Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Lord Megatron, Feb 13, 2014.
Happens to everybody . Glad I could help though.
But he is not allowed to live his own life! He is forced to live the life that Watto wants him to live. His free will is eliminated, because every action is dependent on Watto's approval. He wants to leave, he explodes.
Just think about our first encounter with Anakin. Remember how happy Anakin was when Watto said he could finally go home when he had cleaned the racks? He was not there on his own. He was forced to work. I mean, think about the very fact that Anakin as a 9-year-old must work at all. That is criminal alone. There is a reason why child labour is prohibited in most countries. It's because kids are not supposed to work! Even less for greedy adults, let alone "owners".
I found it quite nice that AOTC kind of picked that up again:
He is still not allowed to live his own life. And then people are suprised that Anakin - with his background - is extremely frustrated and unbalanced in that film?
Especially considering this further condition:
But there is one imporant difference: Anakin is - in theory - free to leave the Order in AOTC. He was not free to "leave" Watto in TPM. That's what it means to be slave. To be not free. And that is obviously shown (not only "told").
I would have certainly wondered why this boy is constantly bossed around by a person who's obviously not his father.
Then again, it was certainly intentional that the term "slave" provokes associations. That's tradition on Star Wars. Think about Princess Leia: there is nothing that suggest she is a princess, it absolutely irrelevant. But we have an idea of what a princess is and that affects our view on the story and her characters. It makes her feel more important (She must be saved!!!!), if only subconsciously.
It wasn't a personal attack on you PH so, calm down. I was responding to
" If you look at slavery in ancient Rome, for example, there's accounts of Greek being enslaved to become teachers. In fact, teachers, accountants, and doctors could all be slaves. Wikipedia's got a bit of info on the subject if you're interested. It was also much more common to believe that well-treated slaves would be more productive in those times as a skilled slave wasn't treated as a disposable worker, compared to the American south. Slaves attached to households, for instance, might have a better life than the free urban poor in Rome."
and was pointing out that, culturally, we tend to give a sort of free pass to slavery in Rome and Greece, almost as if it was more acceptable, as if it was different from slavery in the American South. Not all slaves in the American South were beaten or mistreated. Most in the Roman and Greek worlds were treated just as abusively. Slavery is, by its nature (holding a human being as property, allowing them no self-will or rights) brutal.
My point, really, was that showing, for example, a well treated slave in the American South, as simply a function of their work in the household/smallholding and in any spare time they may have would not amount to a depiction of slavery. There is no depiction of slavery in TPM.
Except that I wasn't giving anyone a free pass. I was pointing out that just because slaves weren't beaten or physically abused (as was the case in Rome for skilled slaves sometimes) doesn't mean their slavery was any less terrible a crime or that we should give their slavers a pass. You seem to have extracted the exact opposite meaning from my post.
You said, for example,
"Let me put it this way. If the word slave had not been used, if the explosive device had not been spoken of...would you have thought of Schmi and Anakin as slaves? From the way they live?"
And that is really problematic -- you're basically saying "look at them -- do they look like slaves to you"?
People used to make similar arguments about slaves in the American South as well -- "They're singing! Do they look unhappy to you? They wouldn't be singing if they were unhappy! Slavery isn't bad."
You do know that slaves in the American south were "allowed" to live in family units. Especially because, as the importation of slaves was outlawed early in America's history, the only way for plantation owners to get new slaves was to encourage them to be born. And then the children needed to be raised. Families were also threatened to ensure compliance, prevent rebellion, and enforce a sense of powerlessness.
You seem to be arguing that slavery can only exist in a certain way and that if it is not presented that way, it is not "legitimate" slavery. Again, having no control over one's own life, being owned by someone else, and having a bomb planted inside your body is a pretty awful set of circumstances in which to raise a child.
In fact, some people are still making those arguments today.
My argument might be problematic if I was saying that their slavery was ok, but I'm not. I'm simply responding to the idea that there is a depiction of slavery in TPM. I argue that there is not a depiction of slavery; there is a vague usage of the concept and the words, but not a depiction.
