(If seen the film, you have not, further do not go)
By Temple Stark, Casa Grande, Ariz.
Today, I watched the Revenge of the Sith.
My heart thumped and tears came to my eyes as the boomp-badaada-boomp boomp boomp boomp of the Stars Wars Theme started playing. This is the last one, the keystone of a story arc that has helped define and infiltrate the culture for 30 years.
Since I am one for anticipation, for delaying that which I can enjoy later so as to have something to look forward to in life, viewing this was somewhat of an oddity for me. I have many such aspects of enjoyment delayed so there will be a lot to think about, to work out and to occupy my life for decades to come.
But there are certain things that are not the same later in life. At the low end of this scale is seeing a film on a large silver screen (I also have not seen Return of the Jedi). It’s a different experience that fills your entire vision and your entire mind if you let it.
I didn’t quite let it in all the way. I took notes, a small additional amount of distance to another world. To another galaxy far, far away.
The familiar scene of large ships and their small ship counterparts starts, “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.” Two Jedi Knights are in two ships that we are following; two who are sent to rescue Chancellor Palpatine.
Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Though sniveling as he is, Palpatine hardly seems worth saving. Except he holds all the power and the Jedi have pledged to maintain that power or rather pledged to maintain order.
Once the two land, battle scenes ensue as the two lay waste to enemies and survive the death of a thousand cuts – and a thousand ships flying through the busy air and 10,000 laser strikes that they avoid without thought.
“I’m not leaving without you, Master.”
“This time we will do it together. (kill Count Dooku)
Skywalker: “I was just about to say that.”
As throughout the film, five, 10 times there is reference to Anakin with a desire, with an intent to save the life of Obi-Wan. At one point, Kenobi is on Anakin’s broad shoulders being carried away from a fight.
Every one of these lines settles well in the mind because we know of the countless battles to come and we know they will end up trying to kill each other many times.
Skywalker and Kenobi take down Count Dooku (Sith Lord Tyrannus) early on in the first real saber scene. Dooku is arrogant and feels he cannot be killed. Skywaker matches that arrogance:
Skywalker: My powers have doubled since the last time we met, Count.
Count Dooku: Good. Twice the pride, double the fall. (A dual reference to twins Luke and Leia?)
Early on in the narration, the deaths defied were too deft for reality; the mechanization and computerization of the scenes was too obvious. There were many lines that you wondered why George Lucas after so many years couldn’t come up with something a lot less … cliche and, frankly, stupid, such as when Anakin lands – improbably – half an ablaze ship through the various -osphere’s from space and the final runway impact is barely more than strong turbulence. Anakin turns to Obi-Wan: “Another happy landing.”
Silence, as a short PSA before the film reminded us, is golden. It certainly shines more than a brick.
People, beings such as Jedi, who have the power to focus and use The Force, should be able to act better in conversations; they should by all logic be able to lie better and not come up with the clunky lines that plagued the love story here between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala.
These exchanges of words do not help us see into the depth of their love. They do not portray a deep and foreboding cold grace under pressure, though the ways of the Jedi to control that force are legion.
They do not portray the depth of felling that would compel Anakin Skywalker – that little boy of the pod races who loved his mother – to turn away from all that he knows.
Saying that, Hayden Christensen has the brooding unpleasant cast in his brow and his eyes to otherwise be convincing in his rapid transformation from the Jedi way over to the Dark Side.
I guess, on one level The Force is all about a certain level of chemicals in the body. Like the number of white blood cells that dictate an inner strength in fighting off the invading forces of evil and illness.
In the story, the relationship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker is the central focus in this tragedy of errors urged on by the Rasputin/Iago that is Chancellor Palpatine, who whispers dark rumor, suggestion and innuendo into Skywalker’s ears. an effort that culminates in naked goading when he tells Darth Vader, risen from the table as an advanced Robocop Frankenstein, that Vader/Skywalker killed his wife Padme Amidala. her death was the sole reason Skywalker was driven to the Dark Side; the Jedi were implying, without knowing they were implying, that they could do nothing for her. (When Skywalker comes to Yoda for counseling after nightmare visions of Amidala’s death, he does not say who he is taking about but the exchange makes it clear to Yoda that it is someone he cares deeply about. … Yoda: “The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. … Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them, do not. Miss them, do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed, that is.”
Palpatine’s insiduous statement that Skywalker / Vader killed his pregnant wife (and presumably the baby inside that Anakin knew about) was a spine-breaking last stab into the heart, as if to say, “There’s no going back now.” (Anakin had already killed younglings (children) in the Jedi Temple and the Viceroy.)
As Anakin, Vader had said to his wife that he had enough power to overthrow the chancellor and she and he could rule the Galactic Empire together. She had turned away from him and said he had become something she did not want to follow. He starts to strangle her and Obi-Wan, who had stowed away on her ship appears and forcefully tells him to stop. He lets go and she collapses.
Then the two who have fought side by side now fight face to face. At the same time we see Yoda battling the Chancellor – Darth Sidious – in the Senate chambers (the fight is no longer “over there”).
As the volcanic planet Mustafar burps and runs rivers of lava around them, they cross sabres.
Finally, as they both escape from the river (where the bridges both literally and figuratively have already been burned) Obi-Wan Kenobi declares he has the higher ground. and he does as Skywalker leaps and his body is sliced in half (double the fall?).
He slides down the slope toward the river – and burns. At first I thought Obi-Wan was just going to turn and walk away. He does but his fury comes out at Anakin, who, after, all, he has trained to be a Jedi – and feels he has wasted his time. In his eyes, the prophecy that said Anakin Skywalker would be a powerful push for The Force toward a time of peace seems to have been wrong:
“You were the chosen one. It was said that you would destroy the Sith, not join them. It was you who was to bring balance to the Force, not leave it in darkness.”
“I hate you.” (This is growled out in pure doggrel malevolence.)
“You were my brother, Anakin. I loved you.”
The burning body of Anakin Skywalker has its parallel in the frozen body of Han Solo. It’s power as an image is also the most likely reason why the film story received a PG-13 rating.
We know both survive. We know Anakin becomes Darth Vader, and we know he ends up horribly scarred. We know this from watching the three original films, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi.
Foreshadowing of this magnitude is hard to sustain and it does require a great deal of skill to move in and tie the loose ends of threads together into one strong bond.
You have to have one set of lobes on you to concieve of the story arc, but more to put it all together on the screen in such grand and grandioise style. George Lucas is not alone in this effort, but it is his vision.
At the end of the tale, the Star Wars theme came back and light tears appeared in my eyes again.
Star Wars. This is the story so far.Powered by Sidelines