STAR WARS: EPISODE III REVENGE OF THE SITH

"Myth Conceptions Continued"

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Summary:

In REVENGE OF THE SITH, George Lucas pulls out all the stops in the conclusion to his STAR WARS prequel trilogy, which tells how the evil Chancellor Palpatine (Pal-pa-teen) uses Luke Skywalker’s mother to seduce Luke’s father, Anakin, into the dark side of the Force. As tragic drama and thrilling spectacle, REVENGE OF THE SITH succeeds brilliantly, but this dark yet ultimately hopeful movie has a strong New Age pagan worldview that undermines moral truth.

Review:

George Lucas pulls out all the stops in the conclusion to his STAR WARS prequel trilogy, REVENGE OF THE SITH. The new movie provides a fitting, emotionally explosive conclusion to his STAR WARS saga. The movie shows how Luke Skywalker’s father, Anakin, became Darth Vader, the most recognizable villain in film history. It is a powerful tearjerker, full of thrilling suspense and exciting action sequences, but it has perhaps the strongest non-Christian worldview of all six of the STAR WARS movies.

The story opens with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker rescuing the kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine (“Pal-pa-teen”) from General Grievous, an evil robot or cyborg who is part human. General Grievous leads the army of the separatist forces in the Clone Wars with the Galactic Republic. Despite the rescue, General Grievous escapes.

Anakin is a troubled Jedi Knight. Secretly married to Senator Amidala, Anakin is having nightmares about the death of his wife, who confesses to him that she’s pregnant. Anakin has a premonition that Amidala will die in childbirth.

Down in the towering capitol city of the Republic, Palpatine takes Anakin under his wing. Against the wishes of the Jedi Council, Chancellor Palpatine appoints Anakin to be his representative on the Council. Palpatine and the Jedi Council do not trust each other, and both ask Anakin to spy on the other. This brings further emotional turmoil for Anakin, especially when the Council refuses to make him a Jedi Master, even though he’s now a Council member.

Anakin confides in Palpatine about his concerns regarding his wife Amidala’s pregnancy. Palpatine claims that the powers of the dark side of the Force may be able to save her from dying in childbirth, even to the point of giving her eternal life. Anakin and the Jedi Council don’t realize, however, that Palpatine is also Darth Sidious, the evil Sith lord who secretly commands the separatist rebellion. The Siths are an ancient Jedi order whom the Jedi Knights kicked out of power but failed to destroy, because the Siths believe in using the dark side of “the Force,” the ultimate supernatural power in the universe. As chancellor, Darth Sidious is using the timeworn tactic of divide and conquer so that he can have an excuse to turn the Galactic Republic into a totalitarian empire ruled by him as Emperor.

With help from the Republic’s clone troops, Obi-Wan and Yoda try to track down and defeat General Grievous and the remaining separatist armies. Meanwhile, the truth about Palpatine is slowly revealed to Anakin and Mace Windu, the chairman of the Jedi Council.

REVENGE OF THE SITH begins with an exciting 20 minute chase and rescue mission and ends with a slam-bang finish of lightsaber duels and military derring do. Anakin and Amidala’s marriage comes to a tragic end, as does the Jedi Council and the Republic. Hope is saved and the stage is set, however, for the establishment of a new Republic, not to mention Darth Vader’s salvation, in Episodes IV, V and VI.

The acting is much better in REVENGE OF THE SITH than the previous two STAR WARS prequels. Hayden Christensen does a much better job as the troubled Anakin, and Ewan McGregor is superb as the heroic Obi-Wan Kenobi. The real star of the picture, though, is Ian McDiarmid as the villainous Chancellor Palpatine. McDiarmid oozes deceit and evil out of each pore of his skin. His performance here will be remembered.

George Lucas has ratcheted up the drama in his STAR WARS saga to the nth degree in REVENGE OF THE SITH. Like Tolkein in THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE SILMARILLION, Lucas understands the insidious nature of evil, but here he places it in a strong New Age pagan context. For example, at a crucial moment in the story, Anakin tells Obi-Wan that he must be either for him or against him. In the movie, Obi-wan replies, “Only the Sith deal in absolutes.” In the novelization of the movie, Obi-Wan adds, “The truth is never black and white.” This pagan worldview is obviously contradictory. Throughout the whole STAR WARS saga, Obi-Wan and Yoda keep warning Anakin and Luke Skywalker to stay away from the dark side of the Force, because it leads to evil. Yet now, at the conclusion of the saga, Lucas has Obi-Wan telling Anakin that only evil people believe in truths that are black and white. To say that there is no absolute truth is a self-negating statement that makes no sense. It shows bad, irrational thinking on the part of Lucas. It also contradicts what God clearly teaches us in the natural world He created and in the Bible which His Holy Spirit guided men to write. Deleting these two awful lines would be a considerable improvement in Lucas’s legacy.

