Film I've had a few days to cogitate on this, the cynicism is settling in nicely I think I've decided what's been niggling me about Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. It's the dialogue. Not necessarily that some of it's impossible to like, but that there is so much of it. Obviously spoilers ahead if you haven't seen it yet by the way.

For someone who apparently holds foreign and silent film in such high esteem, Lucas doesn't seem to have learnt the big lesson. Only tell the audience what they need to know and that that doesn't need to be done through exposition. This is particularly clear in the instantly notorious scene where Padme and Anakin are having a heart to heart:
PADME stands in the balcony brushing her hair. ANAKIN leans against the wall, watching her lovingly.

ANAKIN: . . . every second I was thinking of you. Protecting the endless, nameless Outer Rim settlements became a torture . . . the battles were easy, the longing became unbearable . . . I've never been so happy as I am at this moment.

PADME: Annie, I want to have our baby back home on Naboo. We could go to the lake country where no one would know . . . where we would be safe. I could go early-and fix up the baby's room. I know the perfect spot, right by the gardens.

ANAKIN: You are so beautiful!

PADME: It's only because I'm so in love . . .

ANAKIN: No, it's because I'm so in love with you.

PADME: So love has blinded you?

ANAKIN: Well, that's not exactly what I meant . . .

PADME: But it's probably true!
I don't think there is an actor on earth who could make that work. But it's there because Lucas doesn't trust his actors. There isn't anything here which couldn't be said with a look and the minimum of words. I'm no writer but here is my idea...
PADME sits on the edge of the balcony. She's holding an electronic book, on which there is a photograph of room of a house. In the corner, a title reads 'Naboo'. She pushes a button and the scene changes to become a nursery. Now we see that ANAKIN leans against the wall, watching her lovingly. She stands and shows the electronic book to him. He smiles. She smiles. She discards the books as he embraces her, holding her tighter than he's ever held her before.

ANAKIN: I missed you.
The same emotional information is in there. Anakin doesn't mention all the fighting, but that's elsewhere, he's effectively repeating information we already know. 'I missed you.' might be a bland line, but it's something we can all understand. There is scene after scene were a page of dialogue does the work of a few lines, slowing the action down without actually adding anything more to the characters. Watching A New Hope directly afterwards is a sobering process. They simply don't look like they were written in the same universe.

[full shooting script here]

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