“The dark side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be … unnatural.” Thus speaks Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), the diabolical diplomat who has secretly been plotting to overthrow the Jedi and take over the Republic, in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Serving as a go-between twixt the Council and the chancellor, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) is supposed to keep tabs on the wily chancellor for his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobe (Ewan McGregor), but the young man falls prey to the blandishments of the crafty politician.
“Learn to know the dark side of the Force and you will learn a power greater than any Jedi,” purrs Palpatine. And, feeling slighted by the Council, which does not yet fully trust him, Anakin succumbs to the dark side, becoming the powerful and notorious Darth Vader.
And a distinctly darker Star Wars episode this promises to be, judging from the projected PG-13 rating that filmmaker George Lucas expects to garner for this sixth – and final(?) – installment in the Star Wars saga. (The five other Star Wars movies were rated PG.) Lucas also told a packed house of cinema owners at the annual ShoWest gathering in Las Vegas to expect a more grown-up love story.
“It’s not like the first one. It’s more emotional,” he said. “I describe it as a Titanic in space. It’s a real tearjerker and it will be received in a way that none of us can expect.”
Despite the fact that the convention was only treated to the first six minutes of the film, which featured an intense spaceship battle, one can surmise from Lucas’ comments that the romance and marriage between Senator Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) and Anakin will not end happily ever after.
Despite the huge box office appeal of the Star Wars films, which have sold a combined $3.4 billion worth of tickets worldwide, the last two films (which chronologically are actually the first two in the saga) have received rather mixed reviews from both critics and fans. Lucas however, seems unconcerned, saying, “I feel that I’ve made the movie the best I can and it turned out the way I wanted it to be, so I’m happy.”
Viewers will get a chance to decide for themselves whether the dark side is the right side to be on when the film opens May 19, but parents should remember that this one is not tailored to young children.
– Philip Murphy
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Philip Murphy covers family-oriented films for United Parenting Publications.