We went out to see Star Wars: Episode III last night. And for once, we weren’t disappointed. This is the kind of movie the last two should have been. There was a feeling of urgency throughout this movie that wasn’t present until the first battle of the clone army in Attack of the Clones. A lot of it does depend on having seen the original trilogy, particularly where Anakin/Luke parallels appear… but I have to say, the final shot was absolutely perfect.

We re-watched the previous two movies and the Clone Wars cartoon over the last few weeks, and having seen the entire trilogy, I look at it this way: Lucas gave us 4 hours and 20 minutes of prologue to Revenge of the Sith. That’s all Episodes I and II are: Palpatine setting up his dominoes and getting everything ready to trigger his ascension to Emperor and elimination of the Jedi.

We had already planned to pick up the original trilogy this week or next, and finish the entire series by the end of the month. On the way home I remarked, “You know, I’m not completely insane, so I won’t suggest watching Episode IV now.” Katie replied, “Actually, I was thinking about it.” We ended up watching Star Wars: A New Hope (second-worst title in the series, but it gets a pass since it was tacked on in re-release) starting at 11:00.

It’s strange. The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones didn’t really change my perspective on Darth Vader much, aside from wanting to add “Now this is pod racing!” to the Death Star trench. Having actually seen the transformation, I really do see Vader differently. Probably closer to the way Luke sees him in Return of the Jedi. Especially in the first movie, where Tarkin is pulling all the strings and Vader is more of an enforcer than a leader, he really seems like someone who is doing what he has to do, like Londo in Babylon 5. Katie said that he’s gotten used to power, and is unwilling to give it up.

One of the great things about the prequel trilogies is seeing the Jedi in their prime, at least as far as their martial arts are concerned. The climactic duel between Obi-Wan and Vader above the volcanoes of Mustafar is no exception. Unfortunately, going from this movie to the original makes the rematch on the Death Star look pathetic by comparison.

Oh, yes: Ewan McGregor is seriously channeling Alec Guinness in this movie.

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