was my favorite, growing up. But I’ve since come to feel that my ‘favorite’ SW film is probably either Jedi or Sith. But I love the entire body of work/story as one entity, so it probably doesn’t really matter.