Thursday, July 31, 2014

And Finally, There was Revenge of the Sith




I survived.  I made it through all three movies and I survived.  The good news is that I never thought this movie was nearly as terrible as the others, so I wasn't dreading it as much.  Maybe someday I'll bust out the prequel special features discs, but let's not get too crazy. 

For whatever reason I feel as though it has been the longest since I sat through this one start to finish.  I remember renting it or something (did people still rent stuff at the video store in 2005?  I can't remember anymore) and watching it with some people, but I don't think I tend to catch this one even accidentally on TV when it's on.  What I had remembered most was that there were actually some good moments in this one.  Of course interspersed with some crappiness.   (My computer doesn't seem to agree that crappiness is a word, but we're just going to have to agree to disagree there.)

So things finally slowed down enough for me to sit down and watch this one.  It started with yet another lengthy intro that made me feel like I was watching the beginning of a video game rather than a movie.  I feel as though you can't really open a movie in the middle of a huge battle, even with the opening crawl I haven't been given a chance to really care what's going on.  We care even less when everything we're seeing is so obviously computer generated.  Picture the ships flying around in space during the big battle at the end of Return of the Jedi.  Those were tangible, filmed things.  They may have only been models, but they looked real.  This is all just so blatantly fake.  Even Artoo is computer generated.  It's like they got too lazy to shoot any real things, ever.

Let's see, then Anakin and Obi Wan infiltrate this big ship, and Artoo does his thing, in CGI form, as well as suddenly being able to like fly and set stuff on fire, proving that really and truly nothing in any of these movies could've worked without him.  They rescue Palpatine and Anakin has a good final fight with Count Dooku that ends when he has a choice whether or not to kill him, and Palpatine tells him to, he thinks he shouldn't, but he cuts off his head anyway.  Honestly, the rules seem kind of fuzzy to me on when it is or isn't ok to kill someone for a Jedi.  I suppose at that point Dooku was unarmed (literally, Anakin had moments prior cut off both his hands) so maybe that makes it not ok to kill him.  But if he'd killed him first rather than cutting his hands off first maybe it'd be ok?  I mean, later the Jedi kill all kinds of guys, and that seems to be ok.  Even Yoda kills people.  So really, I'm just not super clear on how the rules work with that.

Then Anakin goes home and finds Padme, and they're apparently still hiding the fact that they are married.  It seems like it'd be hard to hide something like that from Jedi, especially when you are living in the same apartment and only hiding behind a pillar when you meet up.  So she tells Anakin that she's pregnant, and I remembered that I always hated the acting in that scene.  It also made me mad that we'd never get to see a similar scene for Han and Leia, one that was much happier.  But whatever. 

General Grievous happens somewhere in here, too.  He seems to me an excuse for a cool action figure with four lightsabers.  Does anyone know why this droid-like guy has a heart and apparently asthma?  It makes for an interesting lightsaber fight, but that's about it.  Which is silly, because there is a freaking ton of lightsaber fighting in this movie, so there's not a lot of reason for sticking this kind of pointless one in there.  Also, Obi Wan shoots him in the heart and kills him.  And for whatever reason, that's totally cool.  Again, what are the rules for when it is and isn't ok for a Jedi to kill?

Anakin starts having bad dreams, basically knowing that Padme will die in child birth.  This I thought was actually a decent catalyst for making him turn eventually.  But can we talk about Padme for a minute here?  All right, in AOTC, sure, that movie was terrible and mostly pointless.  But Padme does at least here and there get to kick a little ass.  She unlocks herself from her chains and climbs up a big stone pillar to evade these giant monsters, she shoots her way out of stuff and basically doesn't need the boys to help her.  Now, maybe we can just blame it on the fact that she's pregnant, but she basically spends this entire movie staring off her balcony and looking worried or upset.  She barely even talks.  She also wears the most elaborate nightgowns I've ever seen.  That can't be comfortable.  Oh, and I almost laughed to myself at the scene when she is brushing her hair on the balcony.  Not just because the dialog is horrendous ("You're so beautiful."  "It's because I'm so in love."  "No, it's because I'm so in love with you!"  Are you kidding me?) but because I was thinking, sure, I always go out to the balcony when it's time to brush my hair.  Doesn't everyone?  Also, she just looks weird in that scene, I'm not sure what it is. 

