For whatever reason, the holiday season always makes me want to watch epic films. Correction: it always makes me want to watch an epic film series. This is most likely the result of having been in school as a student or as a teacher for the majority of my life. When it’s time to take a break, you want to do something as useless as possible. What better way to waste your time than by watching an entire television series, or a movie trilogy, or quadrilogy, or pentilogy, or proctologist, or whatever.
Most often, I watch either Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings or George Lucas’s Star Wars. There really isn’t anything Christmasy or New Yearsy about either of these two trilogies. The association most likely comes from my childhood. Each year, on Christmas Day, the USA television network would play Star Wars IV – VI in sequence, most likely because not very many people were watching television and they needed something to fill the airwaves. This year, I decided to expand my Star Wars viewing and include Revenge of the Sith (I didn’t watch the other two prequel movies out of respect…for myself). Obviously, because Revenge of the Sith is part of the prequel trilogy it must inevitably suck, but thankfully it does have some pretty redeeming characteristics.
If you distill away the incessant problems with the prequel trilogy, like the unbelievably terrible script and almost unbearable acting by almost every single person that comes on screen (even people who are, for their part, incredible actors), there is actually quite a bit of food for thought in the story of Revenge of the Sith. There are obvious parallels to terrorism and the administration of justice upon dissident forces. There are concrete criticisms of government bureaucracy and the near constant problems that plague administrative bodies. Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side of the Force could have been a deeply tragic and awesome thing to watch. And it sort of is anyway, even if it is crunched into a 10-minute montage of shots of Anakin staring into the camera and a bunch of Clone Troopers killing Jedi (was more easily than should be possible).
Here’s one example of a chunk of tasty meat in this otherwise stinky soup of inedible refuse. Anakin is plagued by a dream in which Padme dies during childbirth, and it is this dream that eventually pushes him to seek the power of the Dark Side. Ironically, this dream is a warning of what will happen if Anakin chooses to turn. There isn’t any way for him to know this, but Yoda tries to warn him that premonitions such as the one Anakin is experiencing can be deceptive. Had Anakin chosen to accept the vision and move on with his life, the event never would have happened. Instead, he turns to the Dark Side and Padme dies of a broken heart (which is stupid, but let’s just ignore that for now).
Of course, other problems with the film make it all but impossible to enjoy any of the things that make the movie somewhat digestible. And that’s what this article is for. Or that’s how it started out anyway. I was initially just going to bitch about Revenge of the Sith for a while, but when I began I just couldn’t stop there. I decided that I would go through and catalog all of the things that I thought George Lucas, a dude who makes movies for a living and has millions of dollars from making said movies, should probably have thought of before dumping the three steaming piles that make up the prequel trilogy upon the public’s collective head.
Read part II here.