Star Wars-Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

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Released 1-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
THX Optimizer
THX Trailer
Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'
Web Links-The Stunts of Episode III
Booklet-The Chosen One
Featurette-It's All For Real: The Stunts of Episode III
Featurette-Making Of-Within A Minute
Featurette-The Chosen One
Deleted Scenes-6, With Optional Intros
Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer-Webdocs
Music Video-"A Hero Falls" Performed By John Williams
TV Spots-15
Featurette-Making Of-Web Documentaries - 15
Gallery-Photo-Exclusive Production Photos
Gallery-Poster-Poster And Print Campaign
DVD-ROM Extras-Lucasfilm promo stuff
Easter Egg-Yoda doin' a dance
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 134:20
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By George Lucas
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Ewan McGregor
Hayden Christensen
Natalie Portman
Ian McDiarmid
Samuel L. Jackson
Christopher Lee
Anthony Daniels
Kenny Baker
Peter Mayhew
Frank Oz
Jimmy Smits
Genevieve O'Reilly
Ahmed Best
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $39.95 Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The saga is complete....

    The galaxy is at war. The Trade Federation and separatist states are waging battle against the Republic. The Jedi are leading the Clone Army into battle but fear a secret plot against them. Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is slowly succumbing to the dark side, his secret wife Padme is expecting and the Sith (Ian McDiarmid and Christopher Lee) are playing both sides of the war. Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) and Yoda are trying to figure out what Palpatine is up to while General Grievous is an unwitting pawn.

    Star Wars fans will no doubt be ecstatic that George Lucas' final (or is it?) instalment of his grand epic is now available on DVD.

    Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is the best of the prequels and is arguably better or at least on par with Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. Unfortunately, it is still a pale comparison to A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back.

    Episode 3 has the unique ability to remind you what is so compelling (and fun) about the Star Wars saga, but to also leave you hanging, left wondering at what might have been had Lucas been able to restart the franchise in Episode 1 a bit more like he ended it in Episode 3. What would have happened had he left script writing duties to someone who can actually create dialogue that doesn't cause you to wince? What would have happened had he let someone else... say Steven Spielberg, direct? What would have happened if he had been able to bring the emotion of 4,5 and 6 into the technologically driven but emotionally void black hole that is Episodes 1,2 and 3.

    That said, Episode 3 is an enjoyable summer movie and Lucas fulfils his promise to neatly tie up the epic story of the Skywalker clan. He was always going to be in a difficult position doing Episode 3 in that he was telling the story that everyone already knew the outcome of. (SPOILER ALERT: highlight with mouse to read) Anakin would succumb to the dark side, Obi-Wan and Yoda would go into hiding, Padme would have twins and die, Palpatine would be anointed Emperor and Darth Vader would emerge. We knew it was all going to happen but we were drawn into it nevertheless.

    The opening 25 minutes or so are possibly the most enjoyable of all the prequels and it perfectly illustrates what Lucas does best - large scale action sequences that push technological boundaries. Watching the special features and listening to the commentary it is plainly clear that Lucas would much rather be in an editing suite either coordinating visual effects teams or the editing team than being on a set directing actors. Unfortunately that attitude shows itself in the film as we are all left wondering how otherwise accomplished actors can look so wooden (Ewan McGregor was the exception - I think he was brilliant throughout.)

     Ironically the best acting performance in this film is a digital actor, Yoda. According to comments in the commentary it would seem that Lucas spends more time directing digital actors than live ones. Thankfully this film has enough action and visual effects sequences building up to the emergence of Darth Vader that it makes it easier to forgive the actors' performances more than its prequel predecessors.

    Having read the review up until this point you might be surprised to know that I actually liked this film. I wanted to love it, but ultimately found it to be a little disappointing. To me, it doesn't have the magic of the originals. Glimpses, yes, but the allure has gone.

