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*Official* 3NS ROTS Reviews (Ebert's review, spoiler-free inside!)

Discussion in 'Revenge of the Sith (Non-Spoilers)' started by Garth Maul, Apr 29, 2005.

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  1. Kittles93

    Kittles93 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 17, 2005
    dallas morning news also gives it a very good is now safe to say that ROTS is a critical smash...i just hope my expectations aren't too high!
  2. leelee

    leelee Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jan 4, 2003
    Here's the Boston globe one: MOVIE REVIEW
    Tale from the Darth side
    Remarkable 'Sith' brings 'Star Wars' to an epic conclusion
    By Ty Burr, Globe Staff | May 18, 2005

    It's good. I mean really good

    Has this been George Lucas's master plan all along? Make the first two episodes in his new ''Star Wars" trilogy so dramatically inept, so stiffly played, so humorlessly locked into its maker's private mythology that anything would look better in comparison?

    No. Even a doubter has to admit that on any terms ''Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" is the real deal, an often awkward but nonetheless terrifically compelling high-stakes human drama. That's right, human, and this from a director who has always seemed more comfortable turning actors into plastic action figures. Is ''Sith" the best of all the ''Star Wars" films? Let the arguing begin. But I'll go on record as saying that it is, without question, the most emotionally powerful of the six.

    It's also hard, hard stuff -- a dark, not-for-the-little-ones epic that, as promised, ends with the triumph of fascism over the entire universe. Yes, the original 1977 ''Star Wars" now takes its place as ''Episode IV," leading the series back into the light. But everything in the past decade of ''Star Wars" mania has been a buildup to the climax of this movie, which is, effectively, the appearance of a galactic Hitler.

    The situation is exactly as we left it at the end of ''Episode II -- Attack of the Clones," and that's cause for concern, since by common consensus ''Episode II" stunk up the room. Count Dooku (Christopher Lee) is still leading a separatist army of clone warriors against the Republic,EDITED Viewers whose minds have not been warped by 30 years of ''Star Wars" will note that these are extremely silly names, but here's the catch: The general himself is a splendidly nasty CGI creation: part bug, part robot, part Soviet field officer having a lousy day.

    Lucas also forestalls the inevitable groan-inducing love scene between Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) by filling the first 22 minutes of ''Sith" with a magnificent outer space battle in which Anakin, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), EDITED The sequence is just the sort of thing Lucas does best: visually ingenious, breathlessly exciting, inhuman. But it gets the fanboys primed and keeps the rest of us diverted.

    Then, oh dear, here are Anakin and Padme having a squabble and a kiss. They were secretly married at the end of the last episode,EDITED. She's also modeling a fetching new style of hair bun that will have repercussions in the future. As in ''Attack of the Clones," the dialogue and performances in the domestic scenes are just atrocious -- there's nothing any actor, even one as talented as Portman, can do with lines like: Anakin -- ''EDITED"; Padme -- ''EDITED"; Anakin -- ''EDITED" Christensen, for his part, merely sends up flare signals of confusion.

    Thankfully, ''Revenge of the Sith" shunts Portman off-screen for much of the running time and concentrates on Anakin's inner struggle. The angel on his right shoulder is Obi-Wan, and behind him all the Jedi: Yoda (Frank Oz), Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson, lacking his customary anarchic gleam), the rest of the clubhouse. The devil on his left is the hooded Sith lord Darth Sidious, who any preschooler could tell you is really Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), although the great intellects of the Republic seem to miss this detail.

    The film's emotional motor runs on Anakin's anger and impatience, and his sense of resentment that EDITED. In other words, ''Episode III" is office politics on a Wagnerian scale. As Obi-Wan is sent off to deal with the remnants of the separatists, and Yoda and Mace Windu worry about the Dark Side, and Chancellor Palpatine EDITED Lucas punctuates the drama with an almost unseemly number of duels. Some are a tad rote, but the best have a windmilling visual cleverness, such as the one in which General Grievous comes at Obi-Wan with EDITED

    The heart of ''Revenge of the S
  3. DarthTickle

    DarthTickle Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jun 1, 2002
    Nevermind :)
  4. dojotony

    dojotony Jedi Youngling

    Mar 23, 2005
    Here's Stephen Hunter's Washington Post review:

    "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" answers The Question. Not the question "What are the Sith?," which it actually never gets around to, but the other question.

    You know the one I'm talking about. It's a great question, the very hardest and the most important. Others have tried to answer it before, like Melville and Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare, though they could never agree on the answer. Which suggests that the answer may not be as important as the asking and, further, that it's a shame it doesn't get asked much any more.

