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Parent's Guide to Revenge of the Sith - Updated!

Posted By Scott on May 13, 2005

In 1984, I remember being a kid and desperately wanting to see Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The only problem was that my parents heard the movie was very graphic and that a dude?s heart was pulled out of his chest in one scene. Despite their reservations, they ended up taking me anyway and making us hide our eyes during the scene. It was certainly a memorable experience for me. It also started the PG-13 rating. Now 21 years later, I find the tables turned on me by George Lucas. I?m the parent of a young child dying to see Revenge of the Sith, but I have some worries that it might be too much for him.

In fact, many parents have asked me if I think Revenge of the Sith is appropriate for their children. My standard answer is that it depends on the kid. I took two 5 year olds to Lilo and Stitch a while back. My daughter loved it, but her friend absolutely freaked out and had to be carried out of the theater screaming. So it depends a lot on the kid. So rather than telling you to take your kids or not, I?m going to list everything that I think could potentially freak a kid out and let you decide for yourself.

Here is a mostly spoiler-free guide. Not for the ultra-sensitive to spoilers as it's a very tough task to describe without spoiling anything. If you are ultra-sensitive about spoilers, I strongly suggest you just go see the film for yourself, THEN decide if you kid should see it. But if there?s no way your kid will let you go without them, I think the following list gives you info on what to expect without ruining anything:

1. Cut off Limbs ? Every Star Wars film has a body part cut off in it. Each film has also had more and more limbs cut off as the films have come along. So it shouldn't be any surprise that ROTS has the most body parts cut off than any of the other films. If your kid was disturbed by cut off heads and arms in the other films, they will be more so with ROTS.

2. Burned Darth Vader ? As we saw in The Empire Strikes Back and
Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader has horrible burn scars. In Revenge of the Sith we see how he got that way. It?s fairly graphic, though brief, so be warned.

3. The Jedi Purge ? We know from A New Hope that Darth Vader hunted
down the Jedi and killed them. We also know from Attack of the Clones that there are children in the Jedi Temple. And we saw Anakin kill Tusken Raider women and children off screen in AOTC. You do the math.

4. Palpatine ? The Emperor is rather scary in this movie, more than
he was in Return of the Jedi. His red eyes, creepy voice, and pale wrinkled face could freak out little ones.

5. People you care about die in this film. Some at the hands of those who were trusted.

That about covers it without getting into details. My personal opinion is that parents with kids 9 and under will want to screen the film first and decide if their kids can handle it before taking them.

Detailed spoiler filled guide. Highlight to read:

1. The Emperor ? Make no mistake about it, the Emperor is awful scary in this movie. When he first turns wrinkled, his voice changes to an evil tone and he has yellow eyes and no hood. He?s on the screen for several long moments looking awfully creepy. This could scare a kid. But if your kid has seen Return of the Jedi, it might not be so bad for them.

2. Anakin kills the Younglings ? When Anakin arrives at the Temple to kill the Jedi, he walks into the Jedi Council chamber. Hiding behind the chairs is a number of 6 or 7 year old children. They see Anakin, and a boy comes out from hiding and says something like, ?There?s too many of them to fight, Master Anakin. What should we do?? In response, Anakin ignites his lightsaber and the scene cuts away. Much like the slaughter of the Sand People in AOTC, you don?t see anything, but the message gets across that he kills them. Later in the film you see the bodies of several children lying on the ground as Obi-Wan and Yoda survey the damage. The kids have no obvious wounds on them, so they look like they are sleeping. But our hero has killed children in the movie.

3. Anakin chokes Padme ? Towards the end of the film, Padme arrives on the volcanic planet of Mustafar to tell Anakin that Obi-Wan is hunting him. Anakin then sees Obi-Wan emerge from hiding on Padme?s ship. Thinking that Padme is yet another in a long line of people to betray him, he flies into a rage. He raises his hand and starts to Force choke Padme. She hangs in the air choking for about 4 seconds, then Anakin releases her and she falls to the ground unconscious. It?s brief and surprisingly understated, but it?s a bit shocking to see spousal abuse in a Star Wars movie.

4. Anakin Burns ? Towards the end of the final duel between Obi-Wan and Anakin, Obi-Wan catches Anakin in mid-air and cuts off both of his legs and his remaining arm. Anakin falls to the ground and proceeds to slide down an embankment towards lava. As he gets near it, his clothes catch on fire. He burns for a few seconds in full flame and you see his hair and clothes burn away. He?s then left with red eyes and charred flesh. You see it clearly in a couple of close up shots and a couple of far away shots. It?s not shown on the screen more than a few seconds. Later, as Anakin?s being turned into Darth Vader, you see him on an operating table screaming in pain as robots poke and prod him with needles. You see his full charred body in this brief shot. (My son has an intense fear of fire right now, so this would obviously terrify him.) I think the burning scene alone is what gave this film the PG-13 rating.

5. Padme delivers the twins and dies ? After the final duel, Obi-Wan takes Padme to a medical center. Droids report that she?s physically fine, but that she?s lost the will to live so she?s dying. (Would a pregnant woman as strong as Padme lose the will to live? I doubt it. Anyway?.) They must deliver the twins to save them. Padme screams and cries as the children are delivered by a robot. After she names them, she says to Obi-Wan that there?s still good in Anakin, then she dies. It?s not too hard to see that this could unsettle a child, especially one with a pregnant mother.

6. Dooku's Decapitation - At the conclusion of the opening battle, Anakin gets the best of Count Dooku. He cuts both of Dooku's hands off and the Sith Lord is shown briefly staring in disbelief at his cauterized stumps. Anakin then takes the two lightsabers and puts them to Dooku's neck. He says, "I shouldn't do this", then scissors the lightsabers to cut Dooku's head off. The actual cut takes place off screen and you see the body fall over and the head briefly rolling off in the background. To be honest, it is less graphic than Jango's decapitation in AOTC. If you let your kids watch those films, this isn't much different.

7. The Death of Mace Windu - Just as Mace Windu prepares to finish off a cowering Palpatine, Anakin steps in and cuts off Mace's arm in a shockingly quick move. Mace stares at the stump in disbelief and is then hit by Force lightning by Palpatine. He starts screaming as electricity courses through him like in Return of the Jedi. It goes on for a few seconds then Mace is violently hurled out a shattered window to fall to his death. It all happens very quickly and in reality there's nothing much in the scene that hasn't been in previous Star Wars films.

That pretty much sums up what I think would freak out a child in Revenge of the Sith. Hopefully you can take this and judge for yourself if your kids are mature enough to see it. I think if you?ve let them watch Attack of the Clones and LOTR: Return of the King, then they?re old enough to handle Revenge of the Sith. I highly recommend you just go screen it yourself first and decide based on that. For me, personally, I?m going to take my young son and daughter, then take them out of the theater or hide their eyes when there?s something I know they?ll think is scary. Out of the entire film, I believe they can handle 97% of what is on the screen.

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