    I have tried to work out why my feelings for Star Wars have changed. Unfortunately I have come to the conclusion that I have grown up and moved on. It's not you, George, it's me. I was 5 when I saw A New Hope, 7 for Empire and 10 when I saw Jedi. I am in my thirties and I'm a different person now - I feel like I'm the kid who just found out that Santa doesn't exist and Christmas doesn't feel the same anymore. I want to love Star Wars but can't anymore. And yet I am eagerly awaiting the live action Star Wars show that is in early pre-production and any other releases (Clone Wars et al) that are being planned.

    There is no doubt Lucas will continue to tinker with his babies and this film will be re-released in Special Editions, Ultimate Editions, a 3D version, and so on. In the meantime this 2 disc edition is a worthy addition to any self respecting film fan's library. If you love it you can re-watch it over and over again drooling at the Star Wars Universe you love so much. If you hate it, you can watch it from time to time, cursing Lucas all the while, but still get excellent value from the fantastic special features. If, like me you liked it but recognise its flaws, you can always watch it and just fast forward the clunky exposition to get to the parts that have the Force.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    This PAL disc is presented in the original aspect ratio of  2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    Lucas has convinced me - I see the future and I believe it's digital.

    The video quality for Revenge of the Sith is nothing short of breathtaking. Attack of the Clones has now officially been replaced as the 'show-off my HT disc' in my collection.

    Although shot digitally the transfer has more of a film look and feel about it compared to Clones. As good as Clones looked on disc it didn't look natural and was a bit overbright.

    For the most part the picture is sharp and clear, however some shots seem to have a soft haze that I can't remember from my Attack of the Clones DVD. (Come to think of it, my AOTC disc is R1.) 

    Colours look great, as do shadows and black (Vader looks awesome.) The colours are always just right, never too bright and skin tones are spot on.

     I did notice a few shots where there was a bit of shimmering, but nothing too bothersome.

     The transfer shows very little to no edge enhancement or aliasing.

     In the commentary it's mentioned that every single frame of this movie was enhanced by special effects. It shows. Watching this film on DVD has gotten me even more excited for the HD era. The only way I can envision Episode 3 looking better is on a BluRay or HD-DVD disc. When the time comes will I double dip? Absolutely! Does this disc show the best that DVD can offer in the meantime? I think so.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (448Kb/s) track sounded amazing.

    Speaking of bringing balance to the force, this is possibly the most balanced track I have ever heard. I get so tired of adjusting the volume all the time depending on whether it's dialogue that's too soft or music/effects that are too loud. I didn't have to touch the remote once. Everything comes through sounding perfect.

    The dialogue is clear. Even when there are lasers and explosions going off, I never had any trouble hearing the dialogue clearly.

    The surrounds get a workout with all the effects. Watch the opening rescue sequence - it'll impact! All the light sabre sequences sound amazing too, like Darth Vader is trying to take you down.

    The subwoofer doesn't disappoint either. When those Star Destroyers fly by it's like there is a demolition crew next door.

    John Williams' scores have never sounded better. These movies would not be the same without his music.

    Lucas and his crew know movie sound like no-one else and this disc is proof. I would be keen to hear what a Star Wars movie sounds like in dts though!

    Also present are an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s) track and an English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded (192Kb/s) track

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Menu Animation & Audio

    Sticking with the same style of previous discs, the start-up menu has varying planet themes; Utapau, Mustafar, and Coruscant.

THX Optimizer

THX Trailer

    Sounds d*** good. Better than the old one.

Audio Commentary-Filmmakers'

    Not the most exciting commentary but it certainly is interesting to hear Lucas talk about reasons for this and that. The effects crew had some insights but for the most part they and producer Rick McCallum are the George Lucas cheerleading squad. "This scene is classic George," or "George doesn't see things the way other people do," etc. It gets nauseating. The man is a genius, but to hear these people worshipping him. Meh.

Disc Two

Featurette-It's All For Real: The Stunts of Episode III

    An interesting segment showing the amount of work that goes into the planning of stunts, especially the light sabre scenes, the choreography, the pre-visualisation and the logistics of the actual filming.

