Friday, May 20, 2005

It ends. Here. Now.

Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith, the much-awaited,much-hyped third movie of the second (rather, first) trilogy of the Star Wars saga made its way to theaters today. As I trudged into a screening at the unearthly hour of 8:30 AM (hey, the tickets were free - you think I'd pay to watch a movie this early?), the excitement was palpable. A colleague had come decked out as a Jedi, and we had a light saber fight in the aisles before the movie got underway.

This is the first Star Wars movie I saw in a movie hall. Episodes IV-VI and I were all seen on DVD, which kind of explains my previous opinion about it.

Not that I've revised it completely, but I'm less underwhelmed - especially since I saw it on the full screen. The plot does hold together, and George Lucas meticulously ties up all the threads of the past and the future. The audience has a reasonable amount of fun while that happens too. The movie is grimmer than Ep. I and IV-VI but that is to be expected. Also, since the denouement is known, you see every event in that light.

The first space dogfight is fun, but the light saber battles start getting to you by the end. The sets and effects rock though, as they have in all of the movies.

Ian McDiarmid who plays Chancellor Palpatine, is in sublime form as the scheming leader who takes over as the leader (for 'security'), and his ingratiating tempting of Anakin to the Dark Side is unnerving. The rest of the cast underperform or don't have much to do, as in all SFX bonanza blockbusters. Ewan McGregor's British accent gets more pronounced than in the previous movies, and Yoda rocks - always does as he . The comely Natalie Portman as well as Hayden Christensen seem slightly (or is it very?) wooden, which is surprising considering their acting credentials. R2D2 and C3PO seem to have better chemistry than they do (part of it is the bad dialog between them).

And whats with the flowery wording? Kids are kids, not 'younglings'. Kept reminding me of the beer brewed in Pennsylvania. "He killed the younglings" - sounds like someone chugged down a few beers back on the East Coast.

Verdict: Some moments make it worth the while, even if you are not a Jedi-in-training. The end with two suns rising on Tattooine gives you a feeling of anticipation - especially since you know what is coming next - A New Hope. The detail in the dogfight at the beginning leaves you breathless, and some of the stunts they pull are fairly ingenious. The sheer variety of characters leaves you stunned too. I never quite thought (in spite of seeing 4 Star Wars movies earlier) that one could think up so many different types of alien life-forms. Memorable characters always at hand are - Yoda, the two robots R2D2 and C3PO, and even Obi-Wan Kenobi's quiet dignity make them all characters worthy of the pop culture status they have today.

So, does it end here? Or will George Lucas go back on his word to make VII,VIII and IX? I hope not. He has the visual flair to tackle different ideas, and it'd be interesting to see him try.

But my initiation into geek pop culture is complete. I actually woke up early today to go to watch a Star Wars movie. And speak like Yoda I try to.

May the Force be with you.

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