SWD: Death and Life

Lucas gets so much wrong, it is helpful to point out what he gets right.


This next section of Revenge of the Sith is a beautiful juxtaposition between the death of Anakin and the birth of Luke and Leia, and setting the two against each other is good commentary on what has been gained and lost, and the pointlessness of Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side: his children are born and Padme lives.

Oh, wait, that should have been what happened. Except for no reason at all Padme dies. Like I said earlier, I give up trying to make sense of this. Padme shouldn’t have died. Like Yoda and Obi-Wan, she should have gone into hiding and died later, when Leia was only two or three years old. After all, Leia remembers her mother, which is impossible if Padme dies seconds after giving birth. Lucas clearly wasn’t thinking of continuity or the best way to make a point. I don’t know what he was thinking, but like everything else, this feels like a first draft.

“Medically, she is perfectly healthy. For reasons we can’t explain, we are losing her.” Even the medical droid is confused and when you write dialogue like that, it should be evidence that something is terribly wrong. If it doesn’t make sense in the story, it won’t make sense to those watching.

I do so love the lowering of the Darth Vader mask. It is a chilling moment. Lucas has no problems constructing and shooting great visuals, although the Frankenstein’s monster moment and “Noooooooooo!” at the end is a little too over the top.

In the end, the kids are split up, and Obi-Wan and Yoda go into exile. The movie ends with a shot of the Death Star in construction and Luke looking into the twin suns of Tatooine.


SWD: To the Pain

Two brawls and a bunch of nonsense comprise the next twenty minutes of Revenge of the Sith.


“I will do what I must…” – Obi-Wan Kenobi

Padme unwittingly takes Obi-Wan to Mustafar, where he confronts Darth Vader. After a bit of nonsense from Vader to Padme where he offers to overthrow the Emperor and rule the galaxy, he tries to Force choke his wife and he and Obi-Wan begin their epic lightsaber battle.

Obi-Wan has a little to say, and it is all good. Occasionally, Lucas gets it right with the words he writes.

I know I have long said that lightsaber battles are to be about dialogue and conflict, not spectacle and flash. This is one particular fight that is supposed to break that rule. There is nothing left to say between Obi-Wan and Anakin. This is not a battle between the Light Side and the Dark Side. This is an unleashing of fury and frustration and disappointment and grief. There should only be unrestrained combat as both unleash every bit of emotion they have left on the other for all the perceived slights and wrongs and injustices perpetrated against each other and the galaxy. Whether or not George Lucas understood this is hard to say because every other lightsaber battle in the prequel trilogy has resembled this one, but even if he didn’t consciously decide the method of this fight, he got it right by accident. There is one particular bit where he could have gone even more vicious and it would have amped up the stakes of the fight. At one point, Anakin is choking Kenobi, and Kenobi only manages to get loose by kicking Anakin and both lose their lightsabers. What would have been fantastic is if both had merely continued the fight hand to hand rather than with weapons. The non-lightsaber lightsaber fight as it were in which they don’t need sabers to continue to pound on each other. As it is, both use the Force to grab their sabers and they continue the sword fight.

The backdrop here of the lava planet is perfect. It is violent, angry, explosive, and red hot. I give Lucas full credit for choice of location.

Where this fight is silly is its duration and multiplicity of insane locations where they fight. After a while it all becomes a little much. It should be quick, violent, and race towards its conclusion, not go from one ridiculous set piece to another.

When the climax finally comes, it is over quickly. Obi-Wan’s “you were my brother, Anakin” speech is actually a little heartbreaking. It could be viewed as a bit over the top or melodramatic, but it feels authentic.

Anakin then catches fire, after having been dismembered, and the film earns its PG-13 rating once again. The horror is brutal and I credit Lucas for leaving the camera on Anakin while he burns, both in his own rage and in the lava. This is the price for evil and it is supposed to be difficult to watch.

