Rating: **** four stars ("recommended" - but not for small children: there are some kind of grisly moments at the end when Darth Vader gets maimed and burned)
- Yet again, the special effects are top-notch.
- The opening battle and rescue mission are well done: this entire sequence is very cool, and captures some of the magic of the original trilogy that was so missing from Episodes I and II. I especially love Obi-Wan Kenobi's flying leap out of his crash-landing ship.
- General Grievous is a very, very, very cool villain. The cough threw me, because I thought he was a droid, but I guess he's some kind of cyborg...? Anyway, whatever he is, he rocks, and every scene he is in is good because of him.
- Wookiees! I love wookiees, and finally we get to see their home world Kashyyyk (honestly, I think George Lucas has a vowel problem...) and see them in action. This was George Lucas' original vision for Return Of The Jedi, before he sold his soul to the merchandising gods and went with teddy bears instead. This proves how evil that decision was. (Although, why is Chewbacca one of the wookiees fighting? Shouldn't he have been a baby wookiee at this time?)
- Anakin's scar and longer hair are a nice touch: he looks like he's seen battle and grown a bit since we last saw him. And his final conversion to the "dark side" of the Force is well done too. It may be a little forced, but it is believable. (Less so, however, if you take the CGI Clone Wars TV series into account; from what I've seen of it, that version of Anakin does not appear to be on a path to the dark side.)
- The final battle between Vader and Obi-Wan is epic, and Vader's disfigurement is nicely done. The lava planet seems completely implausible, but it's cool, so I'm willing to look past that. The dialogue is a little shaky, but not as bad as between Vader and Padme. And there's just something about Ewan McGregor's delivery: he's a good actor. (Question, though: why didn't Obi-Wan finish off Vader when he had the chance?)
- Seeing Vader's new body come together is very cool, even though it seems like Vader should have some kind of intermediate stage, like the Sith baddie in this video, instead of going straight to a look that wouldn't change for 20 years. But still, hearing him talk in James Earl Jones' voice is priceless.
- The original (hand-drawn) Clone Wars series on Cartoon Network works well as a bridge between Episodes II and III, but the new CGI series on the same network seems to have a lot of inconsistencies. Plus, while the clones, aliens and droids look pretty cool, the stories are boring. But the kids just love those clones...
- The Emperor's final rise to power seems somewhat contrived and unrealistic. The plot seems forced at this point. Oh, and the dialogue is bad too. Seriously, George, if you were going to make it unrealistic, did you have to bore us with the details for three movies? Couldn't you have come up with something more exciting?
- Padme's death is hard to explain and seems like a cheat. Although after the final scene between her and Anakin/Vader (painfully bad dialogue), I'm glad she's dead. (Not you, Natalie, just your character. Call me.)
- The final battle between Yoda and the Emperor is kind of silly. It tries to be epic, but it just doesn't quite work. The special effects are cool and Yoda is well animated, but seeing him fight is just kind of ridiculous.
- The Emperor is kind of lame. He cackles like a drunken old man. He was much better when he stayed mysterious.
- Again, "Wipe the protocol droid's memory" is a cheat, and it doesn't address all the continuity problems that including R2D2 and C3PO in these episodes created. They were wasted in these movies, and should never have been in them.
And here is the Crazy People quote: "Captures some of the magic of the original trilogy... some kind of cyborg? ... I love wookiees... the Emperor is kind of lame... continuity problems."
P.S. - Want a second opinion? Click here for an in-depth, two hour long rant from Red Letter Media. (Fair warning: some of it is a little disturbing.)