Each week leading up to The Rise of Skywalker, we will be asking certain team members for their takes on every Star Wars film in chronological order. Last week, we discussed–of course–Episode II: Attack of the Clones.
(Catch up if you need. We’ll wait…)
This week, we unfold our thoughts on Revenge of the Sith.
The long-awaited finale that developed and unveiled fan-favorite moments such as Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader, Order 66, and the birth of Luke and Leia all gave the prequel trilogy some much needed praise.
The movie follows the conclusion of the Clone War as Anakin is sent on a mission to spy on Chancellor Palpatine, where he is seduced to the dark side and becomes the infamous Sith lord we all know and love.
Q1. General Thoughts?
Marsellus Durden: Easily the best of the prequels and, for a short while, was my absolute favorite film in the series. We go from the thrilling rescue of Senator Palpatine to the absolutely crushing tragedy of Order 66. When we finally get to the epic heartbreaking finale of brother fighting brother and Obi-Wan cutting Anakin down, I was emotionally exhausted. And just when it seems it was all over, we witness the creation of Darth Vader’s final iconic form and I still get goosebumps seeing that to this day.
Logan Slavin: This is probably my favorite film of the prequel trilogy. It has the best action, the most emotional ending, and finally completes Anakin’s transformation into Darth Vader. I enjoyed seeing Anakin go down this path. There is also the least amount of Jar Jar, so that’s a plus.
Owen: This isn’t a popular opinion, but Revenge of the Sith is my second favorite Star Wars film. Above all, this is among the most entertaining in the saga with nonstop and exhilarating action. The visuals are great. The writing is better than ever. And the locations are iconic. While it isn’t perfect, this is the film that I have the most fun re-watching. Oh yeah, and I think the battle droids are hilarious too. (Don’t hate me.)
Michael Colan: Like many, I believe this to be the best of the prequel trilogy. It has the best constructed narrative, handles its characters well, and the tragedy is palpable. It still has its flaws, but when I think back to this film, I think of the themes, the fallen hero, and the lightsaber duels. It’s a film with much to say in a post-9/11 world and it handles its fantasy elements well.
WriteOnGeek: As we know, the franchise enters mid-stream. It took six movies to get to the point of unveiling how Anakin transformed into the Sith Lord Darth Vader. What a payoff. Watching Anakin fully embrace the Dark Side, and ultimately fall under the spell of the Emperor, was characterization at its finest. This was the finale the prequels demanded and what the saga required.
Q2. Favorite Scene?
Marsellus Durden: It feels strange to pick a heartbreaking scene as my favorite, but Obi-Wan’s final words to Anakin always resonates with me. It’s easily the most impressive sequence of acting in the film. Really, my heart aches to this day hearing McGregor’s pain as he screams, “You were the chosen one!”
Logan Slavin: My favorite scene is the duel on Mustafar. The choreography is incredible in this scene. The way Anakin and Obi-Wan fight while using their surroundings is entertaining. This scene also has some of the most memorable lines in the whole trilogy!
Owen: Easily the opening space battle/rescue sequence. The action is nonstop and an absolute joy to watch. It’s also packed to the brim with fun moments showing off Anakin and Obi Wan’s relationship, R2-D2’s abilities, and just things that haven’t been see before in Star Wars..
Michael Colan: My favorite scene is the silent scene between Anakin and Padme. Both staring at each other across the city, and in one of John Williams’ best composed pieces, haunts the audience. This is the decision point in the tragedy that will send Anakin down the dark path. Lucas uses the strength of his actor’s abilities and visual language communicating everything without a spoken word.
WriteOnGeek: The duel on Mustafar was a culmination of two prequels and the genesis of what most fans consider the Halcyon Days for this historic franchise in film — and it could be argued that it all began here. Surrounded by raging flames, and the fire that rages within Anakin, makes this a powerful apex in the saga’s history. What started as curiosity devolves into jealousy. What were planted as seeds of preeminence sprouted as thorns and weeds of malevolence. True storytelling takes time. Lucas proves it here.
