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Lucas gets ‘Revenge’ on picky fans with best ‘Wars’ film in 25 years

With “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” George Lucas has delivered his most proficient and exciting Star Wars film in a quarter century.

However, when competency is the highest praise you can bestow, you realize the sad state of affairs the Star Wars saga has been stuck in.

Where “The Phantom Menace” was cloying and childlike this final installment has a dark, serious tone and dramatic weight.

Where “Attack of the Clones” was bogged down in political intrigue and laborious dialogue, “Revenge of the Sith” has a pared down story utilizing a few key relationships and interesting plot developments.

It seems like this is the one story of the new trilogy that George Lucas always wanted to tell and the first two installments were just precursors to the epic tale of the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker.

The film begins with a thrilling space battle that is more exciting than anything the previous prequels brought to the table. Anakin and his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi fight their way onto a ship in order to save the leader of the Senate of the Republic, Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid).

Once saved, Palpatine insists that Anakin be placed among the Jedi Council, which doesn’t go over well with the group of Jedi Masters as they do not trust Palpatine and worry about the growth of the troubled youth, Anakin.

Eventually they relent, but insist that Anakin spies on his good friend Palpatine, who is trying to gain all political control of the Senate in a time of war.

Palpatine, in turn suggests Anakin spy on the Jedi who he says are thirsting for power and don’t trust the Senate to make the right decisions.

This angle is regretfully only shallowly explored in the film. They imply that the duplicity of both sides makes the already conflicted Anakin question everything about his friends and the Force, which harnesses so much power.

If they went even deeper into this story a fascinating conflict could have emerged about how the most powerful Jedi was nothing more than a commodity to both sides and how nothing good can come from it.

But that doesn’t detract from the fact that what Lucas sets out to do this time he generally succeeds.

He easily eclipses the previous prequels in every facet. The action is tighter and more interesting. The acting is less wooden. The plot is intriguing. The special effects are much improved, especially the all CGI characters such as Yoda. The lightsaber battles are thrilling and never seem to overstay their welcome on screen.

That is not to say “Episode III” doesn’t bring its own share of troubles. Far from it.

George Lucas has proven himself incapable of writing romantic dialogue. The scenes between star-crossed lovers Padm (Natalie Portman) and Anakin (Hayden Christensen) are pivotal in the transformation of young Skywalker from promising Jedi into an evil Sith, but the dialogue wouldn’t be suitable for a Hallmark card.

However, late in the film Lucas makes up for the oratory miscue with a strikingly powerful juxtaposition between Anakin and Padm giving birth to the twins, Luke and Leia.

In other instances the dialogue just doesn’t do the situations justice.

When Anakin belts out the line, “From my point of view the Jedi are evil” it elicits more snickers than tension.

Unfortunately George Lucas still insists on sets that are completely digital with absolutely no real physical elements.

These continue to be distractingly noticable.

In the end George Lucas ends his space opera the way it started –with a bang.

He may not be the best director, or the best writer, but he has created a world that is wholly unique in the cinematic universe. He has done justice to the story of the creation of one of the movies’ most fascinating villians: Darth Vader.

While it falls short of greatness, it is entirely proficient and will please the fans that have felt the last two prequels didn’t meet expectations.

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