Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Part I)
So it’s finally come to this: The Saga. I get asked a lot about if/when I’m going to recap the Star Wars films. I’ve decided that the best way for me to do this is to break the films into approximately 20-ish-minute chunks of footage, making them roughly as long as an episode of TCW or Rebels. I’m going to feel my way through this a bit and see how it goes. I have no idea if it will still be funny, but I’ll try.
As I presume that my readership is well-familiar with the saga films (at least I’d hope you all are, and if you’re not please leave right now and go watch them,) I’m also going to do what I do with everything else and skip around a lot, rather than recapping them in sequential order. (Hey, it’s my site and I not only don’t get paid for it, I pay to run it — so damn it, if I wanna start with Episode 3, I’m gonna start with Episode 3. I answer to no one! I am the Senate!)
…speaking of Episode 3, let’s start there, why don’t we? I will lay all my cards out on the table here and inform you guys that while I am indeed one of those Star Wars fans that a certain contingent of this fandom hates — that is, someone who has the audacity to, at a minimum, at least somewhat enjoy it in its entirety and more or less like all the characters — I do play favorites to an extent with the saga, and Episodes 3 and 4 take the top of the list for me. I’ve got a thing for that bottom portion of the ring, I guess (which may also explain why I adored Rogue One. I like my Star Wars dramatic and full of regret-filled speeches tinged with Hope. And evil guys and/or guys in capes bitching at each other.)
All right! Let’s get going; we have so much to get through and this ended up being way longer than I’d planned (who saw that coming?)The Famous Opening Crawl, seen here for the first time in a Snark Wars recap in all its glory — no Voiceover Recap Guy, no Comic Book facsimile, no jarring Rebels-style explanation-free fanfare — is on hand to queue us up for the fun (“fun”) that awaits us all in this, the most Drama-rific Star Wars movie yet.
The Crawl informs us that oh hey! The Clone Wars have been going on for a while now and it kiiiinda sucks! (We know. WE KNOW ABOUT THE CLONE WARS SADNESS.) Both sides are fighting really hard! And also guess what? The Jedi are super tired and run ragged, something that TCW may have mentioned once or twice, too! And now — would you believe it? — the Chancellor has been kidnapped! By General Grievous! Wow! That poor guy, he just can’t seem to catch a break. Tsk tsk. Not to worry, though! Two Jedi are on their way to go save him and I bet everyone in the entire GFFA will be shocked to learn that it’s Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi who were the lucky ones chosen for this important mission! Do you think they’re up to the task of rescuing the Chancellor? Will the war come to an end soon? Will everyone make it out of this episode with all the body parts they started with and no additional emotional baggage (…)? Watch out for buzz droids and grab a box of wine and a shoulder to cry on: you’re gonna need it for this one.
Recurring Theme: The Republic’s Finest
We begin with the opening space battle, which quite easily takes its place among some of the wilder, crazier space battles in this canon. Shit is flying everywhere, all over the place, and we see two Jedi interceptors emerge from the chaos, flying in perfect sync: one is red, one is yellow, and both carry the Open Circle emblem. Hey look! I may have seen these guys a couple of times before!
Ah! I suppose I probably should address the fact that, this being the live-action canon, we’re now at my first opportunity on this blog to point out to all of you that Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi are ridiculously good-looking in this movie, far beyond the extent that any comic book or cartoon character representation of them could convey. This level of attractiveness was wholly uncalled for, and I can recall walking out of the theater and actually laughing out loud and saying something along the lines of “OK, I feel like George Lucas inadequately prepared me for what I was going to be dealing with in there.” I’m pretty sure Obi-Wan neglected to mention to Luke, in his Abridged and Not Entirely Accurate History of the Clone Wars back in Episode 4, that he and Anakin were the two most attractive people who’d ever lived.
Anyways, what Obi-Wan and Anakin look like has absolutely nothing to do with this scene or the merits of this film (I guess, although I do consider it one of the many things I am grateful to George Lucas for blessing my life with,) and I do apologize for the gratuitous fangirling. I’d say I’m “done” talking about this now but I don’t want to start telling you all enormous, obvious lies when I haven’t even covered a single line of dialogue yet.
Recurring Theme: Buzz Droid Attack!
