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?

Scene it on Friday – ANH Scene #22

jawas dead anh

“Single file to hide their numbers.”

Did anyone else say that whenever you couldn’t fit too many people on a path?  I don’t know about where you guys live, but here we have Cape Cod.  Beautiful area, even though the water is downright frigid even in the summer.  In order to get to a beach, you often have to walk on a tiny serpentine path surrounded by tall stalks of grass.

Perfect example of a Cape Cod path

Perfect example

There’s only space for one person since you are also carrying bags and beach chairs, so it’s the perfect time to shout, “We must walk single file to hide our numbers!”

Nobody else did that?  Oh.

I do feel a little bad for all the Jawas that were mercilessly murdered just so that the stormtroopers could find the droids.   But, from a filmmakers perspective, it gives a good feeling of tension as you connect the dots with Luke.  They murdered Jawas and destroyed their Sandcrawler…so you can assume they’d do the same to Luke and his family.

What always surprised me about this scene is that Obi-Wan actually did not follow Luke, but let Luke rush off into potential danger by himself.  My thoughts are that either a) he knew they had long since left the Lars Homestead b) he thought it would be smarter to stay with the droids or c) he thought this would be a good learning experience for Luke.  I would think the first choice, but does anyone think otherwise?

Other than that, type in “Sandpeople always ride single file” for some funny memes.

that would lead them back home

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — WASTELAND.

Threepio, Artoo, Luke and Ben walk among the scattered bodies and rubble of what remains of the huge sandcrawler.

LUKE: It looks like Sand People did this, all right. Look, there’s gaffi sticks, Bantha tracks. It’s just…I never heard of them hitting anything this big before.

Ben is crouching in the sand studying the tracks.

BEN: They didn’t. But we are meant to think they did. These tracks are side by side. Sandpeople always ride single file to hide their numbers.

LUKE: These are the same Jawas that sold us Artoo and Threepio.

BEN: And these blast points, too accurate for Sandpeople. Only Imperial stormtroopers are so precise.

LUKE: But, why would Imperial troops want to slaughter Jawas?

Luke looks back at the speeder where Artoo and Threepio are inspecting the dead Jawas, and put two and two together.

LUKE: If they traced the robots here, they may have learned who they sold them to. And that would lead them back home!

BEN: Wait, Luke! It’s too dangerous.

Luke races off leaving Ben and the two robots alone with the burning Sandcrawler.

Scene it on Friday – ANH Scene #19

Scene it on Friday – ANH Scene #19

Can I just say – how is this one scene?  Is it because it all takes place in the same area?  Maybe I should revisit what an actual “scene” constitutes in a film.  Wikipedia is telling me:

In Filmmaking and video production, a scene is generally thought of as the action in a single location and continuous time…While the terms refer to a set sequence and continuity of observation, resulting from the handling of the camera or by the editor, the term scene refers to the continuity of the observed action – an association of time, place or characters.

Okay.  So this is a scene.  I just find that these scenes in ANH are a lot longer than scenes in the Prequels and it’s weird.  Maybe it’s a sign of the changing times and how audiences nowadays need faster changing of events than a film audience in 1977.  Now, it’s all scene, cut, scene, cut, scene, cut.  Perhaps I should develop a more thorough analysis of this when I have more time…

Reading this scene did clear up a few minor points for me.  For instance, when Luke says, “Sandpeople!  Or worse!”, I always thought he said, “Sandpeople!  The worst!”

So not a big deal, but if you read it how I always thought, you think that Sandpeople are the worst beings out in the Tatooine desert.  But if you read it how the script is written, it makes me wonder – what’s worse than the Sandpeople?  All that keeps flashing up in my mind is that giant worm from Dune, the Sandworm.

Another line clarified for me is when Obi-Wan/Ben says, “The Jundland wastes are not to be traveled lightly.”  I had NO idea what he said there and never had the desire to find out either.  It was always, “The alkjdvijdoijva;iejap;iej are not to be traveled lightly.”  I got the basic gist of it.

Looking it up on Wookiepedia, I see that the Jundland Wastes are basically where the Tusken Raiders live and also where Anakin massacred all the Raiders because of their treatment towards his mother.  So it’s not like I missed much by not understanding what he mumbled.  (Tangent: though Padmé looked concerned that Anakin had slaughtered all the Sandpeople, I don’t think she was freaked out enough.  HELLOOO.  The guy you’re in love with just slaughtered tons of innocent beings…and you comfort him?!  When you see that bully on the playground throwing rocks at the little baby bird that fell out of the nest and is trying to kill it, do you cheer and do it too?  No.  Her reaction was totally whack.)

tusken raider beating luke

Can you imagine reading this script for the first time?  Look at the words thrown about:

  • Landspeeder
  • Sandpeople/Tusken Raiders
  • Banthas
  • Electrobinoculars
  • Laser rifle
  • Gaderffii
  • Jundland

It’s these words, that are thrown with such casualty into the script, that really make me believe this is another world.  The world building that gets built (for lack of a better word) through these small worlds is enormous.  Oh, the power of words and the power of imagination coming together.

C3PO and Luke and Obi wan

 

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — DESERT WASTELAND — LUKE’S SPEEDER — DAY.

The rock and sand of the desert floor are a blur as Threepio pilots the sleek Landspeeder gracefully across the vast wasteland.

LUKE: Look, there’s a droid on the scanner, dead ahead. Might be our little R2-unit. Hit the accelerator.

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — ROCK MESA — DUNE SEA — COASTLINE — DAY.

From high on a rock mesa, the tiny Landspeeder can be seen gliding across the desert floor. Suddenly in the foreground two weather-beaten Sandpeople shrouded in their grimy desert cloaks peer over the edge of the rock mesa. One of the marginally human creatures raises a long ominous laser rifle and points it at the speeder but the second creature grabs the gun before it can be fired.

