Friday 24 February 2017

Revenge of the Sith is the best Star Wars movie ever – officially

A new Rotten Tomatoes poll rates the six Star Wars films according to old reviews, with shocking results...

Beth Ryan

Hayden Christiansen in Revenge of the Sith
Hayden Christiansen in Revenge of the Sith

You might think that The Empire Strikes Back is the world's favourite Star Wars film, but, according to new research, you could be wrong.

There was a time (in a galaxy far, far away, etc) when the likes of IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes didn’t exist: without a calculated percentage to guide them, bewildered film fans had to form opinions via a precarious process of watching films and then thinking about them.

Luckily, Mike Klimo, the author of ground-breaking study ‘Ring Theory: The Hidden Artistry of the Star Wars Prequels’, has delved into the depths of the Star Wars archives to find original reviews of each film, then processing them through the Rotten Tomatoes scoring system. The results are startling:


Revenge of the Sith
Revenge of the Sith

The general consensus – spanning critics, fans, obsessive Star Wars experts – is that the original trilogy is far superior to the prequel. But this study throws that all into disarray: The Empire Strikes Back, that firm beloved favourite, at a tepid 63%? Revenge of the Sith – better than the rest of the prequel trilogy but still a little bit bad – a clean winner at 80%?

The news will leave us questioning everything: maybe Hayden Christensen’s performance wasn’t so terrible after all; maybe those romantic lines (“Hold me, Ani. Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo… where there was nothing but our love”) were ironic…

It’s not all surprises though - coming in last was The Phantom Menace with an unremarkable but perfectly reasonable 60%. The 1999 film, the first of the prequel trilogy, was met with disdain by fans and earned acerbic quips from some critics (one called it ‘haplessly plotted, horribly written, and juvenile’) and gentle condescension from others (Time out New York: ‘it's awesomely entertaining, provided you accept it on its own terms ‘).

But the Telegraph had some controversial verdicts. Andrew O’Hagan’s review of The Phantom Menace was a heartfelt, gushing affair: "Reader, I loved it" he begins, proceeding to defend the "daring and beautiful" film from the critics and "a fraternity of sad fanatics, people who liked the previous films rather too much and never got over it".

The Telegraph gave Phantom Menace a rave review back in 99
The Telegraph gave Phantom Menace a rave review back in 99

The Empire Strikes Back, meanwhile, left critic Eric Shorter cold. His snide review reaches the heights of controversy when he dismisses Yoda as "a big-eared gnomic Muppet". Impressed he was not.

The revelation comes ahead of the release of The Force Awakens, coming to UK and Ireland cinema screens and Rotten Tomatoes ratings charts in December.

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