I enjoyed it a lot. It's still a Star Wars movie - with many of the flaws that implies (wooden dialogue, weak character development, plot holes, improbable physics) - but within the range of quality that Star Wars films have inhabited so far, it's at the high end. I don't know how it will stand up to additional viewings but so far I'd put it more or less in the Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back quality range. It's more similar to Empire Strikes Back, which was a much busier and more tech-heavy movie than Star Wars.
I thought Ian McDiarmid did a good and reasonably subtle job of acting up until the point where he fully transformed into the Emperor, where he was required to go over-the-top.
The line "This is how liberty dies - with thunderous applause" was all too relevant.
I loved the giant one-wheeled motorcycle and dinosaur-thing chase. It will make a good video game.
I was pleased that there was no annoying sidekick character. The humorous touches in the movie came from machines that look funny, move funny, and make silly noises. That's something Lucas does better than anyone (and more or less invented, possibly - I'm not that well versed on science fiction film history).
I went through my flist and gathered comments from other folks' reviews that I have things to say about.
nancylebov: though I was wondering why Vader's saber didn't go red when he went over to the dark side.
I noticed that, and I thought, "Huh. So the saber's color is an aesthetic preference, perhaps, and not based on what portions of the Force its user is using."
why didn't Jedi training include a little of "when people tell you something, check on whether it makes sense" as well as combat and gymnastics?
Yeah. On the other hand...eps 1-3 overall paint a picture of the Jedi organization and philosophy as having lots of flaws. If one thinks of the organization as flawed and its training flawed as a result, then it's not entirely implausible that Anakin and Obi-Wan might not have picked up on Palpatine's evilness. I may write a separate post about that. (It's still a bit implausible that Yoda wouldn't have, though.)
The "lost the will to live" bit doesn't strike me as totally medically implausible.
One of my biggest beefs about the first 3 eps is that overall women are portrayed as having the purpose of producing children and then dying in some manner that advances the plot - first Anakin's mother and now Padme.
Why Palpitine chose the (apparent lie) [to tell Darth Vader that he killed Padme] he did is kinda mysterious; it doesn't seem any more useful to his purposes than the exact truth.
Actually, it is fairly clear to me throughout this movie that Palpatine believes it's important to Anakin's/Vader's gaining strength in the Dark Side that he murder people and experience lots of personal pain and confusion. Telling Vader that he killed Padme increased his pain and confusion.
I really liked it, as long as I didn't actually listen to the dialogue.
With the exception of the Palpatine character before his transformation, the dialogue is execrable. It's pretty clear right now that this is Lucas's artistic choice.
I thought the best worldbuilding was subtly left in the background, never explicitly referred to at all. Clearly as flying technology increased and the world built up vertically, they had to do genetic engineering to wipe out all acrophobia. After years of these genetically altered people breeding, and building up and up, the effects went too far, and the whole galaxy became populated by species of acrophiles, who get a thrill out of being in the air with as wide a vista and as little fencing or guardrails as possible. I was fascinated by how this influenced the architecture, entertainment, and even transportation, not just on one world but on all of them.
I just had to quote that because I think it's so brilliant.
The only thing I have to add along the worldbuilding line is that I used to theorize Star Wars was set in a universe in which the wheel had never been invented (based primarily on the battle tanks in Empire Strikes Back, which were on very tall legs and consequently pretty easy to defeat, and secondarily on the fact that most vehicles and droids walk or hover and don't move on wheels). Clearly the one-wheeled motorcycle contraption in this movie kills that theory.
I'm not sure Anakin's descent to the dark Side is quite credible. His transformation from a man willing to sell his soul for love to one driven by ambition and lust for power seems to happen much too quickly.
Yes...a movie with better character development would have showed Anakin becoming more and more ambitious and devious over time. I could sort of fill all that in, in my own head, as long as I pretended that Padme's species took several years to gestate a baby, or something.
Nonetheless, today I am something I haven't been for six years; something I honestly thought I would never be again. I am... a Star Wars fan.
I had a feeling like that.
jedusor (via vito_excalibur)
Palpatine and Anakin were far, far too formal and confrontational to have been close friends since Anakin began training.
That didn't bother me a whole lot. Different cultures...
I liked the original lightsaber battles because you could tell what was going on in them. Now we have fancy camera angles and sparks and colors and jumping and tossing and moving and I can't follow the action. I don't like that.
I agree. The lightsaber battles in this movie were too flashy. I liked the original ones and I also liked the major one in ep 1 but these pretty much went too far. It was fun to watch them crawl all over every sort of setting, though.
great_scotto (via jedusor)
The Special Effects. There was way way way too much of it, and it was obvious. Although, in all fairness, the ships and vehcles were the most beautifully rendered ones ive ever seen. And that lizard thing was damn cool.
I don't think there was "way way" too much, but there was too much, yeah. And yeah to the other too comments too.
14cyclenotes (via jedusor)
How in the name of all that's reasonable are we supposed to believe that Palpatine/Sidious had almost daily contact with the members of the Jedi Council for 20 years without a single one of these most powerful Jedi Masters ever getting even a hint through the Force of what and who he was?
clawfoot said that "The NOOOOOO scene" was "a finger-waggling moment". It was straight out of old monster movies.
Whatever species Padme is supposed to be, it's weird that her pregnancy keeps getting bigger and smaller throughout the movie, and then they take these two gigantic babies out of her that wouldn't have fit into her entire torso, never mind her modestly rounded belly.