This film was, all in all, a pleasant surprise for me. I was expecting a more Hollywood-ish speculative and commercial-oriented style. Anyway, I personally (still) think the D.P. and the photographic department in general was overwhelmed by the magnitude of this project. Coppola should of thought more deeply about his choice, because Mihai Malaimare Jr. (the D.P.) and digital imagery was simply not enough ! It took over 2 years to complete this film anyway, so why didn't he use film instead of digital mediums? Was money really a problem here? Maybe Roth asked for a big fee, I don't know. This film won't be appreciated by a wide audience, because Eliade's literature is very special and restrictive (you need to fancy Romanian folklore and oriental philosophies in order to get into this). In fact, Eliade's novella was clearly inspired (as the main title shows) by one of the most beautiful and profound fairy-tales ever: "Tinerete fara batranete si viata fara de moarte" (hard to translate into English, but it might sound like "Eternal youth and life without death"). Even if you are not Romanian, you should check it out! It will change the way you feel about time and life, the way Eliade changed Coppola from an old mainstream Hollywood director into an arty European film experimenter.
If we put aside much of the acting, it's a great ending for the prequel trilogy. Beautiful CGI landscapes from strange planets, exhilarating light-saber duels all-around, breathtaking rides in the various space vehicles and unforgettable alien creatures make this film a unique experience. I've seen it three times in theaters and I couldn't get enough of the magical soundtrack from John Williams, that renders a symphonic pace to the whole. Absolute highlights : Yoda fighting the Emperor in the Senate, Anakin vs. his master and the mind blowing quote (from the exquisite theatrical teaser) "Lord Vader... rise!", that completes the circle. Almost... perfect !
NOTIFICATIONS : the central figure is incarnated by Amza Pellea, a monumental actor at his best. Stay focused on Mihai's mother, approaching the final scene of the film, portrayed by Olga Tudorache in a brief, but wonderful screen appearance.
Dan Pita's film is based on Eliade's novellas "Mantuleasa St.", "At the Gypsies" and a few others. Bold approach on Eliade's complicated fiction, good performances from Iordache, Mihai Calin, Costel Constantin and others, interesting cinematography but, still, an unfinished script leads to an unfinished film. The ending leaves us with the impression that Pita was just exercising his direction using Eliade's works.
The ending is kind of silly, though...