It is interesting to note that, in the next three parts of the STAR WARS saga, Emperor Palpatine’s evil Galactic Empire is mostly associated with the colors black and white. This theme of two dominant colors is matched by a doubling that occurs throughout the saga. For example, Amidala gives birth to twins; Anakin re-visits his desert homeworld in Episode II as does his son, Luke; the Emperor builds two Death Stars in the movies; and, every Jedi apprentice must have one master who guides him in the ways of the Force. Ultimately, it is Luke’s ability to see beyond black and white distinctions that allow him to save his father and defeat the evil Emperor. By making an absolute statement against absolutes, however, REVENGE OF THE SITH patches over the truth that, in the end, the evil, deceitful Emperor must be destroyed, because, as Saint Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:6, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

Thus, as a tragic drama and as an exciting, epic spectacle, REVENGE OF THE SITH succeeds brilliantly, especially when it details the evil machinations of the villainous chancellor. As an expression of ultimate truth, however, its success is mixed. The new STAR WARS movie, and especially the novelization, strengthens George Lucas’s New Age pagan worldview. It is a confused worldview that ultimately undermines the story’s moral, redemptive power.

Parents and teachers need to apply plenty of media wisdom if they allow their children and students to be touched by the pagan worldview in the STAR WARS saga. They also need to apply media wisdom regarding some of the scarier, more violent scenes in the third movie, which is darker than the other STAR WARS movies. MOVIEGUIDE®, therefore, advises extreme caution to those who might see REVENGE OF THE SITH. On the positive side, there are no sex scenes, obscenities or profanities in the movie. Other films made for children and teenagers should take note of this positive quality.

Content:

(PaPa, BB, C, O, PC, VV, N, M) Strong, contradictory New Age pagan worldview with mixed elements, such as a monistic explanation for the afterlife and the supernatural world, and strong moral elements that include a strong warning about resting too much political power in one man as well as a warning about trying to gain god-like powers and that also include redemptive attempts to save and redeem someone from evil, as well as light occult reference to a human being returning from the “netherworld of the force” (this occult element is even stronger in the novelization of the movie), and some politically correct implications such as a possible (but subtle) allusion of criticism aimed at President Bush’s War on Terror, the Iraq War and Republican control of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, plus a PC line of dialogue contradicts the movie’s moral elements (“Only the Sith deal in absolutes”) and indicates that only evil people believe in absolutes and that truth is never black and white (this is more clearly stated in the novelization and seems to be an attack on conservatives and religious people who believe that there are at least some absolute truths and absolute moral laws); no foul language although one character says “In the name of. . .” and never finishes sentence; lots of action violence, some of it strong, but not gory or bloody, such as lightsaber cuts off man’s hands and head (lightsaber automatically cauterizes the wounds), lightsaber cuts off man’s legs, man’s face and body terribly burned and this is shown in hospital scene, woman gives painful birth to twins, explosions, cyborg is made of metal and body parts and is destroyed by striking the fleshy torso parts, implied murder of defenseless children, lightsaber duel causes man’s face to start aging rapidly, laser gun fights, spaceship almost crashes, man almost crushed by falling debris, lightsaber duels, spaceships battle, man starts to strangle woman, many armed robots destroyed, and man falls into water; no sex scenes but kissing and married couple are sleeping in bed when nightmare causes husband to get out of bed; female cleavage in one brief scene and brief upper male nudity; no alcohol; no smoking; and, husband lies to wife, and political/personal betrayal and deceit.

In Brief:

In REVENGE OF THE SITH, George Lucas pulls out all the stops in the tragic conclusion to his STAR WARS prequel trilogy. After a rousing action sequence, Chancellor Palpatine (Pal-pa-teen) appoints Anakin Skywalker as his representative on the Jedi Council. Both Palpatine and the Jedi Council ask Anakin to spy on the other. This brings further emotional turmoil for Anakin, who is also troubled by premonitions of his wife Amidala’s death in childbirth. Anakin confides in Palpatine. Palpatine claims the powers of the dark side of the Force may be able to save Amidala from dying in childbirth, even to the point of granting eternal life. Anakin and the Jedi Knights don’t realize that Palpatine is also Darth Sidious, the evil lord who secretly commands the separatist forces attacking the Republic.

As tragic drama and thrilling spectacle, REVENGE OF THE SITH succeeds brilliantly, especially when it details the evil machinations of the villainous chancellor. As an expression of truth, its success is mixed. The new STAR WARS movie strengthens George Lucas’s New Age worldview. This confused worldview ultimately undermines the story’s moral, redemptive power. Thus, watching REVENGE OF THE SITH requires much media wisdom.

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