Further Thoughts on Why I Hated It


Apparently Meli and I are in the minority amongst our friends as to the badness of Revenge of the Sith. Since our friends are all intelligent people with fine taste in movies, I began to wonder if I had missed something, if perhaps I was being too hard on the movie, and if I was focusing too much on the dialogue and not enough on the good stuff.

The order of the day with the Star Wars franchise has always been bad dialogue/good story. Harrison Ford's famous on-set outburst - "You can write this shit, George, but you can't say it" - applies throughout the Star Wars saga and was an acceptable flaw since the stories were so engaging. What was so disappointing about Revenge of the Sith was that the story stank as well. And what was really disappointing was that it stunk up other stories in the process of stinking itself up, namely the original movies.

Darth Vader didn't help the Emperor hunt down and kill the Jedi. He shot a bunch of fish in a barrel while the other Jedi were ambushed by the storm troopers they were commanding. Obi-Wan's description of the Emperor's campaign against the Jedi created (at least for me) a sense that as the Republic fell the Jedi scattered throughout the galaxy and were systematically hunted down over some prolonged period of time. Under the facts of Revenge of the Sith, the Jedi were wiped out in a single afternoon. And Anakin was only tangentially involved.

Anakin wasn't seduced by the Dark Side. He crossed over because he wanted to keep his wife from dying and he was mad at the Jedi for not letting him join the Popular Kids Club. Obi-Wan had a tougher time convincing Luke to become a Jedi than Palpatine had convincing Anakin to kill the Jedi. Very disappointing.

As I mentioned in an earlier comment, the scene where Luke asks Leia about her (and his) mother is meaningless now. Leia never knew her actual mother, which was probably a good thing since the engaging, proactive, and intelligent woman that Leia became obviously had nothing to do with her biological mother, who spends this entire movie being pregnant and staring out the window (Meli's observation, not mine).

(Meli adds: Somehow feminism passed Padme by in the 00s when our hunger for strong female characters is at a peak, while Leia was a poster child for Ms. Magazine at the height of the Reagan Era. Also, falling in love was incidental to the story of Leia's life, where it was the quintessential (and only) achievement of Padme's.)

These are just a few of the ways in which Revenge of the Sith gutted the original series. The groundwork for the fall of the Republic that was laid in Episodes I and II was great - a Sith Lord masquerading as a Senator orchestrates a civil war in which he is secretly controlling both sides, creating enough chaos to reduce the Republic to a totalitarian state. Where Lucas dropped the ball was in the characters. Darth Vader was always my favorite movie character growing up - not just my favorite Star Wars character, not just my favorite movie villain, but my favorite character - so I had special expectations when the prequels began and purported to tell the tale of how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader.

Essentially, the prequels are not about the Darth Vader of A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and the better parts of Return of the Jedi. Prequel Vader is not the ambitious and ferocious warrior who seeks power for the sake of power and destroys his enemies with ruthless efficiency.

Rather, he's a sniveling sidekick - first to Obi-Wan, then to Palpatine. He's not the Vader who lays waste to the incompetent military leaders in the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. He's the lapdog who lurks next to Palpatine, hanging his head and keeping quiet, until the Emperor orders him to start defending him from Luke at the end of Return of the Jedi. Prequel Vader has no will of his own. He has no greatness, good or evil. So we don't care that he goes from good to evil (and back to good). These aren't his decisions. He's just being manipulated by his circumstances. Just like Padme. (Meli adds: God knows how she got pregnant, since neither of them could be counted on to make the first move toward having sex.)

So I guess that's why I hated Revenge of the Sith. It wasn't just a poorly acted, poorly written, and poorly executed movie about a bunch of uninteresting characters (with the exception of Palpatine, who as the only shining star of the movie, moreso because of the acting than the writing). It was a crappy movie that sterilized quality characters in other quality films. And that's why I now refuse to acknowledge the prequels as part of the official Star Wars universe. They are, as Sean said and as I quoted before, elaborate (and crappy) fanfiction that happened to be written by George Lucas.


You must clear your mind if understand Episode III you will.

Darth Vader hunts down and kills the Jedi between Episodes III and IV. The movie makes clear that there are still Jedi left scattered throughout the galaxy, which is why Yoda and Obi-Wan battle their way to the Jedi temple in order to recalibrate the emergency code warning the Jedi to stay away.

