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"Clerks" director Kevin Smith recently saw "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" and he summed up the final chapter in director George Lucas' space epic as "quite simply, f---ing awesome."
Smith posted a rave review of the film — which opens May 19 — on his official Web site, describing the movie as the "prequel the haters have been bitching for since '[The Phantom] Menace' came out, and if they don't cop to that when they finally see it, they're lying."
The comic-obsessed director said the dramatic closing chapter not only ties up loose ends and finally provides a look at the birth of the Darth Vader character, but it hides plenty of elegant links to the original movies as a treat for hardcore fans who've felt the previous two new episodes were at times disjointed.
And while Smith said Ian McDiarmid (Senator Palpatine) and Ewan McGregor (Obi-Wan Kenobi) steal the show, he also predicted that Hayden Christensen's strong performance as Anakin crossing over into Darth Vader will "silence naysayers who wrote him off as too whiney in '[Attack of the] Clones.' "
Not only is the film beautiful to look at, but the opening battle sequence is the best of any in the six-film series, Smith said, adding that as dark as "The Empire Strikes Back" was, "This movie goes a thousand times darker." Lucas has warned that "Sith" is the most intense film in the series, which has earned it the first PG-13 rating in "Star Wars" history.
Among the powerful highlights:
- A "jaw-dropping" fight between Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi that leaves Anakin gravely injured and burning alive near a lava river. The fight ends with "Anakin spitting venomous sentiments at his departing mentor. ... This flick is so satisfyingly tragic, you'll think you're watching 'Othello' or 'Hamlet,' " Smith wrote.
- A "bad-ass" lightsaber duel between Kenobi and General Grievous.
- The sometimes confusing Clone Wars end early in the flick, with the bulk of the movie devoted to Anakin's turn to the dark side and transformation into Darth Vader.
- After succumbing to the dark side, Anakin/Darth tries to convince Padme that he can overthrow Palpatine and that they can rule the galaxy together as husband and wife.
- The slaughter of the Jedis, including some of the pre-teen Younglings from "Attack of the Clones."
- The twins are split up, with Leia going to Alderaan and Obi-Wan handing Luke over to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on Tatooine. Smith said the film's final shot mimics one of the opening ones in the original "Star Wars" film.
Smith admitted at the end of his review that he may be a bit biased. "Look, this is a movie I was genetically predisposed to love," he wrote. "I remember being 8 years old, and reading in Starlog that Darth Vader became the half-man/half-machine he was following a duel with Ben Kenobi that climaxed with Vader falling into molten lava. Now, 28 years later, I finally got to see that long-promised battle — and it lived up to any expectation I still held."
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