And...actually you were, kind of, arguing that slavery in Rome was...differentiated from slavery in the American South; ".. wasn't treated as a disposable worker, compared to the American south." - I was just picking up on that. That's just a facet of the way history is viewed and taught.
Except…that you were implying that slavery was okay when you said that TPM made it seem "almost reasonable."
In essence, you're saying that because Anakin got to live with his mother, in a reasonably sized house and was given enough free time to build stuff out of junkyard scraps he scavenged himself that his slavery seemed "almost reasonable." That it's "almost reasonable" to put a bomb into a little kid, to make that little kid work for you, to make that little kid participate in life-threatening races over the objections of his mother.
You stated earlier that "Slavery is, by its nature (holding a human being as property, allowing them no self-will or rights) brutal." What about that definition does Anakin and Shmi's situation not fulfill? They are held as property -- to such a degree that Anakin angrily declares to Padmé that he is a person. And they have no self-will or rights -- Watto can force Anakin to pod race over his mother's objections and they can be separated without a second thought. They will explode if they try to escape.
Yes, I differentiated Roman slavery from American southern slavery because those slaves often weren't seem as disposable -- not because they were seen as the people they are, but because their masters knew they would be difficult to replace. That is also true in Shmi and Anakin's case -- they are skilled and difficult to replace, which gives Watto an incentive to not brutally beat them into submission. That doesn't make their slavery any less horrifically unjust, however.
The thing with the apparent disconnect is that it is intentional due to Anakin's age, but also giving time for the Clone Army to gestate and to establish how far down the Republic was heading towards becoming the Empire. It also gives credence to the Jedi not connecting current events with the Naboo invasion from a decade earlier. In terms of tonality, well, again this is intentional since Lucas was already planning on ROTS to be fairly dark compared to the others.
I agree with this, and I have said myself that there is quite an intentional contrast in TPM and AOTC. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan's relationship compared to Obi-Wan and Anakin's for example... the "base" established by Qui-Gon' presence in the previous film is kind of turned on it's head. Anakin returning to Tatooine feels like quite an inversion of the events of TPM, he is trying to return to that stage of his life in a way but of course what happens there is quite the opposite, and increases the isolation from this past version of himself. A lot of irony (of course) in Shmi and Anakin's farwell, such as the dark undertone to "Then we will see each other again" and Anakin of course unable to heed both Shmi and the Jedis' warnings to not look back.
This sounds obvious in writing, but it seems more subtle while watching the movies.
That's an interesting point about re-enforcing the Jedi not connecting the events to TPM, I think that the three years between movies helped this alot, it seemed a lot longer than it does in retrospect.
Indeed. The AOTC novelization goes with this when the subject of the anniversary is brought up by Obi-wan, I think it was.
Now who's putting words into other's mouths? I was implying that slavery was ok? Was that what I was doing?
To follow that with claims that I think it ok "to put a bomb into a little kid"....well... I think you have it the wrong way round. Anakin, you see, is not a real little boy. Anakin is a fictional character in a sci-fi/fantasy movie. How that movie deals with the idea of slavery is what I am questioning, not the fate of a made-up character. My point was that, the image we are given of Anakin is that of a young boy living in a poor but loving household, with his own room and his own things - a typical modern Western image; but...he's a slave. That's fair enough. The story says he's a slave, then he's a slave. But this is not a depiction of slavery, any more than the Flinstone's is a depiction of life in the stone age.
You can't distinguish between my saying there is no depiction of slavery and slavery is ok? As to Roman slavery..I don't want to go too far into this but...there is an apologist argument that has gone hand in hand with classical scholarship, unfortunately, that has still not been shaken off. There are instances of particularly well educated slaves being dealt a relatively 'good' hand in their treatment but this is by no means representative of slavery in Rome. One only has to look at the gold and silver mines and the working conditions that were endured there; the fact that slaves were killed for entertainment in 'combat' in arenas; they were branded; they could only give evidence in legal cases under torture (and giving evidence was, of course, not their choice); they were violated.
Don't be fooled by classical apologists. Slavery is, by necessity, brutal.
