This past weekend I finally saw Revenge of the Sith. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have all of the "Star Wars" movies (even the hapless Episode I — Jar Jar reminds me of a dog I used to have). Amy didn't; she had problems with the script. The Lad went with us; it was his third viewing, although the first one experienced with full sentience, since his first two were late-night outings.
I said just now that I enjoyed it, and I'll stand by that. It was a visual feast, with the full complement of space battles (with physically impossible sounds in the vacuum of space), gloriously impractical machines (tanks with legs?), and the spectacularly creepy General Grievous — a character that ignites all our subconscious fears of spiders, skeletons, sharp objects, and physical deformity in one wonderful design.
(Speaking of design, the Jedi archives look exactly like the Long Room in Trinity College, Dublin, as this site shows. Apparently Lucasfilm has denied any borrowing.)
Not only that, there were some scenes of great mythical power, especially when the Emperor descends to the banks of the lava rivers of Hell (also known as Mustafar) and retrieves the battered husk that is Anakin, to restore him to a tortured existence as Darth Vader. It is a hideous parody of the Resurrection, with a little Frankenstein thrown in.
However, the mythic power is often undermined by intrusions into the script from the Zeitgeist. At some point, Obi-Wan says, "Only the Sith deal in absolutes." Huh? So that would make the Jedi ... relativists? Post-modernists? Obviously the whole story falls to the ground unless the Emperor and the Dark Side are evil and the Jedi good, and those, folks, are absolutes. Seems to me like the line should have been, "Only the Sith believe in situation ethics"; or, "Only the Sith try to make evil seem like good." Especially given this exchange:
OBI-WAN: Anakin, Chancellor Palpatine is evil.But in the 21st-century USA, believing in absolutes is Bad, and suddenly we are not in a galaxy far, far away anymore. Boo, George Lucas!
ANAKIN: From the Jedi point of view! From my point of view, the Jedi are evil.
There is also a scene of toe-curling badness, where Yoda is counseling Anakin; it needs only Anakin on a couch and Yoda with a notepad to make it a complete parallel to psychotherapy. Anakin is afraid Padme will die in childbirth:
YODA: Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.
ANAKIN: What must I do, Master Yoda?
YODA: Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.
Eww. No, Master Yoda, that won't work, especially when it is Anakin's re-awakened love for his son (in "Return of the Jedi") that leads to his redemption.
So: Revenge of the Sith is not a deep movie, although it tries to be; the best things in it, as in its five predecessors, are the scenes that use, and revitalize, the most basic components of a half-century of pulp sci-fi and fantasy: spaceships, robots, desert planets, weird creatures, good guys and bad, true love triumphant, swords, sorcery, princesses, emperors, magic, treachery, loss, recovery, hidden saviors, secret identities, and ray-guns. When Lucas sticks close to these things, he can't be beat. His fanboy subconscious is mightier than his all-too-modern conscious. Use the Force, George! Thankfully, he did. Most of the time.