Revenge of the Sith

by Kieran Healy on May 8, 2005

Tyler Cowen is excitedly looking forward to Revenge of the Sith, and is encouraged by positive review in Variety:

The Force returns with most of its original power regained in “Star Wars: Episode III —Revenge of the Sith.” Concluding entry in George Lucas second three-pack of space epics teems with action, drama and spectacle, and even supplies the odd surge of emotion … Whatever one thought of the previous two installments, this dynamic picture irons out most of the problems, and emerges as the best in the overall series since “The Empire Strikes Back.” Stratospheric B.O. is a given.

Not up to speed on Variety’s entertainment-industry jargon, my first thought on reading that last sentence was, “Well of course, what with all those nerds packed in to the cinema.”

George Lucas’s relationship with his fans must by now be a standard case study for second-year social worker students specializing in the treatment of abusive, co-dependent relationships:

Fans (to therapist): I love him, and, and, I know he’s really wonderful deep down—I know he means well and is a decent man. It’s just that sometimes … (sobbing)

(Cut to videotape)

Lucas: Take this, you stupid bitch! [Offscreen: Smack! Ewoks! Crash! Jar-Jar! Bang! Big parade/award ceremony at end!]

Fans (crying openly): It’s my fault, I know—I just can’t seem to please him. He doesn’t mean to hurt this way …

It’s awful, really.



bob mcmanus 05.08.05 at 9:27 pm

I haven’t watched a minute of Lucas since he introduced the ewoks.

I don’t get it either.


Sebastian Holsclaw 05.08.05 at 9:42 pm

I’ll see it out of a sick sense of duty, but I’ll wait a couple of weeks for a matinee.


Robert 05.08.05 at 9:54 pm

But George won’t hit us this time. He’s changed, and he really does love us.

(Yes, I am a very pathetic Star Wars fan…)


Mo MacArbie 05.08.05 at 10:45 pm

It’s all deliberate really. The first trilogy was the ascendence of the good, while the current one is the decadence and corruption of what has been lost. It’s all meta, baby!


Walt Pohl 05.08.05 at 11:04 pm

After the revolution, making jokes about the body odor of geeks on the Internet will be a hanging offense.


Chase 05.08.05 at 11:09 pm

Having seen the “Sith” flick, I’ve got to admit I was prety underwhelmed. The Lucas anti-nuance is in full flower, from dopey soap opera dialogue to meandering storytelling. Still, the pictures’s final half hours is tremendous fun — primarily because mysteries begin to congeal into the world that first seduced us nearly 30 years ago in “Star Wars.”

It’s a little like listening to the half-slurred rants of a crazy long-legged lush during last call. It’s all rather sad and pathetic until she trots out her old nudie centerfolds in Playboy and other dog-eared laddie rags.


FMguru 05.08.05 at 11:24 pm

It’s all the fans’ fault for over-exalting the original trilogy. If you go back watch the original films with a critical eye unglazed by childhood nostalgia, you’ll find that all the things that people hate about the new movies are present in the originals.

* Thumpingly-obvious names: The greedy bounty hunter is named Greedo! The hotshot pilot is named Skywalker! The doesn’t-give-a-damn loner is named Solo! The fat X-Wing pilot is named Porkins!

* Plot developments of unsurpassed lameness: The simmering love triangle is resolved by a cheat – she’s his sister! The Emperor’s brilliant plan in RotJ is – to build another Death Star! Ultimate badass Boba Fett killed by accident, sent cartwheeling to his death inside a giant vagina dentata!

* Are Gungans *really* that much less annoying than Ewoks? Ewoks are another terrible Lucas name – it’s just a spoonerised version of Wookie (Wook-ee, ee-wok). Yub yub!

* Bad acting: Mark Hamil (circa A New Hope) makes Hayden Christiansen look like Al Pacino.

* Terrible dialogue: “Governor Tarkin. I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I detected your foul stench when I was brought on board.” and “Don’t try to frighten us with your sorcerer’s ways, Lord Vader. Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebel’s hidden fortress…”. Even Harrison Ford openly revolted at the lines he was forced to say.

* Dreadful pacing: the first 45 minutes of A New Hope develops with an astonishing slooooowness – particularly given the movies’ place in cementing the ascendence of the frenetic, brainless summer action blockbuster. Lots of shots of people driving and walking in the desert. Wooo, excitement.

Lucas has ALWAYS been a limited filmmaker. It’s no coincidence that the best Star Wars film (Empire Strikes Back) was neither scripted nor directed by him. And the first movie got by on the freshness of its approach and the magnificence of its setpiece sequences and special effects. Jedi was a flat remake of the first two movies (Back to Tatooine! Jabba’s Palace was the Cantina Scene with a bigger budget. A second Death Star wiht a vulnerable reactor. Back to Yoda’s hut on Dagobah! Luke and Vader duel until one gets his hand chopped off. And so on). And the work he did extending the Star Wars brand was universally dreadful (The Holiday Special? The Ewoks cartoons?).

Episodes I and II were entirely in keeping with Lucas’ demonstrated skills and abilities. Why was anyone surprised?


Katherine 05.09.05 at 1:42 am

I don’t mind the ewoks so much.

