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'Sith' an Uneven Walk Down the Dark Side

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'Sith' an Uneven Walk Down the Dark Side

'Sith' an Uneven Walk Down the Dark Side

'Sith' an Uneven Walk Down the Dark Side

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4656886/4656889" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker in the frenetic opening battle scene of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. LucasFilm/20th Century Fox hide caption

toggle caption LucasFilm/20th Century Fox

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a scene from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith LucasFilm/20th Century Fox hide caption

toggle caption LucasFilm/20th Century Fox

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith technically opens Thursday in theaters across America. But at many theaters, that really means tonight, a few seconds past midnight. Revenge of the Sith brings the six-part Star Wars saga to a close, roughly where it began with the first George Lucas surprise hit in the summer of 1977.

Revenge of the Sith has already sold some $50 million in advance tickets, which may render good or bad reviews irrelevant — but Bob Mondello has one anyway.

After the familiar scroll-type opening to set the scene, Lucas cuts to an interplanetary shoot-em-up so digitally detailed that it makes the aerial dogfights in the original Star Wars (now known as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) look almost primitive.

"Fabulous effects have long been the George Lucas calling card," says Mondello. "Of course, Lucas once knew how to direct people... whereas now he's more comfortable putting droids and Wookies through their paces. Anything, basically, that doesn't talk — which makes sense when you hear his dialogue."

Despite these drawbacks, Mondello says Revenge of the Sith offers a serviceable tale of the genesis of Darth Vader, and how a "fair-haired kid from the intergalactic suburbs ends up emphysemic, dressed in black, and serving a dictator."

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