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Went to see Revenge of the Sith with Rob and Gadget from work. They weren't born when the original Star Wars came out but I'm so old that I can remember. Wagged school that day and went to see it with Enno, Lil Boo and her friend Alix. There was a couple of other guys there from school that day. The bubblegum brigade audience added greatly to the atmosphere. They cheered the good guys, booed the bad guys and groaned loudly at the stupid scene early where C3PO and R2D2 wandered trough a firefight without getting hurt. For the day, the special effects were pretty good and the final fight around the Death Star made you feel like you were really going for a ride. Too many of the effects in this latest pic are so crowded and cluttered that you just don't get that sense anymore. More is sometimes less.

This time, the midnight audience was a bit older - mostly in their late teens and twenties. They were, after all, out at midnight on a work/school night. One of the things that made it for me this time was these three Goth Chicks sitting behind us who brought to it one of the key ingredients of a great film experience - a wonderful sense of real fun. You guys rock!

The new film is darker and more violent than its predecessors. Of course its nowhere remotely close to as dark and violent as I would have made it, given the chance. And it has a big job to do, namely, bring the adventure back to where it started. It has to take the rap for all the really stupid stuff that has gone into the last five movies, like Darth Vader being Luke's father (groan) and Leia being his sister (incestuous subtext). It has to do all this with no help from episode II which was characerised by wooden acting and lackadaisical (if not downright lazy) approach to getting the story arc completed.

There is some good acting in this one. Ian McDiarmid as a good go at the Chancellor. Ewan McGregor is really good as Obi-Wan Kenobi (making up for last time) and Hayden Christensen is... hey, two out of three aren't bad... really bad.

Lots of appearance by characters from the other films, mostly gratuitous. Jar Jar is there (groan). Chewbacca is there (why?). Grand Moff Tarkin is there. C3PO is there (and even speaks but has nothing to say or do). Even George Lucas himself is there (at the opera in blue). Only R2D2 really has something to contribute (but I miss his wry commentary this time.) The Jedi remain space's answer to Augusta National. Girls can be Jedi it seems but not important ones. Natalie Portman's Padmé is the only one with a speaking part in this movie, and her story is lamest plot resolution and the one really bad plot hole not forced on this movie by one of its stupid predecessors. Most of the time what plot there is has to fight for screen time with the fight scenes which lack the inventiveness and quirkiness of the original. And I really miss interesting characters like the cynical Han Solo.

So yes, it was okay. The two prequels engended stomach churning apprehension that it would be terrible but also minute hope that it could redeem its two prequels. It does neither. On its merits it is okay but I fear it can never be judged that way.