PT Did Lucas go too far in Revenge of the Sith?

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Garrett Atkins, Feb 13, 2013.

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  1. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    He is "truly evil". He murders people who can't fight back like it's part of his regular routine of keeping the Imperial fleet shipshape and well-disciplined. He tortures Leia. Even if you think torture is ever justifiable, she is (at that point) a non-combatant, a diplomat.
    If he was just a little misguided/misunderstood, rather than truly evil, the ending of RotJ wouldn't have half the power it does. It would hardly be a revelation for Vader to turn away from evil if he wasn't actually all that evil.

    I don't really see what is "badass" about torturing and murdering people who can't fight back. It's a little pathetic, actually. The Force-choking he likes to throw around to put the fear of god in the Imperial officer corps is the natural progression of Anakin's tantrums.
  2. thejeditraitor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2003
    star 4
    many people didn't think anakin was written evil enough etc, but his fall and horrible acts were really because he had awful personal flaws. like a child who has superpowers and makes the wrong friends. being anakin is like having a broken home, traumatic family death, peer pressure, severe identity crisis, separation anxiety, p.t.s.d., love-sickness, impending fatherhood worry, depression and murderous thoughts all at once and your therapist/confidant/father figure is the most evil man in the universe.
    Last edited by thejeditraitor, Jul 28, 2014
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  3. SimitarLikeTusk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2014
    star 2
    Does he murder anyone besides Obi Wan? No.
    Han and Leia were "tortured" with his knowledge but its not like he personally did it. And they werent physically harmed or killed. Like I said Vader seemed pretty reasonable. The ending of ROTJ has power because the masked villain is unmasked to become Luke's feeble, redeemed, human father. Him being made to be an irredemable kid killer takes away from this redemption, doesnt add to it...
  4. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    Didn't he also Force-choke Captain Antilles and a number of Imperial officers?

    If you are saying that his moral responsibility is negligible because he didn't "personally" torture them, and we don't see gory physical damage, I confess I find that a little hard to understand. He's standing there, clearly in charge, and what is being done to the prisoner is completely under his direction and control.
    "I didn't actually swing a cat o'nine tails, tie the victim to the rack or string her up strappado-style *myself*, your Honour, it was that guy over there who did it, the one whom I'd have telekinetically strangled if he hadn't obeyed orders, and anyway it was only a scary-looking interrogation droid, the victim wasn't physically injured" wouldn't fly far in any court, and rightly so.

    And SW isn't a torture-porn fest, of course we're not going to see something like the scourging scene in Mel Gibson's Passion, or even get prolonged off-screen screaming. I find the suggestion of torture quite enough to paint the person in charge as evil.
    Last edited by Cael-Fenton, Jul 29, 2014
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  5. Iron_lord Chosen One

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    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    We did get short offscreen screaming though.
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  6. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

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    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    That's what I was referencing ;)

    I think when I first watched ANH, the implications of the brief glimpse we get of the interrogation droid went over my head. But I remember the first time I read that bit in the novelisation. I was about 11, it was my first time reading a torture scene (excluding the Bible), and I found it very frightening for all it left to the imagination. It was at least as dark as anything we see in RotS. Of course I was older when I saw RotS, but I still think so. There's something about the deliberately sustained nature of torture which is even more morally repulsive than murder by lightsaber IMO (and it doesn't make that much difference if the murder is of children).
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  7. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    The RoTJ novel went out of its way to remind us:

    "Don't stray too far, my lovely. Soon you will begin to appreciate me." He pulled her very near and forced her to drink from his glass.
    Leia opened her mouth and she closed her mind. It was disgusting, of course; but there were worse things, and in any case, this wouldn't last.
    The worse things she knew well. Her standard of comparison was the night she'd been tortured by Darth Vader. She had almost broken. The Dark Lord never knew how close he'd come to extracting the information he wanted from her, the location of the Rebel base. He had captured her just after she'd managed to send Artoo and Threepio for help - captured her, taken her to the Death Star, injected her with mind-weakening chemicals ... and tortured her.
    Tortured her body first, with his efficient pain-droids. Needles, pressure points, fire-knives, electrojabbers. She'd endured these pains, as she now endured Jabba's loathsome touch - with a natural, inner strength.
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  8. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    If you had left out the very last sentence, I would've assumed this was talking about Han.
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  9. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

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    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    @Iron_lord that's pretty explicit, I hadn't read that one. I actually find the ANH version scarier because it hardly gives more detail than the movie. I'd assumed it was direct neurological stimulation, since there were no apparent physical effects.
  10. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    There's a few grey spots on her outfit when Luke enters the cell - hints of damage?
  11. Qui-Riv-Brid Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2013
    star 3
    Vader isn't though.