So, let's see, Yoda goes to Kashyyyk as an excuse to get Chewie in the movie.  And Palpatine starts manipulating Anakin.  To be honest, this whole thing sends chills down my spine, and in a good way.  Well, not good so much, but the creepiness you feel as he talks and pulls him in deeper is a big part of why this one movie isn't that bad.  It really is pretty well done.  The scene at the opera where he tells the whole story of the Sith and how he can teach him to save people from dying is actually really well done.  And it's sort of nice to see that they do some regular recreational stuff, just to see a different side of the universe we've seen to this point.  That guy did a tremendous job and I really don't see him as an actor playing Palpatine, but as the Emperor.  It's pretty cool that they got the same guy and he did such a great job falling back into the role, which must've been difficult without all the crazy makeup and the hood.

But, if you remember correctly, everything gets really bad, really fast.  I recall having the sudden realization before heading into this movie that knowing what we all knew about the OT, inevitably the bad guys were basically going to win.  That thought was both cool and unsettling.  It becomes more unsettling the more bad stuff starts to happen.  And it all seems to begin with killing Mace Windu.  If Sam Jackson isn't around to keep things in order, you're in trouble!  Well, actually first they realize that Palpatine is a Sith and go to arrest him, and then he fights Windu and two other Jedi who are apparently really, really terrible with lightsabers because Palpatine kills them really, really easily before it turns into a one-on-one fight.  This is of course when the dark side lightning comes out and makes Palpatine's face the grossness that we all remember from the OT.  By the end of this showdown Windu is dead, Anakin has chosen to stand with Palpatine who has promised to show him how to let Padme live, and dubs him Darth Vader. 

Oh, so much more badness.  Anakin goes back to Padme and tells her a shady version of what's going on, and she's suddenly dumb enough in this movie to believe him.  She is also the skinniest pregnant women you've ever seen.  I mean, supposedly nearly full term with twins?  Based on what I see, she has maybe a single, 3-pound baby in there.  That's it.  You're really stretching the lengths of my willing suspension of disbelief, here.  She runs around like it's no big deal. 

Time for Order 66.  I have no idea what the heck the point is of having a stupid, numbered name for it is, but it means it's time for all of those clone troopers to start killing the Jedi.  You see a lot of Jedi get slaughtered.  You probably also remember that this is the part when Anakin slaughters the younglings himself.  Yeah, this movie is not really for kids.  Fortunately at least Yoda is safe on Kashyyyk, and it is kind of cute when he crawls up on Chewbacca's shoulders. 

The final battle between Anakin and Obi Wan is pretty cool, and ends in kind of an excessively gruesome way.  Oh, wait, but before that Padme confronts Anakin.  She is like 2 hours from giving birth to full sized babies and has a baby bump the size of a grapefruit, but whatever.  All Anakin wanted to do was save her, but now he force chokes her.  I think he's gone off the deep end just a tad.  But whatever, because by the end of this scene, Obi Wan chops off his legs, his other hand, and leaves him to die just after what's left of his body catches on fire.  Did I mention excessively gruesome?  Although I suppose it was necessary to have a reason for that elaborate suit he winds up in.  And I do remember hearing vague stories as a kid long before we even knew there were going to be prequels about Vader getting scalded by hot lava in a lightsaber battle with Obi Wan.  I have no idea how we knew that, but we did.  And this brought it to life. 

