PT Did Hayden do a good job as Anakin?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by BDOT, Oct 25, 2012.

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  1. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Let's not speak for the entire audience, mmkay? Even if I wanted to smack Anakin at times, I was still moved (particularly in Tatooine scenes and Immolation). I even get sad when I see little sunny Anakin in TPM, despite Jake Lloyd's occasional stiffness and "Yippee!" stuff. It's all about broken dreams and wasted potential...

    As for charisma, it comes from self-confidence and that's something Anakin lacks. Charisma is needed for antiheros (Han in ANH) or wise older mentors (Obi-Wan).
  2. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Well said.

    I'm not following why he needed to be charismatic in order for "people" to like him. He needed to be charismatic in order to be liked by those who only like charismatic people, but that's hardly the entire audience. None of us posting here has any kind of sample of the entire audience, most of the audience, or any number that comes close; we can only speak for ourselves.
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  3. CT-867-5309 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 5, 2011
    star 5
    Well, the PT Big 3 is kinda lacking in charisma. Ewan/Obi-Wan has it, but he's a little dry and shouldn't be relied upon to carry the trilogy. Hayden/Anakin has none, I've never seen Hayden display any charisma in any movie. He has that emo thing down, I've seen Life as a House. Natalie/Padme has shockingly little, despite the fact that Padme is only an attitude away from Leia and that Natalie was known for her charisma in Beautiful Girls and The Professional.

    Mark/Luke never had much charisma outside of his eagerness in ANH, but Han/Harrison and Leia/Carrie had it in spades.
  4. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    That's a rather interesting point because of all the OT actors, I've always found Mark Hamill's performance to be, far and away, the best. Harrison Ford, generally considered to be the most charismatic of all the actors you listed, simply does absolutely nothing for me. I don't actively dislike him, but I'm pretty apathetic to Han overall. Had he died at the end of ANH, my like/dislike of Star Wars would not have been affected.

    Mark though...Mark really carries the OT for me (aided by Carrie, especially in ESB). ROTJ and ESB, in particular, really hook me through his story. I guess it's just down to a matter of taste.

    It also certainly helps that I find Luke to be easily the most developed of the three main characters of the OT.
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  5. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Hamill was charismatic. You could get behind him. He had a draw to him. You wanted to cheer for him. He was a sympathetic character & you felt his pains & felt engaged in his adventure. He took up some "space" on the screen. No one in the prequels other than McDiarmid has an ounce of screen presence. Even Sam Jackson, who is usually charismatic, is a limp, lifeless boob. What a waste of talent.

    Also, the thought process behind a statement like "why does the lead character need to be charismatic?" is bewildering to me. This is so basic a fundamental of storytelling that I don't even know where to begin with that question.
    Last edited by Cantina Bassist, Nov 27, 2012
  6. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Well, I've taken graduate-level classes on storytelling and no one ever mentioned "lead character must be charismatic," so apparently we took very different storytelling courses and we're operating on very different "fundamental rules."

    What about members of the audience who don't care for charismatic characters, who don't want characters to take up too much space on the screen?

    You seem to be, as I said earlier, operating on the assumption that only charismatic people are likable. I don't think that's true, either in storytelling or real life.
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  7. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I'm looking at charisma from the standpoint of being "compellingly charming" or "one that inspires devotion." For me, Anakin is far too awkward to really be charming and he doesn't inspire devotion in the sense that I would never be his "follower." But, for me, he is interesting which is far more important.

    When I look at a character, I don't like them based on how much I want to be them or be friends with them. Such a character is an escapist character and I feel these characters work much better in video games than film, since the player actually takes control of the character. When you look at popular characters like Tony Stark or Han Solo, there's a reason people like them so much -- they want to be them -- that's what Stark's line in The Avengers is all about. When he says he's "a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist" he is appealing to some people's desire to be as awesome as he is. And that's a perfectly fine way that some people (though not all, not even all fans of Tony Stark) approach film.