    He's the servant of the ultimate evil.
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  12. Yanksfan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 3, 2000
    star 5


    Wha--? :eek:

    First off, I have to ask, when were you introduced to SW? Was it through the PT? Don't panic, his is not a slam on the PT, I'm just wondering. Because there's no way, if you had watched ANH/ESB before anything else, that you would walk away with any other impression than "Wow, that guy is evil." But maybe the PT clouded your perception? *shrug*

    Anyway, as has been already pointed out, he's directly responsible for the torture of at least two main characters. He might not have "pulled the lever" so to speak, but it was all done under his orders. And it's particularly disturbing (although just to note--I *always* find torture wrong/disturbing) when you consider that with Han Solo he didn't even do it to extract any information. It had nothing to do with the war all, but rather his personal agenda of luring Luke Skywalker into his clutches. Han was just a pawn. How is that not evil?

    THEN, aside from all the Imperial underlings he choked to death on a whim, he goes ahead and orders the freezing of Han Solo. Now, that didn't end up killing him, but it *totally* could have. That was why he was "testing" the chamber in the first place. And again, he did this without hesitation (the callous way he orders "Put him in!", totally oblivious to the emotional turmoil between Han and Leia at that moment was *really* effective, IMO. So indifferent. So evil. Wow.)

    What else….kills Obi Wan (his older master and "brother-in-arms"), restrains the princess as her planet is blown up (Does *nothing* to even attempt to talk Tarkin out of it), and seems totally unaffected after it's done.

    I don't know, I'm trying to see when was "reasonable." He stalled the execution of Princess Leia, but it wasn't out of any sense of protectiveness or anything. He thought she "might still be of some use to us," so I don't see how that's a point in his column.

    I don't know, man. He looks pretty "evil" to me. And he should. He's our main villain. Scariness and "evil" should kinda be his thing. But maybe that's just me.
  13. SimitarLikeTusk Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 10, 2014
    star 2
    Yeah hes a bad guy. A villain. Non gruesome torture and killing some officers is fairly standard tropes for movie villains. Showing him slicing up a bunch of cute kids before choking out his wife? Thats a whole other enchilada of tonally disconcerting, over the top and unnecessary evil behavior. That's all I was saying.

    If you really had been introduced to Star Wars through the prequels that would have been such an amazing, weird, surrealist dark ending to the unusually plotted trilogy. You wouldnt know what the hell you just watched.
    Last edited by SimitarLikeTusk, Jul 29, 2014
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  14. Pensivia Force Ghost

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    Apr 24, 2013
    star 4
    (sorry...edit --- )
    Last edited by Pensivia, Jul 29, 2014
  15. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    Ah, okay, I think I'm beginning to see what you're getting at. What you seem to be saying, in relation to Vader's relative evil in RotS and the OT (correct me if I'm wrong), is more to do with the movies' portrayal of it rather than the inherent RL heinousness of the acts themselves. You seem to be saying that OT Vader's evilness was more "distant". It appeared matinée rather than real. And I can see where that's coming from. I agree that the sheer horror of the Council chamber scene struck very deep in a way that the interrogation droid did not. And spousal abuse is widespread enough for the horror of it to hit close to home.

    I guess we have agree to disagree, though, about our interpretation of the acts themselves and their consistency with the OT. Firstly, it didn't make all that much difference (in regard to the sense of betrayal the scene conveys) to me that there were children being killed. Murder is murder. Betrayal is betrayal. The bite of that scene for me is not the murder of *children* per se, but Anakin's betrayal of their unquestioning, absolute trust. That sort of horror has been something I'd vaguely imagined as long as I can remember being aware of Vader's story as the once-Jedi who betrayed and hunted down his own teacher and his own people.

    Another factor is maybe that I always felt there had to be some reason why Yoda and Obi-Wan were so adamant that Vader was irredeemable. In ANH, Ben is portrayed as a gentle, patient and kindly man. There had to be something truly horrific in Vader's history for him to believe so strongly that Vader was irreparably "twisted and evil". Otherwise he and Yoda just come off looking like sanctimonious idiots. And I'm not saying this just as a fan of Obi-Wan. In general, I dislike storytelling where the characters are so stupid that the audience can see plot twists way ahead of them, unless it's for deliberate effect (and I don't think we're supposed to see the two Jedi Masters as idiots). So RotS had to convince the audience, as well as Yoda and Obi-Wan, that Vader was beyond redemption.