    The Question is: What makes man evil?

    And the fact that George Lucas tries so hard to answer it certainly makes this the best of the three second-cycle "Star Wars" films -- the others being "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones" -- and the only one of them that can stand comparison with the original "Star Wars," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." It's what drives the movie ahead -- it starts fast, gets fast and angry and ends fast and furious. And I do mean furious. Fury is its fuel, its raison d'etre and its destiny.

    The topic of the first three films was easy as pie: redemption. It was how a boy named Luke saved a dark father named Anakin from his own evil self, and gave him, finally, a moment of connection with family, community and creed. I'm talking about that great scene in which Darth/Anakin, electrified back into moral clarity by the vision of the emperor torturing his son, picks up the debauched old man and sends him tumbling down a cosmic sewer. Ah righteousness, ah forgiveness, ah redemption.

    But the topic of the second three, and particularly this one, is hard as hell. This movie chronicles Anakin's earlier transformation, by which the righteous pilgrim, so handsome, so brave, so noble, so committed, lost his way and became Ahab or Macbeth or Raskolnikov or Faust, or John Wayne in "The Searchers," a figure of power and strength and charisma and intellect, all of it invested in madness and destruction. "What corrupted Anakin into Vader?" a critic asked six years ago. "Pride, that manly bringer of self-destruction? Arrogance? Abuse? (An intriguing possibility and source of many monsters on the banal old Planet E.) Genetic predisposition? Fear? Lucas only knows and let's hope he can get it together to tell us. If told right, it should be quite a tale."

    Finally, it is.

    As the film begins *EDIT* This is, to put it mildly, a great slam-bang sequence, that *EDIT* No movie has started faster since "Saving Private Ryan," and clearly Lucas has had a long sit-down with himself in which he explained to himself that he directed action sequences far more adroitly than he directed long exchanges on power-moves in congressional backrooms.

    But soon, *EDIT* politics does rear its ugly head. *EDIT*

    The movie tracks with almost clinical attention the noble Anakin sinking deeper into turpitude, until finally he *EDIT* Surely that is a great theme: How men purge themselves of sin by giving themselves over to a cause with all their hearts. It explains how you could fly a plane full of mothers and babies into a skyscraper and think you were going on a date with 72 virgins, or how you could goose-step your way toward conquest and genocide while singing schmaltzy oompah music.

    As Lucas has it, and as he dramatizes it vigorously as if he's finally gotten over the yakky tendencies that troubled his last two films, Anakin's great flaw is fear. He cannot *EDIT* Yes, it would be nice if Lucas had worked out meaningful ways to demonstrate that love other than declaring it. But he's not that kind of a director. It would also help if Christensen and Portman were more expressive actors and if the dialogue they were forced to utter didn't sound like it was stolen from "The Black Shield of Falworth," starring Tony Curtis, in 1954, but he's not that kind of director either.

    He's a director of action and ideas, and in Anakin he gives us a man comprising both. Anakin is the classic man who *EDIT
  5. DarthTickle

    DarthTickle Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jun 1, 2002
    Woah, maybe edit out that last paragraph, I think I've just been spoiled.
  6. Kittles93

    Kittles93 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 17, 2005
    dojo, thanks but take out the last paragraph about the rating! it has a spoiler, i think...i stopped reading!
  7. Wally44

    Wally44 Jedi Master star 2

    Mar 10, 2005
    You may want to edit that last one a tad. There are some minor spoilers there if people are HCSF.
  8. DamonD

    DamonD Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 22, 2002
    I saw one word and immediately recoiled. Melodramatic I know, but it's waaaaay too close to ROTS now for me to risk this kinda stuff.
  9. dojotony

    dojotony Jedi Youngling

    Mar 23, 2005
    Sorry about that last paragraph guys, I just scanned it because I thought it wasn't very important. I've edited it, and edited the text a bit more. (To be honest though, I knew about that scene before I saw the movie because it's foreshadowed heavily in other episodes.)

    Anyways, I'm just surprised Hunter gave such a glowing review -- the guy hates everything.

    KNIMBLEKNIGHT Jedi Youngling star 1

    Mar 8, 2002
    Wow - Stephen Hunter's review is unbelievable.