Q3. Feelings on Anakin’s Transformation?
Marsellus Durden: Honestly, a lot of the “melodramatic” moments in Anakin’s transformation come off childish but the core points, like the death of his mother and his irrational fear of losing Padme suffice. It wasn’t quite what I expected as a lifelong fan but in the context of the prequel trilogy, it worked.
Logan Slavin: I think the transformation from Anakin to Darth Vader was handled alright. It may have been a little bit rushed because we didn’t seem much of it leading up to this movie, but I liked how they did it in this one.
Owen: I think his transformation throughout the trilogy was good. It’s not perfect and there are a few inconsistencies, but by digging a bit deeper, his move to the dark side seems natural and inevitable from the start.
Michael Colan: I will agree with the rest of Internet in saying his immediate acceptance of his new title of Darth Vader is rushed but Palpatine’s careful manipulation of Anakin throughout the series is some of Lucas’ best writing. The transformation is a tad bumpy but everything before and after the Mace Windu lightsaber duel works really well.
WriteOnGeek: As much as George Lucas proves his quill never runs dry, he needed more words to tell this story, We go from child to pre-pubescent angst to hipster Darth to Sith Lord. Can’t we slow down a little. One snub from the Jedi Council doesn’t create that many bruised feelings, does it? Regardless, Anakin became Vader, Student battles Teacher, and the Dark finally overshadows the Light. It was great…but way too rushed.
Q4. Set-up to the Original Trilogy?
Marsellus Durden: It leads into the original trilogy well, albeit it does feel a little rushed. Regardless, seeing Luke and Leia born and watching Vader rise in his armor the first time still hits all the right emotional notes.
Logan Slavin: I think this movie set up the original trilogy pretty well. It established why C-3PO doesn’t remember the events of the movies, how Luke and Leia got to their planets, why Padmé isn’t alive, why Vader is who he is, and why Obi-Wan was on Tatooine.
Owen: The look of the Republic technology turning into how it looked in the originals was a bit abrupt, but I’m willing to over look that. Seeing how a galactic democracy slowly crumbled into an Empire was interesting but shallow. It all could’ve been handled a bit better, but I like what we’ve got.
Michael Colan: It does. The transformation of the Galaxy happens, the Republic falls and everyone is set in place where they need to be for the rest of the series.
WriteOnGeek: The prequels served their purpose — the Republic, the Sides of the Force, the Rebellion Alliance, and the Empire. We saw it all unfold. Sometimes through the eyes of a misguided youth, others through the feelings of the Force, and yes…through Jar Jar’s. We met some of the most memorable characters in nerd history, so we should all be satisfied with that.
Q5. Favorite Piece of Music?
Marsellus Durden: “Anakin vs Obi Wan“ is already an epic and monumental finale for the prequel trilogy but its accompanying music is both exciting and moving. It flows with the emotional intensity of the conflict as well as the peaks and pauses of battle perfectly.
Logan Slavin: The best piece of music in this movie reflects the best one in this trilogy “Duel of the Fates.” That is “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan.” This piece is used very well in the battle on Mustafar and I loved hearing it again!
Owen: The music during the battle over Coruscant. Once the camera pans down and those drums kick in, you’re ready for an epic scene, and that’s what we get. The rest of the piece is also one of the most memorable pieces to come out of the prequels.
Michael Colan: This is the hardest one of the trilogy because I genuinely believe this is John Williams’ best work of the series. Lots to choose but I’ll go with “Battle of Heroes.” It’s similar to duel of the fates but with a sad and somber touch.
WriteOnGeek: While “Battle of the Heroes” and “Anakin vs. Obi-Wan” were classic John Williams’ scores, I loved “Anakin’s Dark Deeds” because it begins with sadness. The score creates the journey from woe to struggle to an climax of angst (fueled by another cacophonous choir, as in “Duel of the Fates”) to ultimately a rich conclusion. Again, storytelling for the win.