Haiku Me Friday! A pivotal scene and the need to control

The hatred flows through
They took her away from us
My anguish blinds me

As much as I have trouble enjoying Attack of the Clones and finding moments to like about it, I do enjoy the part when Anakin goes in search of her mother, kills the Sand People and cries about it to Padmé.

It’s this tense chase we are on with him and I think Lucas does a great job of NOT showing us Anakin killing the sandpeople. As an audience, we are put in suspense until he reveals to Padmé that he did, in fact, kill them all. To make matters hit home, the fact that Anakin killed both the women and children as well was deftly played by Lucas.

I think it was hard to feel sorry for the Sand People and hard to connect with them as a species. We never see them doing anything interesting; much less have feelings towards them one way or another. For the most part, the Sand People were annoying to me. They always showed up at an inconvenient moment as a plot point to spur the movie along. In fact, they are kind of like savage animals.

Yet, by having Anakin kill the entire village of sandpeople, and confess to doing the unthinkable by killing the women and children, we now feel pity.

Who kills women and children?

Even in war, it’s deplorable, almost everyone can agree to that. It’s part of what makes the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki so heart wrenching. There were thousands of innocent people living in those cities. On top of being innocent people, there were women and children – the future.

By killing the Sand People’s women and children, Anakin is preventing further life, preventing the future. And with that, George Lucas spins how we feel about the Sand People. Anakin says “They are like animals. And I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them!” Yet, now we feel pity and sadness, which brings the Sand People to a human status.

We also feel foreboding towards Anakin’s actions. This anger and rage comes from his feeling of powerlessness. He wants to control everything around him, including death. How can you control death? It is the one certainty in life – that everyone dies. Yet Anakin does not want to accept that.

If you watch Padmé’s face during this scene, you can see that she has fear. What has happened to Anakin? Who kills women and children? Why can’t he understand that it was out of his control and that Shmi’s death was not his fault?

Shmi’s death is a turning point in Anakin. He always feared loss, even in TPM when Yoda points it out to him. When Shmi dies, and then he has dreams about Padmé’s death in ROTS, it spurs him to use his hate and anger to try and channel it into what he thinks is something good.

Shmi’s death and this scene is so important to the entire saga. I often overlook it due to my frustration with AOTC but it shapes Anakin as a character and is a pivotal step for the Skywalker story.

I, too, can be a control freak. I like everything to be just right and when something disrupts my schedule or plans, I don’t deal with it well. I think most of the arguments I have with my husband come from when I have something in my mind of how it should go, and he has something different, and I have a hard time being flexible.

In some ways, it’s a good thing. My control helps me be extremely organized which helps me run my business, keep my daughter at home most of the time, and be a wife.

Yet the need for constant control seeps into a lot of our daily lives. I believe the need for control does stem from fear. Fear of losing control, but a deeper level, fear of not looking like I have it “all together” or that I’m easily handling everything. It’s a fear of loss, though different from Anakin’s. It’s a fear of losing face, in some ways. I think having a child has made it better (they really are unpredictable!) but now I have new aspects to try and control which raises stress levels.

 

Do you or do you know anyone who are controlling? Who has fears that drives them to dangerous points like Anakin? Or, honestly, do you have any advice for me or others similar to myself?

Haiku Me Friday! Luke and His Grief

 

 

Star-Wars-Luke-Skywalker-Tatooine

The Empire killed them
For what? To find my two droids?
There is change coming

I love this photo…mostly because it’s not in the movie.  I feel like it’s this moment on Luke’s face where we’ve all been before.  The way he’s wrapped up in his poncho, even though it’s so warm out, shows that he has been hit badly by something strongly devastating.

You can see the tears in one of his eyes and there’s a haunted look in them.  Even if you don’t know the story, you know this boy is about to have his life changed.  You know something has happened, even if it’s all in his head or it was something external that forced him to get to this point.

For Luke, I always wonder if he’s wondering how the Empire could be so cruel over two droids?  Is he wondering if they asked Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen any questions before brutally murdering them?  Is his future even on his mind at this point or is he still in too much shock?  Does he blame the two new droids that he has for this turn of events?

In some ways, it’s interesting that he deals with this so easily.  When you compare Luke to Anakin, Anakin would have burned with rage for days.  He would have sought anyone working for the Empire on Tatooine for revenge.  Luke comes to acceptance faster than Anakin would and knows that, if anything, this is a sign for him to go to Alderaan with Obi-Wan.  As he says, “There’s nothing here for me now,” and it couldn’t be more true.

Anakin could never accept death.  It was an inexcusable part of life for him.  Instead of just trying to get his mother out of the Tusken Raiders camp and to a place where she could be buried properly, he instead takes his power, channels his anger, and kills all the Sandpeople.  When Palpatine tells him about the ability to stop death that Plagueis learned, it’s all he wants.  I believe he not only wants to it save Padmé, though that is his primary reason, but he also wants to have that power himself.  To never die and never have that weakness.

Luke, on the other hand, accepts it as part of life.  He accepts it as a normal person would and continues that even as his powers grow..  Through all the deaths we see him go through (Uncle/Aunt, Ben, Yoda, Vader), he tends to fight it a bit, but then realizes it’s part of life.

