After spending an entire day following Anakin around, the action and point of view of Episode III splits to follow Anakin and Obi-Wan’s separate plot arcs. Also the action portion of Revenge of the Sith starts to get going again, which means we are treated to more CGI battles and computer wizardry.
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (00.48.00-01:01:56)
I start first with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s journey. The Jedi Council meets via hologram and real time from Coruscant to Kashyyyk. Yoda is operational with the Wookiees (and hey! look, Chewbacca in a totally pointless cameo). Anakin presents the news he learned last night, one wonders why he didn’t inform the Jedi immediately, it isn’t like the war sleeps, and the Jedi decide that Obi-Wan should be the one to hunt down General Grievous.
I give Hayden Christensen props for this scene. He conveys the hope and enthusiasm that his character feels when he gives Palpatine’s recommendation that Anakin be sent to find the droid general and the disappointment when the suggestion is shot down. Anakin really is hoping for a relief from this infighting and political scheming, something for which he has no patience. Christensen gives us that with just his eyes and a few small gestures. Good acting is so rare in the Star Wars prequel trilogy that I like to point it out whenever possible.
Back to Chewie. Other than fan service, why is he here? I really can’t figure out a valid reason. Nothing in the original trilogy suggests he is anything other than a smuggler who partnered with Han Solo. Bringing Boba Fett in as the clones was also semi-pointless, but at least that served a bad plot reason. Here Chewie exists merely to exist.
Anyway, Anakin and Obi-Wan say goodbye in a scene that accomplishes nothing except to show Obi-Wan to be a massive idiot. He praises Anakin and his abilities mere minutes after Kenobi, Yoda, and Windu had a conversation about how unpredictable and immature Anakin is. Sure, Obi-Wan was defending Anakin in that scene, but it is clear that what the other Jedi are discussing is common knowledge for the Jedi council. If nothing else, it is an informative conversation for Kenobi. The point is: Anakin isn’t what Obi-Wan says he is, and the audience knows it. Thus, this scene simply shows that Obi-Wan is either a moron or woefully naive. Either are bad qualities for your main supporting character who is supposed to be wise. I’ll grant that this is probably supposed to be foreshadowing Obi-Wan’s big failure training Anakin, but at this point, Anakin is trained. Master is splitting from apprentice. There is no reason for Obi-Wan not to be realizing that he completely messed up with Anakin. And if he secretly does, why all the praise? Why not a last ditch effort to train? This scene is just badly written.
After this, all of Obi-Wan’s scenes are traveling to Utupau and finding General Grievous and starting to fight him. The action is mostly empty CGI and a stupid lightsaber battle in which the general has four lightsabers because Anakin fought with two in Clones because Darth Maul had a double lightsaber in Phantom. Seriously, lightsaber battles are not about spectacle but conflict. The number of blades and the flashy flashy lights might wow a kid (probably the real point) but none of the lightsaber battles in the original trilogy were meant to be flashy first. They were to accentuate the conflict between characters. Here the conflict is almost nonexistent and the flash is everything. The dialogue is stupid and there is no build up of what it means for Kenobi to fight the General and vice versa. Also with droid reflexes and four lightsabers, I don’t care how good Kenobi’s Jedi defense is, the General wins.
Back to Anakin. He has another vision of Padme in pain, this time with Obi-Wan in the picture. This leads to a very awkward conversation between Anakin and Padme about the stress that Anakin is under and something about Anakin feeling lost which because of bad writing and lame acting just sounds like whining. Seriously, if you as a director cannot give direction to your actors, hire someone else. Hayden Christensen isn’t a bad actor, but he was badly directed.
I want to mention to that this subplot about Padme dying in childbirth is a stupid one. I think I already mentioned back with Anakin’s first vision, but no, women do not die in childbirth on Coruscant in the Star Wars universe. If she had been shown being killed in battle or something, yes, that is a valid threat, but in childbirth? I doubt anyone really took the threat seriously. This exists as one more example of bad writing.
Lastly, Anakin is shown being given an assignment: give Palpatine news that Obi-Wan has engaged Grievous and judge his reaction. After he leaves, Mace Windu finally gets the idea that the Chancellor is evil and might not step down as Chancellor after the war is over (because apparently he is only in power for the duration of the war). This leaves the Jedi with the choice to remove him from office or not by force.
What? Why not allow the good senators to at least try to make a motion for the Chancellor’s dismissal? Even if all the rest of the Senate is evil and under the Chancellor’s sway, are there not those that stand by rule of law? Make him make a move to stay in power before just summarily removing him. Make him justify the use of force. The point here is that once again, the threat is not real or immediate. There is so much that could happen instead. When you have this big of a plot hole, or more correctly, this many loose threads, the plot unravels rather quickly. Nothing that follows necessarily needs to happen. I find it, as an audience member, frustrating when lazy writing leads to stupid actions on the part of supposedly very wise and knowledgable characters. Nothing adds up and it all feels dumb.
Anyway, Anakin is off to get a reaction out of the Chancellor while Obi-Wan is chasing down Grievous. Another day has ended on Coruscant.