    Damn - there go my expectations!
  11. Ekenobi

    Ekenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 4, 2002
    70 to 13!!!
  12. DamonD

    DamonD Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 22, 2002
    Much critical ass is being kicking. This is good.
  13. RurouniKJS

    RurouniKJS Jedi Youngling star 2

    May 4, 2005
    The full AJC review, just 'cause she's one of my favorites, and because she hated -- HATED -- TPM and AOTC. Carefully EDITED for non-spoilage.

    'Star Wars' saga regains luster with 'Revenge of the Sith'
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    The verdict: With this fine finale, George Lucas goes out waving, not drowning.

    Same logo. Same starry-night spacescape. Same music. Same crawl. Same everything.

    Only different. And so much better.

    A long time ago (1977) in a galaxy far, far away (the '70s), George Lucas released a little picture called "Star Wars" and changed the face of Hollywood forever.

    Twenty eight years and five movies later, the series comes to a worthy, hold-your-head-high-George end with "Star Wars: Episode III ? Revenge of the Sith." Lucas has finally gotten in touch with his dark side and delivers a movie that's light-years away from the clumsy embarrassments of "The Phantom Menace" and the vapid miscalculations of "Attack of the Clones," the preceding prequel films.

    Bluntly put, "Sith's" the best "Star Wars" movie since the best of them all, 1980's "The Empire Strikes Back."

    Much like Ron Howard did with "Apollo 13," Lucas makes a foregone conclusion thrilling. As just about everybody in this galaxy knows, Episode III is about ... well, Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Jedi knight Mace Windu, put it this way in a television interview, "It's about how Homeboy turns into Darth Vader."

    By "Homeboy," Jackson means Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), the young Jedi thought to be the Chosen One. Instead, he's seduced to the dark side of the Force and ends up with a helmet head and James Earl Jones' voice.

    Eschewing any catch-up prologue (aside from the crawl that tells us the galaxy is at war), "Sith" plunges right in with a big bouquet of geek love. That is, a spectacular EDITED

    Then, it's back to Couroscant and some thankfully brief love stuff. Padmé (Natalie Portman), now secretly married to Anakin, is pregnant. It's a bit of an, um, awkward situation since Jedi aren't supposed to form permanent attachments.

    Lucas has never figured out how to write a love scene and fails yet again here. (He gives Padmé soap-opera dialogue like, "EDITED") That's the Saturday-matinee serial side of him, the kid side that says never mind the lovey-dovey stuff. Yet that cliffhanger mentality is what gives Lucas his boyish gee-whiz enthusiasm and his movie its hurtling-on-to-the-next-chapter pace.

    At least Christensen and Portman don't look as uncomfortable as they did in "Clones." Perhaps that's because, in the interim, they've done good work in serious films ("Closer" for her; "Shattered Glass" for him). They seem to have a new confidence ? in themselves and in their post-"Star Wars" careers.

    Anyway, after that crucial she's-having-my-baby(ies) plot point, it's back to what most of the fans want to see most:

    Everything else.

    And there's plenty of it. Battles with EDITED. The defeat of the Jedi, who are forced into hiding. A lightsaber duel between EDITED, which cross-cuts with an even more sensational duel between EDITED.

    Lucas borrows from any number of movies. "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. "The Matrix." "Starship Troopers." "The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad." There's even a whiff of "Harry Potter." But whatever borrowing is done imaginatively. And besides, most of these movies probably got some of their inspiration from his original trilogy.

    "Sith" does have its spongy parts. The rubber-faced aliens still look like something out of the old "Star Trek" TV series, circa 1969. The special effects are as impressive as ever, but they still seem remote, more boys-and-their-toys than emotionally connected to the characters as happened in the "LOTR" movies.

    What becomes clear during "Sith" is how utterly unnecessary "Menace" and "Clones" were. Instead, Lucas should've folded the crucial material from both films into, say, the first 35 minutes of "Sith." The movie would be a little longer
  14. Harlowe Thrombey

    Harlowe Thrombey Jedi Youngling star 2

    Feb 19, 1999
    Has Entertainment Weekly released a review?