    And this explains why Anakin isn't as popular as he could be -- because very few people really look at him and think that they want to be him, even his fans. Heck, I adore Anakin's characterization, but he's one of the last characters I would want to be. Even my little brother, who likes Anakin (and Hayden Christensen) a great deal feels a certain amount of pity for him. And no one really wants to be someone they pity (or who disgusts them, whatever the case may be).

    But I don't approach liking a character in the same manner. I basically look at them in terms of complexity and how much of their brain I can pick. I ask:

    Can I understand why this character is acting this way and making these decisions?
    Does the character progress throughout the story, especially after traumatic or extreme events?
    Is the character confronted with difficult decisions?
    Does the character have significant (not merely superficial) flaws?
    Do these flaws play into the narrative?
    Does the narrative acknowledge when the character has done something wrong?
    Does the character face consequences for his/her actions?

    If I can answer yes to all of these questions, then I like a character. The more the better. It's why Anakin is my favorite character, because of all the characters is Star Wars I find I can produce the best and most detailed answers for him. My method isn't any righter or wronger than anyone else's, but it's why I don't necessarily care if Anakin is traditionally charismatic. I like him in all his awkward glory.
  8. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Charisma in the context of a film character or of an actor is an intangible thing that draws you in. For two films I just wanted Christensen to **** off. There was nothing compelling about the character or the actor. That was consistent throughout the PTs entire cast.
  9. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Id switch schools.
  10. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I'll simply say that I disagree. I always wanted to know more about Christensen's Anakin and would have been happy to have the films extended for this reason. In fact, one of my favorite deleted scenes is of Anakin and Palpatine discussing changes to the constitution in ROTS. Just to clarify, I'm not saying you are wrong for disliking him, but merely that you evaluate him based on a different set of parameters than I do.

    I find Han Solo and Harrison Ford to be the least compelling major characters of the Saga, not because Harrison Ford is lacking in charisma, but because by the criteria I have outlined, he fails miserably to meet my definition of a good character.

    To further clarify, though, if you're talking about charisma in the sense of "hooking" you into the story, then I will say I find Anakin charismatic in that sense as I do find him intriguing. If you're talking about charisma in the sense that someone might use when describing a politician or leader (a more strict definition I was utilizing) then I will say that I certainly don't find Anakin charismatic under this definition.
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  11. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Perhaps you should, given that you seem to be lecturing someone on their education over a mere difference of opinion and yet you are incapable of constructing a proper English sentence to do so.
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  12. anakinfansince1983 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2011
    star 7
    Seriously.

    I'd also ask what your personal credentials in storytelling are, if you are so eager to tell someone with a PhD on the subject that he's "wrong" simply because his definition does not fit your own.

    This is where discussions begin to go badly, with the notion that "anyone who does not share my opinion is just wrong."

    I'd also add that making this personal, i.e. assuming that there is something wrong with my education because I don't share your opinion on this subject, pretty much belies your earlier comment of "I'm interested in what you have to say" unless that was half a sentence, the other half being "because I'm hoping when this is over you'll see the error of your ways and begin agreeing with me."
    Last edited by anakinfansince1983, Nov 27, 2012
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  13. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Im on my phone. Brevity, if you will.

    Pointing out the advantages of creating a lead character that can actually carry a story on an emotional level is hardly a "lecture". Go ahead and try it.
  14. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I think there's some confusion between charisma and likability (or relatability). These are different things. Luke is very likable, but not charismatic the way, say, Indy is (nor does he need to be).

    I can't say I like Anakin all that much but I can understand him and feel sorry for him (or, rather, because of what his actions cost him and everyone else around him).
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  15. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    Being on a smartphone is hardly an excuse for rudeness.

    And, as I was merely pointing out, a difference of opinion hardly constitutes a reason to call someone's education into question.

    Had you merely made a list of advantageous points and described how they would have increased your enjoyment of Anakin's character, I would not have had an issue with your post. I might have disagreed, but there's certainly nothing wrong with that. One can disagree without being disagreeable.
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  16. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Good call. I can't stand any of the characters in The Game of Thrones, for example (except for kids), but I sure find them fascinating.
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  17. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Scroll up. Im pretty sure I described the problem at some point.