Oh, hey, excitement, as it's time for Luke and Leia to be born!  This is kind of cool!  Except... what is this about losing the will to live?  Are you serious?  That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!  Please don't ruin this moment with that ridiculousness!  Ugh.  You ruined it.  Well, the babies are born, and Luke comes out first and she gets to name them.  It also seemed unclear to me whether she actually birthed them or if they were removed through some sort of operation.  They had this weird thing covering her legs.  Anyway, she has what is supposed to be a poignant moment when she tells Obi Wan that there is still good in Anakin, but it's all ruined by that whole losing the will to live nonsense.  Talk about turning a strong character into a weak one.  How about staying alive for the sake of your children?  You don't need that psycho man!  Having her die in childbirth could've been a perfectly fine plot point if you'd just had her have some actual medical complication.  Would that have been so hard?  Seriously, Anakin still could've had the bad dreams and all that stuff and nothing would've changed except I wouldn't have to cringe every time I even think of that moment when the droid says she's lost the will to live. 

But, wait, interspersed with that we have basically the creation of Darth Vader.  This is another moment that is both kind of cool, and kind of cringe-worthy.  Anakin is in rough shape and they get him all suited up and we have that really sort of awesome moment when the mask is put on him for the first time and we hear him take his first breath, that sound we all know so well.  Ok, that gave me chills.  But, of course then they had to ruin it after he asks about Padme and Palpatine tells him that he killed her when he choked her.  Ok, well, I can see him telling him that just to make him more mad.  But then he has this whole Frankenstein's monster thing where he walks off the table and then.... and I still remember watching this and thinking, no, please don't do it... don't do it... don't.... damn it, he did it.  Yes, he dramatically leans back and holds his arms out and yells over dramatically, "Noooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  Ugh.  I felt like doing the same thing when I heard him do that.  But, hey, Darth Vader is born. 

In the end we have Padme's funeral, which is quite sad.  Then we have something I'd totally forgotten, when Yoda tells Obi Wan that he can converse with Qui Gon.  I seriously didn't remember that and I have no idea if there is any reason that that was put in there.  They show Vader and Palpatine looking off the bridge of their ship at what appears to be the framework of the Death Star.  Ok, that doesn't make sense to me.  Are you telling me that it takes them 18 years to build the first Death Star and for anyone to know it exists (it seems to be a major surprise to Luke, Obi Wan and Han when they find it after it blows up Alderaan, so it seems relatively new) and then it took like two or three to build the second one?  I mean, I know it wasn't totally finished in ROTJ, but it was pretty darn close.  I think they thought audiences would think it would be a cool thing to see, but honestly, given the timeline, that just doesn't make any sense to me.

Yoda goes off into exile, and the babies are split up.  I admit I do in fact get a little choked up when Leia and Luke are given to their respective caregivers.  It just brings the whole thing full circle and I thought these were very nice moments when Leia is there with the Organas on Alderaan, and Luke is with Owen and Beru starting at the sunset on Tatooine.  Yes, I'm a little sappy like that.  And that's where it ends. 

So, there you have it.  I survived the prequels.  Maybe I'll even sit through them again in 16 months when it's time to prepare myself for Episode VII but I'm not going to watch them by myself again, I don't think.  This one is exceedingly dark, I think, which in tone for a Star Wars movie is pretty rough.  But I guess it's good to know that they fix it in the OT. 

25 comments:

  1. Oh boy, you called that one.

    Padme losing her will to live is total BS. There's no way. The woman is supposed to be a warrior and a politician. Those require a fair bit of strength of character to carry off. I think Anakin Force strangled her, but that's me.

    I know this is shallow, but going along with the elaborate nightgowns, Padme's wardrobe seems to call more attention to her than her character does. Leia had a minimal wardrobe, and she didn't need more to carry her character. As for hiding their marriage, have Anakin and Padme ever heard of the media? As if a Jedi wouldn't know it on their own.

    I like Mace Windu, but Samuel L. Jackson is always cool. Was sort of bummed to see him die, but it was needed to carry the story forward. Bail Organa had the potential to be an interesting character, but he was definitely shortchanged on that.

    Order 66, I think, has its roots in the Enabling Act of Nazi Germany. I can buy it a little.

    Yoda is such a badass in this movie, and that's the most positive thing I can say about it.

