After 87 previews and the disclaimer that "this is not an IMAX film," it finally started. When the downbeat hit and the logo appeared and the "Episode III" crawl began, I was eight years old all over again!
Best line: "Not if anything I have to say about it." - YodaI won't spoil the movie for anyone (you know how it turns out,) but it really does hit all the right notes connecting episodes one and two with four through six. There are lots of "oh, I see" moments, lots of great parallels between characters in each trilogy, and lots of incredible battling, both in the air and on the ground. There is a lack of one-liners, but Yoda gets the best one answering a challenge from a combatant just prior to a battle... "Not if anything I have to say about it."
Ebert and Roeper gave it two qualified thumbs up... probably fearing death threats. They did give it one criticism that is oft repeated, and that I completely agree with, but in some ways that criticism ruined some stretches of the movie for me, so I won't share it.
This movie was satisfying in the way that Return of the Jedi was - tying up loose ends and giving completion to the story, revealing motives and results of actions. About 2/3 of the way through, I made a realization which probably isn't unique. There is one character missing from the opening trilogy that would give it more balance and humorous opportunities - the Han Solo character. There are actually several character-types in the second trilogy that help to give it more humanity: the cavalier Princess Leia, the goofball/ladies man Lando, etc. In the first trilogy, everyone is dead serious... with good reason... but good reason doesn't necessarily translate into great entertainment. I have a feeling that Jar Jar was supposed to provide that for the first three movies, but since the outcry was so great against him after the first one (me included,) we kind of got stuck without a comic relief.
All that to say, go see it, and go see it in the theater on the biggest screen you can with the loudest sound! If you're anywhere near one with an IMAX screen or one with a digital projector, run!