The Darth Vader you describe from the original trilogy was never the character Lucas wrote, who has made clear on many occasions that Vader was the hero all along, and the stories are of his redemption. He has always been a sidekick: in Episode IV he is quite literally the sidekick of Grand Moff Tarkin, and from there on out he is the servant to the Emperor.

If in your childhood you built up Darth Vader into some kind of feelingless killing monster, bloodthirsty and all that, then that is not Lucas's fault.

And if Leia turns out to be a better specimen of womanhood than her mother, then how is that different from Luke's ironing out the flaws of his father?

Anakin's turn to the dark side in Episode III is done slowly and sensitively: in no other Star Wars episode does Lucas stage such conversation set-pieces as the three scenes between Palpatine and Anakin in Episode III, and the one where Palpatine relates the legend of Darth Plagus the Wise is brilliantly convincing.

Anyway, just some responses to what I feel is a sadly prejudiced and short-sighted critique of a masterful film.

A few last thoughts... How did 3PO and R2-D2 get Padme in the ship? 3PO obviously can't have the strength to pick her up, and R2 would pretty much have to drag her with a chain.

Also didn't it look like Obi-Wan was sneaking into Padme's ship to take a shit? Perhaps the stage direction was Obi-Wan sneaks into ship, finds a toliet, and sits like hes got the runs real bad.

Regardless of where OG Vader lies in the military hierarchy, it's clear in the original films that he's an independent force (pardon the pun) to be reckoned with. I didn't like him because he was a "killing machine," but because there was a greatness to his power that came through even when he was taking orders from Tarcon. In Empire it's all about him, with the exception of the (now awkwardly redone) brief Emperor hologram scene. In Return of the Jedi there are a few badass things that he does independent of the Emperor - but all in all he's disappointingly submissive (which I've always identified as a weakness of the film). The character of Darth Vader that I liked did exist.

Regardless of exactly how much power OG Vader has, it's clear that prequel Vader has none. He's basically a really powerful weapon that can be used by whoever manipulates him best. So at best, the really interesting parts of Vader's character development happen in the unseen wasteland between Episodes III and IV. And if thats's the case then the prequels - which are supposed to tell the story of Darth Vader - are completely pointless.

And I disagree with you about the crossover to the Dark Side. I think it's hurried, contrived, and entirely unconvincing.

"hurried, contrived, and entirely unconvincing"

word to that!

Well, I didn't find it hurried, contrived, or unconvicing. I don't know what to say. I remember thinking, as I was watching it, "That was a lot more believable than I expected it to be." From my perspective, it seems you went into the movie ready to hate it, but even if you did, of course, that's your right. I'm sorry you didn't like it.

Calling it fanfiction is, while clever, ridiculous, and I will stand by that until Lucas retroactively inserts two or more Obi-Wan/Yoda love scenes. They are part of the official story now, as much as New Hope. Sorry! I had a similarly frustrating experience when the comic book character Iron Man turned evil for no good reason. Fuck, that turned me off of comics.

Here is a link to a more thorough and less emotional critique (link via jmv). I agree with every word this guy says. He also makes the fanfic comment, apparently having arrived at it independently (unlike me, since I borrow most of my wit from others).

Anyway, I think this about sums up our feelings:

"I felt like RoTS alternated between grand, elaborate battle sequences that were so grand and so elaborate that after the 40th minute they just got dull and "exposition" scenes that beat the audience over the head with dialogue a middle schooler could have written. The acting looked bad because they weren't allowed to act. There was _no_ subtext in the whole thing, just lots and lots of TEXT."

So much for that. Tomorrow I'll go back to blogging about strippers and donuts. And if fuzzydice.com ever fixes itself I'll start uploading strips again.

About what you say about Darth Vader beeing the lap dog of Obi-Wan... Well, it is one of the factors that created anger inside Anakin's mind, and that will ultimately lead to his crossing(on this I agree that Anakin was not seduced but forced to join the dark side...)to the dark side.
He is not the Emperor's lap dog in The Revenge of the Sith, given that he tells Padme that his powers are superior to the ones of the emperor, and that by overthrowing him, they can rule the Galaxy... He was just pretending to be his servant to learn the secret of Darth Plagus the Wise. His inicial crossing to the Dark Side was meant to save Padme, but once he was consumed by it, he was no longer the same persone... And i think that some part of him always resented Palpatine (it is he who kills him i remind you).
Even though some "mistakes" were made during the movie I thought it was great.
And i also thought the dialogues were amazing... Especialy the one between Palpatine and Anakin about Lord Plagus the Wise and the final one beetween Obi-Wan and Anakin, just before Anakin has his mask put on...

