Revenge of the Sith

Saw Revenge of the Sith last night, at the local drive in, the same way my brother and sister first saw Star Wars many years ago. (I was at camp at the time, as I recall.)

The reviews are wrong. It is nearly as bad as The Phantom Menace and Attach of the Clones

Rather than nitpick the small stuff (though I mean, really, how many structures do you build on top of an active volcano?), here’s where I think the whole cycle went wrong.

The whole movie is about Anakin’s downfall and turning, which occurs because he wants to save the one he loves, which I actually like quite a bit, and which could have been deeply moving.

However, for this to work, the relationship needed to be extraordinary–also possibly also twisted, dysfunctional, and creepy, depending how you wanted to play it, but that’s all optional. But it needed to be the sort of relationship for which I could believe that Anakin would betray all he believes in, because his love for Padme runs so deep.

That’s the stuff of great tragedy, and it could have been a grand story indeed–worthy of all the sweeping backdrops and swelling music.

But the relationship between Anakin and Padme has always been the weakest thing about these movies. Their dialogue is horrid, and the audience never, even after three movies, knows quite what they’re doing together. I wince when they interact; I wait for more cool cgi to take over, because it’s so painful to watch them talk to each other–and not in a good way. I’ve never, through three movies, believed in their relationship. It’s the worst written part of the movies.

And it’s the part on which everything hinges in the end. The movie didn’t work because the relationship never worked.

It’s too bad. I would have loved to have seen that other movie. Or, failing that, a movie that focused on the special effects, the wookies, and Yoda kicking butt instead. This is known as playing to your strengths, rather than relying on your weaknesses.

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