John Reviews Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (7 out of 10)

On Thursday I sat in a theater with about 150 other invited people (mostly press) to view a special screening of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, the film I had been waiting for since the first time I saw the original Star Wars as a kid.

Let me preface this by saying I enjoyed the first 2 Episodes (Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones). No, The Phantom Menace was not a good movie… but I still enjoyed watching it. And unlike many people, I actually STILL believe Attack of the Clones was a good film (with a couple of major weaknesses).

I’ll try to keep this short.

The Story
The basic story of Revenge of the Sith was (in my opinion) the best laid out story of all the Star Wars films. The political maneuverings, the moral dilemmas, the torn loyalties, and ultimately Skywalker’s decent into the dark side. If you were to read it as a 5 page synopsis, the story and plot stands out as exceptional ones.

The Dialog
Easily the weakest part of the first 2 prequels was the HORRIBLE dialog. Lines that were so cheesy you couldn’t believe someone didn’t say to Lucas “You don’t seriously want her to say THAT do you?” However, the dialog in Episode III takes a MAJOR leap forward. Easily the best scripted of the prequels…. not that’s not saying much, but it’s point that should be made. Anakin’s lines make him sound much more… mature, powerful, serious… something Star Wars fans wanted to see in the second prequel.

The Visual Effects
WOW! Outstanding! Fantastic! Once again the good folks at ILM have outdone themselves. The opening space battle had my jaw on the floor the entire time. Now, having said that, it’s a fair criticism to say that George Lucas has come to overly rely on Visual Effects. Often throwing in VFX shots just for the sake of having them in there and thus distracting from the scene. But still… very nice.

Not Enough Wookies
One of the things I was most looking forward to seeing was a Wookie army kicking some serious ass. I didn’t care whose ass it was. I would have been fine seeing them kick some elderly war vets asses around… I just wanted to see a Wookie rampage! However, we never get it. Sadly all we’re treated to is a few quick shots of Wookies shooting bowcasters and the HORRIBLY ANNOYING obligatory tarzan yell as they swing from a vine on to a droid army tank. How stupid.

The Relationship Between Palpatine and Anakin
The strongest element of the film was the nature of the relationship between the future Emperor and the future Vader. The scenes with the two of them together have you gripped the entire time. And something quite surprising… you realize that Palpatine isn’t JUST trying to manipulate Anakin… but that he actually cares about him. The conversations between the two raise some wonderful questions about the nature of evil… how the good guys do not always act so good, and how the bad guys can sometimes be seen as heroic.

Padmé Sucks
This one really surprised me. The worst part of this film… and that part that I’m sure will ruin Revenge of the Sith for many people is Padmé’s character. Every single scene (withouth exception) that she is in is a total waste of film. The lines she had were worse than the previous two films put together and made her sound far more annoying than Jar Jar ever was. As a matter of fact, this is the first thing I said walking out of the theater: ” Wow, Padmé is the new Jar Jar”. I’m not exaggerating here folks… she is just terrible. It’s so bad that about half way through the film you visibly cringe when you see her come on screen… because you know it’s going to be bad.

The Palpatine / Yoda Confrontation
Oh yes! This is a fantastic fight!!! From the first time I heard that there was going to be new Star Wars movies made I hoped that we would see the Emperor fight Yoda… and oh sweet happiness this fight delivers!

The Vader / Obi-Wan Confrontation
Simply put, the final confrontation between Anakin and Obi-Wan was everything it should have been. Not just a battle between 2 masters… but also a heart breaking conflict between 2 friends. The fight was magnificent, and long, and carried all of the anguish, anger, sadness and fury you have imagined it would. It is the fight I have envisioned in my head since learning the two once battled a long time ago in the first Star Wars.

Something of an Unsatisfying Ending
The conversion of Anakin ot the dark side was wonderful… but the last 5 minutes of the film… tying up some loose ends… was done a little weak. Some important things are left unexplained, and some important conversations that should have been in there are left out.

Final Conclusion
Ok… here it is. I really enjoyed watching Revenge of the Sith. And yes, it is quite a good film. However, the scenes with Padmé alone are enough to give you flashbacks of the worst parts of the first 2 sequels, and thus lower your overall enjoyment ofthe movie.