    Whoops, I'll just answer that myself. Owen Gleiberman gave it a B-. I read the first and last couple of sentences and it sounded relatively negative, including saying something about not really delivering. Oh well. I think its clear at this point that its an amazing movie and most of the people here are going to love it. Thanks to all those who edited reviews for us...especially Garth who carried the majority of the load early on.
  15. Kittles93

    Kittles93 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 17, 2005
    entertainment weekly is good for news and features, but reviews?

    not really...remember this is a magazine that gave The Matrix a C and then hopped on the bandwagon a few seconds later

    considering New York Times and Washington Post----two newspapers I figured would kill the film---are ranking it near the top of the series, i dare say this is a huge critical success.

    in fact, it may be second only to ANH in initial critical acclaim.
  16. Kiki-Gonn

    Kiki-Gonn Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Feb 26, 2001
    That Washington Post review is the last one I needed to read. That was amazing. I've said it before and I'll say it again... am I dreaming?
  17. Kittles93

    Kittles93 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 17, 2005
    kiki, i agree entirely that the acclaim is dream-like.

    not so much that it is getting good reviews, but who is giving it the best reviews.

    the big-time critics (Time, NYT, Washington Post, Chicago Trib, Boston Globe, etc.)----the ones i figured to be least likely to like it---are praising this film as perhaps the best of all.

    the middling critics (EW, New York Daily News)---all say it is pretty decent but aren't as impressed.

    the critics with clout are all over this film. i hope they are right.
  18. Kittles93

    Kittles93 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 17, 2005
    Yahoo posted its summary of their sampling of critics:

    B+ Impressive, most impressive

    Critics Reviews Average Grade: B+

    Source Brief Review Grade*
    Atlanta Journal-Constitution
    Eleanor Ringel Gillespie "Bluntly put, Sith's the best Star Wars movie since the best of them all, 1980's The Empire Strikes Back." A-

    Boston Globe
    Ty Burr "...often awkward but nonetheless terrifically compelling high-stakes human drama." more... A-

    Chicago Sun-Times
    Roger Ebert "...a return to the classic space opera style that launched the series." more... A-

    E! Online "Restore your faith in the Force, this will." more... B+

    Entertainment Weekly
    Owen Gleiberman "The trouble with Revenge of the Sith is that we're never really shown what we're told about endlessly: Anakin succumbing to the temptations of power." more... B-
    Christopher Null "...Episode III is easily the best of the prequels and it's considerably better than the bloated and nonsensical Attack of the Clones." more... B+

    Hollywood Reporter
    Kirk Honeycutt "A rousing finale for the Star Wars saga that smoothly brings us back to where it all began." more... A-

    New York Post "...true believers probably won't complain." more... B

    New York Times
    A.O. Scott "'s better than (the original) Star Wars." more... A

    James Berardinelli "It's a rousing and tragic sendoff to a beloved franchise, and the best installment in the Star Wars series since 1980's The Empire Strikes Back." more... A-

    Rolling Stone
    Peter Travers "In this heretic's opinion, Sith is a stiff, brought down by that special knack Lucas has of turning flesh-and-blood actors into cardboard cutouts." more... C

    San Francisco Chronicle
    Mick LaSalle "The picture is laden with plot and difficult to follow, even for someone who has seen every Star Wars installment." more... C+

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer
    William Arnold "In sum, Revenge of the Sith is darn good, easily the best of the prequels, and perhaps even a rival to The Empire Strikes Back..." more...A

    USA Today
    Claudia Puig "It's the darkest of the six-film opus, but it just may be the best of the lot." more... A-

  19. Darth_Zoo

    Darth_Zoo Jedi Master star 4

    Jul 15, 2002
    Sith is a critical smash, indeed. Very impressive.

    ... but then again it could be the "Kool-Aid" 8-}
  20. Jeff 42

    Jeff 42 Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 14, 1998
    Frank Gabrenya of The Columbus Dispatch gave it 3 stars out of 4. He gave TPM and AotC each 2.5. I'll wait until tomorrow to read the review. ;)
  21. DamonD

    DamonD Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 22, 2002
    I wondered what on earth that crunching sound was.
    Now I realise it was Pete Travers grinding his teeth together as everyone merrily disagreed with him and swigged Kool-Aid.

    Critics hate being made to feel ignored or in a minority. Hate it.
  22. Kittles93

    Kittles93 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 17, 2005
    since he gave Monster-in-Law a good review, Travers already knows what it is like to be on an island.
  23. jangoisadrunk

    jangoisadrunk Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 7, 2005
    Maybe if JLo was in ROTS Peter Travers would like it better. She would make one helluva a Twi'lek. :)
  24. leelee

    leelee Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jan 4, 2003
  25. marajadebean

    marajadebean Jedi Youngling star 2

    Mar 11, 2005
    Gosh, I'm so not suprised by Mick LaSalle grade from the SF Chron. That guy is a weasely prick. I know, I'm harsh but I really don't take him all that seriously.

    Anyways, bring on more good reviews!
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