Darkness, effects command respect in ‘Episode III’ | VailDaily.com

Darkness, effects command respect in ‘Episode III’

Shauna Farnell
AP Photo/Lucasfilm Ltd.In this undated photo provided by Lucasfilm ltd., actor Hayden Christensen plays troubled young Jedi Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith." "Revenge of the Sith" completes George Lucas' prequel series about the roots of Anakin, a dashing pilot and Jedi knight who turns to the dark side as the original trilogy's villainous Darth Vader, the man in black who terrorized the galaxy as well as his two kids, Luke and Princess Leia.

There might as well have been an applause sign for all the cheering that ensued in the theater upon each light saber decapitation in “Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”If that serves as any kind of indication that George Lucas was long overdue for another dark, powerful “Star Wars” film, I’d say he’s hit the jackpot.

“Revenge of the Sith” has no google-eyed ducks speaking in Ebonics. It has no cute children screaming “cool” when they get their little space ships cranked up to top speed. Save the Wookies, who just wail and beat their chests, there are no adorable, furry creatures. And the “Sound of Music”-meets- “Sesame Street”-style romance scenes are – phew – nowhere to be found.”Episode III” is a sensory overload right from the opening air battle scene, when evil mosquito-like droids attach themselves to star fighters and begin dismantling them, woodpecker-style, before R2-D2 flings one into space after putting it into seizures by sizzling it in its eye with a laser.The dialogue is a little lame at times, Anakin Skywalker’s (Hayden Christensen) most evil look, even as he’s turning to The Darkside, still manages to resemble a grumpy 16-year-old’s glare, but “Episode III” still has enough hypnotizing, computer-enhanced bludgeonings and light saber battles, creepy praying-mantis looking bad guys, lava flirtations and cleverly linked background for the 1977 original, that one can’t help but be swept away by it.

I say this although I wasn’t entirely convinced of Anakin’s rushed and confused conversion to the Dark Side, which is the crux of the story. He hardly seems possessed enough by evil forces for the slaughters he executes in nearly the same breath exuding his wishes to help his friends. I also thought Padme’s (Natalie Portman) doe-eyed pleas with the secret father of her children to branch off from The Republic were something akin to some meek housewive’s requests to move the ol’ ranch out into the country. But all it took was Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) riding around on a giant screeching lizard and General Grievous’s sinister grasshopper lurch-walk to fill the sponge of my brain full of nothing but thrill, to the point where it was almost seeping out of my ears once the evil musical score kicked in almost two and a half hours later when Darth Vader was born. In-between comes some breathtaking, bruising use of The Force from a forever majestic Yoda – down to his forlorn declaration of “failed, I have.” Also, some light-headed feelings of nostalgia once pieces were put into place as to whence came the characters we adore from the 1977 original, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi.” Now we know why Luke and Leia aren’t acquainted, why R2 and C-3PO end up where they do and how The Emperor becomes so ugly and wrinkled.

There’s no question that the quality of “Episode III” is worlds above Episodes I and II. Although it’s not without its flaws, The Force, the one that overtook us in the ’70s and ’80s, is back with a vengeance for this one.Staff Writer Shauna Farnell can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 610, or sfarnell@vaildaily.com.vail colorado

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