Personally, I think George Lucas saved the best for last. My wife and I went to the 12:01 AM show this morning, and I've been meaning to blog about it all day, but I took the day off. From the opening skyfight scene to the final scene with the Skywalkers holding Luke gazing at the double sunset, this movie was amazing. We got to see Kashyyk, the Wookie planet and many other landscapes. Stop reading here if you don't want any spoilers...
This movie, as we all know, is the final Star Wars movie that George Lucas is saying he will make. There were many loose ends that he needed to tie up in this movie. The main things involved Anakin's turn to the Dark Side, the betrayal and murder of the Jedi, the end of the Clone Wars, and the birth of the twin Skywalkers.
You could truly see the anger that Anakin possesses right from the beginning - especially in the duel with Count Dooku and in how Anakin killed him out of rage and revenge. I thought that Hayden really pulled off the part of Anakin in this movie. There were several sappy scenes between Padme and Anakin, but I thought that they were really necessary in telling the story of his love for her. Ultimately, though, that love is what separated them and turned him to the Dark Side. Anakin, in Episode II, stated that he would one day be able to stop death, pain, and suffering. The Emperor knew this and really played off of it to turn Anakin.
At first, Anakin was reluctant. However, it all changed when he betrayed the Jedi order and told Mace Windu to let the Chancellor live. Mace had him beat, but hesitated. It was after Palpatine killed Mace that Anakin pledged his allegiance to the Dark Side for three reasons - (a) to save Padme's life, (b) to bring peace to the Galaxy, and (c) to eventually gain absolute power for himself. We see this third one in Episodes III, V, and VI. Anakin tells Padme in this movie that he will kill Palpatine and they could rule together. In V and VI he is trying to turn his son to the Dark Side to rule together.
The saddest part of the movie was seeing the "betrayal and murder" of all the Jedi except for Yoda and Obi-Wan (who are forced into exile). Anakin (now Darth Vader) was relentless in killing the Jedi including the pre-adolescent younglings. This was really gut-wrenching. It was also sad to hear Yoda exclaim, after a brilliant battle with Darth Sidious (Emperor/Chancellor Palpatine) that he had failed.
Beyond this, Obi-Wan was amazed that "the Chosen One" would turn to the Dark Side. Anakin was the One who was to "bring balance to the force" by destroying all of the Sith. Yoda alluded that this prophecy may have been misread and I take the prophecy to mean either that Anakin's offspring would bring balance (Luke killing Sidious and Vader) or Anakin returning to the Jedi order by killing Sidious.
Well, I've rambled enough tonight...going to have to see this again!