Still… it is a strong film with a strong story, great effects and much improved dialog (with the exception of anything with Padmé in it). Star Wars fans should be quite happy… and non-Star Wars fans will enjoy as well.

Overall… I give Revenge of the Sith a solid 7 out of 10 (would have been a 9 if they just totally took out Padmé or re-wrote all her pathetic dialog).

Go see it… and may the force be with you

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40 thoughts on “John Reviews Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (7 out of 10)

  1. John, reading this review, you seem to have changed your tone over the years. In this review you state that you enjoyed the first two prequels and almost gave Revenge of the Sith a near-perfect score if it weren’t for Padme. Why now have you changed your opinion of the movies completely? I understand you still like aspects of them, but you certainly don’t seem to enjoy them whatsoever and wouldn’t dream of giving them anything like a 7/10 nowadays. Just curious why you changed your mind.

  2. “I would have been fine seeing them kick some elderly war vets asses around…”

    Hey asshole, if it werent for those elderly war vets, you wouldnt have the luxury of sitting on your fucking ass rating star wars movies all day/

  3. (small spoil alert)

    honestly, as Darth Vader was being tilted up from his table for the first time as he faces the audience, I could have sworn that he was about to be holding a huge Pepsi cup or a Whopper from Burger King in one of his hands.

    c’mon george. you’re killing me here.

  4. For those who are in a mood to see Episode 3 get bashed,
    here is a more highly critical review that is interesting:

    We should print it out, and staple-gun it onto Lucas’ front door.
    I still believe that what Lucas helped bring about (special
    effects via the empty blue room, no more props required) is what
    makes 1-2-3 so boring compared to 4-5-6. In the original trio
    of films, they had to BUILD every set, every costume, and every
    model. The surroudnings inspired the actors, and the actors
    were then natural.

    Now they are in empty rooms, but told “you are on the bridge of
    a mighty star destroyer, so act impressed”.

    They have saved some money on set-building, but they have wrecked
    the movie as a consequence. Hope that James Bond corp. doesn’t
    do the same thing, they spent more than anybody creating sets that
    fueled their films.

    One last concern to bring up: This latest episode 3 is a dangerous
    regurgitation of the greatness of 4-5-6. Vader’s “NOOOO” oh yes,
    that is a regurgitation of Episode 5, with the unnerving statement
    of Vader being Luke’s father. The appearance of the evil dark Lord
    of the Sith? A regurgitation of the appearance of Vader’s boss.

    What we have here is a disappointing corporate calculation, figuring
    that the prior moments sold tickets before (“Noooo!”) so surely
    they can string them together and sell even more tickets now.
    They do not understand that movies are supposed to be about
    breaking new territory. This episode 3 was by, and for,
    the bean-counters in the accounting department, NOT for the filmmakers
    and audiences who caused the 1-2-3 phenomenon. Revenge of the Sith
    is no more exciting (and is highly equivalent to) one of those
    “Charlie’s Angels” remakes.
    (hey it sold tickets before, so it should sell them again…)

    If the bean-counters were in charge back in ’77, Star Wars wouldn’t
    have even gotten a rejection letter, the proposal would have been
    tossed out without a 2nd thought !! Later dudes.

  5. I loved it, mostly… Vader’s “Nooooo.” was terrible and made me cringe in embarassment after so many poignant scenes. When Ani accepted his fate after Samuel L died I was at a loss as I thought he needed more convincing.
    I loved empire but I think when the ROTS dvd comes out I will enjoy this one even more. I had no problem with Portmans character, more so with artoo and the attempted comedy…
    Awesome special effects and generally a great story line far removed from the horrors of Phantom. Enjoy it for what it is.

  6. I remember seeing the original trilogy on the big screen many, many years ago and they no doubt rank as some of my favourite movies of all time.

    So when they announced they’d make Ep’s 1-3 in the late 90’s I was excited. Then I watched them…

    Don’t get me wrong, they were good. But they weren’t Ep’s 4-6 good.

    For me personally, what I felt Ep’s 1 and 2 lacked was the fast paced adventure of the originals. What made Ep’s like TESB so good was the slicing of the larger ‘episode’ into smaller chapters… ie Luke and the Wampa, the Battle of Hoth, the Falcon in the Asteroids, so on and so on.

