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:: Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

It’s third time lucky for George Lucas, who finally delivers a thrilling prequel, which enriches his masterpiece, Star Wars, and stands alone as a great film. Revenge of the Sith combines the special effects and action we crave in a sci-fi blockbuster, with the simple story telling and human warmth that made the original trilogy what it was.

As Revenge of the Sith opens, the republic is in embroiled in the Clone Wars. Jedi knights lead spectacular dogfights against the separatists, heroically defending their democracy. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) has become as powerful as his Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewen McGregor), though the wise members of the Jedi Council still consider him too young and rash to be taken seriously. In defiance of Jedi law, Anakin has secretly taken a wife, the beautiful former Queen of Naboo, Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman), who he loves above all else.

Revenge of the Sith will seem pleasantly familiar to Star Wars fans in terms of the look, the characters and the story. Anakin’s fate is sealed from the start of this film as it foreshadows the events in Episode IV: A New Hope. Thus, we know the Jedi Council must fall and be exiled, we know that somehow Luke and Leia must be born, and most of all we know there must be a terrible betrayal. Lucas cleverly weaves his story around these expectations to satisfy our questions while still giving us some surprises, some excitement and a few laughs.

Despite a couple of corny moments in the dialogue, of which the originals also had their share, Revenge of the Sith is a film to watch again and again. However, the story’s foundation in war creates some scary moments, so it’s not one for the kids. Even older children, tempted by marketing and not to be dissuaded, would do well to have parental guidance.

The special effects are worth noting not only for their technological prowess, but also for their modesty. The super glossy, CG look of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones has been toned down to sit more comfortably beside a 1977 film. They add to the darkness and intensity of the story, rather than trying to be the central focus.

Instead, we see a return to the great costumes of the George Lucas classics. These include some old favourites like Chewbacca with original actor, 7ft tall Peter Mayhew, inside and the magnificent Darth Vader, resplendent in his brand new spooky helmet.

This is the only prequel Star Wars needed. Well done George!