“I’ve been waiting a long time for this…” – The Emperor

Yoda confronts the evil Darth Sidious. After a bit of banter, both draw sabers and begin to fight. Sigh. Masters don’t fight like this. Both are too powerful to fight like ordinary Jedi or Sith. Even later when they throw the Senate at each other it is too banal for a battle between Masters. Neither one should be able to beat the other with mere sword fighting or Force throwing of objects and they should know that. This should have been a battle of words, of ideologies, of philosophy. A fencing not of sabers but of viewpoints. But such finesse is beyond Lucas and so we get a CGI sword fight and a bunch of CGI nonsense. The only thing Lucas does get right is setting this fight against the backdrop of the Senate, emphasizing what is at stake. While Obi-Wan and Anakin are fighting a personal battle, Yoda and Sidious are fighting for the universe. I just love the visual, despite the fighting, of the Chancellor’s platform rising into the epic arena of the Senate. The only thing I would have done differently, if I were to plot a lightsaber battle, is to have the place full of Senators, to have the galaxy literally watching the battle between titans. That being said, I think Yoda wins this lightsaber battle. He is small and quick and thus should easily be able to get inside of the Emperor’s defenses and strike him down. Eventually the fight ends as pointlessly as it begins with nothing really happening and nothing having been won or lost by either party. In the end, it feels like filler.

After all is fought and done, Yoda is rescued by Senator Organa and a burnt Vader is rescued by Lord Sidious.


SWD: Order 66

I will be dealing with two segments here because Order 66 comprises one whole ten minutes in which a few Jedi die and not much else happens. After that, Yoda and Obi-Wan try to retake the galaxy by themselves while Darth Vader murders a whole lot of people.


Palpatine’s solution to the Jedi spread across the galaxy is Order 66, a pre-programmed order in the clone troopers to immediately kill any Jedi they come across. The result is we see that most Jedi are rather easily killed, unless they are played by George Lucas’ son or are Yoda or Obi-Wan. I give that a pass because it is a staple of any action film. Main characters don’t die unless it is narratively necessary. Everyone else: poof. I give Lucas a C+ for Order 66. It is overwhelming convenient to have a bunch of clones obey an order that has them killing their Generals, but it is also the only way to have a bunch of Jedi die instantly. It works because it must as long as you don’t think about the fact that clones are bred to think creatively while also somehow being less independent to the point of accepting assassination orders without question. Such things just don’t make any sense, really.

Also in this section is place one of two where Revenge of the Sith earns the only Star Wars PG-13 rating. Darth Vader enters the Jedi Council chambers to find a bunch of kids hiding from his assault. “Master Skywalker…what are we going to do?” one kid asks. Vader responds by igniting his lightsaber.

No. I just cannot accept that Anakin feels the need to kill kids. But he does. Because he is evil now. For almost no reason at all.

Meanwhile, on Kashyyyk, Yoda survives his assassination, as does Obi-Wan on Utapau. Both are rescued by Senator Organa.


Aboard the Tantive IV, Obi-Wan and Yoda agree to return to the Jedi Temple to turn off a retreat beacon in an effort to save any surviving Jedi. Meanwhile, on Mustafar, Darth Vader shows up and murders the entire Separatist leadership. At the same time, in the Senate, Chancellor Palpatine elaborates on the “plot” by the Jedi to overthrow the Republic which, for some reason, must now be reorganized into an Empire and “liberty dies…with thunderous applause”. There is very little reason why a Galactic Senate unanimously cheers for a sweeping reorganization of the government. Senates don’t unanimously cheer for anything. But, as I said earlier, I give up trying to make sense of what is happening here. It occurs because it must and for no other reason.


Obi-Wan and Yoda are at the Jedi Temple. Having recalibrated the retreat signal into a stay away signal, they watch footage of Darth Vader killing Jedi. They decide to move against the Emperor and Vader, but Obi-Wan pleads to be given the task of confronting the Emperor. It is like the Jedi have never heard of strength in numbers. Why don’t they both go after Vader or the Emperor? I honestly don’t know. They divide and conquer themselves. Also of note: for some reason, Ewan McGregor shows almost no emotion at all. “I can’t watch any more” he says, but it sounds like he has ordered lunch and “I can’t eat anymore”. There is no emotion on his face. I don’t know why a good actor is emoting almost nothing in what is supposed to be a highly emotional scene. I must assume it is bad directing.

