Sweet Revenge

I’ve almost finished reading the novelization for Revenge of the Sith.

For me, George Lucas has always been a great storyteller, and by that I mean a storyteller for the ages. But he is only a so-so writer and director, and his fascination with special effects technology sometimes gets in the way of his great stories. For that reason, I’m a little hesitant to declare Sith to be the Star Wars prequel that we’ve all been waiting for, but one thing is for sure – it is a great story. A story that not only stands on its own, but – because it is the turning point of the entire series – it makes every other Star Wars film better.

Sith does a masterful job of telling a story that accounts for the demise of both civilizations and individuals. Anakin’s fall is particularly well-told. Illicit romantic secrets, broken friendships, a sense that he is being used by his superiors, and the desire to hang on to things that are beyond his control all come together to lure Anakin to a place within himself that can only lead him to ruin. Instead of accepting life (and, more importantly, death) for what it is, Anakin ultimately makes a deal with the devil in a despirate bid to change the rules.

And then he is almost literally thrown into hell by his ex-best friend.

The Jedi themselves also come out of this movie looking not-so-good. When they sense that they are losing control of the situation, they begin to do things that are seemingly against their own beliefs – they become political – and their willingness to abandon their standards only fuels the fire that that Palpatine uses to push Anakin to the dark side.

After all, if there are no good guys, at least you can be a bad guy that wins, right?

Thats what I love, and didn’t expect to find, in this story. It isn’t just Anakin that is lured to the dark side – there is a sense in which the entire Jedi order becomes morally compromised before the end. It is as much about the fall of the Jedi as it is about the fall of Anakin.

Can’t wait for the 19th.

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