Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

Well, George Lucas has finally abandoned his dedication to mostly-digital or all-digital productions and made a totally organic film that adheres to Dogme 95 standards, and the results are very nice. Instead of the cold, lifeless shapes and colors that filled the last two Star Wars installments, in this film we get nothing but the real thing: real lava, real metal robots, real HUGE LIZARDS, real YODA, real DOG-HAIR costumes for the wookies (spoiler: yes, I said ‘wookies’; yes, the wookies are back and thank goodness), etc. The difference is huge. The film opens with an elaborately staged space battle — ships and lasers and droids whizzing in every direction like hi-tech shrapnel — and it just feels so damn real. Because it IS real! Which is a big part of the fun in watching this movie: you think to yourself, Holy crap, how did they do this without using digital effects?
If Lucas did a 180 on digital because the fans complained, then it wasn’t the only area where he listened to fans. All the naysayers who called episodes I and II proof that George Lucas can’t write dialog are now wiping the crap out of their eyes. Revenge of the Sith boasts Harold Pinter-level dialog. At one point Anakin lops off Lord Dooku’s head (spoiler: yes lops off his head, thus killing him) and Supreme Chancellor Palpatine goes, “Good! Goo-hoo-hoo-hood!”, and Anakin goes, “It doesn’t FEEL good,” and Palpatine says, “Ha ha ha. Good, Anakin.” When the first Padme-Anakin scene begins, I felt everyone in the audience tighten up in anticipation of some dialog blows to the head, but instead what they got was this:
ANAKIN: “Nnnngh…”
PADME: “What’s wrong, Ani?”
ANAKIN: “I won’t lose you” (and yet he does, to childbirth (spoiler))
PADME: “I love you.”
ANAKIN: “What is… Oh. Was Obi-Wan here earlier?”
PADME: “Obi-Wan. He’s worried about you.”
ANAKIN: “Worried about ME? Don’t you remember how I was the one who saved his life?”
PADME: “He said he remembers that, yes, but that he worries.”
ANAKIN: “Worries about what? About dying when I’m at home with you because no one will be there to save him?”
PADME: “No. Oh… maybe. I don’t think so. He said you. Obi-wan is worried.”
ANAKIN: “Obi-wan was here?”
PADME: “Yes, Anakin, he’s worried.”
ANAKIN: “About dying? Because who will save him?”
PADME: “Yes, I think so.”
ANAKIN: “Well… I wonder if he’s even still alive right now. It’s been forty minutes.”
There’s never even an explicit acknowledgment that Anakin has used a Jedi mind trick to persuade Padmé, but the dialog is so well done that you know exactly what’s going on without anybody saying “Jedi mind trick” aloud as in past movies.
(Spoiler:) Yoda is in this film. At one point he kills a dog with a sling-shot and everyone in the audience went crazy with grief. He’s actually sort of the main character, and in one scene he drives a truck off a bridge and you wonder if even his jedi skills will bring him safely through — they don’t (spoiler: dead). In another delightful scene that by itself enriches the series immeasurably, Yoda says this to Obi-Wan (yes, Obi-Wan is back): “In two years time a child will be born unto the widow Merlin. Besieged by grief and fear of unnatural birth she will take her own life. You must save the child, whose destiny entwines with and lifts aloft the destiny of us all. Go to her disguised as a woodsman and ask for food and shelter. At night, while she slumbers, place this leaf atop the swell of her belly. Three days thence she will swallow poison. After she dies you will have the sands of this hourglass to cut the child from her. You must take it to the black hills and await me there. Remember that if you are caught all is lost, now go!” says Yoda. A satisfying ending to a hit-and-miss but ultimately great series of films.