Obi-Wan goes to talk to Padme, the one surefire way to Anakin, and again, relating the horrible news that Anakin has turned to the Dark Side, he shows and emotes almost zero emotion. He should be weeping over the fact that his best friend has become the epitome of evil. But he doesn’t. To be charitable, I suppose Obi-Wan could be in shock, but if he is, it is the wrong direction. More emotion is better than no emotion in scenes like this, in my opinion.

Padme, for her part, insists on disbelieving Obi-Wan despite having heard Anakin admit to slaughtering Sandpeople in the last movie and after hearing a trusted friend deliver the truth in this one. But, I wouldn’t want to believe my spouse had become the epitome of evil either. To make things worse, she shows little emotion, too. This is what people mean when they describe the acting in these movies as “wooden”. Very little emotion and very little acting is going on. Ewan McGregor and Natalie Portman are simply moving around and reciting dialogue. There is little to no heart or depth to their performances, and as both are good actors, I again move to blame poor direction from Lucas.

Contrast that with the very next scene which shows Darth Vader, having murdered everyone on Mustafar, standing on a balcony crying. Why is he crying and no one else is? Why is he crying at all? He should be darkly elated, not crying. He is pure evil at this point. Pure evil doesn’t cry. I just don’t understand what Lucas is doing with this film anymore.

Twenty or so minutes have passed and we are about to get a whole lot of fighting. The movie is swiftly coming to a close with loud clamor and noise but almost no soul.

SWD: Fall from Grace

When the Jedi fail to arrest Chancellor Palpatine, Anakin arrives in time to fall from grace. Strangely, the acting of all involved falls from passable to execrable at the same time. As a writer, George Lucas sometimes goes off the rails but sometimes manages to get it right. As a director, however, I seriously believe he doesn’t know a good performance from a bad one. That is never more clear than in this next section of Episode III.


The fall of Anakin begins with a great little scene. Anakin is in the Jedi Temple, awaiting the outcome of the Chancellor’s arrest, while Padme is in her apartment. Both are looking out across the sunset lit landscape of Coruscant, looking towards the other. Padme has no idea what is happening, but she feels, perhaps through the Force, the weight of the moment. Anakin is struggling with his desire to save Padme using Palpatine’s dark knowledge while trying to do the right thing as a Jedi in defeating the Sith personified in Palpatine. This is one scene that Lucas absolutely nails. As a director, George Lucas excels at the emotional art side of cinematography. Back in film school, he was great at making little poetry films that were all mood and emotion. Here we see a little of that brilliance. When a director is able to work in their wheelhouse, the movie excels, and this scene is a little piece of that. The sunset of the day is also the sunset of Anakin’s life as Jedi, the voiceover from Palpatine and the look across to Padme’s apartment is his choice between two ends and his solitary vigil in the Jedi Council chambers signals how alone he is, without his mentor Obi-Wan or anyone else to show him the way. I love this little scene.

Anakin ultimately chooses to go to the aid of the Chancellor, unable to reconcile the evil of the Sith with the mentor he knows, especially with Padme’s life, as he sees it, in the balance.

Meanwhile, Mace Windu and three other Jedi we hardly know arrive to arrest Chancellor Palpatine, Sith Lord. One must note that here, at the beginning of the confrontation, Mace Windu says “The Senate will decide your fate” and when Palpatine responds with “I am the Senate” Windu retorts “Not yet” (01:11:24). I’ll come back to this later, but clearly Windu is hoping to arrest the Chancellor and have him stand trial for his war crimes.

