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Whether you agree with the critiques or not, the Star Wars prequels—Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Episode II: Attack of the Clones, and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith—enjoy a less-than-stellar reputation amongst man fans and the canon as a whole. One issue some have with the prequels is that they tend to be bloated and overlong. But if you’ve got a hankering to watch 2005’s Revenge of the Sith again, but don’t want to invest the 140 minutes the movie runs, we’ve got something you might be interested in, a truncated, five-minute cut. I don’t think this is quite what George Lucas had in mind, but it isn’t half bad.
This re-edited version of Revenge of the Sith may be massively shorter than the official theatrical version that hit the metroplex back in 2005, but even though it’s been drastically whittled down, 5-Minute Films manages to keep most of the important beats. Not bad for a quick hitter like this.
The biggest thing is Anakin Skywalker’s continued deep dive into the Dark Side, which is on full display here, even though there are key moments, like his slaughter of the younglings, left out. We’ve also got his forbidden romance with Padme, her getting knocked up, and his foreboding vision of her dying in childbirth. But conveniently enough for Anakin, Palpatine is there to offer up the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis for inspiration, which further cements Anakin’s poor decision making.
Even in this radically abridged version, Revenge of the Sith is still packed with melodrama and a great deal of whiny angst on the part of Anakin. Then again, that’s a pervasive characteristic of the movie and difficult to get away from entirely. And while the climactic battle between old friends is a brief affair this time out, it gives you all you need, namely the leg chopping and Anakin on fire. Wisely, this version ends with Anakin putting on the Darth Vader mask for the first time, an ominous moment and image to be sure, and his signature raspy breathing, and not the now-infamous, "Nooooooo." I think that was probably the correct choice.
Watching this, the ubiquitous use of green screen is so, so apparent it’s a bit distracting. Especially in comparison to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which used far more practical effects. The difference between the two is staggering, and I can’t help but be thankful that Lucasfilm has opted to return to a more concrete, tactile approach to special effects and eschewed an overreliance on CGI.