    As for choking Padmé, I think it was necessary to show that it wasn't love that led him to the Dark Side. (Otherwise Luke's redemption of Anakin through love would lose some of its purity -- to me, the lesson of the throne rooom scene is that love alone is the incorruptible human power). Rather, it was possessiveness and fear of loss. Turning violently on her was needed so we see that his need for Padmé had become more important to him than Padmé herself.
    Last edited by Cael-Fenton, Jul 29, 2014
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  16. CommanderDrenn Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2013
    star 4
    I think what really bugs me about Anakin's turn isn't that it has dark scenes, it's just that it's so sudden. Yes, evil corrupts, but not that quickly. Anakin goes from what's supposed to be a great, heroic war hero to a completely evil, remorseless, child-killing guy in the space of 10 minutes. His turn to the dark-side would have been much better if we saw the turn happen, and saw it happen slowly. Yes, we do see the seeds of darkness planted in AotC when he slaughters the Tuskens, but we never see that darkness grow.
  17. darth-sinister Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2001
    star 9
    Except we did when Anakin killed Dooku in cold blood, when he's emotional right before Padme tells him that she's pregnant, when he loses his cool in the Council chambers and when he gets into the argument with Padme about Palpatine. Which was different from where he was during the bulk of the war. He only goes along with killing the Jedi and the Confederacy leadership because he's gone too far and there's nothing left to do but go forward. And the more he uses the negative emotions, the more he turns evil.
  18. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    This used to bother me as well, but not so much now.

    Such a criticism implicitly assumes, I think, that evil is a 'positive' force: not positive in the sense of 'good', but in that it is the presence of something rather than an absence. But I think the saga's portrayal of evil is negative: Human evil is a *lack* of strength, rather than a 'bad' strength.

    So Anakin's fall was not the 'evil part' of him growing stronger and finally overcoming the 'good part'. It was more a matter of giving in to a weakness which had always been there. His susceptibility to giving in to that weakness was exacerbated by the previous occasions he had done so, because it became easier for him to wilfully delude himself into seeing it as a necessary trade-off for power (power to influence external events, as opposed to strength of character). But the weakness was always there, and he knew it was 'bad', but he was not willing to work to overcome it (as we see in AotC). He wasn't all that "heroic" at all, in a moral sense, but instead fundamentally weak. His fall may appear sudden, but that's the nature of evil as the Saga depicts it: not a gradual progression from "seeds of darkness" to monstrous crimes, but as moments of giving in (to fear, desire, anger etc). And his fall happens when the consequences of a moment of giving in to that weakness (maiming Mace in a flash of desperation) become so awful that there's no longer any motivation for him to re-assert his moral will.

    I actually think that's an important element of the story of Anakin's fall. And the lesson seems to be that it could happen to anyone. Because we like to think that evil is something horrendous and extraordinary, but in fact it isn't. Evil doesn't require positively experiencing psychotic urges to do really bad things, just weakness in asserting our better nature and ensuring that it prevails.
  19. Cushing's Admirer Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 8, 2006
    star 6
    For me, RotS wasn't dark enough because the presentation and execution was lacking and sorely santitises and desensitises the viewer from the effects.
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  20. Cael-Fenton Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 22, 2006
    star 2
    That's interesting; would you mind elaborating on it?

    I thought it suggested the horror of Vader's actions quite well without going into gore or gratuitous fight scenes (which I actually think would've backfired because some might have thought it 'badass').
  21. DarthMaulFTW Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 2014
    It was essential that Anakin was shown to have gone over to the dark side and through killing younglings and choking Padme he showed he no longer cared for innocence/ love. Therefore ROTS HAD to be dark.
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  22. Darth Cyn Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 8, 2014
    star 1
    To be fair, after ROTJ Lucas had to prove Vader was evil, and besides, if you think that's dark, read the Darth Vader comic series, Darth is almost irredeemable in those.
  23. Drewdude91 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2011
    star 2
    Vader was definitely a murderer. He killed the younglings, Ozzel, Needa, Obi-Wan, Biggs, etc.
    Last edited by Drewdude91, Aug 4, 2014
  24. DARTHLINK Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 24, 2005
    star 3
    Keep in mind that Lucas was trying to show Vader's evilness while not going overboard. He still wanted Vader to be somewhat redeemable. That said, it may have backfired when he showed Vader entering the Council Chamber where all the kids were hiding. To most people, Vader was well past the point of redemption possibility when he started lightsabering children.
  25. Iron_lord Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    If the Tusken massacre had been shown in more detail (he telekinetically flattens a couple of Tusken children with a boulder in the AOTC novelization), it might have been even earlier.
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