Palpatine attacks and somehow manages to kill three Jedi without pause. No. Just no. Pause your copy of Revenge of the Sith at 01:11:34 or 01:11:38 or 01:11:40. In all three spots, while fighting one Jedi, Palpatine has his back to at least one other Jedi who could easily strike him down. There is a reason one man doesn’t take on four in a sword fight: there is no way to watch your own back. Palpatine would be dead, dead, dead. Having actually been a part of sword fighting choreography, I know how much work goes into making sure you don’t accidentally hurt the person you are fighting. From that standpoint alone I know how easy it is to accidentally give your opponent a good shot at your back or head or legs. Given that Lucas is making this fight up with the help of stunt choreographers either Lucas overruled them or his stunt guys aren’t worth much because this fight has obvious flaws. Meanwhile, this farce of a fight continues with one old guy fighting another old guy with obvious CGI spinning and flipping. This fight just looks dumb in addition to making no sense at all from a combat viewpoint.

I will also point out, once more, that fighting to fight is not what happens ever in the real Star Wars films. All the lightsaber fights in the original trilogy are about the dialogue and the conflict between characters, not the fighting with lightsabers. This one again misses the mark.

CGI Palpatine bounces around and old Sam Jackson parries until they are backed up against a window and fight reaches a climax. (Seriously, if your actors are this old, please make the fight more talk and less fight. It will automatically be better than geriatric actors trying to pretend to be the best fighters ever.) Anakin arrives, walking past the bodies of three dead Jedi to find Windu has won the fight with a “You are under arrest, my Lord”. At this point everything suddenly switches to melodrama. Ian McDiarmid, for no discernible reason, starts hamming it up. The “no, no, you will die” line is just horribly delivered. What is going on here? George Lucas has no idea how to direct actors. Pure and simple. McDiarmid is relying on what Lucas says he wants which is probably “faster, more intense” and this is what we get. I mean, how bad is this? This is as bad as kids trying to be dramatic without any idea of how to create real drama in a scene bad. By the way, Samuel L. Jackson is just as bad in this scene.

While Palpatine, for whatever reason, is trying to electrocute Windu and succeeding in only electrocuting himself, both try to convince Anakin that each is a traitor. Palpatine says “I have the power to save the one you love” while melting his own face. This is beyond silly. If this were actually happening I wouldn’t believe him because hello, face melting. And then Windu suddenly changes his mind. Remember back a few paragraphs “The Senate will decide your fate”? Well he suddenly decides to kill Palpatine. What? What happened to putting him on trial? Nothing changed, he easily beat the Chancellor in a lightsaber battle and then easily deflected all the lighting back onto the Chancellor’s face. Where is the immediate need to kill him? Even Anakin interrupts with a “he must stand trial” and Windu now claims “he has control of the Senate and the Courts, he’s too dangerous to be left alive”. Huh? Since when? The inconsistencies here are overwhelming.

Windu moves to strike, and Anakin cuts off his hand. What? Why not block the lightsaber? This is a perfect opportunity for a real, original trilogy style lightsaber fight, with the Chancellor goading Anakin on, Windu arguing with Anakin and a few slashes thrown in for punctuation. Lucas continues to miss every real opportunity while enhancing all the wrong bits. And Windu dies.

We come to the really bad bit. Anakin stops Windu from killing Palpatine because Palpatine might have knowledge that could save Padme. Ok. I get that. But, he watches Palpatine murder Windu, and then decides to become Palpatine’s Sith apprentice to gain knowledge to save Padme. Ok, with you so far. And then “every single Jedi is now an enemy of the Republic”. WHAT? Even the librarian Jedi? Even the innocent Jedi children? Even “your friend, Obi-Wan Kenobi”? How does Anakin agree in the space of seconds that Windu had to be stopped from killing the Chancellor to save Padme to every single Jedi must be murdered to save Padme and he is ok with that? This makes no sense at all. This is where I throw in the towel on trying to justify what happens. This just is too dumb.

