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Review - Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DVD-2005)
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Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (DVD-2005)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Reviewed by Dennis Kwiatkowski

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith is the sixth film in a series spread out over 28 years. It enjoyed spectacular worldwide box-office success during its theatrical run—surprising for a film so late in a series. But then, it was the final Star Wars film—the chapter that would resolve the information introduced in the prequels and serve as the link and the set-up for the original Star Wars trilogy.

Fans had been waiting for years to discover how Anakin Skywalker would become Darth Vader. But Lucas hoped to accomplish even more. He wanted to show how a democracy turns itself over to a tyrant and he based his story on historical precedents. In showing the birth of the galactic empire, Lucas also shifted the focus of the series from Luke Skywalker to Anakin Skywalker. Ultimately then, the entire tale now becomes one of Anakin’s redemption.

Revenge of the Sith is a dark and dramatic story reminiscent of The Empire Strikes Back. Ian McDermid as Palpatine gives an oscar-calibre supporting performance which anchors the film. Revenge is also distinctive for its special effects—they are stupendous—state of the art and are alone worth the price of admission. Excitement is intensified by John Williams’ masterful score which completes his symphonic traversal of all six films and ends the series on a high note.

Extras in the set include six deleted scenes introduced by director Lucas and producer McCallum. A few of these would have been worth keeping in the film, particularly one depicting the birth of the rebel alliance and another showing Palpatine’s resistance to rational pleas from a senate coalition.

An extensive set of short internet documentaries makes for a highly informative behind-the-scenes making-of documentary. But the DVD’s producers couldn’t resist adding another documentary called ‘Within a Minute’ which shows how many hundreds of people are involved in bringing to life a special effects sequence that plays for less than sixty seconds on the screen.

Another extra is an excellent short entitled ‘The Chosen One’ which reveals the truth of Anakin Skywalker’s destiny. And the extensive training involved in the Jedi battle sequences is the subject of a segment called ‘It’s All for Real’. The inclusion of the film’s theatrical preview trailers, teasers and television spots allows the viewer to revisit the nostalgic ‘feel’ of the Star Wars experience, and the film’s commentary track by Lucas and his minions is well worth a listen.

The beautiful transfer to DVD comes direct from the high definition digital source tape and provides a gorgeous tapestry of sight and sound.

20th Century Fox Home Video’s release of Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith is another candidate for DVD of the year. For all that the film accomplishes as the dramatic final episode in a six part story, as a special effects spectacular, and as the singular uncompromised vision of director George Lucas, Star Wars Episode III is a special experience, one even worthy of a Best Picture nomination.

2005 Dennis Kwiatkowski/ Celluloid Dreams

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