The Sandpeople, or Tusken Raiders as they’re sometimes called, speak in a coarse barbaric language as they get into an animated argument. The second Tusken Raider seems to get in the final word and the nomads scurry over the rocky terrain.

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — ROCK MESA — CANYON.

The Tusken Raider approaches two large Banthas standing tied to a rock. The monstrous, bear-like creatures are as large as elephants, with huge red eyes, tremendous looped horns, and long, furry, dinosaur-like tails. The Tusken Raiders mount saddles strapped to the huge creatures’ shaggy backs and ride off down the rugged bluff.

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — ROCK CANYON — FLOOR.

The speeder is parked on the floor of a massive canyon. Luke runs up to stand before little Artoo.

LUKE: Hey, whoa, just where do you think you’re going?

The little droid whistles a feeble reply, as Threepio poses menacingly behind the little runaway.

THREEPIO: Master Luke here is your rightful owner. We’ll have no more of this Obi-Wan Kenobi jibberish…and don’t talk to me about your mission, either. You’re fortunate he doesn’t blast you into a million pieces right here.

LUKE: No, it’s alright, but I think we better go.

Suddenly the little robot jumps to life with a mass of frantic whistles and screams.

LUKE: What’s wrong with him now?

THREEPIO: There are several creatures approaching from the southeast.

Luke looks to the south and fetches his long laser rifle from the landspeeder.

LUKE: Sandpeople! Or worse! Come on, let’s go have a look. Come on.

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — ROCK CANYON — RIDGE — DAY.

Luke carefully makes his way to the top of a rock ridge and scans the canyon with his electrobinoculars. He spots the two riderless Banthas. Threepio struggles up behind the young adventurer.

LUKE: There are two Banthas down there but I don’t see any…wait a second, they’re Sandpeople all right. I can see one of them now.

Luke watches the distant Tusken Raider through his electrobinoculars. Suddenly something huge moves in front of his field of view. Before Luke or Threepio can react, a large, gruesome Tusken Raider looms over them. Threepio is startled and backs away, right off the side if the cliff. He can be heard for several moments as he clangs, bangs and rattles down the side of the mountain.

The towering creature brings down his curved, double-pointed gaderffii — the dreaded axe blade that has struck terror in the heart of the local settlers. But Luke manages to block the blow with his laser rifle, which is smashed to pieces. The terrified farm boy scrambles backward until he is forced to the edge of a deep crevice. The sinister Raider stands over him with his weapon raised and lets out a horrible shrieking laugh.

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — ROCK CANYON — FLOOR — DAY.

Artoo forces himself into the shadows of a small alcove in the rocks as the vicious Sandpeople walk past carrying the inert Luke Skywalker, who is dropped in a heap before the speeder. The Sandpeople ransack the speeder, throwing parts and supplies in all directions. Suddenly they stop. Then everything is quiet for a few moments. A great howling moan is heard echoing throughout the canyon which sends the Sandpeople fleeing in terror.

Artoo moves even tighter into the shadows as the slight swishing sound that frightened off the Sandpeople grows even closer, until a shabby old desert-rat-of-a-man appears and leans over Luke. His ancient leathery face, cracked and weathered by exotic climates is set off by dark, penetrating eyes and a scraggly white beard. Ben Kenobi squints his eyes as he scrutinizes the unconscious farm boy. Artoo makes a slight sound and Ben turns and looks right at him.

BEN: Hello there! Come here my little friend. Don’t be afraid.

Artoo begins to whistle and beep his concern about Luke. Ben puts his hand on Luke’s forehead and he begins to come around.

BEN: Oh, don’t worry, he’ll be all right. Rest easy, son, you’ve had  a busy day. You’re fortunate to be all in one piece.

LUKE: Ben? Ben Kenobi! Boy, am I glad to see you!

BEN: The Jundland wastes are not to be traveled lightly. Tell me young Luke, what brings you out this far?

LUKE: Oh, this little droid! I think he’s searching for his former master…I’ve never seen such devotion in a droid before…there seems to be no stopping him. He claims to be the property of an Obi-Wan Kenobi. Is he a relative of yours? Do you know who he’s talking about?

Ben ponders this for a moment, scratching his scruffy beard.

BEN: Obi-Wan Kenobi…Obi-Wan? Now thats a name I haven’t heard in a long time…a long time.

LUKE: I think my uncle knew him. He said he was dead.

BEN: Oh, he’s not dead, or…not yet.

LUKE: You know him!

BEN: Well of course, of course I know him. He’s me! I haven’t gone by the name Obi-Wan since oh, before you were born.

LUKE: Well, then the droid does belong to you.

BEN: Don’t seem to remember ever owning a droid. Very interesting…

He suddenly looks up at the overhanging cliffs.

BEN: I think we better get indoors. The Sandpeople are easily startled but they will soon be back and in greater numbers.

Luke gets up. Artoo lets out a pathetic beep causing Luke to remember something. He looks around.

LUKE: Threepio!

EXTERIOR: TATOOINE — SAND PIT — ROCK MESA — DAY.

Luke and Ben stand over a very dented and tangled Threepio  lying half buried in the sand. One of his arms has broken off.

THREEPIO: Where am I? I must have taken a bad step…

LUKE: Can you stand? We’ve got to get out of here before the Sandpeople return.

THREEPIO: I don’t think I can make it. You go on, Master Luke. There’s no sense in you risking yourself on my account. I’m done for.

Artoo makes a beeping sound.

LUKE: No, you’re not. What kind of talk is that?

BEN: Quickly. They’re on the move.

Luke and Ben help the battered robot to his feet.