So here are our boys, off in pursuit of the Chancellor. I want to point out that:
A) This scene clearly inspired the opening sequence of the final Ahsoka arc of TCW, as I mentioned in that recap, so thanks for that, Filoni et al;
B) This is all supposed to be happening immediately after Obi-Wan and Anakin drop off part of the 501st on Mandalore with Ahsoka (to have a “final” — hahahahahahaha — showdown with Maul.) So. I just wanted to mention this because I need you all to appreciate that this movie was already a heart-crushingly sad affair, and yet in the decade-plus since its debut, Team Star Wars has been actively working to make it sadder. Those magnificent bastards. Bless them.
The boys go flying around and Anakin, jacked up and totally ready for anything, gets things going with some Recycled Dialogue by announcing that “this is where the fun begins”. How thoughtful of him!
Eventually, Obi-Wan gets besieged by buzz droids and there’s a whole heaping helping of in-air dramatics around Anakin trying to get to where they’re trying to go while still trying to save Obi-Wan, Because Love.
Things are looking grim, and Obi-Wan tells Anakin there’s nothing left that he can do and Anakin tells him that he’s not leaving without him. Yeah, OK, movie. I get it. I see what you’re trying to do to me here. It won’t work (it will.)
With the assistance of Artoo (and Anakin being a big gigantic fucking dork when his pet robot saves the day), they rid themselves of the buzz droids and are headed straight for Grievous’ ship. But uh oh! The shields are still up! They blast away at them, and as they barely squeeze their way on board the Invisible Hand (LOL @ THIS NAME. I guess Lucas thought calling it the “SS DARK SIDE FORESHADOW” or something was just a smidge too obvious,) Obi-Wan notes that he Has a Bad Feeling About This. Don’t we all, Kenobes. Don’t we all.
Recurring Theme: Slide Into The Finish
They land on the Invisible Hand and not only slide into this landing, but Obi-Wan jumps into the fucking air, flips, and immediately starts slicing through battle droids. Yes, please tell me again how Obi-Wan and Anakin did not have any things in common and that Anakin is the only Extra person in this galaxy. Except for Insane Cackling Palpatine, or Yoda, who does multiple aerial flips in this series and once lifted an entire X-wing into the air singlehandedly. And Padme, who is a former teenage warrior queen and is going to be wearing an enormous strand of pearls TO BED later in this movie. And Obi-Wan, who just did shit like this. ANYWAYS. I digress.
The boys fight off a whole slew of battle droids like it ain’t no thing and just to crush me a wee bit more they make sure to stand back-to-back while doing so because they are Bros For Life and nothing can ever tear them apart.
Recurring Theme: Just Keep On Twisting That Knife There, Star Wars
So they plot out their next moves in pursuit of the evil cyborg kidnapper who has taken poor innocent Palpatine, reviewing a map of the ship:
Anakin hilariously says that he senses Count Dooku in like this slightly dark “let’s GET HIM” kind of way and Obi-Wan, ALMOST getting it right here, says he senses a trap. (He’s not wrong. But it’s just not the trap Obi-Wan thinks it is. OH WHY STAR WARS.)
Anakin asks what their next move should be, and for whatever terribly cruel reason he and Obi-Wan lock eyes and look like they are literally reciting their WEDDING VOWS TO EACH OTHER HERE as Obi-Wan proposes that they “spring the trap”. GUYS. Please dial the love back by about 67,000%. I would like to make it through at least the first 20 minutes of this without crying.
They leave Artoo behind and Obi-Wan throws him a comm as they walk away in their fancy fancy Jedi robes.
General Grievous, A Sign of Things To Come
Grievous opens the next scene, and first off I just want to say that the CG for him STILL looks pretty damn good considering how old this movie already is. I am a nerd (both just in general and in a professional capacity,) and one of my favorite things about Star Wars movies since I was a Tiny Nerd Girl has always been the technical achievements and envelope-pushing they do with new techniques (the CG characters in Rogue One! OMG. Wild.) He limps his way around the ship barking out demands and I’m SURE it is no coincidence that this movie starts us off with Grievous, a mostly-robotic creature who seems SUPER put-upon and depressed who takes orders from some snotty Sith. Sigh.
He’s informed that there are two Jedi on board in what is a light callback to the first part of the prequel trilogy and MAN do I love this dweeby crap. Give me all the mirroring and rhyming and stupid reused corny dialogue. If I can’t spend the next 50 years of my life picking apart the layers of this silliness then WHAT GOOD IS IT TO ME?
