Could you use a little refresher course before you run out to see Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith™?
You'll find it in Sony Classical's original soundtrack recording, in stores this week, which includes an exclusive collector's DVD - Star Wars: A Musical Journey - an unprecedented bonus that may be the most entertaining "crib sheet" in film history. The DVD delivers a dazzling, 70-minute recap of the massively popular Star Wars saga to prepare you for all the excitement of the new film.
Narrating the DVD is actor Ian McDiarmid, who plays the mesmerizing villain Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. The New York Times writes that McDiarmid "transforms from a rancid political hack into a ruthless totalitarian before our eyes" and delivers "the most powerful performance" in the film.
The most anticipated movie of the year, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith, written and directed by George Lucas, opens this week.
With action footage from the films and McDiarmid's narration, the DVD brings viewers up to "light speed" on the entire saga since the release of the previous episode - Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones - in 2002. Critics have called the DVD "a must-have for any die-hard fan of the series" that "brilliantly highlights the relationship between the music and storytelling."
"This is by far the best film in the more recent trilogy, and also the best of the four episodes Mr. Lucas has directed," The New York Times proclaimed in its May 16 review of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. Critic A.O. Scott hails it as being even better than the first film, released in 1977, and ranks it with Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back "as the richest and most challenging film in the cycle."
The review continues, "It comes closer than any of the other episodes to realizing Mr. Lucas's frequently reiterated dream of bringing the combination of vigorous spectacle and mythic resonance he found in the films of Akira Kurosawa into commercial American cinema … The sheer beauty, energy and visual coherence of Revenge of the Sith is nothing short of breathtaking."
USA Today's review concurs, stating, "The Force is definitely with it this time," adding that it "fulfills the promise of the series and rises far above the two most recent predecessors. It's the darkest of the six-film opus, but it just may be the best of the lot."