There, I said it.

I have gotten past the seventh grade girl “they’re so fuzzy and cute!” thing but they don’t detract that much from that movie for me; I still like it as much as Star Wars and nearly as much as Empire. It’s despite them, but if I hated the ewoks as much as one is supposed to, this wouldn’t be true.

No, my real hatred is saved for Jar Jar, Hayden Christiansen, and the writer of The Clone Wars. Which also got a few decent reviews at first–I waited for video for that one, this one I may not watch at all depending on what I hear from others.


clarkent 05.09.05 at 7:50 am

Incidentally, according to Lucas, he originally meant to populate Endor with Wookies, way back before he even finished A New Hope. When it came time to make Return of the Jedi, he thought having more Wookies would be redundant, however, so he chopped the Wookies in half (or thirds, really) and made them Ewoks.


norbizness 05.09.05 at 8:59 am

I was done with the first trailer I saw for Revenge of the Sith, especially the scene-chewing by the Emperor. The second, however, contained the following lines, approximately:

Annakin: First the Jedis turn against me, and now YOU?

Padme: Why are you LIKE this?

And then I saw a Diet Pepsi commercial and a Skittles commercial and a car insurance commercial featuring Star Wars characters and I remembered that George Lucas is an insanely evil, untalented hack and I shouldn’t be enriching him.


Jacob T. Levy 05.09.05 at 9:02 am

It’s really very hard not to give in to the temptation to go back to the abuser with wide eyes and open arms. I’d successfully resisted for the past two years, genuinely not caring about the onset of Epispode III. But now I’m getting bombarded with favorable reviews by people who do seem to understand what was wrong with I & II or who are otherwise reliable on geekish matters (e.g. Kevin Smith.) Now with two weeks of commercials to go (and Lucas has always been good at commercials and trailers– the trailers for Episode I were brilliant), I can feel myself starting to slip into old, bad habits.

I know better, I do. And yet…


sd 05.09.05 at 10:58 am

I must admit to being a little baffled by the strength of the hatred for RotJ. Yes, the Ewoks are annoying and detract from the film. But the opening act was great swashbuckling fun, the final battle in space was a great action sequence, and the Luke/Vader/Emporer scenes were some of the best and most powerful in the series. I suspect that the Ewoks enrage the geeks (and I number myself among them) so much because we want Star Wars to be this culturally important set of films – The Godfather in space if you will – and the Ewoks make it awfully hard for a grown man to make that case. Its as if you have Joseph Campbell talking about the modern Illiad on one side and the Care Bears on the other and it makes us uncomfortable and embarrassed. So yes, I understand not liking the Ewoks, but hating Jedi overall seems a bit harsh.

And while I can see where someone wouldn’t like Clones, I can’t take a person seriously who doesn’t at least acknowledge that its leaps and bounds better than Phatom Menace. Not good enough perhaps, but definitely a move in the right direction.


Keith 05.09.05 at 11:13 am

I’m with Sebastian: I’ll see a matinee a few weeks later. I’ve already skimmed th eplot synopsis on Wikipedia and seen the stills that litter the internet. I know what happens and I know what it looks like. But yet, I must see the last movie, or loose my geek cred.

I’d be leased as punch if some hacker would eidt the films down to a dozen half hour episodes, like they should be. That, I’d pay to see.


Doctor Memory 05.09.05 at 6:19 pm

Jacob: Kevin Smith may have liked Sith, but remember — Kevin Smith made “Chasing Amy”. This should put his ability to detect cinematic crapola in proper perspective.

(As for me? No. No no no a thousand times no. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, meet the new Force, same as the old Force, won’t get fooled again, etc etc etc…

…okay, maybe I’ll download it.)


Anon 05.09.05 at 10:47 pm

But aren’t you curious if it all hands together?



Anon 05.09.05 at 10:48 pm

er, “hangs,” that is.


Bob 05.10.05 at 12:43 am

You’re all wrong.
Over-intellectualizing a summer movie means maybe you need to go outside and skip through a park. Smell some flowers, etc. George Lucas is neither Sales nor Goudot nor any other director with reputable skills at make a film. the Star Wars movies are just large scale works of cinematic art and basic storytelling. That’s it.
Revenge of the Sith is going to win Best Picture, I shit you not.


agm 05.10.05 at 6:16 am

1) I understand that the traditional lore, from people who saw Lucas talk about it, was that

Wookies *slashed budget = Ewoks.

2) My personal fav so far has been the 7-Eleven Darth slurpee commercial.


digamma 05.10.05 at 1:15 pm

There are any number of bad sports teams in the world whose relationship with their fans fits the same psychological profile, except most of them go through it every year instead of every three.


djw 05.10.05 at 2:52 pm

Doctor Memory–I think that when Jacob said:

I’m getting bombarded with favorable reviews by people who do seem to understand what was wrong with I & II or who are otherwise reliable on geekish matters (e.g. Kevin Smith.)

the e.g. referred “Kevin Smith” to “geekish matters” not to “people who do seem to understand….” In other words, people who understand that despite all the respect he commands from the geek community, Kevin Smith is breathtakingly incompetant at almost every facet of the craft of filmmaking.

At least, that’s what I assumed he meant….

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