The first two episodes of Lucas' second trilogy -- "The Phantom Menace" (1999) and "Attack of the Clones" (2002) -- caused more than a few fans of the original trilogy to wonder whether this prequel was worth it. The answer is a qualified yes. It did take a lot of weighty expositions, stiffly played scenes and less-than-magical creatures to get to "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith." But what a ride Lucas and Co. have in store! . . .
What seems like the biggest drawback to "Episode III" turns out to be its strongest element. Even casual moviegoers know what is in store for the characters, who will wind up at the point where the original "Star Wars" -- now dubbed "Episode IV -- A New Hope" -- began the whole saga nearly 30 years ago. We know how Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker will turn to the dark side of the Force, how his twin children will be separated at birth and how his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi and the tiny Jedi Master Yoda will turn into mortal enemies. Yet watching these fates unfold with such tragic inevitability, watching each piece fall into place, is genuinely thrilling. In fact, knowing that these strong characters cannot and will not escape their fate is what moves us.
All this, and a Tom Stoppard-doctored script?