I'm saying that I can't understand how you could say that slavery in TPM seems "almost reasonable" -- that seems like an implicit support of how it's presented in the movie. Anakin might not be a real little boy, but you're saying that you found the idea of having a little boy work at the age 9, race in competitions that could easily have him killed against his mother's protests, and have a bomb implanted in him should he try to escape -- you said that seemed almost reasonable. What am I supposed to think? Yes, he lives in a poor but loving household -- and that is exclusively due to his mother's love for him. She's done the best she can in a really, really awful situation. Yes he has things of his own…that he has to scavenge out of a junkyard. You yourself gave a definition of slavery that Anakin and Shmi's situation perfectly fits. They aren't chained because they don't need to be -- they have bombs implanted in them. They aren't beaten to within an inch of their lives because they are unique and difficult to replace. We see in AOTC, for example, that Watto's business collapses after Anakin and Shmi are gone. I don't think this makes their situation any less horrific.
I don't think it's an apologist argument to suggest that skilled slaves frequently received better treatment than those performing menial labor. In many cases, it was likely true. What would be apologist is saying that it is somehow okay for them to be enslaved because they are treated relatively well -- and that was the exact idea I was critiquing in my opening post. You said that there was no depiction of slavery in TPM. I pointed to ancient Rome because, in some cases, slaves weren't physically beaten due to their value and difficulty of replacement. That in no way makes their slavery "okay" and it also doesn't mean that their situation makes them "less enslaved" than those condemned to hard labor and daily brutality.
I hate to use this analogy, but it's like those who say that children who are verbally abused aren't really abused. That abuse means walking around with bruises. Or people who think that sexual assault has to involve a victim getting beaten up. Often it doesn't. Slavery is the same way. If you are owned by someone, if you are forced to work for them and have your rights curtailed by them, then you are a slave and your situation is brutal, even if you don't face a daily beating.
I think all three films work together just fine. Sit down and watch them all back to back and you'll see what I mean. I did this for the first time a couple of weeks ago and was surprised at how well the story connected.
The thing about Anakin's slavery is that there's a bit of a disjunct between what's shown, what's implied, and what a viewer may come away feeling about it all. This, to me, seems deliberate. Star Wars is full of paradox and irony.
Anakin's existential agony is duplicated -- and foreshadowed -- by Jar Jar's predicament. Having been banished to the surface, Jar Jar is only too happy to mention Otoh Gunga to the Jedi, only to disavow taking them there a moment later when he admits he's "forgotten" about no longer being welcome there, and that the bosses will do "terrible things" should he contravene their wishes and return. Jar Jar is not merely a fool, but a form in pain. Anakin has these subtle defence mechanisms, like Jar Jar, to blot out the horror of his condition, burying himself in fantastic podracers and other boyish fantasies, but that doesn't mean there isn't a core of anger, powerlessness, pride, and self-doubt underneath. Note how he matter-of-factly introduces Padme to Threepio and deems him a "protocol droid to help mom". The dropping of the possessive pronoun is interesting (and a very fluid piece of writing by Lucas). "Help" is a maladroit word in Star Wars. The basic idea is that Threepio can help Shmi in her regular tasks, like cleaning memory cheaps (which she does at her workstation: the one she's sat at when Anakin returns with Qui-Gon and the race money), but the more vexing notion is that Anakin has built a taller (height/height differentials are so crucial to understanding Star Wars as a work of visual art), mechanical version of himself: a doppelganger ("Always two there are") that can exist in his place and absurdly take over the role of doting son. Anakin has built a robot to defer his guilt. In Star Wars, there is endless displacement of meaning and intent.
