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Revenge of the Sith – a movie with one memorable line

I just saw Revenge of the Sith with a group of chums and I must say it was interesting to see how varied the reactions were. For me, anyone looking for profound meaning in a George Lucas movie is well and truly in the wrong place. With that in mind I went expecting breathless fights, awe inspiring battles between vast starships and Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) wearing interesting outfits. And that is exactly what was delivered.

Lucas is at his best when the battlecruiser starships are blowing the crap out of each other whilst the heroes weave their nimble fighters in and out with guns blazing in cheerful disregard of the laws of physics. He also knows a thing or two about choreographing some pretty nifty lightsabre duels. The Yoda vs. Palpatine showdown is a particular eye-popper… who would have thought a 2 foot high gremlin could actually look plausible in a swordfight!

But, and you knew there was going to be a ‘but’, when it really comes down to it, George Lucas is just not that skilled a director. He does fine until it requires people to actually interact other than when they are trying to slice each other in two. At which point he proves that he can produce weak performances even from a splendid actress like Natalie Portman (who was from good to great in everything else I have ever seen her in) and Ewan McGregor (who is debatably my favourite actor). The ‘doomed romance’ between Natalie Portman (Padmé) and Hayden Christensen (Anakin Skywalker) is central to the whole story of the creation of Darth Vader and yet I could not escape the impression that neither of them really cared for each other, for which I mostly blame Lucas’ leaden hand more than the actor and actress in question. Ewan McGregor is a splendid Obi Wan Kenobi when it comes to laying waste to the bad guys with his lightsabre but again, when it comes to his relationship with Anakin, it all seemed a bit unengaged. Only Ian McDiarmid (Palpatine) really managed to transcend the stilted feeling of much of the dialogue and sound like he really meant when he said.

And although I said one does not go to a George Lucas movie to seek profundities, there was one rather splendid line uttered by Padmé whilst in the senate chamber listening to the delegate enthusing whilst Palpatine seizes power to ensure ‘justice and security’:

“This is how freedom dies. To thunderous applause.”

Pity the rest of the movie did not have more such memorable lines. 7.5 out of 10, mostly for the sheer spectacle.

36 comments to Revenge of the Sith – a movie with one memorable line

  • You weren’t keen on the:

    “You’re either with me or you’re my enemy”
    “No-one but a Sith would see things in such absolutes”

    exchange? Remind you of anything?

  • snide

    Andrew, those are hardly memorable lines.

  • toolkien

    But in Lucasworld, the Jedi can provide justice and security (and all the other warm fuzzies), hence the Grand Republic. He only derides half the equation in his movie and metaphysic. The left-statist Jedi concept is bolstered (there are too many would be Jedi running around). I somehow don’t think anyone who is a free-marketeer libertarian is welcome in the Jedi council. Reject your midi-chloridians at your own risk.

    Our hearts freeze when liberty is lost to the State to grand applause, his heart freezes is his State is corrupted by mere contrarians.

  • Julian Taylor

    My most memorable [unsaid] quote was of an Anakin Skywalker lying with his arms and legs off and still spitting defiance. The Black Knight sketch from Monty Python And The Holy Grail came to mind namely, “come back here you bastard … I’ll bite yer kneecaps off”.

  • Of course, you do all realise that ‘Lord of the Sith’ is a gay movie?

  • Nate

    Perry, Andrew:
    As we were leaving the theater (errrr….theatre???), we were disccussing those very same lines. Padme’s line was the best in the movie and the squishy art-is-life script with Anakin and Obi Wan was a little too much.

  • Two things:

    The shooting script apparently described Obi Wan Kenobi cutting off even more pieces of Anakin Skywalker than we saw, but some of it was cut because too many people started making Monty Python references.

    And I think the homoeroticism in the relationship between Palpatine and Anakin Skywalker is pretty strong. Perhaps that was why there wasn’t so much between Anakin and Padme.

  • The original prototype for the character and persona of Emperor Palpatine was none other than Richard Milhous
    Nixon, according to George Lucas in his autobiography “Skywalking.’ Now, Ed Feulner over at Heritage has found a way of mass-producing the bastards, so that more or less any right-wing authoritarian Republican will do. Richard Mellon Scaife is funding production, natch.

