• Technically, it is the first George Lucas directed film to land in the archives since the 1977 original Star Wars
  • It is markedly better than the previous prequels- Phantom Menace in 1999 and Clones in 2002. It is darker, comparisons to Empire are right in terms of the foreboding doom and bleaker tone. The “best since Empire” stuff may be correct as well—but that is no great compliment necessarily either.
  • Lucas still makes the mistake of investing so much time and energy in plot and CGI- two things that do not usually translate to great cinema. This is not cinema/artistic style. It is frustrating that Peter Jackson didn’t heed this when making his Hobbit prequels for Lord of the Rings. This entire prequel enterprise makes as strong a case for analog (real effects vs. computer effects) filmmaking as Fury Road  or Christopher Nolan.
  • The part of the story that absolutely works is the divide Anakin Skywalker feels. Supreme Chancellor Palpatine’s power of seduction is well crafted- and you feel the split and empathize with Skywalker in many ways. Lucas even lessens the blow of him slaughtering children by showing it in flashback hologram and even then- only in fragments- that’s a narrative choice from Lucas.

a meticulously designed interior here as Palpatine seduces Skywalker

  • The “Order 66” montage is fantastic- it is Lucas dialing up the baptism murder montage from his old buddy Francis Ford Coppola in The Godfather as Palpatine gets rid of the Jedi.

Lucas seems more energized here visually than he has since The Empire Strikes Back

  • I do not think it is a coincidence that the best of these prequels is the one connected closest to the 1977 original film from a story standpoint
  • Far less nails-on-chalkboard writing and dialogue here overall- but “you’re a good person- don’t do this” isn’t exactly Shakespeare in a big moment.

another strong shot- most of these are one-offs- but still worthy of being praised

  • A stunner of a composition- perhaps the best in the three films- is at the 107-minute mark with Hayden Christensen’s Anakin foreground left and Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan in the background right

perhaps the greatest frame in the prequel trilogy

  • Perhaps it is just me- but having just seen Return of the Jedi– it is surprising that Ian McDiarmid’s makeup as the Emperor actually looks worse (more fake) in 2005 than it did in 1983. I also think a well-done miniature (from the original series) certainly looks more authentic than the CGI effects—again- a surprising step back 20+ years later

the final image– a beautiful ending. Certainly Lucas rewarded those who stuck with the trilogy through the end.

  • McGregor’s powerful delivery of “You were the chosen one” is worthy of praise. He is very good here- Christensen simply isn’t—and it hurts the film and most of the “wooden” critiques from the critics throughout the series are justified.
  • Recommend but not in the top 10 of 2005