Star Wars, George Lucas’s saga about Jedi Knights, is the classics of fiction movies. In this essay Episode III: Revenge of the Sith will be discussed. It was written and directed by George Lucas and released in 2005. The film stars many famous actors: Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Natalie Portman as Padmé, Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, Ian McDiarmid as Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Darth Sidious), Samuel L. Jackson as Mace Windu, and many others. The genre of the film cannot be unambiguously identified. It is a mix of fantasy, science fiction, epic, and action. The movie involves much of philosophy at the same time remaining one of the most spectacular films ever produced by Hollywood.
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The film tells the story of the victory of the dark side, and the key event to complete this failure of democracy is the turning of Anakin Skywalker to the dark side of the Force. The Galaxy is in the state of war against the separatists, and Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker have a mission to release the Supreme Chancellor Palpatine who was captured by General Grievous, the leader of the droid army. In the fight Obi-Wan comes out unconscious, and Anakin defeats Count Dooku by himself. At this moment, he makes one of the first steps on his path to the dark side as he kills unarmed Dooku in violation of the Jedi’s codex. Later, Chancellor Palpatine behaves in a strange way, constantly trying to persuade Anakin that Jedi Council does not trust him and actually has far more vicious purposes than they declare. Anakin is concerned by the condition of his pregnant wife Padmé, he believes that she has to die. Chancellor Palpatine says that the dark side can give the power to save Padmé from death. Finally, it is revealed that Palpatine is the Dark Lord of the Sith. Anakin tells Mace Windu about that, but he has doubts about what he is doing. He is thinking about Padmé, and finally decides that he needs Darth Sidious (Palpatine) to help him save Padmé. He arrives to Palpatine when his fight with Windu is almost complete, and prevents Windu from killing him. Instead, Palpatine kills Windu. Anakin’s transformation is complete: he swears allegiance to the Dark Lord and receives the name of Darth Vader. Almost all Jedis are killed, and Anakin himself kills Younglings. Only Yoda and Obi-Wan stay alive, and Obi-Wan defeats Anakin in the fight but doesn’t kill him. Later he is saved by the Dark Lord, and the only hope of the good is the twins born by Padmé – Luke and Leia.
The birth of Dart Vader is the key scene in the film. Anakin was the main hope of the Republic as the prophecy predicted that he would destroy the Siths and put an end to the war. His transition to the dark side meant that the hope died and that the Galaxy would be run by the evil. Thus, it was very important to make this scene perfect, and it worked out. The action takes place in the office of Chancellor Palpatine. Mace Windu comes to arrest him with three more Jedi. In the fight, three Jedi are killed but Palpatine is subdued by Mace Windu, and Anakin comes in when Windu is about to kill the Dark Lord. In the preceding scene, the viewers were the witnesses of Anakin’s emotional conflict as he was thinking about Padmé, and these emotions brought him to this place. It was perfectly performed by Hayden Christensen. Nothing is said about his thoughts but they all are on his face – his obsession with Padmé expels all other thoughts out of his mind. With the words “I need him. No!”, he attacks Windu and slices off his hand with the lightsaber. The death of Windu is predetermined then – it takes a few seconds of Darth Sidious to kill him with his power. This is the critical moment – it finalizes Anakin’s transition. After that he pledges allegiance to the teachings of the Dark Lord. “I will do whatever you ask. Just help me save Padmé’s life”, he says, and again we understand that he did what he did not because of his evil nature but because of his fear to lose his beloved. The triumph of the evil is obvious now, and the impression of the tragedy is strengthened when we hear a few accords of the Imperial March (Darth Vader’s theme) that communicates the feeling of absolute power and tyranny. During the scene, Darth Sidious’ face is becoming older and older and finally transforms into a disgusting grey wrinkled mask, his voice becomes thick and ominous; and this transformation makes his nature obvious – if earlier he was hiding under the mask of an amiable and wise elder, now his true nature is revealed. All special effects helped the viewers to get the message, and actors’ performance was perfect. Without many words, the underlying motives of their behavior are understood.
Once again, the film reminded us about the eternal war between the good and the evil and that the outcome of the war depends on the personal choices of everyone. Star Wars is not simply an exiting movie, it is a philosophy, a worldview. It is in some way similar to Buddhists’ beliefs that one’s desires lead to suffering. Anakin’s desire to save Padmé leads not only him but the hole Galaxy to the darkness of absolute tyranny. Earlier in the film, Yoda says very important words to Anakin, words that present the essence of Jedi’s worldview: “The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. (…)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. (…)Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose”. Unfortunately, Anakin did not study the lesson.
In addition to the philosophic meaning of the film, there is also a reference to social, political and cultural phenomena. In the film, the victory of the evil also means the victory of the empire – which is tyranny in essence – over the Republic and democracy. Again, the viewers are taught a lesson: “So this is how liberty dies – with thunderous applause”, says Padmé when the transformation of the Republic into the Empire is proclaimed in the Senate. Indeed, the appeals to bring discipline and order are often fraught with grave consequences and can lead to absolute tyranny under the slogan of the rule of law and order. It is also worth to note that the film has a potential of the development of cross-cultural tolerance. The heroes have to deal with the people and other creatures of different races and even not belonging to the human race but they always treat others as equals. Therefore, Star Wars deserve its popularity as it perfectly combines a breathtaking action with the important philosophic and social message.
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