    Looking at the applause showered on unspeakable evils like Ashcroft, Giuliani and others responsible for the destruction of WTC by Controlled Demolition on 9/11, you can understand how the end of freedom will be greeted with applause. So-called PATRIOT Act; Afghan invasion; Iraq invasion; Draconian clampdowns — all were planned and ready to go well prior to 9/11.

    I was talking with the Chief Freedom of Information Act
    Officer at the Pentagon, and we were both playing “Hunt the Boeing!” on Thierry Meissen’s web site (all the photos are official US photos). While we spoke, he was opening VDUs into the main Pentagon archives (he’s the guy who has to black out the bits on the FOIA responses). After half an hour he said with a voice like polished steel: “Tony: THERE WAS NO BOEING.” Now there are over 100 000 web sites devoted to finding the missing plane(s), and who was responsible for blasting WTC to powder. And we will.


    Tony Hollick


  • James


    Me’sa tinkin’ we’sa hearin’ dem black helicopters again, Jar Jar.

    *cue Darth Vader music*

  • Julian Morrison

    toolkien: “The left-statist Jedi concept is bolstered”? No, I disagree, the movie came down rather hard on the Jedi. Their pretensions to impartiality and their power seeking “to do good” are arguments which Palpatine uses to disillusion Anikin. They are shown as hidebound, petty-politicking, incompetent hypocrites with no idea as to their own weakness. During the whole suite of prequels they’ve been led around by the nose, conned into fighting alongside their enemies in a purely artificial civil war. I don’t think they’re being held up as good examples!

  • I loved this film. By far the best performance was from Ian McDairmid, who as Palpitine, spent the whole film stealing every scene and camping it up in one of the best portrayals of utterly deranged evil ever conceived.

    It was of course utterly gay. After years of patience and careful planning and hiding his ‘true nature’ Palpitine succeeds in seducing the beautiful, strong knight away from his dozy, insipid girlfriend and tiresome, killjoy moralising friends with exciting talk of ‘unnatural practices’.

    When Palpitine gets his way he comes right out and celebrates his new life in a wild orgy of self indulgent excess and then dresses his new chum in a superbly fetching black leather outfit.

    Best moment was Palpitine dispatching Mace Windu in a frazzle of dark side lightening out of window while he was orgasmically screeching out ‘ultimate power’. I laughed so hard I was almost sick with joy.

  • Julian Taylor

    Yeah, strange that. Funny how in Hollywood its always the black guy who is the first to get it …

  • dof

    “Funny how in Hollywood its always the black guy who is the first to get it …”

    That’s because he was kept down by The Man. Windu, unlike Yoda, can beat Palpatine in a FAIR fight.

  • Christopher Lee is black?

  • Raymund

    Re: Padme’s line “This is how liberty dies,” though memorable, it struck me as an example of the shallow, superficial political thinking human beings are prone to.

    Consider: before the scene with that line, Palpatine is Chancellor with emergency powers for an indefinite term. Is he friend of liberty under that regime? Does he become an enemy of liberty the moment he changes his title from “Chancellor” to “Emperor?”

  • Sigivald

    Hell, what “liberty” did their Republic have that the Empire didn’t, anyway?

    By which I mean, their Republic doesn’t seem to have been all that “free” either. Sure, you could probably dissent without getting your trachea crushed, but on the other hand, it sure looks like the Republic Senate didn’t give a fig for your dissent (or real injustices, see Ep. 1) anyway.

    At the level of personal liberty, I’m not sure there’s much difference – except the Empire is more direct and open about how it oppresses you, preferring edicts to ponderous but equally (as near as can be told) unappealable, in practice, Republic laws.

    If we want, we can take it as a parable of the oppressive nature of any state of sufficient size, whether it styles itself Republic or Empire, due to the simple nature of States.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Isn’t anyone else amused by the tinfoil hat dude (Tony Hollick) who reckons that the Twin Towers destruction was actually a controlled demolition, and those hijacked planes didn’t hit them, despite all the eyewitness accounts?

  • Winzeler

    Suffering, did you check out the link he posted. I did, and while I’m not convinced it was all true, I will say that they weren’t claiming that the planes never hit the towers.

