PG-13 for sci-fi violence
and some intense images
May 19, 2005
Nov. 1, 2005
Ewan McGregor, Hayden
Christensen, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel
Twentieth Century Fox
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Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of
By Elliott Ryan
Two types of people will be reading this review. The first
type is readers who are not big fans of the Star Wars franchise.
Many regular readers of this Web site may check out this review
just to see what all the talk is about. They just want to know
if the movie is worth seeing and if it is appropriate for all
members of the family. The answers to these questions are yes
and no, respectively.
The movie is a fantastic sci-fi action movie. Although some of
the dialogue is a bit cheesy and some of the acting is less than
inspiring (much of the acting is done in front of blue screens
with the computer-generated background sets and even computer
generated co-stars being added in later – this process tends
to make it difficult for actors to really get into their character),
this movie makes up for these weaknesses by telling an interesting
story and by supplying awesome battle scenes that are a George
However, it is not for all members of the family. It is more
violent than past Star Wars movies. In fact this is the
first movie of the series to receive a PG-13 rating (all 5 previous
films were PG). Just as distressing to younger viewers though
will be the darkness of the movie. Taken on its own, this movie
seems to tell a story of the dominance of fascism and violence
in a galaxy far, far away. Of course, this movie is part three
in a six-part series where the good guys win in the end. But the
evil in this movie could be overly oppressive to a young viewer
who doesn’t have the big picture view of the whole series.
As with previous Star Wars movies, there are parallels
between religion and “The Force” that is advocated
by the Jedi Knights. But not all parallels are good. For example,
Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of our lead heroes, says that only those who
follow the Dark Side believe in absolutes. Of course the average
Christian wouldn’t agree with this relativist side of Star
Wars spirituality. This is the most glaring of a string of
New Age references related to “The Force” in Star
However, there is another group of readers out there skimming
this article. Those readers are big fans of the series. They have
been following the intergalactic world from the mind of George
Lucas since the first movie hit movie screens in 1977. For ardent
enthusiasts of the series, Episode Three brings a new
hope to the franchise.
Episodes One and Two were widely considered
disappointing by fans of the original trilogy. But this movie
more than makes up for sitting through the first two episodes.
It is general knowledge that this third episode tells the story
of how Anakin Skywalker completes his transformation from innocent
little pod racer to a powerful force of evil named Darth Vader.
His conversion to the Dark Side was heavily foreshadowed in Episode
Two. The vast majority of the audience knows going into this
movie how Anakin (and other main characters) will end up by the
time the credits roll. But it is a lot of fun to see how they
get to their various destinations.
All of the complaints that fans had about the two more recent
Star Wars films are answered in this film. For example,
Jar Jar Binks, though appearing in a couple of scenes, is not
given any spoken lines in the film. Also, rather than focusing
so much on political intrigue as Episode Two did, this
film is all action. It starts with a starship battle at the very
beginning of the film and the action just keeps going. Even though
the running time of the movie is two hours and 20 minutes, time
seems to fly by as viewers get caught up in the emotional struggle
of a young man who feels torn between the good he knows he should
do and the evil that has been seducing him.
Some liberal reviewers likened the war-mongering, evil behavior
of the Sith Lord and his new apprentice Darth Vader to our current
President, George W. Bush. They saw a resemblance between the
leaders of the Dark Side who mercilessly killed innocent men,
women, and children to gain power to the leadership of our President
in the war with Iraq. I don’t see a resemblance. In fact,
as I watched the film, the behavior of the murderous villains
reminded me more of terrorist leaders who sit back in protected
secrecy and urge their followers to go commit acts of jihad against
innocent people with the promise of an eternal reward they can
never deliver. So much depends on one’s perspective.
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