Shiny Shelf

Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith DVD

By Jon de Burgh Miller on 23 November 2005

The most notable feature of the disc is the transfer which is one of the first live-action films to be sourced directly from the digital files, with no telecine or film prints involved whatsoever. This gives a clarity and crispness that, while greatly beneficial, only drives home that these films are really meant to be seen on a giant wall, not a tiny screen.

To put it simply, this is the most spectacular spectacular there has ever been in the history of cinema spectacular. The opening half hour, starting with a dizzying space battle, moving to a series of death-defying escapes aboard a starship and finally the ships’ plummetting into the atmosphere of Coruscant as it breaks up, is one of the most breathtaking and exciting sequences ever concieved. Crammed with detail, subtlety, great jokes and just plain cool bits, its edited in a stylish and slick fashion and combined with numerous camera angles that just wouldn’t have been thought of, let alone possible, fifteen years ago.

The rest of the film doesn’t disappoint either, with a series of action packed encounters always providing something never seen before. At times the CGI is a little obvious, a little too perfect, but this is more due to the clarity of the transfer and a downside of the smaller viewing window – when viewed in the cinema, none of these niggles are apparent. There certainly seems to be no mismatch between the deleted scenes with the original film, something ‘The Phantom Menace’ DVD suffered from a little.

As for said scenes, they’re nice to have and add interesting moments, but they’re not as important as the real gem of the DVD extras, ‘Within A Minute’, a documentary comprehensively covering each department and showing what a mind blowing project the Star Wars films have been. Even those who dislike the film surely can’t possibly fail to be impressed by the sheer depth of artistry, attention, and money that it takes to get an independant film like this off the ground.

The attention to detail is evident throughout the film. Where Lucas has been exceptionally clever is in ensuring not only are multiple viewings rewarded but each new ‘Star Wars’ film means that every other film in the series feels fresh, as the new information we have informs, changes and enlightens the events in the others.

Lucas has said that the subtitle for Star Wars is ‘The Tragedy of Darth Vader’. Some have doubted this, saying it was clearly meant to be Luke’s story, but ‘Revenge of the Sith’ brings all the pieces into place, confirming that Lucas really had made his mind up about the story a long, long time ago. ‘Revenge of the Sith’ gives the Palpatine, Vader and Luke scenes in ‘Return of the Jedi’ a comepltely new context and thus whole new meaning, and now Anakin’s personality seems to emote through the ’sad face’ of Vader’s mask like it never used to. When Yoda speaks of Luke’s sister, when the Emporer reveals he’s been behind everything, and when Luke unknowingly echoes his mother’s final words when to try to redeem his father… it all feels right, it all slots into place, and it all has a tragic resonance it never did before. Finally, the collection of six films really do feel like Anakin Skywalker’s story.

‘Revenge of the Sith’ is a tragic, heartbreaking and devestatingly clever tale of a man driven into madness and desturction by love and fear. It’s a film that unites every thread, every line of dialogue, every reference in the other films, from ‘The Phantom Menace’ through to ‘Return of the Jedi’, into a coherent, epic web.

With the release of this DVD, ‘Star Wars’ is now complete and it can take its place as the greatest, most rewarding, medium changing, historically important, carefully constructed, delightfully fun series of films in the history of its medium.

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By Jon de Burgh Miller

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