    Okay, it's pretty nice when the babies are handed to their respective guardians. I noticed Leia was awake and Luke was asleep, which means nothing, but it was a sweet moment and does set the stage for the OT.

    Like you, I don't hate this movie as much as the other two, but I suspect that we'll only watch the original trilogy before VII hits the screen. For like the millionth time.

    There are a lot of younger fans that seem to like the prequels, but I'll stick with my 8 year old granddaughter's assessment of the prequels: 'they're stupid.'

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    1. That's funny, I actually intend to watch the PT in the week leading up to Episode VII. I'm hoping it might temper my expectations for the new movies. You know, ground me, or something (because right now I'm sooo excited!)

      That said, I actually like Episode III. It's flawed (Anakin turns a little too abruptly, Padme's lame death, Vader's "Nooooo!"), but overall I thought it was a pretty decent film. On some days *gasp* I might even like it better than ROTJ. *ducks thrown debris*

      Okay, I'm gonna try and post this now, but for some reason none of my messages have gone through in the past few weeks….

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    2. I just found your other comment you posted hiding in spam limbo and finally set it free. Sorry about that! It's weird because we get the notifications that a comment was posted, but it doesn't tell us if it was sent to spam, so I only see it if I look.

      There is no way a Star Wars movie without Han Solo is better than a Star Wars movie with Han Solo. So you shut your mouth ;)

      I hear you on the soooo excited. I go in waves. Yesterday I saw a short video clip that showed Harrison is now walking with a slight limp, but now without a cast or anything weird on his leg and I was like, OMG, this means he can go be Han Solo again soon! And how cool will that be? And... did I mention it's going to be a long wait for December of 2015? It's also going to get really difficult to keep myself from reading or seeing too much about it before I go. I don't think I can go in though without knowing whether or not Han or Leia are together, because if they're not I'm going to audibly yell something angry at the screen when that is discovered, or if they ARE, I'm going to like sigh or giggle or make whatever noise that "squee" thing is. So I think I'll need to be mentally prepared either way, at least for that.

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    3. He was flying his plane recently too. Definitely a good sign.

      Lol. Definitely a movie with Han Solo. I will be squeeing along with you.

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  2. I think you feel strongly about this one, hmmm? :) And you are certainly brave to watch it again. I think I mostly watch it if it's on spike and would rather watch the OT. I did enjoy the book of this one though as it goes into more about why Anakin turned. I liked how it delved into the emotions more.

    I have to totally agree on the CGI. It really makes it hard for me to care. I think that's why I'm not a very big on Yoda's fight scenes in this. I know it's CGI, so meh. Give me the philosophical puppet from ESB any day. Vader to me will always be the ultimate badass. Before we knew him as Anakin that is. No need for fancy martial arts moves or anything like that. And he can totally Force choke you without touching you. So yeah, I think this is guy you need to keep happy. General Grievous never made much sense to me either. Just seemed kind of random to me.

    I do like Samuel as Mace Windu. Very cool. But c'mon, they couldn't let him drop one mofo? Really? That sucks. No one can drop the mofos like him and be totally awesome just to see a Jedi let loose. Hubby says he guesses there's no cursing in space. :)

    I don't know about anyone else, but the Order 66 part makes me sad when I watch it. Just hard one to watch with all of the Jedi just being murdered. Except the one chick that walks in front of the clone troopers all proud and that and not really being terribly stealthy or keeping an eye on the people behind her. Was she on vacation or something? Yeesh.

    Padme kills me in this one. They made her such a wuss and not that she was much better in the rest of the movies. I don't think they could have made some of her headdresses any uglier. And the losing the will to live? Sigh. And this is Leia's mother? I can't believe it for one minute.

    The funeral was pretty sad and she looked really pretty. But omg, that scene with Vader? Every time hubby sees it he has to go "nooooo!" and imitates it. Or laughs his butt off. Or both. But just so bad.

    I do love when the babies go to their adoptive homes. Those have to be the cutest babies. So sweet. And LOVE hearing Leia's theme cute up when they show her on Alderaan. Awwww.

