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Fun with Franchises: Favorite Images from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith

One of the recurring features that we do in Fun with Francises (a feature within a feature) is, after we finish watching a film, we go through and pick out our favorite images from that film. These images could be anything from really famous images from the film or franchise, really beautifully composed shots, shots that are funny to us because of the facial expressions being made in them or because of what we said about them in the article in which they appeared, or simply because they have boobs in them.

What we usually do is, just how we watch the films, Colin and I go in separately and pick out about ten to fifteen shots that we really liked. Then we compare lists, and whichever ones we both picked automatically go on our final list. And everything else we talk through and discuss why we like them, and eventually we’re left with a final list of ten images we liked the best, along with ten honorable mentions, which were also as good, but just missed out on making the list proper.

It’s not very complicated (like most things we do here on B+ Movie Blog), and is just a way for us to point out shots that we really liked in the films, especially since we tend to pick stuff that’s not always on the beaten path. (We also don’t officially rank the list of shots. We just put them in chronological order. Simply picking them is hard enough. We don’t want to make our lives any harder. Plus, we’re lazy.)

That said — here are our favorite images from Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith:

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Have a seat, motherfuckers.

It’s time for the last shots article of this franchise.

There are a lot of shots we like here. So, this time, Colin and I are both gonna comment on a bunch of really nice shots from the film. Since we might as well go all out if it’s the last one.

So what we’re gonna do is just alternate, shot for shot (or shots), picking ones we really like and explaining why. We’re basically in agreement on all of these. We just only had a finite number of official spots, and since we really didn’t give too much of a fuck about the last two movies, this is our way of getting out a bunch of shots that we actually really liked.

Colin will get us started:

Colin:

I’m a big fan of this shot, even though it’s the sort that might get overlooked. For one thing, it’s a cockpit shot, and those are almost always awesome. But what I like most about it is the windshield getting frosted over by hydraulic fluid, or whatever. This actually happened with old aircraft, especially in WWII or something. You’d take a 20mm slug to the radiator, and coolant would spray all over your canopy. Those were the days when seeing out of the cockpit was just about everything; you could have a friend try to guide you into a landing, but sometimes that was it. Plus, whatever is getting on the screen is a tangible substance. Instead of us seeing a bunch of glass, we see something with TEXTURE. In a movie where we’re so starved for realistic images, something with this much texture is a welcome element. 

Now, for this shot, we love us some symmetry. You know we do. And second, it’s starting to look a lot like Christmas very Death Star, which I’m a huge fan of. Third — swivel chair.

Colin:

I don’t have much to say here, other than that this is one exterior shot on Coruscant that I really enjoyed looking at. It’s a cool-looking building with a lot of colors going on. Not mind-blowing, but it deserved mention.

Goddamn, look at those titties.

Colin:

Kashyyyk is a pretty cool planet for having three consecutive y’s in its name. The wookiee battle was good to look at, mostly because of the Wookiees. Of course, it’s also completely Vietnam because of the rocks — or at least somewhere in Southeast Asia. That said, it was mostly D-Day in nature with the droid invasion. I’m not sure how anyone could miss those obvious visual cues.

I love the idea of this docking garage. All the different levels and areas for ships to land on — this makes my brain nut a little bit when I think about it. Because think about a giant half-circle of just docking areas for ships to land on at a building. Does that not make you bust an imaginary nut?

Colin:

I just love Obi-Wan walking over to this droid to decapitate it. The way he has the lightsaber almost on his shoulder makes it look like a bat. Like he’s the Bear Jew, or something. The Bear Jedi.

How can you not laugh at this?

Colin:

But seriously, though… those titties.

Mustafar. I love volcanos. I love lava. I love everything about this shot. And if it didn’t look so much like Mordor, I probably would have fought to get it on the actual list.

Colin:

EUAHHHH!

