I took my 10 year old daughter to see Revenge of the Sith on Saturday. Watching her reactions during the movie was definitely the highlight for me. Her mouth hung wide open at the critical point when Anakin helps defeat Mace Windu. She teared up repeatedly and was one notch below full out crying when Padme died.
Don’t get me wrong, she loved the movie and told me so afterwards. I asked her what she thought and she said, “About three-fourths of it I was sad and the one-fourth I was angry.” I inquired what she was angry about and she said when Anakin made the wrong choice. Very perceptive that one.
As I was watching it for the second time, I was struck with how much better a movie it could have been with just one more polish. I would have liked a screenwriter to take the existing story and script and “script doctor” it. I think we would’ve not had the Frankenstein-esque Vader bit at the end and some of the dialogue touches that didn’t work (“Hold me like you did on Naboo”) would have been excised.
On the other hand, there are some fantastic scenes in this movie that surpass nearly all the scenes in the first two prequels. The single greatest moment for me was Padme and Anakin staring at each other across the city. That was, perhaps, the best scene Lucas has ever written. You could feel the emotion, it was subtle, well played and worked infinitely better than any other interplay between Anakin and Padme. The music was brilliant. Although, I admit that Hayden’s reaction to hearing that Padme is preggers was by far his most realistic portrayal. My guess is the second unit director did that bit because I know full well that Lucas couldn’t direct an orange to be orange, let alone something that personal.
Speaking of more good scenes, Palpatine’s conversation in the Opera House was surprisingly subtle and well written. It was probably the only time in the prequels that exposition hasn’t been a bulletpoint catch up for the slow. The way he implied he was Anakin’s “Father” was excellent. Every major point that was addressed by that speech was implied and hinted and eluded to rather than punched straight into your face. “Not from a Jedi” was a pretty important point that you know Anakin’s thinking about from that moment on.
I’m curious to see if my daughter will still want to play lightsabers after seeing the movie. I would imagine the answer will be yes and I’ll be stuck with the blue lightsaber. The purple one is all hers.