  • Nancy

    Why would you blame “Lucas’ leaden hand” over the actors’ performance? They’re not children. Hayden Christensen must be someone’s pretty boy; there is no other explanation. He is incredibly easy on the eyes, but rivals only Keanu Reeves for sheer wooden affect. He looks down at Padme as if he’s going to say, “Those crops ain’t gonna get plowed by themselves. I’ve got to save this farm!” All the hours and dollars spent on his acting lessons have been for naught. The scenes he shares with Ewan McGregor bring his comparative lack of skill into embarrassingly sharp focus, and both actors had the same director.

  • Ace

    Suffering, I take it as a sign of the maturity of most of the commenters (no, I am not taking a dig at you) that they refuse to waste pixels on that loony-toons ballderdash.

  • [Grossly off topic comment deleted. Feel free to add the self same remarks to a discussion on this blog with has at least something to do with the events of September 11th 2001 because the rule here is Thou Shalt Not Hijack The Comments Section or you get your comment deleted. The first gross digression was tolerated but not the second. Thanks for your cooperation]

  • Julian Morrison

    Raymund, Sigivald: I think that was kind of the point really: the empire wasn’t so much the destruction of a working republic, as a shaking-out and streamlining of a rotten system where only the form of liberty had been maintained. Palpatine’s rise was almost coincidental; the Republic was primed to fall to someone regardless. Padme’s comment has her standing in for everyman, blind to the process and surprised by its result. As she points out, the rest of the senate hasn’t even understood yet – they’re still applauding.

  • James

    The Official Government Hypothesis for 9/11 is lying on its back, legs waving feebly in the air.

    Kind of like most of the people here who’ve read this post – with laughter.

    has libertarians; objectivists; liberals; greens; conservatives; civilian and military defence people; all kinds of people who share an intention to live in a free society. Not just to talk about it…


    Tony Hollick

    Ask ReOpen911.0rg for their new free DVD: “Dare to use your own intelligence!”

    All those keystrokes and all that energy used.

    Could have been put to much better use having a wank.

  • Strophyx

    Pejman Yousefzadeh has a quite interestiing take on the entire Star Wars franchise over at Tech Central Station (http://www.techcentralstation.com/052405H.html). It’s a good explanation of the Lucas success with it, despite the comically lame dialog. {No, the answer isn’ simply special effects.}

  • Tony, rule one here is THOU SHALT NOT HIJACK A THREAD with something UTTERLY irrelevent to the article. The article was about a movie and so your remarks about 9/11 conspiracy theories are nothing more than spam.

  • Three strikes and you are out, Mr. Hollick. Your last comment has been deleted. I asked you nicely not to hijack threads with grossly off-topic matters and you impolitely reply you “do not care much for arbitrary rules”. Well then it seems you need a lesson in basic manners. Our house, our rules. and as of now, we do not much care for you. This blog is private property and anything here is posted at our sufferance and discretion. Consider yourself banned.

  • Wacko Conspiracy Theorist

    Pointless tinfoil hat drivel deleted by Samizdata Admin.

  • zmollusc

    ……..and another thing about 9/11……

    only joking.
    I don’t like the crappy and inconsistent star wars universe. The vast battlecruisers seemed to have weapons with a range of only a few yards, since they park next to each other to fight. The huge buildings have people everywhere and hint at multi-billion world populace yet attacks are made at battalion strength. Antigravity is availible to puny bicuit tin droids but not fighting robots, etc.
    Never mind the standard hollywood ‘tepid lava’.

  • zmollusc,

    Yes there are hundreds of these inconsistencies, two that puzzled me in particular was that space travel seems to take a step back as time progresses. In the original trilogy it seems to take at least hours of travel in hyperspace to get about the galaxy in ‘Sith’ space travel is all but instantaneous. The Emperor manages to get from fighting Yoda in the Senate chamber over to Mustapha to rescue Darth Vader in about two minutes.

    The other was this idea of misslies that release a swarm of high technology droids to scuttle about the surface of a fightership to pick it apart as it flies. The technology required to achieve this must be massive yet the attack is hopelessly ineffective, much less so than mere high explosives.

