aaaaand ... well, at least he hit the backboard this time.
While I have to disagree strongly with the reviewers who had been calling this one better than Episode 4, this movie is far and away the strongest of the prequel trilogy. This is in part helped by the fact that it is the final movie in a multi-film prequel, and thus the plot is pretty well constrained to dealing with the actual story we know. Since all the secrets and loose ends are revealed and tied up in the original trilogy, a chimpanzee could work out the script to this one, although frankly, it's still the case that a random ape could write better dialogue for the Anakin-Padme scenes. While Hayden Christensen manages to look appropriately troubled in his delivery (dress all in black, frown a lot), Natalie Portman is all but visibly wincing.
Besides which, a noticeable fraction of the dialog, good and bad, is just (pre-)parroting classic lines and tropes from the main three. I mean, Anakin and Obi-Wan yelling at each other about their respective points-of-view? We get it already! But this is at least semi-competently written. It's just Anakin and Padme that fail to interact remotely like human beings.
Thankfully, even in a 2+ hour movie, they don't have all that many lines together. It's mostly a RotJ-esque action flick.
Then again, Return of the Jedi had the sense to stick to basically three or four major settings. Here, I count five planets and three or four starships with major action, giving us literally dozens of settings to keep straight. Plus three major military combat sequences (including an old-school space battle that flashes by far too quickly to appreciate, since it is apparently included just to be background for R2 versus the googly-eyed robots) and something approaching a solid hour of lightsaber dueling. Honestly, who'd have thought I'd find myself getting bored of lightsabers?!
Okay, so it fails to be a melodrama, and tries way too hard to be a space shoot-em-up. But unlike the first two prequels, it believably sets up the pieces for what's to come, and if we hadn't all already seen how it all ends, the outcome would even be somewhat suprising. So how is this still not better than Episode 4, with its silly dialogue, stilted acting, and primitive special effects? Two reasons. First, absurd as Ep 4 can be, it never makes you wince or yawn. Second, the original knew it was being campy, and thus got away with it; this one is too overproduced for that.
Okay, so I know a bunch of you will be going to see this thing for yourselves in a few hours. Have fun, and get there early. Unlike here, your theaters are probably going to be more than half full.