Obligatory SW:ROTS Post

In summary, I liked the third Star Wars prequel.

Sure, I found myself laughing at the horribly stilted dialogue and plot throughout the movie, and I wasn’t particularly awed by the visuals or the CGI, and in the end, knowing how it ended by the virtue of having watched the original trilogy pretty much robbed the film of any of the drama, and the heroics of their heroism.

But it was still fun, and interesting. I think maybe the most interesting parts of ROTS were the scenes that Lucas didn’t actually film, and that only took place in my head (or that were in the script originally, and got dropped). Maybe that’s a clever way of doing a film anyway: leaving the good bits for the audience to imagine, just like they would if they were reading, rather than doing everything for them, and the experience being over as soon as you walk out of the cinema. It’s presumably a good way to encourage spin-offs and fanfiction anyway — yay franchising.

One of the missing scenes I liked was the one where it was established that Palpatine was a schizophrenic — whose primary personality was a crafty politician, whose genius and love of the safety and opportunities the Galactic Republic offered its citizens led him to a life of service, while in the background, his suppressed passions created a divergent personality with a psychology that had never matured, but that grew strong in the Force under the tutelage of the quiet and meditative Darth Plagueius. And who, in a fit of frustration, murdered Plagueius when he refused to use his powers to help the Republic — possibly to prevent the death of a much beloved Chancellor and the subsequent squabbling for power in a newly leaderless Senate — instead reserving it for his friends, family or lover.

Likewise, I enjoyed the missing scenes where Palpatine decided that the Trade Federation needed to be goaded into seccession immediately so the war would come at a time when the decaying Republic remained strong enough to emerge victorious, and was forced to use his Sith Apprentices, Darth Maul and Darth Tyrranus to give them the confidence to take action, and thus began falling further under the influence of the Dark Side of his personality.

The betrayal of Anakin was also fascinating: the bond between he and Obi-Wan, first built up over a decade of shared adventures, then cracking as Anakin murders Dooku instead of arresting him, as Anakin fears of discovery with Padme, as at Palpatine’s suggestion, Anakin begins to fear that Obi-Wan and Padme are having an affair, as Obi-Wan fails to support Anakin in the council, and as Anakin returns the favour, as Anakin increasingly turns to Palpatine for support, and Obi-Wan is forced away. And as their friendship finally cracks completely as they’re forced by Master Yoda and Darth Sidious to try to kill each other.

The scenes establishing the incipient Rebellion were also fascinating, including Padme’s turning away from the Republic she’d devoted her life to as she watched it grow corrupted, as her mentor, Palpatine, lost his trust in democratic processes. The scenes where she grew apart also from many of her fellow senators, from Anakin, from the people she represented as they fell for the manipulations and popular appeal of Palpatine. When she begged for Anakin to turn away from the Sith and the Empire, and he almost killed her. Lying on the table, her mind lost in lost hopes, of lost love, of lost friends, of lost freedom, and her soul failing and fading into nothing, just as have her dreams and life’s work. Luke and Leia are born, and her last breath eases from her breast, never to return.

Revenge of the Sith could easily be a tragedy in N parts; Palpatine’s and Anakin’s fall, Padme’s loss and death, Obi-Wan’s loss of his apprentice, the fall of Mace Windu as he betrays the Jedi Code and attempts to slay Palpatine rather than arrest him, the defeat of the Jedi Council, Yoda’s first (?) defeat and subsequent exile, the fall of the Republic, the fall of the Trade Federation, and ending on the creation of the Death Star and the billions of individual tragedies that implies.

I’m not really sure where the “Revenge” is, though — you could claim the destruction of the Jedi order was “revenge” for attempting to arrest or kill Palpatine, but that only happened because Palpatine made sure it happened, in order to create Darth Vader. You could claim the revenge was Vader’s, but he didn’t do that because the Jedi council had mistreated him, he did it because it seemed in the interests of the Republic, because Sidious commanded it, and because he needed Sidious’ help to save Padme. “Rise of the Sith” probably would have made more sense, really.

Oh, one final thought. It’s established that C3P0 gets his mind wiped, and that R2D2 probably doesn’t. What if the prequels were R2’s telling of the story to Luke and co after the end of the original trilogy. Hadn’t you been wondering where the little droid’s fancy new features came from, or how come he managed to be so much more aggressive at the time, or why he and C3P0 were the only characters present in all the movies? A little robotic bragging perhaps? Hmmmm?

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