On Saturday night, Erica and I saw Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith at the Uptown Theatre in Cleveland Park.

There was so much going on throughout the 2 hours and 26 minutes, that there was very little time to process any of it. My heartrate must have been at least 150 throughout the entire film.

After the movie ended, we talked about it and came to the same conclusion — we did not know how we felt or what to think — we were used to a much different kind of Star Wars experience.

While Episodes I & II certainly had their weaknesses as films, they were still lots of fun. They were the kind of movies that you could leave the theater feeling really wound-up, excited, and happy. For this one, that was not the case. We knew it was a superior movie to I & II, but , we could not decide if we could love it. We kind of felt somewhat unsatisfied that we had not reached a conclusion about the film.

On Monday night, I caught the movie again; this time with my brother at Multiplex in Merrifield, which is a pretty crummy theater. After seeing it a second time, I appreciate it a lot more. This is a very good movie and a welcome departure from the previous two prequels. I think it moves up to third best in the series.

Some other observations, which might be spoilers if you are one of the 0.01% of the population who has not yet seen the film:

  • The movie is jam packed with action since there were so many lose ends to wrap up. The prequels probably could have worked better if this story had been spread out over a couple of movies. Turning Anakin to the dark side in a couple of hours is kind of a tough sell — it would have been great if he could have turned in II and then III would be completely Vader. That would have meant an entirely different storyline for the prequels though, which could have been a great thing.
  • Hayden Christensen is greatly improved as Anakin Skywalker. He left a little to be desired in the “betrayal” scene, but I am putting that one on Lucas. When it comes down to it, he has the unenviable task of deconstructing one of the greatest celluloid villains of all time for a director that prefers working with droids rather than humans. That said, Christensen is as good as Mark Hamill ever was, which is all you can really ask.
  • Ewan McGregor continues to be a fantastic Obi-Wan. He was great throughout the whole saga, easily my favorite primary character.
  • Natalie Portman’s performance is phoned in, but at least it was better than the last one when it was mailed-in.
  • Ian McDiarmid plays it pretty straight, especially compared to ROTJ. This guys knows how to be evil.
  • StrongBad is great as the voice of Gen. Grievous. I did not know he had that much range.
  • Samuel L. Jackson excels in the role of “Samuel L. Jackson with a big, shiny stick of death.”
  • I expected Liam Neeson to show up as the ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn, a number of Web sites reported he would be returning. Perhaps Lucas never forgave him for the criticsm of the Episode I experience or Neeson was not interested. This could always turn up on the DVD though. The scene was apparently in the ROTS novel.
  • I don’t like the pointed lightsaber tips, why change them six movies into the series? Otherwise, I liked the special effects. The five lightsaber battles were great. It is hard to mess up a movie with five lightsaber battles.

    In the end, this was a pretty good end to the saga. Having seen it twice, I am satisfied — very satisfied on how it worked out. Perhaps I will enjoy it even more the third time…

    What do you think?

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