    Ep’s 1 and 2 lacked this. And having a good knowledge of the expanded universe and the prequel stories (and the stories long, long before the prequels), I understand that politics played an enormous role in the first two Ep’s. But I always felt unsatisfied by them. As is they were just a warm up.

    Having seen ROTS last night, I know what they were warming up to.

    Finally, this film recaptures the structure that made the original trilogy such memorable movies. It was less politics, and more traditional character development (the choice between good and evil, friendships falling apart etc). Sure, the characters are a little wooden, but they are more in line with the original trilogy which had characters based on traditional storytelling heroes which is what made them compelling.

    I was impressed (and dismayed, but I’ll get to that) by the handling of Anakin’s decent into evil. I felt sad for him. You realise he only made his choices to protect those he loves, albeit misguided and poor choices at that. Although I felt his actual acceptance of the Sith following Mace’s death was a little too fast (as in “sure, I’ll give myself to the Sith) and you didn’t really get the impression that it was a difficult decision that he had to wrestle with (although this was implied when he was looking out the window of the Jedi Council, contemplating stopping Mace).

    Once he accepted the darkside, Hayden Christensen handled it well. The dialogue between Anakin and Obi Wan was poignent (even though it was essentially comic book scripting) and you really got a sense of his hate.

    Then there was the “Vader becomes machine” sequence. I thought it was handled well through the operating table, attaching the legs, and the clostrophobic POV of the mask being fitted.

    I was even impressed with the silence before the first “breath”. I was still impressed with the Frankenstein step of the table (clearly he’s not used these legs before) and I had the distinct feeling he had a case of “what have I become”. But then the moment was shattered with the “Noooooo” which I felt was the worst part of the movie, sadly, at the worst possible time. 20 something years of waiting for this moment, and it winds up sounding like a high school production of Macbeth.

    I mean you could tell they’d adapted James Earl Jones dialogue to suit Hayden Christensen’s delivery style but come on. Why he couldn’t have bellowed or screamed or even said nothing at all I don’t know. When I saw it, everything I felt in that scene dropped and I though “George, what are you DOING?” I meandid no one in editing that scene go “hey, do you think this is a little hammy?”.

    Sure, Vader never was the most articulate person, but he still managed a pained grunt when Luke cuts his hand off down the track.

    Maybe it was just bad timing, in such an important scene, and right near the end (as you always remember the last parts more clearly). I can only hope it’s fixed for the DVD (which I doubt).

    Overall it’s by far the best of the new films, and it’s close to the original ones. But I think a few basic flaws (mostly dialogue) could have been averted.

    It’s just a shame that a good movie was let down by 1.5 seconds on bad dialogue.

  7. I’m sorry – I liked AOTC.

    I thought it had a lot more plot to weave through than Phantom EVER DREAMED of having… and more than ROTS.

    Okay – the Love Scenes were BEYOND HOKEY… but good movie.

    ROTS had great fights, great building tension… but while Anakin’s Love for (obsession for) Padme was great – the scenes were “eh.” Good – but not great.

    Then again – there’s not much for her in this one – this movie is about Anakin and Obi-Wan and the Republic – not Padme.

    The transformation – the release of anger by Anakin – was great. But – If the clones were being controlled – why didn’t Palatine just kill off the Jedi a LONG time ago?

    I too thought the last 5 minutes was “Quick – here’s this loose end, here’s that loose end… there now go see Star Wars – New Hope.”

    I want to point out that Lucas said a long time ago that the first three would make “eh” movies – that’s why he decided to start with episode IV. That’s probably why Phantom sucked. All Background information…

    I think our expectations are too great.

    Good movie – great transformation into Darth… (Except for that whole “NOoooooo!!!!!!” thing that looked like Frankenstein coming to life and had OVERACTING and MELODRAMA written all over it!)

  8. It’s good to see a movie review that properly
    criticizes “Revenge of the Sith”. While it is
    certainly watchable, it has none of the original
    ingredients that made the original movies (4,5,6)
    such smash hits 25+ years ago.

