Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy: ROTS Opener

Okay, I have to admit. I love the opening scenes of all of the Star Wars films, but this one rivals the iconic opening scene of ANH. Like ANH, the crawl tells you the galaxy is knee deep in war (“War!”). While ANH’s opening scene awes the audience with the overhead shot of a huge Star Destroyer pursuing the Tantive IV, ROTS awes with a single tracking shot as you first see the battle above Coruscant then Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fighters flying in tandem. They don’t just fly in a straight line either. They go above and below different craft, right side up, upside down. Lucas intended to show the partnership between Anakin and Obi-Wan, one that would be sundered forever by the end of the film, which is why they fly in tandem. It seems like nothing separates them, no matter what comes their way, but we know that’s about to change.

This kicks off a great action sequence as Anakin and Obi-Wan try to get to General Grievous’s ship and rescue Palpatine. Since it’s almost a seamless sequence from the opening crawl to the time Anakin crash lands the remains of the ship on Coruscant, I’ll end my discussion with Anakin and Obi-Wan landing inside the Grievous’s ship. There’s a classic Star Wars space dogfight where clones are lost and Anakin, ever one to look out for his rank and file (a trait that carries over as Darth Vader), is nudged by Obi-Wan to focus on the mission. They battle buzz droids then crash land in a battleship hangar and the camera captures Obi-Wan ejecting and landing, lightsaber at the ready in one amazing shot.

In many ways, I think Lucas was at his absolute best artistically in ROTS and the first scene of the film makes a strong argument for that case.


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6 Responses to “Great Scenes of the Prequel Trilogy: ROTS Opener”

  1. lgghanem Says:

    The RotS opener is without a doubt my favourite opener of all 6 films, ANH included. The slow drums, the visual of that republic star destroyer floating there until Anakin and Obi-Wan’s fighters swish past, accompanied by a powerful rendition of the Force theme, then they dive and reveal the raging battle taking place in the Coruscant atmosphere, a battle which we’re taken through in a single tracking shot… Fantastic.

    Heck, the entire opening sequence feels like one superb Clone Wars episode. After Anakin lands the ship, when Obi-Wan says “another happy landing”, I always breathe a deep sigh of relief, even on my thousandth viewing.

  2. peacetrainjedi Says:

    Love this sequence! Poor R4, but at least R2 gets a chance to truly shine. Ben Burtt really outdid himself with those chaotic mechanical Buzz droid noises. And once again John Williams’ drum-heavy martial score brings the scene up to cinematic perfection.

  3. buick runner Says:

    It is probably the best space battle of any of the 6 films or any Scifi film. You can see how the two sides are evenly matched and it is just endless fighting trying to break the stalemate. Seeing the chaos of the battle says how Plaps has made the Clone Wars a huge cluster-screw.

  4. Eddie Says:

    I’m really liking this “Great Scenes of the PT” feature! Ol’ GL sure did stick the landing on ROTS. The last time I watched it, this sequence made me imagine TCW Ani/Lanter and Obi-Wan/JTA transforming back into Christensen and McGregor during it, kind of like an a-ha video.

  5. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    Honestly, while New Hope’s opening gets “Classic” points for kind of needing to be everyone’s first view of Star Wars…this one is a lot better.

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