DIRECTOR: George Lucas
After 22 years of waiting, since 1983’s “Return Of The Jedi”, we were sat in the auditorium ready to witness the epic moment when Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker would finally turn on one and other and Darth Vader’s conception would be complete.
As the ‘Clone War’ came to a close, the Jedi had been all but wiped of the face of a galaxy far, far away and Chancellor Palpatine had ascended to become the emperor of the newly formed ‘Galactic Empire’, that moment had finally arrived. Was it worth the wait?
Well, since the bar had be not so much lowered, but obliterated by the the first two prequels, measured with those in mind, then yes, absolutely! In fact, it does stand up well, and on the initial viewing, it was outstanding. A visual feast or choreography, visual style and epic art direction, everything you would expect from the man who had changed cinema forever, 28 years earlier.
The only issue is that even though the fans wanted nothing more that to see this duel, the rest of the prequel franchise was merely filler, and a series of plots designed to delay the inevitable battle and to give the audience anything but what they had expected. But after a ridiculous 22 year wait, there was almost no good ideas left that hadn’t been explored in two decades of fan fiction, leaving all the bad ones to be included in Lucus’ second, no rather third rate scripts!
We had been told that he was waiting for the technology to make these films, but what was he waiting for exactly? The technology to animate the, perhaps? The visual effects in these films, though sparkling and perfect in its details, are hollow and do not match the standards of the original films, and begs the question as to why not?
Four years since the release of “Revenge Of The Sith”, James Cameron would finally release a film which he had being developing the technology for, for over 10 years, (“Avatar”) and the result: Groundbreaking cinema, in both the 3D and Mo-cap tech, raising the bar, as “Star Wars” had done three decades earlier.
But this film had restored something which the franchise had all but destroyed with episodes one and two. This finally felt something like the original films and was a joy to watch, even though it still falls short of the mark. The acting is poor in all the prequels, which account to Lucas’ directorial style, favouring green screen and CGI over acting. But John William’s score is first rate, as it has been throughout the entire saga, but this was both classic and moving, a score truly in touch with the audiences love and feeling towards the films, sadly devoid in most other aspects of the production.
That’s not to say that technically this was well produced, because on paper, in the computers, and certainly in sound editing suites, it was perfect, with levels of audio visual detail to die for and the scope was awesome. But in the end, it is a hollow shell of what it should have been. “Episode III” though, is the most fulfilling of the three, but all of them rely of the decades of loyalty given to them, because without it, these would probably be laughed out of the auditoriums.
But having said all that, I enjoy this film, as a part of the saga, and still look forward to seeing it, and some of the sequences in this film , though far from perfectly realised, are fun and enjoyable. This is leagues below “Star Wars” and the superior “The Empire Strikes Back”, but still worth a watch.