1. Amazing as this may seem, in Revenge of the Sith, George Lucas does recapture the Saturday matinee cliffhanger feel of the IV-VI trilogy. (In fact, characters hang from ledges fairly frequently in this film.)
2. George Lucas has no business writing love scenes. Mr. Lucas grasps intimacy about as well as I grasp Fermat’s theorems. And while said scenes are in short supply in Sith, they are about as egregious as it comes.
3. Obi-Wan rides one of the coolest Star Wars creatures since the Tauntaun.
4. So what the hell, George? What’s with the despicable gender gap in the Star Wars universe? The only chicks we have are Padme (quite literally, a barefoot and pregnant Ophelia archetype) and one token Jedi chick who gets eviscerated in seconds. Further, all the younglings are white and male, supporting my theory that the Republic/Empire represents a strange eugenics-inspired confluence of Nazi Germany and late 20th Century America. (Factor in the Germanic-sounding Vader and it all becomes self-evident.)
5. Jar Jar appears, but does not speak. But he is not flayed alive, as he rightfully should be, during one pivotal massacre.
6. The transformation of Anakin into Vader is very cool and very Return of the King-inspired.
7. I actually enjoyed the gradual black eye shadow applied to Hayden Christensen as the film went on. But while Christensen delivered a less cringe-worthy performance than the last film, he was again very silly and over-the-top near the end. Fortunately, through Ewan McGregor’s sneaky underplaying, the film’s denouement wasn’t completely demolished by Christensen’s histrionics.
8. Believe it or not, there was a minimum of Lucas’ environmental clutter. It was a relief to finally watch a film in which I didn’t have to pay attention to 6,000 CGI elements at once.
9. The traditional Star Wars dissolves weren’t nearly as intrusive as they were in the last two films.
10. The so-called “darkness” wasn’t nearly as “dark” as Lucas made it out to be. Certainly not Empire Strikes Back-dark and certainly not worth a PG-13 rating.
11. I have to ask: Does the Jedi Council just cavalierly sit by as one of its members kills an unarmed man? I mean, call me crazy, but if I were a member of the Jedi Council and some snotty little kid did that on my watch, I’d box his ears. It doesn’t take “the Force” to second-guess an asshole.
12. I’m not sure who was the genius who casually suggested to George that people often use contractions in their speech, but thank fucking god. Contractions go a long way to improving Lucas’ wooden dialogue. (ANAKIN: “I sense Count Dooku.” OBI-WAN: “I sense a trap.”)
13. Wookie Planet! Yes!
14. Yoda’s Jedi moves have improved considerably. He no longer resembles Sonic the Hedgehog, largely because Lucas is wise to keep Yoda’s back flips in long shot.
15. When lightsabers don’t have the allure they once had, what do you do? You have a cool fight scene where one character wields four of them.
16. R2D2 finally has character again! He beeps, he’s active, and he zaps people. I had completely forgotten R2D2’s charm, which hasn’t been seen since the first trilogy.
17. Jimmy Smits, are you going to fall asleep? Jimmy Smits, are you going to fall asleep?
18. Inconsistent is Yoda’s grammar, yes? Put to rest, the tired green guy.
19. Despite wars, revolutions and political upheaval, traffic apparently does not stop in the Star Wars universe. Just another day on the flying car bypass. Move along.
20. Finally, a compelling scene in the Senate chamber! Who knew that the place would be more interesting once the talking stopped?
Three stars. Mabuse says check it out.