There were a handful of out-of-nowhere lines that made feeble attempts to make the characters more interesting (like the thing about overthrowing the Emperor, which was entirely out of place and had a definite "JUST LIKE THAT LINE IN THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK!!!" feel). But like I said, it all comes off as very contrived.

The Palpatine dialogue was easier to stomach, but it really seemed like Palpatine was doing his own movie, and trying (without success) to get the other characters to be a part of his better movie. That's how you get exchanges like:

Palpatine: I can make you POWERFUL. I can give you POWER. You will have more POWER than the Jedi. You like POWER, don't you?
Anakin: Yeah, power, great, but I can save Padme, right? She's really hot. Yeah, I'll kill the kids, whatever, so long as Padme gets to stay alive.

I think my biggest problem about his turn to the dark side was after he kills Samuel Jackson he says "What have I done" and instead of checking himself and saying I can't do anymore because it is obvious that he is horrified by what he has done, he immediately swears himself to the emperor...It was just a little weird to me.

Also did anyone else notice how many hand were cut off?

The hero-losing-a-hand is one of the many things that George Lucas lifted from Indo-European mythology for the original trilogy. Apparently this shows up a lot. There's the story of Tyr from Norse mythology, and there was also an Irish king who lost an arm in defense of his people and got a silver replacement. Those of you whose exposure to the Classics goes beyond a single semester of Celtic Studies can help me out here.

So, when Luke has his hand cut off in Empire Strikes Back, that's what's going on. And then of course there's that great shot at the end of Jedi where raging, almost-Dark-Side Luke cuts off Vader's hand, and we have the shot of Luke looking from Vader's robot stump to Luke's own robot hand, and that's what compels him to resist crossing over.

But the gratuitous loss of limbs, as with all things, lost all of its literary grounding in the new fanfic trilogy. Anakin loses a hand in AOTC, which is still arguably tied to the mythical origins of the original trilogy (but could also just be one of the many painful throw-ins designed to make the audience go "Just like Luke! Har har!"). But ROTS is just nuts with the hands. Dooku loses both hands, Dark Helmet (Grievous) loses most of his hands (one, regrettably, rather early on in his much-hyped duel with Obi-Wan), and Anakin loses ANOTHER hand as well as both legs.

tell me shit about Darth Plagus the Wise like who the hell is he?¿?

My two cents...Obi-wan never exactly new why Anakin tuned to the dark side. It's not like Anakin told him about the visions of the death of Padmé. Hence, in Ben's words, "Vader was seduced by the dark side of the force...", why, to get power. So seduce was the right word, from his point of view.

Another thing, did anyone made the link that Plagus was able to control de midi-chlorians to create life, and that Schmi could not explain how she got pregnant, and that anakin was conceived by midi-chlorians...

And I also agree that Vader hunted down the remaining Jedi between 3 & 4. There were hundreds of Jedis and we only saw like 10 die...

WTF is a youngling?

Palpatine talks of Darth Plagus being able to make the metachlorions create life, and that he was the only one powerful enough to do so. Then is that how Anakin was conceived? Because remember, his mother said that there was never a father. She just got pregnant for no reason. And that explains why Anakin's metachlorions are so strong, which explains why the force is so strong within him. He was BORN to be a sith lord. He had to have been created by the ultimate sith lord, Darth Plagus. Or, if not, then who was Darth Plagus's apprentice who killed him? Cause he knew all that as well. Was is Palpatine? Cause that would explain why he was always watching Anakin. Maybe he created Anakin. I don't know. Somebody please explain to me if I'm dead wrong.