    Don’t forget what is missing
    * no character development. These people are just
    place-holders with light-sabors. Their character
    does not come out. How could it, the actors
    have no props, they are bored-to-tears sitting
    in barren “blue rooms” without any sets to inspire them. This is very evident in many of
    their performances and is why they have no
    character. Remember Princess Leia and Hans Solo,
    she says “I love you” and Solo says “I KNOW”,
    fantastic movie-making details. Now, they’d say
    “CUT, violation of script lines, we’re docking
    your contract” etc etc. No room for innovation.

    * We wanted to know more about where Darth Vader
    came from. And yet, this was highly compressed
    into the final portions of the movie. While I
    don’t have time for an essay, I’d say major
    chunks of plot were missing. When did Darth
    Vader get briefed on a plan to rule the empire
    by use of a death-star? What did he think of
    that, what were his comments? How did he get
    over the loss of his lady-friend? What was his
    impression of having to wear a robot suit (some
    thing for americans with disabilities enthusiasts?) We don’t know because none of that
    was delved into. AGAIN, no character development,
    and too little aboout who is Darth Vader.

    Instead we get pointless “fight” scenes that could
    be deleted from start-to-finish. They are just
    time-filler because Lucas never put in what
    needed to be present in the first place. When
    you think of all the massive wealth Lucas has
    accumulated, and his original successes, he
    deeply disappoints me. Perhaps he is not in
    control anymore, faceless bureaucracies are in
    charge, demanding mediocrity from all.

    – Norm
    analogee at

  9. I certainly liked this movie better than clones.

    The movie basically went steady; it had a few “Lucas” moments, and then when Windu gets it in the most tragic way, your on your seat the rest of the way except for the last cheesy “Lucas moments.”

    The cheesy “Lucas moments” were Darth Vader rising like Frankenstein and yelling worse than Lucas’s “Luke Skywalker” scream in his first empire edit; i can just see the first “Revenge of the Sith” edits coming . . . .

    Overall, it was worth seeing just for seeing the last twenty minutes after the Windu tragedy.

  10. You are a fool John.The dialog is an improvement and so was Padme’s lines.Your trying to hard to be a critic.Sorry try again next time.

  11. I just came from seeing the 12:01am opening of “ROS-Ep.III”. First off (I will inlcude no spoilers) and I am a huge starwars fan. I loved the first 3 films of 28yrs ago (I am only 30). My mother must have taken me to see Empire and ROJ over 10 times since there was no VCRs-only beta-max then. Anyway I thought this film had let me down somewhat- my expectations were still too high I guess. But there are a few positive things I would like to say about the movie.
    I agree with the blog-reporter here, Padme (Natalie Portman) did suck except for one scene which I thought was very, very, very good- and that was the one where she had no lines in it and was just staring at the jedi temple and Anakin staring across the Coruscant skyline at her quarters. That scene was truly moving- and it had no lines in it- just the setting- it was pivotal to the film. Then R2D2 was a little too much over the top- but funny and probably the best actor in the film along with yoda (thats how bad the actors were). The third and last good point was the whole manipulation of Senator Papaltine of Anakin -that was indeed good story telling- he was not being herioc nor looking out for Anakin but using him for his own selfish goals. But that arc to the story line was indeed gripping and well played.

    I wont go into bad points too much with only to say I will probably only see this one once, and wait for it on DVD probably. The Wookies were too short- no real-ass wooping as we expected. 1 Jedi to get General Grevious (come on)-send half the Jedi for that mission. And too many cut scenes of Yoda just looking sad- but it was a sad time for the Jedi. I give the movie 6 out of 10 stars and I hope George Lucas can indeed redeem his screenwriting soul the same way Vader redeemed his soul in ROJ. Please George “I still sense the good in you.”

  12. I’ve been thinking the last few days how I found that I like Phantom! I of course watched it last saturnday night, and I find it pretty good even spooky towards the end when the Jedi start wondering who the other sith is.

    I liked how Obiwon and Quigon used ‘ecological’ logic to convince the underwater people that what happens to others eventually happens to you.

    I also like the point about how the Buerocrats show that they are the ones who are really in charge which makes for a good way of getting Senator Palpatines foot in the door.

    The creative way Padme finds to combat and defeat the Blockade guys I liked also; she gets the Gungen people’s to act as decoys to draw away the majority of the fleet fooling even the emperor. I find Jar Jar’s role trivial and background; i barelly ever noticed him in the roles of all the stuff above.

