Mark Steyn

Feel the farce

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Vengeance is mine, saith the Sith, whith thoundth like Violet Elizabeth Bott. No such luck. Instead, it’s George Lucas, with what he insists is the final film in the Star Wars sextet. My guess is the first film in the new Star Wars septet will be opening circa 2008. Anyway, Revenge of the Sith is, so Lucas assures us, a ‘tragedy’. It might have been wise to have stationed an announcer at every movie house to announce this fact over the PA system since it eluded the audience I saw it with last weekend. When the Sith hits the fan, the fan bursts out laughing. Oh, to be sure, they were diverted by the opening dogfight and Obi-Wan Kenobi riding a wild four-legged space beast to hunt down General Grievous. But they were howling with laughter through all the so-called ‘tragic’ elements. When Senator-Queen Padmé (Natalie Portman) reveals that she’s pregnant, her secret husband Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) reacts with an eerie glassy-eyed expression as if he’s hypnotised himself trying to remember the next line. Eventually, Lucas prompts him and he utters the words, ‘I’ll have the club sandwich.’ No, wait. That’s just what it sounds like. He actually says: ‘You’re so ...beautiful.’

‘It’s only because I’m so in love,’ says Padmé tonelessly, like a spy giving the reply password.

‘No,’ says Anakin. ‘I’m so in love. With you,’ he adds helpfully, just in case Padmé figures it’s the hot-looking Wookie strolling by in the background.

At this, my fellow theatergoers exploded with guffaws of derision. May the farce be with you! The final descent of Ian McDiarmid’s Chancellor Palpatine into Darth Hammitup brought on more laffs, as did the moment when Anakin attempts to talk Padmé into joining him over on the Dark Side: ‘Together you and I can rule the galaxy,’ he snarls. Well, tries to snarl.

‘Obi-Wan was right. You’ve changed,’ says Princess Padmé. ‘I don’t know you any more.’ He used to look like Princess Di flashing those big eyes from under his hair. But suddenly he looks like Princess Di with too much kohl and in a peevish mood. What can this mean?

It means the young Jedi knight is en route to his rebirth as the evil