    I apologize for offending you. Like I said, Im a little bewildered about this whole debate. Not that that's an excuse for being flippant, bit thats where Im coming from. Fwiw, My apology is genuine.
  18. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    Probably because there is something about them that draws you in, correct?
  19. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    It's fine. Although, I'm... err...not really the offended party. I just seem to have been a bit zealous in my defense of anakinfan.

    But, truly, you're cool with me.

    I get that these debates can be bewildering, but that's why they're fun! I may not agree with you on Anakin, but regardless I think it's interesting to see where your sentiments stem from.
  20. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    Well, I'm kind of hoping that most of them meet some gruesome end. And from what I heard about the books, I won't be very disappointed. But yes, they're all an interesting bunch, but Anakin is just as interesting to me personally.
  21. Sistros Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2010
    star 6
    best take a course in Philosophy

    it truley is the most thought provoking topic

    best part is, there are no right answers
  22. Red.Two Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 25, 2012
    star 1
  23. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2

    Let me approach this from a different angle. If you had the choice of making Anakin Skywalker a charismatic guy or a freaking obnoxious jerk, which would you do? A likable guy can still have a fatal flaw that leads to his undoing, which would carry a lot more emotional weight at the trilogy's climax. He doesn't have to be such a turd. He didn't have to alienate a huge chunk of the audience. It's a bad idea. Would you do it that way? It's like trying to make a big deal out the life of GG Allin. Interesting, sure, but a huge part of your audience won't give a crap (pardon the pun) and probably say "good riddance". Why do that on purpose?

    Of course, Lucas may also have simply botched the story. When you hear him in interviews, he seems to talk like Anakin is a lot more likable than he actually is. Maybe he overestimated the allure of his lead character & the performance of the part. I don't know. Again, it's bewildering.

    Either way, it makes me shake my head.
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  24. -NaTaLie- Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2001
    star 4
    I don't see Anakin as an "obnoxious jerk". He's a nice kid in TPM who loves his mom and actually tries to help complete strangers. Sure he has some annoying outbursts but at least I can understand his behavior, given his age, background, the weaknesses in the Jedi training, and the nightmares about his mother (which critics tend to forget about for some reason). He's going through a phase, but he's clearly more mature and comfortable in his duties. He's even considered to be a hero of the Clone Wars by everyone. Even when he makes a fatal decision, I still feel sorry for him because he was this close to make the right choice. He's like one of those supertalented folks who fail because they don't have enough self-discipline.

    Perhaps I don't have a problem with Anakin because I never expected him to be likable the way Luke is. In fact, I even thought he'd be even worse (mostly bad from the start). Besides, I've had a misfortune to know some real "obnoxious jerks", and with a lot less reason.

    Now, do I think the character development could have been improved? Absolutely. For once, having a kid Anakin in TPM wasn't the smartest decision in retrospect. People forget he was a good kid and then you're left with only one movie to establish him as an adult. As a result, his various issues and shortcomings are compressed in one movie instead of being developed more subtly over two. So I'm not really surprised that people are turned off by him. What I usually argue with is when people claim he's some kind of an evil jerk right from the start, which is clearly not supported by the films. He actually tries to do the right for 2.5 movies, and even when he strays I know what his motivations are.
    Last edited by -NaTaLie-, Nov 28, 2012
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  25. Cantina Bassist Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 5, 2012
    star 2
    You make a good point about character development, but only having one movie to do it is no excuse. One weakness Lucas has as a storyteller is the inability to make a point without being literal about it. It has to be said aloud, otherwise it can't be conveyed. The end results seem hollow & don't really resonate, and as you say, he runs out of screentime. But it isn't because he lacked the screentime, it's because he wasn't efficient enough with the time he had. There are reasons we forget the good kid, the nightmares, etc. It's because they didn't feel genuine when they happened. It was more or less presented as exposition.

    The bottom line of what I'm saying is that there was a better way to handle this character, and there was a better way for the role to be performed. He didn't have to be so unappealing to so many people.

    Btw, I do acknowledge that you have a difference of opinion. I'm speaking from my own pov, and I'm not alone in feeling this way. Which is not to say that you are alone, etc etc.....
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