Monday, September 6, 2010

Episode III: The Hamlet of Space Operas (or EVERYBODY DIES)

So here we arrive at the end of Lucas' prequel trilogy and at a dark time in the galaxy, but lets talk about the weekend.  I had a pseudo four-day weekend.  Yes I had to be at work on Friday, but it was just sitting and listening to meetings all day without kids, so it felt like a day off.  I also went on a date with that new guy, which went extremely well.  Its almost a shame it went so well, because I haven't seen him since and he left for Kenya today for school.  He'll be gone until the 26th and I fear that any good the first date might have done will disappear completely by then.  Either way, I really like him and I'm trying to have hope and yet not set myself up for getting hurt.  Its a hard dynamic.  Saturday I went to Cedar Point by myself, and I discovered that unlike going to a restaurant or a movie by myself, going to an amusement park by myself is not something I ever want to do again.  It was cold, crowded, and expensive for something I didn't enjoy (which is sad because usually I love CP).  The expensive part really bugs me, mainly because I'm already strapped for cash and I've agreed to go on a trip to NYC with my mother that I'm still not sure I can afford.  So yeah, I guess I have a lot on my mind.  I suppose its fitting then that I'm about to discuss the darkest film in the Star Wars series, given my mood.  This was the movie that was to fill in all the leftover gaps in-between this half of the series and the original film now dubbed A New Hope and naturally...since we start with an orphan and all the Jedi dead...someone's gotta go.  So lets dive right in and shed a tear for characters we never knew were there in 1977 as we watch Revenge of the Sith.

The Republic is officially at war with the Separatists and Count Dooku has abducted Chancellor Palpetine from the Senate when the film opens, allowing for a spectacular scene where Anakin and Obi-Wan get to rescue him in a huge battle.  It looks as though the Republic and their clones will win the war and yet, General Grievous and Dooku are still hell bent on destroying what the senate has fought for.  In the background, the evil Darth Sidious is pulling strings on both sides.  The Chancellor is also causing problems, meddling with Jedi affairs and keeping his specially elected power and his term of office long after he should have been replaced by a successor.  The Jedi believe him to be a threat and so ask Anakin, an admirer of Palpetine, to spy on him.  Anakin begins to doubt the Jedi and also begins to consider studying the dark side so he can save his wife (he has begun having dreams of her dying in childbirth).  Eventually, when the Jedi are spread across the galaxy and distracted, Palpatine reveals that he is the evil Darth Sidious in disguise and, upon earning Anakin's allegiance, orders the Clone Army to kill all the Jedi.  It is then up to Obi-Wan to face the fallen Anakin, who now calls himself Darth Vader.

This is the prequel that is universally accepted as the best among fans and its easy to see why.  This is the episode with edge that fans had been wanting since Episode I and finally got.  This is the one they really wanted to see...not young Darth Vader or teenage love....just the death and destruction of the Jedi along with the rise of ol' Darth.  Its also the least complex of the prequels due to the fact that everything that happens in it was already set up in the other films, and that also makes it more audience friendly.  I suppose it is a testament to what Lucas set up in the other prequels that we felt genuinely sad when Anakin turned to the dark side and when Padme and the Jedi die.  Its also sad to see Yoda lose in battle against Palpatine, who is now Emperor of the galaxy, and to know that he must go live in a swamp.  Then there are the babies, the twins fated to become Luke and Leia in the original trilogy, who lose their mother and father as they are being born.  That is also sad, but bittersweet in that they are the New Hope that the next episode alludes to.  We know that everything will be alright in the end, but it still sucks that no one stopped it before it got to the point of no return here.  Much like a Greek or Shakesperian tragedy, we get to see everything start out well and then watch helpless as our leads are affected by their foils until they are either killed or turn into horrible people removed from who they once were.  Who knew Star Wars could be tragic?

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