This shot is one that I love. I just love the scale of it. We’ve already seen the Jedi Temple from above (those goddamn aerials that George loves so much), and here we actually get to see it in scale. And it looks awesome. I love the idea of a battle taking place around something that’s just gigantic. This is almost like fighting amongst giant Egyptian ruins or something. It’s really terrific.

Colin:

What the hell is this pose? Besides awesome, that is.

I tried to get these next on the list, but Colin wasn’t having any of it. So I’ll put them here. This first shot I like because it truly has no purpose in the movie. It’s one of those shots that just appears out of nowhere for a few seconds, between full scenes. So most people watching it will immediately skip past it and not think twice about it. But as a shot, I really like it. It’s the fact that it has next to nothing to do with the movie that makes me like it. Because, I look at this shot and can connect it to the story this film is supposed to be telling. And, as such, this is a brilliant shot. If this movie is a domestic drama, with giant political overtones (as it should be), then this shot is amazing. I think that’s what Colin finds himself unable to do. I think he just sees all the stuff he doesn’t like about this movie in this shot, whereas I’m shaving away all the bullshit and looking at it as a pure image and what the pure story of this film is supposed to be like. But I really like this shot. I think it’s one of the strongest single images in the film. I kind of wish we were able to put it on the actual list.

Oh, and then this shot I wanted to mention as well, as a pair with the other one, just because — it’s not as standalone nice as the other one, but (and I mentioned this in the article) when looking at this shot isolated from the scene, I find myself able to read a lot more into her facial expression. In the movie, this whole moment is, “Oh my god, I’m being choked.” But here, I see this face and I think, “Wow, she’s going, ‘Oh my god, I’m being choked,’ and also pleading with her husband to stop this, and there’s all that emotional stuff with them going on as well. It’s also that moment where she sees he’s beyond hope (even though she’s an idiot and never does give up hope). So, out of context (way out of context), I like this shot. But not as much as the other one. The other one works because it doesn’t have any context. This one I just wanted to mention because I saw a glimmer of hope in the shot. (Plus, look at that Gatsby light back there.)

Colin:

Remember how ridiculous it was when they spent a good two or three seconds randomly twirling their lightsabers at each other and not hitting anything?

I love this shot. The double Force push. Because, in context, it’s great. It’s basically two same sides of a magnet trying to push at one another and not being able to get anywhere. And out of context, they look like fucking morons.

Colin:

I feel I would be remiss if I failed to address the Naboo shots in this movie. Naboo has already featured quite prominently in our previous two films, and even in the Phantom Menace, there were one or two times when it looked genuinely good. But this time and this time were particularly good in this movie. I liked the images. 

And then — the first shot of Vader. As a list choice, it’s really obvious. And I get that. I was gonna try to argue that it’s the camera placement and the fact that it’s shot so close that it obscures everything else makes it better than the obviousness of the moment itself, but we had way too many shots to begin with, so it was an easy cast away. But I do like that he chose to put the camera where he did and I do like that you can’t see anything but the mask, making it an almost abstract image. So there’s that.

Colin:

Hey, they looked at the Death Star being built that one time.

And then, I know it’s a complete ripoff and sucks on a lot of levels… but it does look pretty crisp, right?

Oh, but right… there’s one more. This is a shot that Colin and I both chose on our lists that didn’t end up making the final list, just because we didn’t have enough spots. So I’m putting it here to show that it almost made the list. It’s closer to the list than it is the other intro shots. Kind of like a first alternate.

I’ll even link to it, too, just to emphasize my point.

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Colin:

I want a place like this. This particular shot is great because of how the buildings in the distance begin to fade into the sky. A mark of bad CGI is when things appear too clear, or more distinct than they should be. This is much less clumsy than the first two prequels were.

And now I just realized we went two shots over, so there’s one more to link to as well.