    The only thing I didn’t like was the Mother; the young Anakin certainly wasn’t all that exciting, but overall, the Tatoine scenes weren’t all that bad.

    And of course, the Phantom Menace has a really good saber dual.

    Clones sucks more than Phantom Menace. I was always of the understanding that the clone wars was ‘Clone Jedi.’ But, the clones war movie is just a bunch of storm troopers who the Jedi fight with; this alone throws out the whole Clones war movie; i thought it sucked the whole way through. O.K. I liked the opening scene with the fake Empress getting killed at Coruscant, but that is it. O.K. So, the bar scene was kind of funny; after that, the move sucked to no end; Bobba Fets father being chased sucked, the whole thing with Bobba Fet’s father and the storm trooper clones sucked; the love scences sucked; the tatoine scenes sucked; the industrial stamping scenes sucked; Count Duku holding Obiwon in a force shield scence sucked; the fight with the little green one was dorky; in fact, the whole movie was dorky and cheap – no creative ideas and just tacky cheap the whole way through. And of yes, Jar Jar voting in Senator Palpatine really sucked!

    Well, those are my first two Star Wars movie reviews!

  13. Anyone who can seriously say ‘Padm√ɬ© is the new JarJar’ is just too sad for words.
    Everybody: Just go home, put on ‘Empire’ and cry if you must, because surely Lucas lost all talent a long time ago although not necessarily in a galaxy far, far away.

    Sorry. Can’t wait to see if anyone decides to bomb my mailbox after this. Todd nailed it, though: Lucas should just leave the director’s chair to others.

  14. I like what one reviewer said; our expectations are so low that we are happy this movie isn’t a total clone of clones and/or phantom manace!

  15. I thought that John was going to do a second audio edition last week to follow up the Star Wars movie. I kept refreshing the page on Friday. I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of it, but it never came. It killed my day. I was ready to hear what he had to say and just how pumped he was about it. Was I the only one who thought he was going to do that?

  16. Heh … despite all my misgivings about it I will say that it’s by far the best of the prequels. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as Jedi but it’s not too far off.

    Lucas makes me crazy because he’s such a skilled technician but he just seems totally blind to his own weaknesses … the best Star Wars moments all came when he had other people looking over the stories and had outside directors. The man has gone on record saying he hates working with actors and I think that just oozes through everything he does … if what he loves is the technical end of things he should just stick to that and leave the directing to people who care about drawing good performances out of their actors.

  17. I had been waiting all day for your review as well and I’m not surprised at your rating. I saw another review yesterday somewhere else that said basically the same thing. Outstanding movie, great effects, they should have killed Padme sooner…lol

    Either way I have 2 teenage sons dying to see it and I am too.
    Thanks for the great review.

  18. A 7 out of 10 sounds like what I was expecting out of this movie. I’m going to go in without high expectations, and who knows, hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised. Thanks for the review John!

  19. Isn’t 7 out of 10 like giving a student like a really low ‘C’ grade? That a 70%! Oh well. Sounds like you had a great time anyway, despite the low score. Can’t wait till the 10th!

    Your review is the last one I’m reading (which even so I quickly skimmed though it) to avoid being ‘spoiled’ till I see the film.

  20. I’ve had a horrible pain in my gut ever since the ‘Anikan you’re breaking my heart’ Padme line in one of the commercials.

    I’m going to the midnight showing on the 18th, I have extreme doubts that Padme can be worse than Jar Jar, but you’re my favorite movie critic above Ebert in my book so I trust you on this. *sigh*

    *scuttles over to to read the ROTS script*

  21. Performance-wise John how did Hayden fare in this one?

    Like Brad here, 7 is not a bad rating, and John said it himself, if not for the Padm√ɬ© scenes he thought sucked (again, a matter of opinion) he will easily give it a 9. My level of enthusiasm for this film will not go a notch lower regardless of what the reviewers have to say, so far, Harry’s review at AICN truly made my day.

    Meli my dear, no probs, I shall keep a lookout on my inbox for your reply. I might just stick to my Skywalker shirt to wear on midnight screening.