In this moment, I wonder if the feelings he’s going through gets him to acceptance faster.  Whereas Anakin stops in the anger stage and lets it build, Luke works through everything logically and emotionally to get to a point where he can see what he has to do next and why.

[I’m so mad at this new WP posting system…I can’t figure out how to make my haiku be a caption of the photo.  I can only get one line in before it stops me from doing two lines.  I also don’t know how to make my photo larger than this.  Grrrrr.  Anyone know how to make photos larger and add more than one line to a caption?  It won’t let me hit the plus sign on the photo and is telling me it’s as large as it gets. Lie.]

Rewriting ROTS

I decided this weekend that I am going to rewrite some of Episode III.  I’m rewriting it enough to give it what would be a satisfying ending for myself.

I was talking with a friend about the shortcomings of the Prequels and we went back to the fact that Padmé’s death was incredibly lame.  She “lost the will to live”?!  Really?  Tricia Barr makes a great argument on this in an Insider article, where I mentioned it in a past post.  But at the end of the day, Padmé is a strong, wonderful character and her death deserved more respect.

And when I say that I think it “deserved more”, what I really mean is that…I think Anakin should have killed her.  I feel like I could have mentioned this before, but I thought about it more in depth this weekend.

Anakin choking padme

 

I would cut out all the dreams Anakin has about Padmé dying in childbirth throughout Episode III.  I mean, at the end, we all know it’s just an excuse to see Hayden Christensen’s bare, muscular, fabulous looking chest.  I can do without that fine looking chest and cut out all of his dreams.

If we really do want to focus on Anakin’s internal feelings, perhaps let’s focus on how he felt abnormally good and powerful when he anakin killing sandpeoplekilled all the Sand People on Tatooine.  How those feelings of power have become sort of addicting and let’s use that to contradict it against his feelings of guilt as a Jedi.  He knows he shouldn’t like the feeling of power and the act of killing…but he does and it’s slowly taking over his life.

Intersperse that with Palpatine’s wheedling ways and the way he cracks Anakin’s shells by making him doubt everything.  We can keep the pivotal opera scene, but instead expand on what was discussed in the beginning about the Sith not being afraid to embrace the dark side of the Force.  He can talk about how Anakin’s feelings are not bad at all, instead that killing-spree-power-trip is necessary in order to be aware of all aspects of the Force.

obiwanpadmeThen we have Obi-Wan on the other side, trying to mentor Anakin down the road of the Jedi, coupled with the Jedi Council’s mistrust of Anakin.  Anakin’s need to prove himself as a Jedi Master only further frustrates him as he wants to believe what Palpatine is saying so badly.  Within these scenes, Anakin finds out how Obi-Wan and Padmé have been schmoozing on the back porch together and gets jealous aka sociopath jealous aka dark side jealous and just mulls over those feelings in his head (and the thoughts in his head are like TCW jealousy, not what we see in the movies).  It further adds to his internal war because though he loves both Obi-Wan and Padmé, he is starting to resent the Jedi and Obi-Wan is, clearly, a Jedi.

When he finally does welcome the dark side and kills Mace Windu, he doesn’t utter “What have I done?”, instead he relishes in the joy of finally being able to embrace who he is.

At this point, he still loves Padmé because even in ROTS, Anakin wants Padmé to join him and rule the galaxy.  In his twisted head, he thinks she will want power too, be understanding, and still love him, despite being a Sith.  And then Obi-Wan comes out of the back of the ship and all those jealous feelings that have been mulling around in his head internally just come out in a rage, similar to what we actually see in ROTS.

The only difference is that this time – he kills Padmé deliberately.  He doesn’t care about his unborn child and doesn’t care about her.  His dreams of ruling the galaxy with his love are extinguished as soon as he sees Obi-Wan step out of the ship. Because at this point, Obi-Wan represents everything he hates.  Obi-Wan represents the Jedi, which stifled him and refused to let him use his powers to his full ability; he represents the life he has led where he was not able to see his mother, not able to love Padmé freely, not able to feel joy when she announced she was pregnant; and he represents the guilt that Anakin felt for wanting to kill and enjoy it.

padme on ground

Padmé is far enough along with child that they are able to save the children after Obi-Wan’s duel with Anakin/Vader.  They have awesome medical care in a galaxy far, far away so it’s no problem, obviously.  Or the fight between Obi-Wan and Anakin is much shorter.  Or Threepio actually does something for once and pulls Padmé into the ship and manages to hook her belly up to something that saves the children.  Whatever.  Somehow, the children are saved and we still have Luke and Leia.

I feel like this makes the redemption in ROTJ so much stronger.  At the end of ROTS, Anakin is just downright twisted and evil…the Darth Vader we remember from the OT.  So when Luke breaks through and gets Vader to feel a little bit of love again, the ROTJ ending is much more poignant.

Or it can bring into question on whether Vader just killed the Emperor to feel the ultimate satisfaction of killing the hardest target.  Bwaha.  You’d never know if he did it for Luke or because he felt a good opportunity.

