Thursday, May 19, 2005

Oh. My. GOD.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is everything I hoped it would be, and far, far more. I am absolutely astonished. More later, of course, but this movie delivered. In spades. With a cherry on top. And coffee after.

UPDATE: OK, I figure I should probably expand my thoughts a bit here. I'm still saving it all for a more in-depth post over the weekend, so suffice it to say that even though I knew what was going to happen in this film (both in the broad sense and in the sense that I really didn't try to be "spoiler-free"), I was still drawn in emotionally. I still wanted Anakin to make the right decisions, I still wanted everything to turn out right. And I was emotionally drained when the film had ended -- so much so that, since I already had tickets to a noon showing today, I turned to the friend with whom I went at midnight and said, "I don't know how I'm gonna make it through this thing again in ten hours."

Even as a lover of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, I was astonished at George Lucas's confidence and rock-steady hand in his direction of this film. There was only one or two scenes, really, where the dialogue was openly awkward; and even then, neither scene was anywhere near the level of awkwardness displayed in, say, the Hoth hospital room scene in The Empire Strikes Back. One line that sounded awful in one of the trailers or TV ads sounded perfect in its context.

Best of all, Lucas seems to have backed off his fabled approach to directing actors ("Faster, and more intense!"), by giving them time to deliver their lines and react to one another to a degree he didn't so much allow in the first two Prequels. And I have to say that I'm not sure if Ian McDiarmid shouldn't receive the first Oscar nomination for acting in Star Wars history. He was that good in Revenge of the Sith. He alternates moments of blistering evil with moments of almost fatherly concern that I really saw just how Anakin got seduced by him. It was one of McDiarmid's lines, actually, that first made me start to shift from "Wow, man, I'm watching Star Wars!" to "Oh my God, this is how it all happened." During a speech of his maybe halfway through, McDiarmid delivers a line that is identical to a line he uttered in Return of the Jedi -- and he delivers it in the exact same manner, the exact same tone of voice. That was my first real spine-shiver of the film, and there were so many still to come.

John Williams's score was brilliant, as expected; even the bits of action score tracked in from his previous prequel efforts worked well. The visuals were obviously outstanding, with the added bonus that the shots were designed so much more artistically this time out.

George Lucas didn't merely redeem himself or make a decent movie here. He made a great one.

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