Anakin's slavery has a milquetoast element to it because it's a horror too big to be contained in words or drama alone. And on top of that, TPM is clearly constructed to have a certain child-like, carefree aspect to its tonality which is more pronounced at the beginning of the story, only returning with some vigour in ROTJ, the bookend to the "Tragedy of Darth Vader" and TPM's (un)natural(?) mirror. You know, to an extent -- to an extent -- Anakin is freer in his first scene in TPM than his last, even with the flinching, the obvious awkwardness, and the pain at being a deindividuated slave ("I'm a person and my name is Anakin"). The farcical aspect of the film, really, is that Anakin simply exchanges one slave owner for another, and then starts the next film in worse pain because of it. Watto at least let him keep his dust-bowl haircut. The Jedi modify the internal and the external. They're not meant to exert power over other beings, but they nominally reject nine-year-olds as being "too old" -- per Obi-Wan's wording -- and then reverse their stance and impose strict expectations on their own members, who are given an open door but essentially baited and guilt-tripped into not escaping ("You have made a commitment to the Jedi Order, a commitment not easily broken"). Anakin has scars, even if they're not obvious. Yet they kind of are. The truth is hidden in plain sight.
This is pretty messed-up. As Anakin's hair becomes in III. The haireth revealeth the man. But seriously, to contend with all that's going on here, or to make an ATTEMPT at doing so, you have to be willing to regard it as visual story. Circles and other enslaving forms are everywhere in TPM and the PT. Slavery is not confined to bullwhips or even having a "master" per se. The first time the word "slave" is spoken, it's obviously uttered with some irony (even if the speaker remains unaware). Amidala is clearly a slave to convention, dictate, and obligation every bit as much as the person she beholds. If not moreso. Indeed, Amidala, at this point in the tale, has bought into the lie of the Republic, of diplomacy, civility, order, and control. She will be disabused of some of these delusions later.
* * *
As for the main topic...
Well, that's the real trick, isn't it?
The sudden switch-up, or step-up, in tone and plot mechanics between TPM and AOTC is mirrored in the grown-up Anakin of the latter film. He's no longer a child. Or is he?
Everyone seems much-upgraded in AOTC. Even Threepio has coverings. Then he later gets into it with Artoo in classic homage to the OT. We have the homestead, another asteroid chase, Skywalker limbs being removed. It's the past and future colliding in a surreal present. Flashbacks to TPM are brief and almost subtle: the little hints of podracing, for example, in the nightclub, when Anakin races back (literally) to Shmi, and when Dooku takes flight over the barren plains of Geonosis. Watto, Jar Jar. Diminished roles for the both of them. The yellow N-1 starfighter making a brief appearance in the opening scene, flanking the much-more-massive central ship which is destroyed. Boomdegasser.
I guess one message that one could extract herein is that childhood is brief. And Anakin Skywalker leads a busily stagnant life. It's ten years later and the galaxy is changing. Has changed, is continuing to change. All is transforming via the machinations of Palpatine / the Sith. More mechanization, less animalism. The weave of life is being altered to fit a new paradigm. But there will be aggressive snapback to this (the OT). It's a very beguiling story. Herky-jerky, colourful, bold, and epic. I wouldn't have it any other way.
You forgot to say, "BOOM!" at the end.
And they blow you up -- boom!
I snuck in a boomdegasser near the end, so that has to count for something.
I agree pretty much with what you are saying. My point is there is not a depiction of slavery in TPM. Twelve years a slave, Roots, Amistad...these (among others) depict slavery - ie they confront the violent and de-humanising basis of slavery by means of dramatic and visual explication. What we have in Star Wars is almost an addendum, that Anakin, btw, is a slave. Without the dialogue one would not know; it is not depicted. There's not necessarily a problem with that - it is a PG movie. I was simply responding to the idea that it was depicted.
Before reading the idea of linkage on these boards I never for a minute considered Anakin's slavery as an aspect of his fall. Why? Because it is discussed in TPM and then...never brought up again. As far as I can tell there is no explication of how this has affected him in his later years - perhaps that also is an aspect of the disjoint.
I don't think a PG rated movie was meant to show any type of horrific slavery situations.
I agree. EP 1 seems to be disconnected from AOTC/ROTS to some degree. Like the OP has stated, the character changes and overall tone seem drastically different to me. Good observation.
Which isn't the only way -- or even, necessarily, the most effective way -- to confront the violent and dehumanizing aspects of slavery.
