All is forgiven, George. We thought you had lost your way.
Those last two movies were not up to what we had come to expect from you. When you were determined to make them without any of the help you used in “Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back” or “Star Wars Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi,” it looked bad. And those last two movies were bad.
But now we have what you are calling the last “Star Wars” movie. You earlier talked of nine, but this one is a fitting end to this trilogy and to the series. You tell us how Anakin Skywalker becomes Darth Vader. We wanted to know, and you have delivered.
Anakin has grown older, but not necessarily wiser. He is scarred from battle and is much like his son, Luke: reckless. The Clone War rages still. You show us Anakin and Obi-Wan on a daring mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine. As all of this takes place in space, the scope of your computer rendering tools remains breathtaking.
George, you make it clear you are returning to your roots. This is a space opera, with clear bad guys and good guys in a story of galactic import.
You also tell us how the Chancellor Palpatine becomes emperor. When we saw him in the first trilogy, we wondered how his face became so disfigured. You tell us here. We learn that he is the Sith Lord behind all that is evil in the galaxy. You prove Lord Acton right: Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
You pay us back for all the characters that we have learned to hate. Jar Jar Binks is here, but thankfully he does not say a word. Boss Nas appears, but only in the end. You played down the accents and kept us from easing into stereotypes. Those stereotypes hurt the first movie, which left a bad taste in our mouths for the second.
You also pay us back for our years of investment in the stories by allowing us to see characters we know. Chewbacca is here with more Wookies, and we get to see the twins, Luke and Leia. It gives us goose bumps to see them. It reminds us of where you are going and where we have been.
But George, there are some problems. You still cannot write dialogue. As great as this movie is, it could have been better. There were times when we wished you had just not allowed Anakin and Padme to speak. Your idea of love, romance and marriage is stuck somewhere in the Nelson Eddie/Jeannette MacDonald days of moviemaking.
Their scenes do little to help us understand why they love each other or the nature of their bond. The dialogue lacks the emotional punch that Han Solo and Leia had. Han and Leia had what we saw as a true love affair. We don’t see that in Anakin and Padme, and that is sad.
The relationship between Anakin and Padme is so important to the future of the story and to the end of the current story. Your ending hangs on this relationship, and you could have done so much more with it. Yet, even that can be forgiven.
You delivered a movie that those of us who loved the originals can embrace. This movie has the right tone—dark and violent. You show us how a person’s depravity and weakness can lead to evil.
One final word: Please, George, retire. You have made the last chapter. Do not let anyone else make another movie. Do not let anyone else have this franchise. You have made and spent millions. You will make millions more. Let it be.
As one of those people who stood in line in 1977 and waited three hours to see the first movie, I am glad you have made your ending. For all its faults, I am happy with it. Let it be an ending.
Yoda said it best: “Do or not do. There is no try.” To me, the first two prequels were merely tries. This one was a do. Now, please, not do.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Beth Car Baptist Church in Halifax, Va.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi violence and some intense images. Reviewer’s Note: This movie is unlike the other “Star Wars” movies. The movie’s last 30 minutes are the most violent and darkest in the franchise’s history. Parents with younger children (under age of nine) need to be aware of this aspect of the movie.
Director: George Lucas
Writer: George Lucas
Cast: Anakin/Darth Vader: Hayden Christensen; Obi-Wan Kenobi: Ewan McGregor; Padme: Natalie Portman; Chancellor Palpatine: Ian McDiarmid; Mace Windu: Samuel L. Jackson.
The movie’s official Web site is here.
Michael Parnell is pastor of Temple Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is married and has two boys. His love is for movies, and he can be found in a theater most Fridays.