As the curtain rose above a packed house at the Westwood Village Theater, a lump rose in my throat. For my entire life there had been ‘Star Wars,’ but in two-and-a-half hours it would all be over. When ‘Written and Directed by George Lucas’ flashed across the screen it would mark the end of an era, the final bow of one of the most respected and influential artistic achievements of our age.
Several hours before the event, the streets were already lined with fans, largely UCLA students, eagerly awaiting the premiere pomp. They wouldn’t be disappointed, as before long ushers waving Master Replicas lightsabers showed guests, cast members and costumed characters down the red carpet. Armored stormtroopers, Chewbacca and Darth Vader could be seen taking photos with the likes of Nikki Sixx and Christopher Lloyd. Cheers erupted as Billy Dee Williams, (Lando Calrissian), Jimmy Smits (Bail Organa), John Ratzenberger (Major Derlin) and Ahmed Best (Jar Jar Binks) found their way into the theater.
After absorbing the moment for as long as I could, I walked down the red carpet myself, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the people who took photos of me as if I were important.
Luckily, not even an absent Samuel L. Jackson could diminish the aura surrounding the event. Currently filming ‘Freedomland,’ Jackson was caught up in night shoots in New York.
In the moments leading up to the start of the show, the excitement in the crowd became palpable. The audience could be divided neatly into two categories: those anxiously fidgeting in their seats (like my sister) and those too nervous to move at all (like me). The official start time of 7:30 came and went silently, and the crowd grew that much more restless. Were there projection problems? Security concerns? Maybe they realized that the movie sucked and decided not to screen it after all?
All worries dissipated instantly as a spotlight flashed upon a heretofore unseen microphone. A moment later, Howard Rothman, Lucasfilm czar, took center stage to tell the crowd how excited he was about the film (to thunderous applause) and how pirating of any kind would be met with severe consequences (to stifled laughter). He then passed the microphone off to LaTanya Richardson Jackson who apologized for her husband’s absence before speaking about Artists for a New South Africa, the charity that the premiere benefited.
Then, at last, the reel began as applause broke out for the Twentieth Century Fox logo, then again for the Lucasfilm logo, then again for those immortal words ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …’ and the mood instantly changed from bittersweet to blissful.
I was about to see a ‘Star Wars’ movie.
Two-and-a-half hours later I would realize that I had seen a damned good, nearly perfect ‘Star Wars’ movie. In fact, I had seen an excellent motion picture by any standard.
Yes, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. I’ll say it again: ‘Revenge of the Sith’ is a first-class film.
Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) are heroes of the Jedi Knights, of the Republic and of the Clone Wars. As the film opens, they are leading the mission to rescue Chancellor Palpatine (Ian Mc Diarmid) from General Grievous (voice of Matt Wood), leader of the Separatist army. The rescue is ultimately successful but Grievous manages to escape, once again prolonging the war.
Meanwhile, Anakin’s secret wife Padm