Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)

This is the Star Wars installment where we see Anakin Skywalker turn to the dark side of the force, to become Darth Vader.

Some time has passed since the end of the last movie.  After three years, the clone wars are nearly over.  It is just a matter of cleaning up a few holdouts and finding some war criminals.

It is no surprise that Chancellor Palpatine has become corrupt, proclaiming himself Emperor, but sadly with Skywalker's help.  Senator Amidala is now Anakin's wife and she still carries that halo over her head.  There will be some tension in the Skywalker household.

The special effects are great as always and this film is packed with lots of action, explosions, cool space ships and many wonderful things.  Still, I had a couple problems with it.  Firstly, it is depressing.  It's just a bummer to see the hero become the villain.  Secondly, I didn't buy Anakin's conversion to the dark side.  There didn't seem to be any sense in it.  It was one of those WTF?? moments.

In terms of men and gender issues, George Lucas is an old fashioned chivalrist.  His stories draw from old legends, such as "King Arthur", and old sci-fi series such as "Buck Rogers".  The only thing modern about the Star Wars series is the special effects.

Notice that while some of his heros are female, there are absolutely no female villains in any of the six Star Wars movies.  Many men transfer the qualities they see in their mothers onto all women.  They see women as the definers and standard-bearers of morality, rather than as human beings with all the faults and moral contradictions that that entails.

Oddly, all non-humans appear to be male and all females are human.

The best thing about "Revenge of the Sith" is that it leaves the audience with much to think about.  Good and evil are less clear cut.  Anakin asks us to prove that the Jedi are good and that the Sith are evil, which is not easy to do.  Both go around killing large numbers of people to fullfill long-term, convoluted schemes aimed at taking power from others.

If you are a devoted Star Wars fan, as I am, there is no decision to make.  You must see this movie.  But I would not count it as one of the best of the Star Wars movies.
                                        - Reviewed by Paul G.


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