We cut to Team Handsome, who are headed for an elevator, something that they are pretty much constantly doing. Once inside, they are met by a team of battle droids again, which they dispatch handily, and I need to mention that this scene was trimmed to cut out an incredibly dorktastic “roger roger” Dad Joke that the two of them make right afterwards and I’m STILL MAD that this was cut because HELLO, no one is supposed to ever think Obi-Wan and Anakin are ACTUALLY cool and I want the world to know that ANAKIN SKYWALKER IS THE SAME GUY WHO MADE THAT DAD JOKE IN ROGUE ONE, OK. He IS a dork, he has always BEEN a dork. I don’t care that he’s a big scary RoboSith later. HE IS STILL A DORK IN THERE. Luke Skywalker knew it, and I know it too.
Recurring Theme: The Elevator Was Their Paris
The elevator is misbehaving, and they come to a stop. Obi-Wan frets about this, and Anakin’s IMMEDIATE reaction, more or less, is to bust out his lightsaber and SLICE A HOLE THROUGH THE ROOF. Like, I get that they’re in a hurry and everything but this just tickles me so. Obi-Wan hasn’t even finished attempting to have Artoo fix things for them and Anakin is already breaking shit and FORCE-JUMPING THROUGH A ROOF.
Also a favorite: Obi-Wan COMPLAINING ABOUT ANAKIN TO NOBODY as Anakin jumps out. Obi-Wan does this maybe 450 times in The Clone Wars series and it gives me life each and every time. Kenobi, sweetheart: no one can hear you. Who are you even trying to convince here? Yourself? Sure. You find Anakin so tiresome. We all…believe you.
Artoo finally is able to sneak off to where he can control the lift, and when he does it, he flings the elevator full-speed downwards, leaving Anakin to cling to the wall of the elevator shaft…
…and sending Obi-Wan on the crappiest version of the Tower of Terror ever. Obi-Wan gets back on the comm and starts yelling about how they need to go UP, not down (I will not make a “going down” joke here no matter how much you people try to bait me, I am a proper lady how dare you.) Artoo flips the dial in the opposite direction as a couple of droids take notice of the astromech with a comm that has a very loud pompous British dork shouting at him on speakerphone.
Recurring Theme: The Kenobi-Skywalkers, Old Married Couple
As the elevator shoots back up towards Anakin, he dives back on top of it and drops down through the hole he carved out earlier.
Obi-Wan, perhaps warming up for later in this film, immediately is like AHHHHH DEVIL! and pulls out his lightsaber, only to be like OH LOL IT’S NOT SATAN IT’S JUST ANAKIN HA HA HA.
Anakin is like WTF is going on and Obi-Wan tries to explain that Artoo was messing with the elevator and Anakin instantly is like HOW DARE YOU BESMIRCH THE NOBLE ARTOO and, just, please: enjoy this chunk of the script. I know I do.
ANAKIN: What was that all about?
OBI-WAN: Well, Artoo has been . . .
ANAKIN: No loose wire jokes . . . He’s doing the best he can.
OBI-WAN: Did I say anything?
ANAKIN: He’s trying!
OBI-WAN: I didn’t say anything!
I’m really sad things are going to end the way they do in this movie because I would really have liked to have gotten them a nice gift for their 50th wedding anniversary. They made such a lovely couple. Sigh.
R2-D2, Can Handle Himself
Artoo, meanwhile, has taken care of the droids that were trying to rough him up before, and he does it in the most Extra fashion that shows that he was always meant to hang with this crowd: he first douses them with oil, then SETS THE OIL ON FIRE. Damn. (Kids’ show!)
Recurring Theme: Walk Right Into The Spiderweb
The boys are finally done with their little elevator journey (for now) and I have to laugh because they were in this gigantic fucking hurry five seconds ago and all frantically OMG FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT FIX IT and now that they’re on the floor they were trying to get to they just…strut slowly? They’re pretty much posing again, you guys. OF COURSE THEY ARE. No one is more in love with these two than they are. Not even me. (Maybe.)
So there they go, walking into this ridiculous room where Palpatine is not at all sitting in a throne reminiscent of the end of the Return of the Jedi:
They approach Poor Kidnapped Palpatine and hilariously, Obi-Wan kind half-bows to him to greet him and Anakin DOES NOTHING. OK, Palps, you still sure you want the snotty one who doesn’t bow to you? You could still go after the snotty one who does.
