Review of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith by Matthew Stover

July 21, 2005
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Star Wars: Revenge of the SithStar Wars: Revenge of the Sith
By Matthew Stover; Read by Jonathan Davis
11 CD’s – 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Wars / Republic / War /

Well, here it is. Thirty years after the original Star Wars film, we have the conclusion. George Lucas said in an interview that he seems to have two sets of fans, one loyal to the first trilogy, and one younger set that prefers the recent trilogy. I admit up front that I’m of the first set, and that I found Episode I very disappointing, and Episode II a bit less disappointing. But like so many others, I went right out to see Episode III immediately upon its release. This audiobook is written by Matthew Stover, based on George Lucas’ screenplay for the film.

Now, I know that this is an audiobook review, but it’s very difficult not to bring the film into it. The audiobook is filled with sound effects and music from the movie, and because I’d seen that movie, Lucas’ brilliant and beautiful images were front and center in my mind while listening. Jonathan Davis’ superior narration also took from the film as he often imitated the actors while speaking. Palpatine sounds like Ian McDiarmid’s Palpatine, Obi-Wan sounds like Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan, and all to great effect. Jonathan Davis is fabulously talented. At times, his voice was altered by sound engineers (when speaking as General Grievous, for example), also to great effect. This audiobook sounded wonderful.

The movie was longish, clocking in at 140 minutes, every minute of which moved at breakneck speed. This audiobook runs 14 hours, and tells the same story as the movie, but Matthew Stover was given a lot more room to tell it. I don’t know how closely he consulted with Lucas on this, but the story runs at a much slower pace with lots of backstory and deep penetration into the characters’ thoughts. The first time a character is met in a story, Stover writes until he hits a natural break point in the action, then delves deep into that character’s past or his current state of mind, then returns to the action. The result is a satisfying companion to the film. Knowing what I know now about the characters would make watching the film a better experience, because Lucas spends no time at all on depth of character.

I would heartily recommend this audiobook to Star Wars fans who’d like to know more about these characters. Skywalker’s turn to the dark side makes a bit more sense here than it did in the movie, since his inner thoughts are revealed for us to see. Though I am still partial to the original three films, I found that this story adds depth to those stories too. Bravo to Random House Audio for producing this fine piece of work.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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