Start planning your saga parties, “Star Wars: Episode III” is now on sale in all major DVD retail outlets. With the release of this DVD, the six-movie “Star Wars” story is complete, and a craze that has swept the nation for nearly 30 years may be experiencing its final celebratory event.
“Episode III” is lauded as the best “Star Wars” film released since “Episode VI,” and possibly the best of all six movies. “[‘Episode III’] connects all the dots,” explains creator and Director George Lucas in the featurette “The Chosen One.” He attributes Episode III’s popularity to the fact that the movie relates the good-hearted, seven-year-old boy in Episode I to the iconic Darth Vader, known in the 1970 films as “the embodiment of evil.”
“No one is born evil,” explains Lucas,” [and] evil people don’t know they are evil.” “Episode III” adds irony and tragedy into this classic tale of the good vs. evil by complicating the notions of good and evil, and, as Lucas puts it, turning the violent antagonist into “a pathetic character,” whose fate is “a tragedy.” Vader is no longer a cold and cruel machine because audiences come to know that underneath his infamous helmet breathes the unfortunate Jedi that “lost everything” due to the seducing and manipulating chancellor’s lust for power. In “The Chosen One,” Lucas urges his fans to watch the movies as they were meant to be seen, as one ongoing story told in chronological order, promising that Anakin/Vader’s role changes significantly when seen from this point of view.
The DVD gives fans more than just a great movie and the completion of a legend. There are three major featurettes included, as well as several deleted scenes, a demo of the new “BattleFront II” video game (which also hit stores on Nov. 1), a detailed “making of” documentary created by Starwars.com, and a special music video devoted to John Williams’ newest “Star Wars” theme, “A Hero Falls.” DVDs bought at Wal-mart also come with an exclusive bonus disc containing undisclosed material.
The featurettes are detailed, extraordinary behind-the-scene peeks into the writing, creation, and acting within the film. “The Chosen One,” narrated by Lucas and actor Hayden Christensen, discusses the role of Anakin Skywalker as the chosen Jedi that fulfills the prophecy of bringing “balance to the force.” It traces the journey of Anakin’s transformation into Vader, as well as how, tragically, his transformation and subsequent suffering was a necessary path.
Another featurette, “Within a Minute,” is an hour-long documentary about the production of a one minute battle sequence that occurs within the Mustafar battle scene. It details the many excruciating processes that create the special effects in modern film, and has been described as “cinematography 101” by some critics.
The final featurette focuses on the acting and stunt-work in “Episode III,” and it is just as fascinating as “Within a Minute.”
Another valuable special feature of “Episode III” is the archive of deleted scenes. These scenes are not the twenty-second, halfway finished pointless extras that viewers have become accustomed to. Most of the scenes involve complex and interesting sub-plots, top-notch acting, and detailed special effects. Lucas explains that most were deleted because they either detracted from the central plot of Anakin’s transformation, or because there was not enough time to include them.
Nonetheless, the deleted scenes are a treat for fans, and connect the first three movies to the original with even greater cohesiveness. There are scenes that develop the rudimentary beginnings of the Rebel Alliance (led by none other than Senator Organa), as well as scenes involving Padme’s role in a sub-plot that is missing from the final version of the film. “Star Wars” fans will enjoy the chance to see this new, captivating footage that further develops the many characters and sub-plots of the saga.
The DVD release of “Star Wars: Episode III” has been long anticipated by many fans, and it is finally here! Don’t wait around for a box set, because most retailers don’t anticipate the release of a box set anytime soon, and there is talk of eventually providing a slip case for fans that have already bought all six DVDs.
“Star Wars: Episode III” is on sale everywhere, available in full-screen and wide-screen, and costs around $20.00. Get your copy soon and start planning for that marathon viewing session.