[Actually, this reminds me: so, in the novelization of this book (which, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ IT, PLEASE DO because it is the single most soul-destroying book this franchise has EVER produced,) Dooku and Palpatine have a conversation right before this where Dooku’s like “we sure we want Skywalker, sir? That kid is such an annoying pain in my ass, and Obi-Wan is the only grandson I kind of half-like, maybe we should steer him into the Dark Side instead” and Palpatine essentially tells him that it’ll be easier to manipulate Anakin, because if they kill Obi-Wan it will literally make Anakin go insane. THANKS STAR WARS.)]
OK OK: they say hi to Uncle Palps and he is like “…Dooku’s here and he’s pissed.”
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Liar
BONUS Recurring Theme: Dramatic Disrobe
Dooku does a flip down to their level, and Obi-Wan is like “SO HELP ME ANAKIN DO NOT FIGHT HIM ALONE”, which is greatly amusing, especially since Anakin is like “oh of course I was totally gonna suggest the same thing I AM NOT AN IMPULSIVE DOOFUS.”
Palpatine, being the smug, wicked little shit that he is, is like OOOOOH GUYS YOU CAN’T TAKE HIM ON! HE’S A SITH LORD! Everyone, please allow me a moment since this is the first footage of him I’ve gotten to recap, to lavish my endless praise now and forever on Ian McDiarmid, who is EASILY one of my favorite actors in this franchise. He is SO perfectly cast. He’s so, so delightfully eeeeeevil and he just…GETS these scripts. He plays it with this perfect balance of schlocky silliness and Extra Drama and Classic Bad Guy. I love him so much in these movies, and especially in this one.
Obi-Wan, in response, sassily tosses his hair at Palpatine and declares Sith Lords to be their Speciality. WHAT IS HE BASING THIS ON? I mean, I presume that this was meant to be about Maul, who we all (LOL) still thought was dead back when this movie was made — but, OK, first all even if Maul HAD died, he did also murder one of the Jedi first. AND Dooku, the guy they’re about to fight here, completely handed these two their own asses in Episode 2. AND if you go back and count TCW, Anakin and Obi-Wan have thrown down with mixed results against a plethora of Darksiders for the past several years. OK, Obi-Wan, whatever you need to tell yourself. I am certain that Palpatine had to use all of his Force powers to keep from laughing until he cried here.
With that, Obi-Wan and Anakin bust out what I am just going to go ahead and declare to be the Mother of All Dramatic Disrobes because I am pretty sure that nothing anyone else ever does in any future Star Wars movies is going to compete with this:
Sheev Palpatine, Tough Critic
So the three of them get into it and Anakin is throwing out all sorts of nonsense statements about how powerful he is now and Dooku’s doing some Bad Guy Pronouncement-Making and I want to point out that THIS is Palpatine’s face here:
I died pulling this screengrab. He looks like he’s wondering if THIS is really the best he has to work with here. Like, this is the face of a man who’s all but ready to just scrap the whole Universe Takeover Plan because how can he be expected to work under these conditions?
The fight continues for a bit and Obi-Wan gets his butt kicked, culminating in him getting crushed under a chunk of the ship, leaving him conveniently unconscious for the next portion of our program.
Anakin Skywalker, Hitting The Fork In The Road
Anakin eventually bests Dooku, chopping off his hands. Sheev is fucking thrilled about this:
…and, while Anakin’s got Dooku incapacitated, he tosses out there, with a smile, that Anakin should kill him. Now.
Dooku, realizing, just like several others before him, that you just can’t trust this guy, parts ways with his head and Anakin sets off down towards the Point of (Sort of) No Return.
In response, Anakin delivers the line that he “shouldn’t have done that”, because it’s not the Jedi way, and the delivery of this line is killing me. Anakin sounds disturbed about this, but weirdly (and perhaps appropriately!) he doesn’t sound THAT disturbed. “Huh! I killed that guy! I don’t think I ought to have done that! Definitely didn’t kiiiinda enjoy it!”
Palpatine is like “whatevs, don’t sweat it. He was bad and you killed him and YAY this is such a good day for meeeee! Also you’ve been a crazy murderer before, Anakin, remember how you told me about your mom and the Sandpeople?” WHY WOULD YOU TELL HIM ABOUT THAT, ANAKIN. FFS.
Recurring Theme: Anakin Loves Obi-Wan
Anakin, looking a little chastised and a lot confused (what else is new), now directs his attention to freaking out about Obi-Wan (again, what else is new.)Obi-Wan’s still knocked out but he’s alive, and Anakin makes to pick him up and carry him (MY HEART). Palpatine, of course, was reeeeaaally hoping he could get Anakin’s husband out of his hair so that he could focus on getting Anakin’s wife out of his hair next, and is like JUST LEAVE HIM WE GOTTA GO.
