For the man who’s greatest sin was Jar-Jar Binks, all has been forgiven.
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Anxiously waiting in line for the film, wondering what to say to the 100 or so people behind me when Angela finally shows up after work. (Didn’t matter in the end, as she didn’t get there until after I sat down.) I was clutching my tickets with the kind of glee reserved for a 4 year old on his birthday. Hell, it was my birthday: the final Star Wars film was here and I was in the line to see it; the pinnacle of geek highs.
And I wasn’t let down.
The final Star Wars film is a solid piece of work. There aren’t really any surprises here: you know where it begins and you know how it ends. The rest is 2–1/2 hours of intense light saber battles and anguish (on the part of Anakin, not me). This final film has more of an artistic flair than previous films. Sure, the cheesy serial film scene change effects are still there and Lucas isn’t known for his ability to bring out Oscar-worthy performances.
However, there are some scenes that are much more moody or composed than any of the previous installments. Case in point (and I’m not spoiling any plot here): The scene where Anakin finally is put into “the mask.” The screen is filled with the profile of Vader’s mask as Anakin lies prone and motionless. Dead silence in which you can hear the collective mouths opening at the drama. Here is a brilliantly lit, motionless scene of one of the greatest icons of the 20th century. And then, in the silence you hear the familiar clicking and breathing of Vader’s respirator. For all the puns, humorous sketches, and parodies made in the past 28 years, you can still feel the immense gravity of this scene. Seeing the mask is the line binding back on itself to form a perfect circle. You know exactly where you are know.
There were a few things I had expected to see that weren’t there. While the Millennium Falcon can be seen briefly near the beginning of the film, it’s not really involved in the story like I would have imagined (let along a mention of what the Kessel run is, for you fan-boys and girls). I expected to see more of the formation of the rebel alliance, as well. Lastly, as cliché as it has become in my lifetime, I really wanted to see more of Darth Vader in the black mask. Not in some sort of fan-boy desire to see more Sith lords, but because I felt almost as if it was my heritage as a geek-child-of-the-seventies to see him. I’d waited all my life to get here and I deserved all the time I wanted to spend with him, story be damned.
Lucas does a fine job at filling in that gap between two known points. He provides us with a sense that this is the way it had to happen; that Darth Vader is less of a über-villain, and more of a story. Rather than using the Disney-esque villains-are-bad and heros-are-good model, Lucas also allows each of the characters to have motivations, doubts, and human involvement. Most impressive is Senator Palpatine. You get a sense that while he is no doubt evil and corrupt, he really forms a bond with Anakin. Sure, he only wants Anakin becuase he realizes that the young Jedi is the strongest of them all and easy to manipulate, but he no less seems to look out for the boy.
There was no applause after the film. I didn’t applaud, not because I didn’t like the film or enjoy myself, but because I was generally depressed. The story ends on a stunningly sober note and as the lights came back up, I realized that this was it. Applauding would just be more nails being driven into the coffin. There’s no point in my recommending this film. If you know me and read this, you’ll go see it. Not because I told you to, but because it’s your heritage as well. You’ve earned the right to see Darth Vader, too.