Action figures over-emote amidst a complicated script and complicated CGI in this cluttered prequel.
This film is terrible. First of all, the unintentionally laugh-out-loud funny dialogue. Second, the endless parade of alien creatures whose sole existence is to become a chunk of collectible plastic. And finally, the performances. Natalie Portman was sublime in Leon: The Professional, and won an Academy Award for Black Swan. I'm not sure what it is she's doing here, though.
Hayden Christensen. Whoa. He gives a wooden, cringe-inducing performance that boggles the mind.
Love, astonishment, anger, surprise, disappointment, Christensen's performance is one flat note throughout until the very end, and his demeanor finally changes, but it's only because he's on fire. From lava.
Ewan MacGregor does the best he can with the dialogue provided. But then again, he won a BAFTA for Trainspotting, where he climbed out of the worst toilet in all of Scotland.
The most compelling (and energetic) character is Yoda, who leaps and twirls and battles with a verve unseen in The Empire Strikes Back. It's arguably the best use of CGI in the prequels, and it's not enough to save this film. Although Yoda is 800 years old, he goes from Olympic gymnast in Sith to being carried around by Skywalker in Empire. I'm sure there's a logical explanation other than "That was Luke's training", he didn't take his Boniva, or just a crappy script. Don't tell me, I don't want to know. And don't say midi-chlorians.
George Lucas fills every square inch of the screen with stuff, as though he was afraid a pixel wouldn't blink, fly, explode, or say something stupid. Episode III should have been called Endlessly Twirling Light Sabers, because rarely is a scene not full of them, going so far as to have a Light Saber Helicopter at one point. The overuse of lightsabers is to distract you from noticing the terrible and convoluted script, and to move plastic replicas at Wal-Mart. It's definitely too much of a good thing.
I admit, I was excited in 1999 when George Lucas started making Star Wars films again after a lengthy absence, but in retrospect, he really shouldn't have. The three prequels are almost enough to destroy the memory of the original two Star Wars films (sorry, Return Of The Jedi isn't very good either, but it's the Godfather in comparison to the prequels), and I worry for the next installments by J.J. Abrams. Maybe he can pull the franchise out of the dumpster. It remains to be seen.