Anakin, naturally, is not having any of that, and collects his guy, declaring that his fate will be the same as theirs (WHY.)
Recurring Theme: Anakin’s Butt
OK. So the ship is in distress, and the elevator they need is not working. They end up walking into the shaft, and then the whole ship tilts again and Anakin ends up clinging to the wall while supporting A) his own weight, B) the weight of unconscious Obi-Wan and C) the weight of Palpatine ALL WITH ONE HAND. Holy fucking shit, Skywalker. You really were the Chosen One.
Obi-Wan comes to, now, and now is also the time where I really must point out a truly wonderful passage from the Revenge of the Sith novelization of this scene, which again, you all should read if you haven’t.
Obi-Wan Kenobi opened his eyes to find himself staring at what he strongly suspected was Anakin’s butt. It looked like Anakin’s butt—well, his pants, anyway—though it was thoroughly impossible for Obi-Wan to be certain, since he had never before had occasion to examine Anakin’s butt upside down, which it currently appeared to be, nor from this rather uncomfortably close range. And how he might have arrived at this angle and this range was entirely baffling.
He said, “Um, have I missed something?”
“Hang on,” he heard Anakin say. “We’re in a bit of a situation here.”
So it was Anakin’s butt after all. He supposed he might take a modicum of comfort from that.
Whether you’ve seen that passage before or not, you are welcome.
Recurring Theme: Hi, Star Wars! I Love You Too
After some more antics, they get out and are running down a hallway when Grievous activates a ray shield to trap them. Obi-Wan is aghast: aren’t they smarter than this? To which Anakin says “…apparently not” and to which I say “Hi George! Thanks for putting this line in there because it MAKES ME LAUGH EVERY SINGLE GODDAMN TIME.” I would have written this line. Bless.
So now they’re trapped, and Artoo’s rescue attempt falls short, and so the boys and Uncle Palpatine are taken into custody and marched off to see Grievous.
Recurring Theme: The Humorously Petty Taunts of Star Wars
They walk into the room and Grievous, having fought Obi-Wan previously is like OH HEY SASSMASTER nice to see you again and OH WHAT’S THIS? You’ve brought your boy this time!
Anakin and Grievous then proceed to call each other HILARIOUSLY LAME INSULTS: Grievous, that he expected Anakin to be older, and Anakin, that he expected Grievous to be taller. WHAT THE HELL. LOL. I love this. You sure told him, Anakin! Also isn’t Grievous’ taunt really a compliment? That he thought Anakin would have to be older to be such a storied war hero? WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING RIGHT NOW? Is this yet another one of those situations where people are inadvertently flirting with each other when they were supposed to be fighting? At any rate, Kenobi sure seems to be enjoying this (BIG FUCKING SURPRISE):
So they get into a relatively brief melee with Grievous, who manages to escape as things get hairy. At one point, Obi-Wan and Anakin are taking down battle droids and I die because Obi-Wan is slicing through a droid (I think?) but it really just looks like he’s hacking away at the ship out of anger. He DID have a lot of issues, you know.
Grievous makes his escape via an escape pod, and leaves them with no way to get out. This means that Anakin, Hero Space Pilot, is going to have to try and land what’s left of of this smoldering ship. Can he do it? Will they make it? I would be remiss if I did not point out what many others, including myself, have before, which is that if all of them had just crashed and died here, the universe would almost certainly have ended up in better shape than it does. Oops.
Recurring Theme: Another Happy Landing
Ultimately they break through the atmosphere, the ship snaps clear in half, and they manage to land in the most dramatic way possible, which seems about right for these guys. Once their survival is assured, Obi-Wan snarks that they’ve had “another happy landing”, and OK: I get that Anakin was flying the ship, but Obi-Wan hasn’t exactly been kicking back and doing nothing this whole time, so how come Anakin looks like he just ran a marathon and is completely drenched in sweat, and Obi-Wan practically looks like he’s posing for his Garnier ad campaign?
Congrats, boys: you made it! And with that, we’re calling it a day.
Next time, on Anakin Skywalker’s Epic Fuck-Up: The Movie, Anakin gets Big News, Palpatine makes his next round of galactic chess moves, and Obi-Wan’s student embarrasses him in front of all the other Jedi.