I won’t be putting this shot in the actual article like the last one, because fuck it. But it’s this shot. Or this shot. Colin and I never decided which one was gonna go in. But we both picked this moment on our individual lists. I chose the first shot, he chose the second. Mine was more about the reveal, his was more about (I think) the reaction of, “Hmm… so this is happening,” right before they chop them up. Either way, it’s an amusing moment, though the more I think about it — it does happen a lot in movies, so I’m glad it didn’t end up on the list.

– – – – – – – – – –

Okay, and now for the actual list. Let’s swing into action:

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– – – – –

– – – – –

1. General Yoda

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This is just a fucking badass shot.

Motherfucker’s just overlooking the battle like a boss. The camera placement, the composition, the idea of what’s going on by itself — this is just a terrific shot.

Yoda has a bunch of boss moments in this movie. There’s one we’re gonna talk about later, along with the one up there, of him throwing the lightsaber. But, in this same location, he has that “I’m comin’, Elizabeth!” moment, and then fucks UP the Stormtroopers sent to kill him.

Motherfucker even tosses his hair back.

Colin:

Is that a teak floor on this platform?

2. This face

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This face wins everything.

Colin:

You lose.

3. UNLIMITED POWER!

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‘Nuff said.

Colin:

He just solved the alternative energy issue forever.

4. This shot

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When is an overhead not good?

And then you got him marching on this place that was once his sanctuary, and you got the dark lighting…

The cross is a bit much, but whatever.

There’s also these shots that are great too. The one of them marching up the steps, which is cool, though very CG. And then there’s this shot, which I love because of the camera placement, and them slowly coming up, and the fact that it reminds me of The Fountain, which remains one of my favorite movies. So, all good things.

Colin:

Agreed. The cross is a bit much. It’s still one of my favorites, though, if only because of the camera placement and the lighting. This looked so good happening, and the Jedi Temple March is playing over it.

5. This guy

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This guy is truly the hero of the film. Runs up to a giant space spider, jumps on its head and shoots it through the skull, then whips around and shoots another one in the face. This motherfucker is a galactic treasure.

Colin:

I was so glad we both noticed and loved this guy as we were taking notes. That really does take balls. He jumped on a droid spider and executed it through the head while riding on top of it. That’s a Legolas move.

6. This shot

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This moment is great. The Jedi guy is rushing across the bridge, figuring the clones are backing him up, and they get the order to kill the Jedi, so they just stop dead in their tracks, and when he turns around, they blow him the fuck away.

This is just a really nice shot, them in the snow, the long coats — it’s very World War II. Huge fan of this shot and this moment.

I’m also a fan of this shot, another overhead. I like them shooting her and it being blocked by the flower or whatever that is. There just wasn’t a space for this on the list. So I kept it off. But I do like the moment. This montage is actually pretty nice.

Colin:

Possibly my favorite moment from the movie, to be honest. I earmarked this for the shots article while I was watching the movie for notes, which is something I never do. First of all, we haven’t had a snow planet yet in the prequels. The key difference between this place and Hoth is that this is a city. The grayness, the rubble and debris everywhere — it just makes the scene. To me, fighting in a city is the most thought-provoking and aesthetically interesting type of combat.

Fighting in a wilderness dehumanizes the conflict. A jungle war is people stalking one another like predators and prey. But a city war juxtaposes that which defines us against that which could potentially destroy us. Sometimes, the destruction reaches an extent where it’s no longer logical to fight over the city itself. The example that came to mind with this shot — the snow, city-scape, and uniforms were all major factors here — was Stalingrad during WWII.

If you’re a newcomer to the blog or haven’t noticed already, I have a major thing for anything WWII European Theater. The Soviets also had a thing about shooting their own people during battle, like if they were retreating. I don’t think this quite parallels that, but the way Lucas did the shot, showing only their legs and feet stopping and turning to the side to prepare to fire…it was extremely well done. I could just keep talking about this shot and all the things that were going on in my head as it happened, which should be indicative of how much of a standout it was for me in the whole of the prequels.

7. This shot

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Colin pointed this one out to me. I skipped it when I pulled shots. And when Colin had this on his list, I saw it and went, “Yes!”