The newly christened Lord Vader is about to show no mercy to grow in the Dark Side to save Padme. Luke couldn’t even justify killing his own dad to save the Rebellion and the Galaxy. How does Anakin justify slaughtering children to save Padme? Oh, wait, he is eeeeviiilll. Then again, this is the guy who slaughtered an entire village of Sandpeople because his mother died. I guess maybe the facade is that Anakin is a nice guy, but that doesn’t jive with much else we have been shown thus far. We are still supposed to have been believing that Anakin is basically good. He was crying a few minutes ago, about to do the right thing. Now he jumps to the worst possible thing ever? Nope. Not buying it. This is bad writing: a good character suddenly becomes evil incarnate because it is that time of the script. Yeah, I give up.

Tune in next time for the darkest moments of any Star Wars film ever.

SWD: Wars and Rumors of Wars

After spending an entire day following Anakin around, the action and point of view of Episode III splits to follow Anakin and Obi-Wan’s separate plot arcs. Also the action portion of Revenge of the Sith starts to get going again, which means we are treated to more CGI battles and computer wizardry.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (00.48.00-01:01:56)

I start first with Obi-Wan Kenobi’s journey. The Jedi Council meets via hologram and real time from Coruscant to Kashyyyk. Yoda is operational with the Wookiees (and hey! look, Chewbacca in a totally pointless cameo). Anakin presents the news he learned last night, one wonders why he didn’t inform the Jedi immediately, it isn’t like the war sleeps, and the Jedi decide that Obi-Wan should be the one to hunt down General Grievous.

I give Hayden Christensen props for this scene. He conveys the hope and enthusiasm that his character feels when he gives Palpatine’s recommendation that Anakin be sent to find the droid general and the disappointment when the suggestion is shot down. Anakin really is hoping for a relief from this infighting and political scheming, something for which he has no patience. Christensen gives us that with just his eyes and a few small gestures. Good acting is so rare in the Star Wars prequel trilogy that I like to point it out whenever possible.

Back to Chewie. Other than fan service, why is he here? I really can’t figure out a valid reason. Nothing in the original trilogy suggests he is anything other than a smuggler who partnered with Han Solo. Bringing Boba Fett in as the clones was also semi-pointless, but at least that served a bad plot reason. Here Chewie exists merely to exist.

Anyway, Anakin and Obi-Wan say goodbye in a scene that accomplishes nothing except to show Obi-Wan to be a massive idiot. He praises Anakin and his abilities mere minutes after Kenobi, Yoda, and Windu had a conversation about how unpredictable and immature Anakin is. Sure, Obi-Wan was defending Anakin in that scene, but it is clear that what the other Jedi are discussing is common knowledge for the Jedi council. If nothing else, it is an informative conversation for Kenobi. The point is: Anakin isn’t what Obi-Wan says he is, and the audience knows it. Thus, this scene simply shows that Obi-Wan is either a moron or woefully naive. Either are bad qualities for your main supporting character who is supposed to be wise. I’ll grant that this is probably supposed to be foreshadowing Obi-Wan’s big failure training Anakin, but at this point, Anakin is trained. Master is splitting from apprentice. There is no reason for Obi-Wan not to be realizing that he completely messed up with Anakin. And if he secretly does, why all the praise? Why not a last ditch effort to train? This scene is just badly written.

After this, all of Obi-Wan’s scenes are traveling to Utupau and finding General Grievous and starting to fight him. The action is mostly empty CGI and a stupid lightsaber battle in which the general has four lightsabers because Anakin fought with two in Clones because Darth Maul had a double lightsaber in Phantom. Seriously, lightsaber battles are not about spectacle but conflict. The number of blades and the flashy flashy lights might wow a kid (probably the real point) but none of the lightsaber battles in the original trilogy were meant to be flashy first. They were to accentuate the conflict between characters. Here the conflict is almost nonexistent and the flash is everything. The dialogue is stupid and there is no build up of what it means for Kenobi to fight the General and vice versa. Also with droid reflexes and four lightsabers, I don’t care how good Kenobi’s Jedi defense is, the General wins.

