Rating : ★★★★★
So This is How Liberty Dies... With Thunderous Applause.
The final instalment in the prequel trilogy is what some might call a return to form. Whilst I liked the previous two instalments I have to say that I agree. This Star Wars movie is excellent and is definitely the best one since Empire Strikes Back. The action is exciting, the script is somewhat better, the acting has improved and it is an all round great movie. The nods to the originals come it buckets this time around which is expected as this is the episode that bridges the two trilogies. We got peaks at The Millenium Falcon, Tantive IV, Chewbacca, Death Star and many more. But best of all we get Darth Vader.
The movie takes place three years after the onset of the Clone Wars. The Jedi Knights are spread out across the galaxy leading a massive clone army in the war against the Separatists. The Jedi Council dispatches Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi to eliminate the evil General Grievous, leader of the Separatist Army. Meanwhile, Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, separated from Kenobi, his former master, grows close to Palpatine, the Chancellor of the Galactic Republic and, unbeknownst to the public, a Sith Lord. Their deepening friendship proves dangerous for the Jedi Order, the galaxy, and Anakin himself, who inevitably succumbs to the Dark Side of the Force and transforms into Darth Vader.
Now I really liked the plot of this story. It worked very well but one major thing I noticed with this one over the others is that it's dark. Really dark. It is the darkest of the series which is expected as this is essentially the fall of the Jedi and the rise of Vader and the Empire. The plot is also extremely emotionally drive too and not in a bad way. I found myself for much of the movie being sad or upset from certain scenes on the screen and not many moments in Star Wars have actually done that to myself. One of the most powerful scenes I found to be was a scene that required no lines. The scene in which Anakin and Padme both look out the window from opposite ends on Coruscant and is accompanied by a chilling score from John Williams. It was brilliant. Naturally the Order 66 moment was an emotional high. Once again backed by a stunning score from John Williams we see all across the galaxy the clone troopers executing the Jedi catching them completely off guard.
Other highlights from the movie include the brilliant opening sequence. We are instantly thrown in to a huge space battle above Coruscant between the Seperatists and the Republic and the visuals looking outstanding. Others are the good but brief sequence on Kashyyyk in which Yoda goes to assist the Wookies, The Anakin and clone trooper march in to the Jedi temple and the majority of the scenes involving Palpatine and Anakin together (I personally enjoyed the opera house sequence).
But the ultimate moments in this movie are the lightsaber sequences. The early one between Dooku and the Anakin/Kenobi was enjoyable as was the brief Kenobi v Grevious. I enjoyed the Mace Windu v Palpatine duel but the best two of the film are the finale ones. The force battle between Yoda and Palpatine was excellent, both showing how powerful each is in the force and through their capabilities with a lightsaber. My favourite lightsaber battle was the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan. It was truly amazing watching two close friends battling it out and there was so much emotional power in the combat. The lightsaber fight just blew my mind and some of the moves were just brilliant. At the same time we are treated to my favourite Star Wars track of all, Battle of the Heroes. John Williams manages to drive the scene with so much power that in causes goosebumps. All I can sum it up as is this. The music. The choreography. The visuals. The acting by McGregor. The effects. The power in the scenes. Just incredible.
The performances all round are good this time. Ewan McGregor does a terrific job as Obi-Wan and really puts himself out there, emotionally too. Natalie Portman does well this time around with slight improvement on Attack of the Clones. Hayden Christensen once again though has some questionable acting. He does well at points but other times instead of conveying emotion I just found him to be shouting at the camera. Ian McDiarmid does a wonderful job as Palpatine. Gaining a much larger role this time around I found his performance to be great as usual. The performances from the rest of the cast were all great. Christopher Lee does well in his brief appearance, Samuel Jackson does well in his role and Frank Oz does a great job voicing Yoda. This is pretty much the prequel were most of the actors got it right. But behind the scenes it was wrong. Once again George Lucas delivers average dialogue. The early Anakin insult to Grevious was a pretty crap comback and we are delivered such lines as "Hold me, Ani. Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo...where there was nothing but our love..." Sorry Mr Lucas but that line is just pure cheese and I personally didn't notice much chemistry in the last film. But never mind, at least the story was pretty solid.
The visuals of the movie were stunning, and the new planets look excellent, particularly Mustafar. The spacecrafts all look excellent and the new species look awesome. Two of the biggest disappoints for me though was all thanks to the media. The first being General Grevious. They built him up as if he was to be the main villain of the film, being the ultimate Jedi killer and all but he had screen time of no more than twenty minutes and was taken out of the picture pretty damn easy. Secondly is the way it was built up to be this massive battle on Kashyyyk. Well there was a massive battle, but we didn't really get to see it. But this isn't the movies fault, just the media hype surrounding it and once again misleading the audience.
Overall this was an excellent addition to the saga and a great ending to the prequel trilogy. The last few minutes of the movie were very powerful as we finally see the fates of all the members that have close association with Anakin. It is sad but is essentially a bridge to the originals in which we all know the final outcome. Well done George Lucas I enjoyed this very much and for all those who hated the last too instalments, I think Lucas gave you a treat and put out a solid last farwell to the franchise.