Featurette-Making Of-Within A Minute

    Hands down this is one of the best DVD special features I have ever seen. At 79 minutes long, it shows every department involved in the production of about 50 or so seconds worth of footage in the final film. The sequence concerned is part of the light sabre battle on Mustafar. Departments from catering to visual effects to production design to props are shown in detail with interviews from a lot of the people involved. It certainly made me appreciate the massive amount of time and effort that goes into such a brief, but impressive sequence. More DVD releases need featurettes like this.

Featurette-The Chosen One

    Fanboys can go and argue about something else on message boards now as Lucas settles it once and for all that Anakin is the 'chosen one' and that he brings balance to the Force, not Luke.

Deleted Scenes-6, With Optional Intros

    For the most part these shots were cut for the right reasons, but it still would've been cool to see Yoda arrive on Dagobah, the extended rescue of Palpatine and the early meetings of the Rebel Alliance in the final cut.

Teaser & Theatrical Trailer

    No Star Wars DVD would be complete without the trailers.

Music Video; A Hero Falls; Performed By John Williams

    Nice video (not as cool as Duel of the Fates though.) The same video that was on the bonus DVD that came with the Episode 3 soundtrack.

TV Spots-15

    A variety of differently themed Episode 3 TV ads. Worth a look but nothing special.

Featurette-Making Of-Web Documentaries - 15

    The same shorts that have been available to HyperSpace members on StarWars.com. I hadn't seen them before so I enjoyed them a lot.

Gallery-Photo-Exclusive Production Photos

    Interesting. The pictures have little descriptions to show their context.

Gallery-Poster-Poster And Print Campaign

    The poster section was of limited value because they all appeared identical except for the writing and they looked very small on the screen. The outdoor print campaign shots were much better.

DVD-ROM Extras

    Mainly Lucasfilm promotional stuff.

Easter Egg

    Yoda doing a dance. There are probably more but I couldn't find any.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    R1 gets an XBox demo of Battlefront 2 and the Empire at War trailer.

    Unless you are a hardcore gamer there's no real difference, although I would be keen to see the R1 video and audio to see if the PAL version is superior or inferior.

Summary

    Overall, I highly recommend this disc.

    The video is fantastic - as good as DVD can look. It makes me excited for HD.

    The audio is amazing, but be careful not alienate the neighbours.

    There are a lot of extras. Within a Minute is recommended. Worth a look for fans and non-fans alike.

    The plot is better than other prequels, but "You're so beautiful.... no it's only because I'm so in love with you" moments really make me cringe. Good, but not great.

    Yoda says "This disc you must buy, the Force it has!"

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ben Smith (boku no bio)
Friday, November 11, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDMarantz DV4300, using Component output
DisplaySony VPL HS10 projector on 100 inch 16x9 screen + Palsonic 76WSHD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DE685. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationPioneer
SpeakersDB Dynamics VEGA series floor standers + centre, DB bipole rears, 10" 100W DB Dynamics sub

Other Reviews
Michael D's Region 4 DVD Info Page - curlcurl07

Comments (Add)
First half minute - Tuttle REPLY POSTED
Good Review.. but little revisionist... - Gavin Bollard (bio - updated 9 Nov 2005) REPLY POSTED
My Feelings Exactly! - Anonymous
Removing those darned security stickers - Film Guru
Star Wars blue ratings label solution. - wolfgirv
Re:removing security stickers - JediDude (read my bio)
Re: the security stickers and blue ratings solution - Film Guru
Ep 3 Limited Slipcase still available - Klue
I thought the film was awesome - Anonymous
Any Chance the Original Films will Get this kind of Treatment - DarkEye (This bio says: Death to DNR!)
re: This Kind of Treatment - Bran (my bio, or something very like it)
Re: This kind of treatment - Original Trilogy Documentaries - Steven Cameron (read my bio)
the security stickers and blue ratings solution - Le Messor
terrible soundmix - Anonymous REPLY POSTED
Nice to see intelligent argument in review - kiwiflyer (read my bio) REPLY POSTED
5.1 EX flag??? - Anonymous
yay for the Wookies - Mike