Spoiler Alert. Bypass if you don't want to know a few details...
Daughter #1 and I went to see Revenge of the Sith last night. I wanted to enjoy it. Really, I did. Alas, while I don't want to rain on the parade of enjoyment that so many have, or perhaps more properly, want to have for this film, it is my considered opinion that ROTS is bad. Ishtar bad. Gigli bad. Perhaps the worst film I have seen in ten years. I guess I better explain why.
Oh, the CGI is visually stunning and the rather complex choreography of the battle scenes is intellectually stimulating, but in a way that does nothing but distract from the actual plot -- when you can find a plot. I can appreciate the intellectual and technical achievment of the thousands upon thousands of airships in what appears to be conventional rush hour traffic the first dozen or so times I see it. After that it gets kind of tiresome to have to watch another fifteen second silent interlude that serves no apparent purpose other than to allow the boys at Industrial Light and Magic show us once again just how technically proficient they are with their toys.
About twenty minutes into the movie my suspension of disbelief started to fade and I mentally began to point out the silliness and impossible physics of what I was watching. Fortunately, I was able to suppress that phase rather quickly, as it wasn't much of a challenge, and I returned to trying to enjoy the movie.
John Williams ponderous score adds nothing and seemed annoying to me during the frequent dialogueless interludes.
Many others have already noted the laughable dialogue in the scenes between Anakin and Padme, but it seems to me that the problem is universal. Hmm..., when Mr. Lucas draws callowly transparent analogies to President Bush and the Liberation of Iraq using Senator Palpatine and the suppression of the Separatist Revolt as a threat to the Senate (and House?), the Republic, and (gasp!) democracy, and when he justifies the Jedi Council killing Senator Palpatine for expediency since he cannot be brought to justice through the usual means and he is far too dangerous to be allowed to live, well, what exactly is Mr. Lucas saying here? And I've seen Mr. Lucas encourage these Iraq allusions on the Charlie Rose show, so I'm not making this up out of a hypersensitivity to illiberal silliness. Moving on...
For a "chosen one", Anakin Skywalker is remarkably dense. If none of the Jedi Masters could sense this, shouldn't Obi Wan have figured it out after spending years with him? Trusting your fate to the hands of someone with the intellectual, emotional, and political sophistication of a 13-year old, no matter how strong the force is in him, would seem to be counterintuitive for those so saturated with midichlorians. FWIW, I found Anakin's conversion entirely unconvincing and his flippantly casual willingness to believe the ends justify the means when it comes to working for the dark side somewhat incongruent, especially since he claimed to find that concept so repulsive when he imagined it practiced by the Jedi.
Too bad General Grievous didn't have that Jedi mind trick in his younger days to shoo away the sleazy death stick vendors. If he had had it, then perhaps we could have been spared a commanding robot with a hacking cough. GG's demise reminded me of the rather anticlimactic ending to Ralph Bakshi's Wizards. There is very little new under the multiple suns.
And can we please dispense with the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon/Matrix/Charlie's Angels fight choreography? That the force can allow one to do superhuman (or super-other species) feats is taken as a given, but why do four forward flips when, say, one would probably suffice?
Finally, what I believe to be the most damaging indictment of ROTS is to imagine this movie with this script made in 1977 when the orginal Star Wars movie was released. Without the CGI, how many thumbs up do you think it might have got? Would you have been anxiously awaiting the sequels?
I've written before that Mr. Lucas' biggest mistake was doing 1, 2 and 3, instead of 7, 8 and 9. The necessity of living within the constraints of a storyline that dictated a certain ending was more than Mr. Lucas could adequately cope with. He is in some ways a victim of the impossible expectations raised by his earlier success. Nevertheless, George Lucas will be fondly remembered and feted for bringing us his tales of a galaxy far, far away for a long, long time. The rather sad second (or first, if you prefer) trilogy tarnishes his star just a little, as the first (or second, if you prefer) trilogy was so very, very good. Mr. Lucas appears to be a spent force creatively, albeit an incredibly wealthy spent force.