Critique : Star Wars Episode III : Revenge of the Sith [English version]

Didier Verdurand | 14 mai 2005
Didier Verdurand | 14 mai 2005

                                                                                                                     Voir cette critique en français.

An extraordinary adventure, 28 years in the undertaking will come to an end for George Lucas at the top of the red-capeted steps of the Cannes Film Festival on May 15th, that's if we ignore the many inevitable future commercial ventures deriving from the Star Wars name. Star Wars seldom leaves one with a feeling of indifference and in this respect, not many will be disappointed by Revenge of the Sith.To put this view in perspective, know that the author of these words is a fan of the highest order, far from having been convinced by the first two chapters of the sextuplet.

George Lucas is acutely aware that he is addressing a well-informed audience of hundreds of millions who know the two trilogies and their characters inside-out and the director loses now time in throwing us straight into the heart of the action with a twenty minute openingscene that serves to highlight the unstoppable progress of Industrial Light and Magic; a scene which could steal them an Oscar for Best Special Effects, previously won by The Matrix in 2000 and LOTR: TheTwo Towers in 2003. 2006 could finally be ILM's year!

In terms of the film's characters there are no nasty surprises; most will be pleased to learn that Jar-Jar Binks stays safely on the cutting room floor. Chewbacca and his Wookie cousins make an all too brief appearance but sufficient to relight the fire of nostalgia in the hearts of fans of the original trilogy. Setting aside the Muppet Show scenes that have crept into the newer episodes, Lucas directs his cast of characters on a darker path this time. Evidently more at easein this light, they become all the more likable. Gone is the urge to cringe at puppets that look as though they're straight out of Sesame Street - this film is no laughing matter. In fact, you can count the laughs (predominently provided by our favourite droids R2D2 and C3PO) on one hand. So high are the stakes this time round that Revenge of the Sith can only be described as a full blown tragedy of Empire Strikes Back proportions. The seizure of power by the Sith, the sad defeat of the Jedi, the foretelling of Padme's death when giving birth and Anakin's realignment towards the dark side of the Force; each link in the chain of events is addressed in minute detail, without a hint of tedium (the 2 hours 20 minutes fly by too quickly, if anything), rather with an enourmous sense of crescendo as the dramaunfolds. Quite simply the story is both rich and ambitious.

The genius of Lucas is that he manages to get us worked up about a scenario to which we've all known the ending for years. The man knows what the public wants to see and feeds the audience's thirst for morewith a host of surprises thanks to a refreshing and inspiring approachwith regards to plot construction and mise en scene. The birth of Luke and Leia is a prime example of this, instantly becoming a legendary scene worthy of the title.

Lucas has an extraordinary ability to stamp his mark on an action scene, forever bringing new elements to make each one unique. The light-sabre fights are technically and visually awesome, notably the duel in which General Grievous simultaneously wields four of them against Obi-Wan, a scene that erases from memory the dissapointing bouts between Obi-Wan and Darth Maul and his mediocre encounter with Dooku in previous installments. Kenobi's final fight scene above the lava, against an Anakin recently transformed into Darth Vader (though not yet having donned the black armour) is an unforgettable moment of stunning choreography.

As Lucas himself concedes, in accordance with the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association of America), Revenge of the Sith does contain some scenes that wouldn't make it into the Tellietubbies. The image of Grievous's heart doesn't pass without bringing back notions of the one torn out in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; perhaps a cheeky wink at his good friend Steven Spielberg to let him know he'll never forget his dear Indiana (origianally the name of his dog!) The rating of PG 13 - ie. unsuitable for unaccompanied children under thirteen -seems all the more unavoidable at the end of the film, when Anakin, disfigured by molten lava, suffers in complete agony. Obviously we're not thrown into a bloody horror film but these images are more likely to disturb the sensibilities of little ones than the Ewoks of Return of the Jedi. The massacre of the youngest Jedi is only suggested but too late, the damage is already done by that stage. This said, puritanical critics will fail to knock this one off its pedestal. Star Wars will always have its detractors, something that just won't stop Revenge of the Sith from becoming a true success; it's life at the box office promises to be both long and lucrative.

John Williams' music is outstanding this time, again out-classing thefilm's two predecessors as there's no time in this episode for there latively heavy, sometimes downright silly tempo of the orchestra in the last two films. The score is perfectly balanced, never delving too deep into sentimentalism; it is an invisible yet integral part of each scene. (Read the french article by Fabien Braule about the sound track) So what more could we want by way of an escape?

The cocktail of action, romance, tragedy, suspense and imagination has rarely been sowell shaken in any other chapter of the Star Wars saga which is boundto lead to many a debate about its rank alongside episodes IV and V as the most complete opus of the symphony. The only conceivable notch this film has against it in the hearts of true Star Wars fans is the absence of the irreplacable Han Solo. Irrespective as to whether this second trilogy has been as fascinating as the first, the pieces that it brings to the puzzle are essential,and melt into the incredible cinematic ediface built by Lucas the architect. A work that will be on the lips of moviegoers for centuries, as long as cinema exists.

Translation by Diarmid Hurrell


Newsletter Ecranlarge
Recevez chaque jour les news, critiques et dossiers essentiels d'Écran Large.
Aucun commentaire.
votre commentaire