    Do yourself a favor. Go watch Empire. And then watch it again. Have a nice drool and it'll erase the awfulness from the prequels from your mind. That's probably about the only prep we need to do for Episode VII. Watch Empire like ten or twenty times . ;)

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  3. Whilst this is the best of the crappy prequels by a long shot, it still has a lot of problems.

    Again, the biggest issue for me is how badly written the Anakin/Padme relationship is. I had hoped that after the appalling "romance" scenes in the previous film, that maybe, just maybe it wouldn't be so bad in this one. Sadly not. Their love story is just awful, bad dialogue, bad acting and cringeworthy to the extreme. If I was supposed to give a crap about these characters, it didn't work. And even now, it's weird, but I kind of forget that these two are Luke and Leia's parents when I watch the prequels, because they just don't seem awesome enough. It's like I'm watching someone else.

    I also think Anakin's fall is rushed and unrealistic. The reason he turns is believeable but the way it's executed is anything but. And was Anakin supposed to be all evil and menacing in this one? To me he was just annoying and whiny like he was in the previous one. I can't believe Vader used to be that pathetic.

    I've always been annoyed that they cut Padme's most pivotal scene out. She was in the deleted scenes that focused on the formation of the Rebel Alliance along with Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. At least if they had been left in she would have actually done something useful instead of moping around and standing on her balcony. It would also have been nice to see the Alliance's beginning and tie it into the OT.

    But somethings I do like....I agree Zyra, the opera scene is great, and that eerie music from the opera in the background really adds to the atmosphere. I also like the final duel, if you ignore Anakin's pathetic whiny taunting of Obi-Wan. And the scenes of the twins going off to their adoptive parents are touching, and well done. Ewan McGregor is a great Obi-Wan, and thank goodness he's there to distract from Hayden. I also very much enjoyed Ian McDiarmid's slightly hammy but still menacing Palpatine who manages to own every scene he's in.

    Oh and I totally agree with Amara, the puppet Yoda is MUCH better. I don't know, he seems to have more heart and soul than the CGI one.

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    1. What's this about a Padme deleted scene? Darn, now you're going to make me have to get out those prequel bonus features discs. I do recall you pointing me to some deleted scenes from AOTC where Anakin met some of Padme's family on Naboo. It's like they took out anything that gave the characters more depth. Because hey, gotta have more room for all of the cartoon fighting and blowing stuff up.

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    2. Can't remember if it's on the bonus features of the DVD or the blu-ray, or both....but there are a series of two or maybe 3 scenes featuring Padme, Bail and a young Mon Mothma, plus a couple of other senators and they put the wheels in motion to form the Rebel Alliance. So basically, Padme had a hand in starting it up. I'm sure it's on YouTube if you search for it.

      And I agree, they shouldn't have cut the scenes in AOTC with Anakin meeting Padme's family. Even though the love story would still have been a turd, it would have made their first kiss not seem as rushed and out of place if those scenes had remained once they arrived on Naboo.

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    3. I think the episode II and III deleted scenes are on the original DVD release but not on the blu-ray box set, therefore making everybody have to keep both versions. The AOTC family cut scenes were cute and had some good Artoo content where he plays with the kids.

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    4. Well, that sucks if they're on the DVDs but not the blu rays. I may be a ridiculous Star Wars fan, but there is no way I'm buying prequel DVDs just for deleted scenes.

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    5. Ok, thanks, youtube. Now I've seen them. I actually liked all of the deleted stuff. I actually found it funny that often the excuse for cutting was that a particular scene "didn't move the plot along." Sure, because so much of what they actually showed us, did. It was nice to see scenes with Padme with her family, and just to see what some "normal" stuff looks like in their universe. It's too bad she still just sounds so monotone with all of her dialogue. The starting the Rebellion was big, too. Although sort of crazy to think that supposedly they were "rebelling" for like 18 years from the time they start it there to when we meet Leia in ANH. But anyway...