This is the Stormtroopers telling Organa to peace. I love how crisp it is, and the giant lights behind them. This is actually the best shot of Stormtroopers we get in this entire trilogy. We never see them this close up ever, and it makes them quite menacing. Weird how it took him six movies to figure that out.

Colin:

So much of this was the patina on their uniforms. After two movies of everything looking too clean and sterile, George gave use a close-up with plenty of detail. These guys have battle-scarred armor. Their guns have carbon scoring on them. They actually look real and crisp enough to make this a thoroughly pleasant image. I didn’t have to think about choosing this one. I was going through the shots, scrolled past it and then immediately back up. This would be so easily overlooked, but it’s brilliant.

8. v v v v v

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I can’t imagine this shot not being on everyone’s list of favorite shots from this movie.

Colin:

This is on my list of favorite shots from any movie.

9. Fighting in the Senate

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George gave us every conceivable reason not to include this shot, and yet it still made it. You can include all the poopy jokes and midichlorians you want, you but can’t kill a good image.

Colin:

I love this Senate room. I would watch Space C-SPAN every fucking day if I lived in this universe. And they rise out of the center! That’s so great!

And because I couldn’t allow this list to end without it…

10. Natalie’s Crying Face

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Colin:

…next time don’t get knocked up by a psychopath?

“Bad day. Guess I’ll DIE.”

– – – – – – – – – –

Honorable Mentions:

  • This image

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Big fan of this shot. It’s basically the film in a nutshell. Anakin with his good and evil lightsaber, standing over Palpatine’s former apprentice, now about to become his new apprentice. And Palpatine in a swivel chair looking pleased.

Plus, he looks like Luke, so there’s that parallel too.

And any shot where there’s a corpse in the room, especially one that’s just been beheaded, is all right by me.

Colin:

Wow, I never even thought about the lightsaber thing being about the good and evil in him. Colors.

I’d also like to give a shot out to this shot, since I like the way he’s got both lighstabers positioned around Dooku’s head. But the shot itself is just not as powerful as the one up there.

And also, since this is the last time we’ll get to talk about him, let’s shout out Christopher Lee one more time and all his glorious faces.

And now, we’re gonna do a double dose of General Grievous.

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“Good, good.”

  • Grievous, baby

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This first shot I chose, because I love me some Sergio Leone close-ups. I don’t believe we’ve ever singled these out in a shots article before, even though I’ll always point them out in the films. (Maybe I’m wrong, though. I don’t really care, either way.) I love a shot where a character’s eyes take up almost the entire frame. It’s so great. Plus, it’s Grievous, who was my favorite character in the film until he went full bug-tard. I just love this image. Even though he’s a droid, this is still more expressive than Hayden Christensen for most of these movies.

Colin:

I can’t emphasize Mike’s point enough — comedy people need to stay away from Leone shots.

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Colin:

I love how the spatter marks are coming right out of his eyes. That’s fanfuckingtastic.

His organ sac is showing.

  • You Only Live Twice

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Because, let’s face it. It’s You Only Live Twice. But why should that keep it from being on the list? That movie is amazing. Plus, the shots are really crisp and beautiful, as well. So I saw no reason not to put them on. Compare this to almost any shot in the Battle of Naboo. I rest my case.

Colin:

They don’t have rocket guns, though. Tiger Tanaka’s ninjas had rocket guns.

  • Palpatine Nutting

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“Are you going to kill me?”

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“Ahhh.”

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“The Force is strroooonng  with you.”

Palpatine nuts a lot in this movie.

Colin:

The guy spends a lot of time stroking the sarlacc. Waxing the Wookiee. You know what I mean.

The Sith’s “revenge” only lasts about nine and a half seconds.

You know, like premature ejaculation.