  22. Hey David.

    Yes, i was at the same viewing as Todd… as a matter of fact I’m the one who brought him as a guest.

    We discussed the film afterwards, and it was clear we disagreed on the movie. As always, I am right. :)

    Seriously though… the buzz I heard from the other people coming out of the theater (and in the mens room) was actually a little more positive than me… and a LOT more positive than Todd.


  23. Thanks for the review! I was hoping it was up before I had to go off to work. If you’ve given it 7/10 then I’m relieved to know my excitement it not in vain. May 19th can’t come fast enough!!!

    It’s a shame about your Padme review….in the tv spot she doesn’t look horrible at all, but then again editing can be deceiving.

    Though I have to say I’m really looking forward to everything else….not so much on the Anakin/Padme love story.

    Hey Simone! (I’m writing you back, I swear…working on it!) I saw 2 new baby doll tees. One is black with a picture of Anakin on it holding a lightsaber. Then the other is a red shirt with a picture of Chewie and the text beneath him says “I’d sooner kiss a wookie!”
    I so want that one….but they didn’t have my size. I’m hitting other Hot Topic stores near by to see if I can find it.

  24. John, thank God for an honest review. I saw the movie yesterday too and though you seemed to like it more then me, it’s nice to get a review that not from a fanboy.

    SPOILER ALERT!!!! Not really, but I don’t want to piss anyone off.

    Yes, it’s better then the last two, simply cause it tells the origin of Vader. But the George we came to know through the last two movies is still going strong. Many corny, cutesy moments, strange story structure, bad guy characters that are there for no purpose but to have someone to fight. The audience laughed many times at the bad acting and dialogue. Though Ewan was really great. A totally unnecessary journey to the Wookie world just to be able to sell some toys. We are there for about 3 minutes. Yet with all the new toys that will come out of it, the last battle between Anakin and Obi-Wan is incredibly dark. So dark in fact, that I’m a little worried about taking my 7 year old nephew on opening day. He idolizes Anakin and he’s about to get a rude awakening. Also, I didn’t need the Bush bashing in a timeless sci fi fantasy film. Maybe not so timeless now. Oh well, it will be an interesting month.

  25. John, you review is very different to the one given by Todd on Was you at the same press viewing by the way? Did you see people walk out of the cinema?

  26. Interesting, but I find your lack of faith disturbing… Am seeing it on Sunday and will post Darkmatters reviews in two flavours:
    1. Spoilt Bastard
    2. Unspoilt by Progress

    Am still stoked about seeing it – would you say it warranted it’s 12a rating?


  27. John, I’m glad you liked the movie, it certainly brings a sense of comfort for the 18th -I’m going to midnight showing-. I can totally live with a 7, and I am going to treat this movie as if it was a chick out on a Friday night. You know; if the girl is in the bar – right off the bat she’s a 5 on general principle. Then if she has a nice rack she’s bumped up to a 6. Finally if she is ripping shots she will be elevated to a 7, and I think many of us can agree that we would all go home with a 7 (for the night at least). Plus those sevens are always entertaining when you have nothing better to do and you’ve done it a dozen times before, so you pop it in the DVD player to get your jollies off.

    I can live with a 7…

  28. Aha! This will be good, one review by a professed SW geek and from one not so keen on the whole thing. *winks*

    I might see a conversion here sometime soon perhaps? *laughs*

  29. Interesting. Good review John. Now it looks like I will get to see it next week (since I might have just negotiated my first Press pass – have to wait to see the outcome), it’ll be interesting to see my not-so-mad-on-Star-Wars review. I fully expected a 9 or 10 from you.

  30. Yes, thanks John. Very surprised at the low score, particularly given the other wow factors that you mentioned. But then I’ve not seen the awfulness that you say is Padme… must be really bad to knock off two points.

  31. I have been waiting here all morning for this John, and thanks for a well-thought out review. Just what i was expecting you would give us. :-)

    Funny how you thought that Padm√ɬ© sucked in this film when in other reviews I have read, they were saying things otherwise, that it has considerably improved. Ehr, John, did you have “closure” after watching it? How were you feeling now that you have seen your last Star Wars movie?

    Anyhoo, can’t wait for what the rest of us here have got to say, shame its 2 weeks away!

    The FORCE will be with us always.

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