Anakin, Go Home
Episode III was like Episodes I and II: Exotic creatures, sweeping vistas, technological toys, complex battle scenes, and political intrigue. It advanced the story line and gave a plausible motive to Anakin’s turn to the dark side. However, like the first two episodes, it was full of cheesy dialogue and characters with no charisma. You could argue that Episodes IV, V, and VI also had corny lines, and I’d agree. Where the first three episodes fall short is the character assortment and development.
First of all, I don’t care about the characters. The members of the Jedi council are lofty, know-it-alls. Anakin is a moody teenager. Padme is so reserved she is almost comatose. The bad guys cycle in and out so quickly (with the exception of Palpatine) that they don’t seem all that bad. Jar-jar Binks was at least entertaining, but he doesn’t reappear in Episode III. The only characters I felt any concern for were infants Luke and Leia. An attempt to inject character spark from the later movies with a guest appearance by Chewbacca comes across as incredibly forced. In the end, all I could think was “good side, dark side…who cares? Let’s just get some watchable (and believable) characters on the screen!”
Second, the first three movies lack the sense of camaraderie between the characters that you see in the last three movies. Han and Leia’s fiery romance blows Anakin and Padme’s out of the water. (I still can’t figure out what Padme saw in Anakin.) Anakin and Obi-Wan’s padawan-master relationship is boring. Anakin’s chafing at Obi-Wan’s rules and his constant saving of his master’s ass get old. I much prefer the dynamics between the characters of the later movies. Even without the plot, their interactions are worth watching. I never get tired of Luke’s whining, Leia’s bitching, and Han’s smart-ass comments.
Other gripes about Episode III include anticlimactic battle scenes, non-sequitur droid antics, and gratuitous Wookie shots. The movie seemed to alternate between cramming in scenes to advance the storyline and then coming to a dead halt while R-2 comically defends himself or Padme gazes sorrowfully at the cityscape. The Channel 9 movie reviewer gave Revenge of the Sith eight stars out of ten. I think she overrated it. I’d rather have been at home watching A New Hope.