    However, all that aside the sheer brilliance of the wild overacting of Ian McDairmid as the Emperor makes up for all the nonsense. Surely though, the fact that this seemingly ‘normal’ old man had the astonishing athlectic ability to survive his ‘rescue’ at the beginning of the film would have lead anyone less dumb than Obi Wan to suspect that something wasn’t quite right about him.

  • James

    Copies of “banned” messages by email on request.

    “The Internet treats censorship as damage, and routes around it” — DARPA

    [ FX: “I’ll be back…” ] >:-}


    Oh wow, I was sooo wrong, I sooo now admire you and all the weird rubbish you’ve been spouting. Not.

    Just like a leftie to post anonymously and then run. As the saying goes “Go sell crazy someplace else”. Stay gone. All you’ve done is show the typical “Shit and Run” mentality of your kind.

    There’s no censorship involved, but you most certainly are “damaged”. Let’s hope we can route around you.

    Good move by the Admin, btw.

  • Julian Taylor

    Back on topic I notice that those on the dark side of the force tends to wear ‘hoodies’ a lot – dare I presume that our Tone and his pet Sithpoodle Charles Clarke requested George Lucas to make the evil people’s face almost completely covered.

    Obviously Emperor Palpatine would be required to hand over his cloak to the local security guards should he ever visit Bluewater …

  • My pet theory about the seemingly better technology in the prequels is that the Empire is probably a bit more into its rules and regulations than the Republic was; a bit less into free trade; less about free markets and more about “the plan”. The Empire is probably somewhere between the EU and Soviet Russia. All of which can’t be good for the galactic economy, so it’s not surprising that things took a step back or two. 😉

  • You know, I’ve read a huge amount of the Star Wars Expanded Universe set of novels.

    And I kept on waiting for Palpatine to spout something about a New Order to cure the failings of the Republic. The New Order (mostly human-centered, in case you didn’t notice) would be the strong force to bring the mindless bureaucracy of the Republic under control. The strong military of the New Order would keep fractious rivalries under control.

    By the way, how did Palpatine get the Trade Federation into war against the Republic unless the TF folks has some real/imagined grievance against the Republic? Think the civil war was entirely imaginary? Or was it egged into a massively-out-of-proportion conflict?

    At any rate, I’m not certain that a galaxy-wide Republic composing thousands of cultures with billions of members each can–or should–guarantee freedom and democracy to all. Some races/species just might not be interested in democracy the way that humans are.

    Anyways, the whole structure of the Republic hints that representatives from planet-scale (or planet-system-scale) governments are in the Republican Senate, and that they deal mostly with inter-planetary law and politics.

    Which leaves intra-planet politics and law to the planet-level governments. Which I’m assuming has been put into place by (or assimilated) regional-level governments on the planets.

    Anyway, I thought the best exchange was right in the beginning, when Anakin takes down Count Dooku. Captive Palpatine eggs Anakin into summary execution, and Count Dooku gives Palpatine a shocked look. Anakin argues with himself and Palpatine over the right thing to do.

    And then he decides to execute Dooku.

  • The line that stood out for me was one, and I’m not certain who said it, was “he controls the Senate and the Judges”. Judges? The Senate fine but the Judges bit came out of nowhere and seems to more closely tie the politics of the Old Republic/Empire to current events then the “you are either with me or you are my enemy” bit which has been used by villians since the birth of fiction as far as I can tell.

  • Steve G

    There is one aspect of Revenge of the Sith that has been overlooked – but you see it frequently in the film. We are meant to believe that this film is about republics and power and distant wars and democracy and of course, spiritual powers.

    Perhaps it is. But note that through the windows of many places we visit you can see countless flying craft going about their daily lives (flying with very neat lane discipline I might add) without any apparent concern about whatever mayhem or murder is going on above and around them.

    My conclusion is that the real message of George Lucas is that none of these issues matter to the vast majority of people.

    A bit like the world today, perhaps?

  • There were extremely excellent and the best scenes in the movie “Revenge of the Sith”.
    Good originality and great imagination, great story in this movie!
    Here’s Photo gallery for Hayden Christensen(Anakin) of this movie. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0159789/photogallery-ss-0
    I love Star Wars series the most!