Revenge of the Sith…

I just finished reading Revenge of the Sith, a movie I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. Up until this point, my favorite Star Wars movie has been The Empire Strikes Back. Maybe it’s because I seem to like conflict, but for whatever reason, I really enjoyed the movie because there was little that was happy about it. The whole point of the movie was to put the heroes into screwed up situations the would have to extricate themselves from in the next film. Han is frozen. Luke learns the truth about his father and loses a hand. Leia falls in love with Han and has him stolen away. Chewbacca loses his best friend. C-3PO is in pieces. Lando loses his city. The Rebellion is on the run. And on and on and on…

Given that we have a general idea of what was going to happen in Episode 3 (everybody is going to die…) it seemed right up my alley. Like every other Star Wars movie since Empire, I’ve always read the book before I saw the movie (okay, okay, my parents made me do it back in 1980 — it’s been my choice ever since…) I’ve never felt that this spoils the movie for me. Quite the contrary, it’s actually enhanced it. IMHO, George Lucas created a great universe with Star Wars but he’s not exactly a great movie maker. While the movies are always fantastic to look at, some of the writing and acting performances stunk. The books actually flesh out the (sometimes lacking) dialog with thoughts and situations that add depth. So when I see something on the screen that is covered only briefly I can recall from the book why something is happening. That has tended to enhance my enjoyment of the films.

Revenge of the Sith has the seemingly requisite goofy “Star Wars” dialogue. I can’t say I’ve come to love it, but I’ve certainly come to expect it. And there is certainly action aplenty. One thing that fascinated me while I was reading was the fact that I found myself hoping for a different outcome. I rooted for characters to have the same vision of the future that I had and to “fix” things. Fortunately, that didn’t happen, but I still found it interesting that I continue to hold out hope for it.

I hear a lot of criticism of George Lucas and how he “screwed up” people’s memory (”Han shot first!” — a familiar cry on slashdot) and ruined their dreams for what the prequels “should have been”. It’s his universe that he created. He can do what he wants to it. I enjoy the movies for what they are to me. Fun movies in a fantasy universe that I happen to find interesting. Did Jake Lloyd’s performance as Anakin suck in Episode I? Sure. Can I figure out for the life of me why Padme falls in love with a jerk like Anakin? Nope. Is a large “walking” transport really a good idea for a military to use? I don’t think so… Do I really care? Definitely not. When I watch the movies with my kids I see a look on their faces that my parents probably saw on mine. A look of imagination and hope. A look of pure enjoyment. A look of anticipation when they get to bash their brother/dad/friend with their lightsabers later that day… Star Wars has always been a fun place to escape to for over 20 years for me. Looks like it just might be for my kids too. To me, there is nothing cooler than that.

All that said, I don’t want to get my hopes up too much but I think this will be my favorite film in the series. With that, I’m really looking forward to May 19th (or 20th, 21st, 22nd, etc. when I can make the time to see it… :-)


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