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May 17, 2005 > Star Wars Episode III: A stellar finale

Star Wars Episode III: A stellar finale

(A father/son review)

by Karthik Raman and Venkat Raman

SA long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away there was a story yet untold. Now the time is near for all to be revealed Thursday, May 19, when "Star Wars Episode III, The Revenge of the Sith," hits the screens. This action-packed movie is filled with deception, hate and the rise of the Sith; the darkest hour of the Clone Wars has arrived.

Star Wars, a series of six episodes, tells the story of intergalactic settlements over a period of two generations during which "evil" Sith forces gradually gain an upper hand and almost annihilate "good" Jedi forces, only to be conquered in the end by a young Jedi Knight, Luke Skywalker. The first three episodes relate the story of Anakin Skywalker, who is trained to become a Jedi Knight, but ends up joining forces with the Sith Order becoming Darth Vader. At the end of the third episode, his transformation to Darth Vader is complete. Before he switches to the Dark Side, Anakin begets a son, Luke Skywalker, whose early life story and victory over evil is related in the second three episodes of Star Wars.

Episodes IV through VI were released first, and after a gap of more than a decade, Episodes I and II were screened. Completing the set is Episode III. Due to the chronology of Star Wars releases, Episode IV is the original Star Wars and Episodes V and VI are "sequels" whereas Episodes I through III are considered "prequels."

In Episode III, the intergalactic Republic that ruled in prequels Episode I (Phantom Menace) and Episode II (Attack of the Clones) seems to be winning the Clone War between Jedi and Sith, but in the end, it is the Sith that strikes deep-young Anakin Skywalker is slowly seduced by the Dark Side of the Force. You can finally see the transformation of Anakin Skywalker into Darth Vader.

Riveting lightsaber action makes you grip the edge of your seat in suspense. The speed and agility of the lightsaber battles is the best among all Star Wars episodes. The movie starts out being somewhat humorous, but quickly turns serious. With a few notable exceptions, Episode III is similar to previous releases. There are no extremely gruesome or violent parts. One would wonder why this is the only Star Wars episode rated PG-13, as it does not feel much different from the others. However, it may advisable for parents to preview Episode III as there may be a few marginally objectionable scenes. Some scenes are cinematic masterpieces with breath-taking backgrounds such as a river of lava but others are sad or shockingly cold, cruel and dark, particularly when Anakin wreaks havoc on the Jedi.

This episode is the link between the Anakin trilogy and the Luke trilogy. As such it lays the foundation of events in Episodes IV, V and VI and covers the transition from Episode II to Episode IV very well. Episode IV clearly mentions that Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi are the only remaining Jedi; Episode III depicts the near complete destruction of the Jedi Order. Mace Windu is unable to survive and so are countless other Jedi. A key to this is the decision of Anakin Skywalker to join the Sith Forces. The Sith Lord, Darth Sidius, recognizes the value of Anakin and methodically works on him to join the Sith Order. The final blow is struck when Darth Sidius promised something dear to Anakin in return for joining the Sith Order. A lot of groundwork is laid to make this desertion believable, but it still makes you wonder if Anakin had a strong enough reason to join the Dark Side. Keep an eye out for director George Lucas and his son Jett who appear in the film.

Episode III is one of the best of the Star Wars episodes, rivaled only by Episode VI. A definite must-see.

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