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    6. I'm not surprised that the Rebel Alliance took that long to come together. Movements such as that take time; you have to bring together groups that may have very different agendas, and oppression by those in power may have to begin to affect those beneath them in a very extreme manner before they are willing to join the movement.

      And damn, the movie would have been so much better if they'd kept the scene of the young principals of the Rebellion and its formation in the film. Political intrigue can be really exciting.

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    8. It does kind of boggle the mind there is 18 years until we see the Rebellion again, Leia, and the destruction of the Death Star. It makes me wonder how the Rebellion ran between ROTS and ANH. They had to have had some successes, otherwise they would have folded. But surprised the Empire couldn't have crushed them long before ANH. I would think if the effort was too small, they would haven't lasted, but if really big they would have had major successes before ANH. Just don't know. But interesting to think about.

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    9. I get that it takes a long time for a Rebellion to be formed, but 18 years seems more than a tad excessive. And it wasn't just that, but the framework for the Death Star thing. It was like, ok, it's cool and all that you're bringing it full circle and setting up the next movies, but a lot of it doesn't actually make sense unless Episode III was only maybe a couple of years before Episode IV, but it's not. It's like 18-19 years, depending on how old Luke and Leia are. The details of the Rebellion and how long it would take are honestly probably beyond my ability to speculate. But the Death Star thing definitely didn't sit right with me. Unless they had flashed a sign there that said, "15 years later..." or something.

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    10. I'm with you on the Death Star bit. Does seem a tad excessive for it to take 18 years to build and 2 years on the next one.

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  4. I'd also have liked to have seen Padme's family meeting Anakin. Somehow, I think he'd throw up a thousand red flags and they're obvious to everyone but Padme. He's whiny, impatient, bossy. He disrespects Padme by never being around save for a couple of days of great sex and then he's off again. He has no idea how to participate in running a household, and he's definitely poor father material. Padme's been already psychologically abused by him and they'd see that physical abuse couldn't be far behind.

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  5. Zyra, you are a better woman than I to sit through this garbage. Hey, maybe you should read The Courtship of Princess Leia now too, so the suckfest can be complete! LOL. ;)

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    1. Oh, man, not sure anyone deserves that kind of punishment. ;)

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  6. Just so you all know, I've watched ANH and ESB over the last 2 days and will surely watch ROTJ in the near future. I feel better already. Except for the fact that right now Han is frozen in carbonite and Leia is sad, but we all know how that turns out.

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    1. You'd have to something to bleach your brain after watching the prequels. Seems like a good antidote :)

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  7. Zyra will appreciate this:

    http://styleblazer.com/287560/worst-actors-in-hollywood/13/

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  8. I'm wondering if the antidote doses of ANH and ESB were administered too late to be effective...

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  9. I think EpIII is even worse than the 2 others because it could have made sense to the choices the movie creators did to the 2 other movies. Like why the relation ship of Anakin and Padme makes sense. It could have proved that Anakin really is the chosen one, not just a whiny teenager. No all this makes me think that misunderstood the prophesy is, and Luke is really the chosen one.

    Ep3 should have tied the precuels and the originals together, but it failed miserably. And most importantly but not surprisingly, George Lucas had no idea what the ROTJ and the EU had told us about the early childhood of Luke and Leia.

    They have stupid explanations why Leia remembers her real mother although she all the suddenly was not raised by her for a single year! Why would they separate the twins, what's the point? Isn't it very risky to 'hide' Luke to his relatives with his father's family name? Why hide him practicly at all, if they are so sure, Anakin won't be looking for him? I understood they had a huge trouble for keeping Leia and her Force sensitivity in secret in Alderaan, but they sent Luke to the place where his father would be looking first? :D

    You can't just change the original story to fit to the precuels. It's the other way round!

    Give better reasons for Anakin to fall Sith. Now he's just a weak, unobbedient jedi, who really should not have been trained.

    And Yoda trained Obi-wan? Yes, maybe few class room lessons as a youngling. ;) Besides, I don't like that badass Yoda. No real reasons, I just think he's out off character.

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