There's a lot of talk lately about how Episode III is "not suitable for children" and will be the first Star Wars movie not to receive a PG rating. I'm a Star Wars fan, but not a Star Wars fanatic (I know the words are etymologically related, cut me some slack). I thought Episode I and Episode II were pretty weak in terms of the writing, though not as horrible as some made them out to be. One of the chief criticisms of Episode I in particular was that it seemed like a movie for children. I can't help but think that all of this Episode III hype is something of a clever marketing scheme to convince people disappointed with the first two prequels that this one will be different. "It's darker, it will be pure blood-and-guts Jedi-versus-Sith genocidal fanwank, trust us, you'll love it!"
Here's my problem: the Star Wars movies have always been suitable for children, even geared towards them. They are light-hearted popcorn flicks. Even The Empire Strikes Back, for all its life-threatening drama, was never what I would call a "dark" film. When I was a kid, I liked Return of the Jedi best because it was the most fun. Now that I'm adult, I prefer the fun-but-less-silly and tightly-plotted Empire Strikes Back; Jedi has plot holes you could fly an X-wing through. If Episode III is indeed a "dark" movie it just might be off-putting to the children all of the other movies cater too. In fact, parents are being warned that they might not want to take their kids at all! What, the kids have to keep a hole in their DVD rack until they're 14?
I guess I'm worried that promoting Episode III as "dark," whether it is or isn't, might be a little like President Bush raising taxes for the rich: alienating the base.