  • This shot

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I… really have nothing to say here. This shot just looks crisp. Plus it’s one of those shots that no one else would single out but us. So I like that aspect of it as well. But yeah — it just looks really great. That’s the impetus for this. I like this better than 95% of the other shots in the film.

Colin:

This is Mike’s equivalent of the Stormtrooper closeup that I picked earlier. This is one that I completely missed, and when he picked it I was taken aback by how good it is. This shit is crisp. Compared to most of the CGI in the prequels, this is top-shelf.

  • This Temple’s on Fire!

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Colin and I both chose the second one, and he really liked the first one. And since they’re basically the same image, I put them both here. Because it’s not like one more is gonna change anything at this point.

I like the second one. It’s crisp, and it’s a nice image.

And the first one has a hint of those reds and blues again, which we liked a lot last movie.

Colin:

Both of these look amazing. The first one, I chose because — I pretty much REFUSE to pick any interior with Anakin or Padme in it (especially when both of them are in it) because as Mike said, this is one franchise where I have trouble separating certain visual elements from their place in the story. With the pod race, I was fine, but I didn’t let myself pick a Padme shot until this one. I love that you can only see the Jedi Temple because it’s on fire and casting a shadow. George usually likes making things black at night, but the nights in this movie are strikingly blue. I like that. The second image is the stronger of the two; I think it speaks for itself. It might as well be a painting of Vesuvius fucking up Pompeii. 

  • This

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Colin wasn’t crazy about it, because it seemed easy. But whatever. I like it. That’s basically this film in a nutshell. Anakin looking intense and evil and Obi-Wan going, “What?”

Plus, multiple planes, close up — it’s just a nice way to set up a shot. And given how many of the shots in this trilogy happen in wide shot or are shots of cities and stuff, it’s really nice to see an image that boils down to one face and another face. This shot is the trilogy in a nutshell, and like I said — while it may be an easy choice, and it may be a lot of things — you can’t kill a good image. And this is a good image. I’d rather have this than more wide shots of CGI, because at least here, we’re boiling a visual story down to its most basic element — faces.

Colin:

Multiple planes, sure. But Anakin staring straight at the camera? It’s about the twelfth time in this movie he’s done that, and I wasn’t even into it the first time. The rest of the image is cool, but look somewhere else, man.

It is funny though if you think about it as Ewan McGregor chastising him for looking down the barrel of the camera. Like, “Really? That’s your move? … Rookie mistake.”

  • Yoda

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He just walks in the room and fucks the guards up with nothing but a slight hand motion.

Just complete badassness.

Colin:

Are you SHITTING ME?!?!?! LOOK AT THIS MOTHERFUCKER!

  • Palpatine / Vader

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I’m making this one a double because they’re essentially the same shot, only in different locations and with different appeals.

This I like mostly because of the setting. And then there’s Palpatine standing over him like a concerned parent, but also that underlying thing of — he totally looks like a senile old man here, wandering around with no idea who he is. But yeah, it’s mostly the location. I like that Palpatine isn’t in a boardroom or in a swivel chair for once.

He is wearing shoes, though, right?

Colin:

Look at his hands. I love the way he holds his hands.

His hands are creepy. Imagine being five and him coming to your birthday party and pinching your cheeks.

He must get ashy as shit.

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Colin:

Still with the hands.

He blesses the rains down in Space Africa.

  • Dead Natalie

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I like that her face and hair is taking up the entire frame. It reminds me of an image in Fantasia 2000, which might be my favorite image in that film (which is saying something). I like the simplicity of a single face taking up the entire frame. So my choice of this shot is mostly because of that.

I like really simple things. Mostly it all comes back to visual simplicity, beautiful compositions, complex staging, things that remind me of old movies (like rear projection), and Natalie Portman’s crying face.

Colin:

There are very few people who can be effectively framed by hair. I’m thinking like, Patrick Swayze…that might be it. 

All’s well that ends well.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Final Thoughts, and then that’ll be the end of this franchise.

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(See the rest of the Fun with Franchises articles here.)

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