Watching Revenge of the Sith I got the feeling that writer/director/producer George Lucas was a very tired man trying desperately to just get this whole marathon over with. The movie feels like a stitched together collection of obligatory set pieces, each presented in its own neat little wrapper and connected with randomly inserted wipes (the editing process, not a personal hygiene product).
In an atypical style for a review, I feel I should start with a brief description of my Star Wars background. Coming in to the sixth movie in a series stretching over nearly 30 years, we all carry a massive personal history and bias before ever starting the film. I was in high school when the first (fourth?) Star Wars movie came out in 1977. I saw it in a first-run theater of course (no videotapes, laserdiscs, or DVDs, kiddies!) I enjoyed the spectacle and sense of fun, but honestly, I wasn't that big a fan. I was a "hard science" science fiction fan, raised on Asimov, Heinlein, and Niven. Star Wars may have been set in space, but it hardly gave a passing nod to the "science" part of the genre.
I was in college in Los Angeles when the sequel burst on the scene. I was lucky enough to score passes to an exclusive pre-screening in the fancy theater 20th Century used for such events on their studio lot. I was mostly blown away by the sound editing — I still remember the shock and awe of the initial pod audibly flying over our heads from the back of the theater to the screen in front. I thought the storytelling was a little richer and more dramatic this time, with grander action sequences. And the big Darth/Luke revelation was so fun coming completely out of the blue. But I still had trouble figuring out why it was such a massive pop culture phenomenon. It wasn't that great a movie!
The third film in the series was the turning point for me. With the introduction of fuzzy little Ewoks, silly one-liners, and cheese pouring out of every line of dialog, I simply stopped caring. (Great steadycam forest speeder race though!)
I have watched the "prequel trilogy" of the past few years with little enthusiasm or sense of urgency. As they came out on home video, I eventually added them to my viewing list and noted that each release was still seen as a pop culture event even though all aspects of quality cinematic production had been dropped in favor of a single-minded concentration on digital effects work.