Sith brings franchise back to its glory days

Thursday, May 19, 2005

If this is the final chapter of the Star Wars saga, then the franchise goes out with a bang in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. The last installment of the second trilogy is buoyed Sith begins with Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) and Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) rescuing Chancellor Palpatine from the grips of Count Dooku and General Grievous in a 30-minute action sequence that really gets the film off to a rousing start.

From there, Sith deals more with Anakins slow evolution into Darth Vader and how Palpatine rises to become the Emperor and lead the evil Empire.

Since everyone knows how it all turns out, the fun in Sith is getting each new piece to the puzzle that eventually crystallizes into the start of the original trilogy from 1977-83. Characters are introduced, situations evolve and the loose ends from both trilogies are tied together to make it truly one entity. To writer/director George Lucas credit, he keeps the story fresh when it could have easily been otherwise.

Lucas also makes the wise decision of giving Sith the darkest tone of any of the six films, but then again, its not as if the film is destined for a happy ending.

Acting has never been a strength of the Star Wars franchise, but Christensens descent into madness is fascinating and very well done.

Sith also gets a lot of strength from its action sequences. In addition to the rousing opener, there is a great sequence midway through that involves the overthrow spearheaded by Palpatine and the finale on the volcanic planet of Mustafar is one of the most visually impressive of the franchise.

If this is the final Star Wars film, as Lucas as hinted in some press junkets leading up to the release of Sith, then the legendary filmmaker deserves a lot of credit. He not only restores order in his galaxy far, far away he gives audiences the first pure thrill ride of the summer season.

Discount dandy of the week

This weeks discount dandy is Hitch (B), a light and effective look at love with an enjoyable cast and a couple of charming relationships.

Romantic comedies work when they feature a relationship that is interesting, and Hitch is fortunate enough to have two relationships.

Will Smith plays Hitch, a New York date doctor who specializes in helping nerds and geeky guys nab the women of their dreams.

His latest client is Albert (Kevin James), a tax accountant who is smitten with a wealthy heiress (Amber Valletta). While Hitch is helping Albert woo the heiress, he falls for Sara (Eva Mendes), a gossip columnist with a jaded idea of romance.

Smith and Mendes have nice chemistry, with Mendes giving one of the best performances of her career.

James makes a nice transition from the TV series King of Queens to lovable sidekick and Valletta is convincing as Alberts love interest.

Director Andy Tennant does tend to keep the film stuck in gear in several instances, and could have shaved at least 15 minutes off the nearly two-hour running time, but the chemistry between the four actors is just so bright it overshadows the films flaws.

Hitch opens Friday at the Plaza 6, where all movies are $1.50.

Since Lucas opened Revenge of the Sith on Thursday and every other studio is afraid to release a movie this weekend, sports writer/movie reviewer Micheal Compton doesnt know what he is going to review next week. If you have any suggestions, e-mail him at He really needs your help, and any old Star Wars toys you have lying around.

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