Back to Anakin. He has another vision of Padme in pain, this time with Obi-Wan in the picture. This leads to a very awkward conversation between Anakin and Padme about the stress that Anakin is under and something about Anakin feeling lost which because of bad writing and lame acting just sounds like whining. Seriously, if you as a director cannot give direction to your actors, hire someone else. Hayden Christensen isn’t a bad actor, but he was badly directed.

I want to mention to that this subplot about Padme dying in childbirth is a stupid one. I think I already mentioned back with Anakin’s first vision, but no, women do not die in childbirth on Coruscant in the Star Wars universe. If she had been shown being killed in battle or something, yes, that is a valid threat, but in childbirth? I doubt anyone really took the threat seriously. This exists as one more example of bad writing.

Lastly, Anakin is shown being given an assignment: give Palpatine news that Obi-Wan has engaged Grievous and judge his reaction. After he leaves, Mace Windu finally gets the idea that the Chancellor is evil and might not step down as Chancellor after the war is over (because apparently he is only in power for the duration of the war). This leaves the Jedi with the choice to remove him from office or not by force.

What? Why not allow the good senators to at least try to make a motion for the Chancellor’s dismissal? Even if all the rest of the Senate is evil and under the Chancellor’s sway, are there not those that stand by rule of law? Make him make a move to stay in power before just summarily removing him. Make him justify the use of force. The point here is that once again, the threat is not real or immediate. There is so much that could happen instead. When you have this big of a plot hole, or more correctly, this many loose threads, the plot unravels rather quickly. Nothing that follows necessarily needs to happen. I find it, as an audience member, frustrating when lazy writing leads to stupid actions on the part of supposedly very wise and knowledgable characters. Nothing adds up and it all feels dumb.

Anyway, Anakin is off to get a reaction out of the Chancellor while Obi-Wan is chasing down Grievous. Another day has ended on Coruscant.

SWD: Operatic Considerations

It has been nearly three years since I last delved into the world of Star Wars and my deconstruction of the prequel trilogy. Since that time much has happened in my life, but my love of Star Wars remains undimmed. I return to Star Wars Deconstructed and pick up where I left off: in the early part of Episode III, Revenge of the Sith.

To recap briefly, the galaxy is at war, and young Jedi Anakin Skywalker is at the centre of all the conflict, both professionally and personally. Currently, Anakin is enduring a very long day, filled with people in his life pulling him in separate, often conflicting, directions. The night prior he had a prophetic dream in which his wife died in childbirth, and the next morning Yoda could only tell him to “let go of everything you fear to lose”. At a morning briefing on the Clone Wars, he was informed that Chancellor Palpatine wanted to meet with him. The Jedi are not happy with Anakin’s close relationship with the Chancellor. Palpatine wants Anakin to sit on the Jedi Council as his personal representative. The Council allows the appointment, but only if Anakin will spy on the Chancellor for them. Later in the day, Master Windu and Yoda express distrust of Anakin while Anakin faces pressure from his wife, Padme Amidala, to use his influence with the Chancellor and the Jedi Council to foster her push for peace talks. Anakin responds with frustration at being used as everyone’s pawn.

That evening, he receives an invite to the opera, and meets with Chancellor Palpatine for a second time, and things get even more confused for the frustrated young Jedi.

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (00.42.40-00.48.00)

As Anakin arrives at the opera house there is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo of Star Wars director George Lucas. He is dressed in fancy robes and is painted blue, so don’t worry if you miss him the first time around.

Anakin is drawn into a what will prove to be the first of several seductions from Chancellor Palpatine, also known as but not yet revealed to be Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith. In fact, this is his second seductive meeting of the day, the first was earlier when the Chancellor placed Anakin on the Jedi Council. Slowly, gently, and yes, seductively, Palpatine is giving Anakin what he wants while playing on his fears, his frustrations, and his failures.

Despite some stiff acting from Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker, next to some somewhat subtle acting from Ian McDiarmid as Chancellor Palpatine, this scene works very well. The mood is sombre and underscored by the deep operatic singing of the Mon Calamiri who form the backdrop of the conversation. If only the acting were on par with the setting, this scene could give chills.