gd theory bout papatine creating anakin dont think that was how it was intended however. i think most of wat u pepz said is correct. there shld be episode 1.5,2.5 and 3.5. the prequals were gd obviously the major flaw was the dialogue, but the prequals were not gd in which they were designed for therefore unsucessful as we dont know much bout anakin growin up, nor much bout the exploits during the clone wars nor about the transformation of anakin to vader we all kno and love in episode 4. it is true that it seems that anakin is mainpulated by cirumstances rather than him turning to aggression and independantly causing havoc. also his change to the dark side is rushed as at the beginning he takes out count dooku (darth tyrannius). he sais his power is doubled yet the end of episode 2 he is battered by dooku. there is just too much of gap. too many things are either explained poorly or are just not explained at all. in short george lucas enjoys special effects and is concentrating soo much on that he rush or was neglegent bout story as he knew the prestige of star wars would bring him in lots of money. though true fans will just love star wars because they can fill in wat the movie didnt and they see the potenital of wat it could be. however lucas does not deserve the cheers from his fans as he did not do episode 1,2,3 justice as it did not reach its potential for the following reasons above which no one can deny

I hope you all realise that darth Plaguies created Anakin right? If you listened you would have found out that the Jedi were afraid to tell Anakin of the story when Palpatine began to tell him "clues" about his birthright. And another little spoiler, Darth Plaguies was the master of Darth Sidious. Afraid that Anakin (The creation of darth Plaguies) would become stronger than the apprentice, he struck down his master in the night and stole the secrets of the midiclorians.
It also seemed as if Palpatine didnt know that it was Anakin (the creation). Strange that Anakin sort of knew who he was later in the film.

Well the story & the relations between the characters seems to be just 1 big incestuous family to me. So what about Yoda? Who trained him? Who's he linked to?

if i hadn't talked to my friend about it, i'd have to agree with you. but she put it best when she looked deeper and said that in the end, star wars was all about love - the event that led to all subsequent events. this made me see it in a new light.

Just a note about Padme - she actually had IMPORTANT scenes of her being active in the senate and laying the groundwork for the rebellion - including some stuff with organa about how he should suck up to the emperor, but of course *begin sarcasm* the fight scenes were more important in the long run *end sarcasm* so georgie chopped all that stuff out

I dream for an "extended version" on dvd with those scenes put back in...

About the chopping of arms thing yeah that definatly is a star wars tradition jus think in all 6 movies how made dudes got theirs arms lobbed off

Episode II Anakin Skywalker
Episode II Zam Wessel
Episode II Jango Fett (b4 losing his head unlucky)
Episode III Anakin Sykwalker
Episode III Mace Windu
Episode III Count Dooku
Episode III General Grievous
Episode IV The punter at the cantina
Episode V Luke Skywalker
Episode VI Darth Vader

If i missd any please tell me thnx

star wars rocks

What is the definition of "metachlorions?" What purpose do they serve. The movies didn't really go into to much information about them?

midi-chlorians. related to force sensitivity and stuff, correct me if i'm wrong. sounds kinda biological which doesn't make the force sound that magical anymore. but starwars is still wicked cool.

"As I mentioned in an earlier comment, the scene where Luke asks Leia about her (and his) mother is meaningless now. Leia never knew her actual mother, which was probably a good thing since the engaging, proactive, and intelligent woman that Leia became obviously had nothing to do with her biological mother, who spends this entire movie being pregnant and staring out the window (Meli's observation, not mine)."

Ok, so what did Meli expect Padme to do? For most of the film, there was no situation that called for her to do anything other than "being pregnant and staring out the window". And frankly I wouldn't have wanted it otherwise, as the movie was and should be about Anakin, not Padme. Giving her a bigger role would have detracted from Vader's story. And we already know Padme is a "engaging, proactive, and intelligent woman" from the previous films, so why on Earth does it matter if the movie that NEEDS to be about Anakin becoming Vader doesn't show that?

Not to mention that the PT reduced Vader to a whiny brat who turned to the DS out of selfishness. TBH Anakin received a much worse treatment in these movies than Padme. So forgive me if I don't really give a rat's ass about Padme not being shown as a strong female (I don't remember her being shown as a weak one, either) in a single film when the main character was treated far worse in the whole trilogy.

Agreed with the other points, though.

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This page contains a single entry by hb published on May 21, 2005 6:33 PM.

Dialogue from the Third Act of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, if the Writing Were Just Slightly More Heavy-Handed was the previous entry in this blog.

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