 

I know I can’t change ROTS, but sometimes I like to think, “What would I have done?”  Okay, now you all can feel free to tear my thoughts apart and point out all the holes.

As much as we all love Star Wars, is there anything significant plot wise (not characters) that you guys have wanted to rewrite in the Saga?

Scene it on Friday – AOTC Scene #102

Scene it on Friday – AOTC Scene #102

Short scene, but interesting.  This whole scene is devoted to Shmi, though she is not there physically.  In a way, Anakin is meeting his extended-but-kind-of-immediate family.  I say “family” in the sense of the Brady Bunch structure, not really of any emotional sense.  Clearly, Anakin cannot get attached to these people, nor does he seem to really want to get to know them.  He’s here to find out where his mother is, and that’s that.  The Jedi are his family now, and soon Padmé will be his wife.

In this scene, we also learn more about the Sand People/Tusken Raiders.  We knew a bit about them from Episode IV, but we really see that they are “vicious, mindless monsters” with no real reason to kidnap and torture Shmi.  This seems to be a pattern of the Sand People; they kidnap people for the sake of kidnapping them.  Looking at ANH, we see that they almost took off with Luke if Obi-Wan hadn’t come at just the right moment.  I decided to look into Wookiepedia to see what the EU had to say about this.

“In many tribes, adolescent Sand People were tasked with a ritual known as ‘bloodrite’, in which a youth proved their hunting skills by capturing a creature and fatally torturing it with techniques extending the pain for weeks before death. Most opted for creatures like dewback or desert hulak wraid, but the greatest prestige was reserved for a hunter who performed the rite upon a sentient being.”

Other than that, it seems like the Tuskens often raided Tatooine settlements to try to drive them from their land and so kidnapped people in the process.  Hmmm, that part sounds a little reminiscent of American history.

I am a little confused, however, on one line.  When Cliegg says, “Thirty of us went out after her. Four of us came back. I’d be with them, only… after I lost my leg I just couldn’t ride any more… until I heal.”  Does he mean he would still be with the people who didn’t come back ie the people who died trying to get her back?  Did his leg somehow enable him to be saved?  WOOKIEPEDIA SEARCH!  Ok, yes his leg is a result of a trap laid out by the Tusken Raiders that got caught during the raid.  So what does he mean by “I’d be with them”?  I’m still confused by that line.  Can anyone help?

Lastly, what frustrates me most about this scene is that the dialogue starts off decent but then it quickly goes downhill.  I find that to be a reoccurring problem with Attack of the Clones: I just can’t stand the dialogue.  People say that acting is horrible but I always want to argue that not even someone like Judi Dench could pull off these lines with credible acting.  The second half of the scene after Anakin stands up sounds like a six year old wrote it.

I think that Cliegg’s lines are fine, even appropriate, but there’s no transition for Anakin to abruptly stand up and his lines are corny with Padmé shouting lamely, “No Annie!”  It doesn’t help that the shift between Cliegg’s lines and Anakin’s actions are not done very well by Hayden Christensen.  It’s very dramatic and I don’t like that there is no inner torment inside of him wondering if he is doing the right thing by looking for his mother.  You could argue that the inner torment was played out earlier in the movie with his debate on whether his dreams were real and if he should even go to Tatooine, but knowing what he does about Sand People…shouldn’t there be a little bit of hesitation?  Sure, he’s a powerful Jedi and his anger, in a way, makes him more powerful.  But I know Obi-Wan would have had a few thoughts before singlehandedly trying to take on a whole camp of Tusken Raiders.  And since he’s heard that 30 people went out, and four came back, I’m not so sure I’d be jumping into the fray.

Interesting scene, like I said earlier, and it led me to a lot of EU information.  In the end, it only brought up old anger I’ve had over the bad writing and weird transitions.

 

Awkward dinner where Anakin acknowledges no one

Awkward dinner where Anakin acknowledges no one

INTERIOR: TATOOINE, HOMESTEAD, DINING AREA – LATE DAY

 CLIEGG, OWEN, PADMÉ and ANAKIN sit around the table, BERU brings the drinks in from the kitchen.

 CLIEGG: Your mother had gone out early, like she always did, to pick mushrooms that grow on the vaporators. From the tracks, she was about halfway home when they took her.  Those Tuskens walk like men, but they’re vicious, mindless monsters. Thirty of us went out after her. Four of us came back. I’d be with them, only… after I lost my leg I just couldn’t ride any more… until I heal.

 CLIEGG grimaces, easing his throbbing leg.

 CLIEGG: This isn’t the way I wanted to meet you, son. This isn’t how your mother and I planned it. I don’t want to give up on her, but she’s been gone a month. There’s little hope she’s lasted this long.

 Silence. Then ANAKIN stands up.

 OWEN: Where are you going?

 ANAKIN: To find my mother.

 PADMÉ: No, Annie!

 CLIEGG: Your mother’s dead, son. Accept it.

 ANAKIN: I can feel her pain, and I will find her.

 OWEN: Take my speeder bike.

 ANAKIN: I know she’s alive.

 ANAKIN turns abruptly.