This time, the bait Palpatine offers is that the Chancellor, through “clone intelligence”, has discovered where General Grievous is hiding. This is what Anakin most wants as a Jedi warrior, his enemy where he can destroy him and he swallows the bait. Earlier, the Jedi council had admitted that the couldn’t find Grievous, and in his eagerness to find him and his blind trust in Palpatine, Anakin does not question how the Chancellor knows Grievous’ whereabouts. I give Anakin a pass for not calling Palpatine on this. His head is no doubt spinning from his back and forth day, and he has a lot on his mind as a result.

Palpatine dismisses his aides and invites Anakin to relax, and begins stage two of the evening’s seduction games. Palpatine admits that he doesn’t trust the Jedi council, and this prompts Anakin to confide the same. Anakin considers Palpatine to be a father-figure, and is taken aback when Palpatine somehow knows that the Jedi Council wants Anakin to spy on the Chancellor. I think Anakin should be slightly more suspicious of how precisely the Chancellor is guessing here, but again, I give him a pass.

This leads to a discussion of Jedi versus Sith, how they are similar, how they are different, and how all who seek to gain power are afraid to lose it. The dialogue transcends McDiarmid’s delivery of it, and his assertion that “good is a point of view” is spot on. I wonder if Lucas actually did write this part of the script because of how well it is written. I guess even a bad writer can occasionally get it right. However, right about the time when Palpatine offers up, sort of from nowhere, a Sith parable, Anakin should be getting alarm bells in his head. Trusted mentor or not, he has been trained his whole life to be wary of Sith philosophy, and to be on the alert for the Sith to return to prominence in the galaxy. How Palpatine knows this “story the Jedi would [not] tell you” is a question he should ask. Sith legends that promise exactly what you really, really want shouldn’t go unquestioned. As a former slave child, Anakin should have a defensive mechanism against things which sound too good to be true, especially from questionable sources, that is the Sith more than Palpatine from Anakin’s perspective. That he doesn’t question Palpatine and this story is an unforgivable logical lapse in the plotting. Even if Anakin eventually decides to side with Palpatine, he shouldn’t be so trusting at this point. At the very least Palpatine should have been forced to come up with a bad excuse for being so familiar with Sith philosophy and old Sith legends.

Also troubling here is the other side of this talk which rather directly implies that the legendary Darth Plagueis created Anakin Skywalker. This is a dangling plot point, not to mention a gaping plot hole. Why would a Dark Lord of Sith create a child and then abandon him to be potentially found and trained by the Jedi? Why not raise and train him yourself as the ultimate Jedi killer? This whole midichlorians-are-the-Force thing is something I wrote about in my deconstruction of the Phantom Menace, but here I will say again that a biological underpinning to a mystical power is dumb and unnecessary. The Force operates just fine without a biological source, and such a source only raises questions about Jedi and Sith and the entire “ancient religion” that they both adhere to. Furthermore, if a Sith lord can create life, why hasn’t he created an army of Sith and ruled the galaxy already. Why rely on his apprentice and a long con war to give the Sith a galaxy wide victory? None of this life-creating death-delaying makes any sense as presented. Even Yoda wasn’t powerful enough to forestall his own death in Return of the Jedi, so this super powerful Sith definitely shouldn’t have stopped with one Sith-Force-rape kid he then abandoned to the deserts of Tatooine.

Still, if you choose not to think of any of that while watching this scene, the Sith legend thing kinda sorta works. Anakin at least is thinking about it, and wonders if it is possible to learn this power and discovers that he can, just “not from a Jedi”. Seduction: underway. Who exactly does Palpatine know that can teach him? Anakin never thinks to ask and that is yet another example of why the Star Wars prequels are examples of bad writing: an incurious hero is a dumb, shallow hero.

Anyway, the action in Revenge of the Sith is about to pick up, which means so will the pace of my writing about it as I move through the rest of the film. I promise not to wait another three years before the next installment of the series!

To read other Star Wars: Deconstructed posts, search my blog for “SWD” or click “Star Wars” at the top.