He wears basic clothes. He and his mom don't talk about travel plans. They're not busy planning to have relatives over. Shmi despairs that she "dies" every time Watto makes Anakin enter a podrace. She confides in Qui-Gon that Anakin deserves better than a slave's life. Shmi blinks her eyes a lot and almost flinches around Qui-Gon. We're told that Tatooine is a planet controlled by the Hutts: slimy, avaricious gangsters. And that the Republic -- rule of law, democracy, modern rights -- has no presence there. Anakin and Shmi live in slightly ramshackle dwellings in a seedy spaceport. Sebulba complains that he'd like to crush Anakin, but can't because Anakin's a slave. Anakin sarcastically retorts that it'd be a pity if Sebulba had to pay for him. Anakin returns home excitedly with a big pile of money after winning the race. Anakin is forced to leave home and say goodbye to Shmi, because Qui-Gon admits that he couldn't free her.
These are just a few clues which pay homage to the fact that Anakin and Shmi are in bondage and not free to follow their own hearts.
No explication? Sometimes, I can't believe what I read on these boards.
It's true that the words "slave" and "slavery" are never uttered in the remaining films, but that can illustrate something powerful in itself.
The explication, however, is precisely in what happens to Anakin: his disillusionment with the Jedi, his fears of change and loss. As a slave, he had no rights and his movements were curtailed. As a Jedi, things haven't changed much. He only feels powerful when he's fixing things, which he rarely gets to do under the strict tutelage of Obi-Wan and a repressive Jedi Code. He's immersed in a world of politics he doesn't fully understand. He wants to assert himself, but is afraid of breaking his chains. He is impatient with the existing system and only wants a political model that actually works. He is haunted by the face of Padme and the promise he once made to his mother to come back and free her. He starts to covet power and those that wield it (i.e., Palpatine). He bends and breaks rules as his impatience gets the better of him. He also rebukes himself when he falls short ("I'm a Jedi, I know I'm better than this"). His mind, at times, is barely his own, but he's clearly trying to be more assertive and lucid. At the end of the second episode, he marries Padme, finally making a decision outside the confines of the Jedi Order. Fearing existential annihilation, the lovers keep their sacred union a secret. This decision seals their doom in the next installment. More enslavement follows. Slavery etches and defines almost every aspect of Anakin's being.
No explication? Try again.
I'll cede that it is not the only way, but as to it being the most effective way. I don't think you confront anything about slavery - by which I mean the institution of human slavery as practiced by other humans - without confronting the brutality and de-humanisation which are intrinsic in that institution. I don't think you can depict slavery without confronting those elemental bases of it.
Luke, Beru and Owen all wear basic clothes. They aren't discussing having relatives over or their travel plans - well Luke does but he can't go.. Are they slaves then?
Yes, it is spoken of. It is told, not shown. Except..
Blinking eyes is a visual cue of slavery? These visual cues are becoming more tangential each time I hear about them. I simply have no recollection of Schmi flinching. What is almost flinching?
I know how you feel...
Repressive Jedi Code? Not just the Jedi Code, but the repressive Jedi Code? What is repressive about it? See...the thing is, he is free so quite a lot has changed. If he wants to be a mechanic and not a Jedi then...he can choose to do that. But it isn't that he wants to be a mechanic, he wants to be applauded and soothed, cooed over by the other Jedi because he is so "far ahead" of Obi-Wan, because he is so...powerful and gifted. Perhaps it is just adolescent hubris. Perhaps he feels 'hemmed in' by the Jedi Code not because it is repressive but because...he doesn't get it.
But the main point here is, he is free to choose. Nobody can stop him if he decides to have a different life, not 'hemmed in' by the Jedi Code.
And this is a description of just Anakin? Aren't we all impatient and looking for a system that works? Aren't we all immersed in world of politics we don't fully (are deflected from) understand(ing)? Only someone who was a slave can feel that? Ah...but I see what you did there. Chains. Right.
But...Schmi was free when she died (well, not a slave). Had not been a slave for many years. Anakin's guilt is not related to not having freed her; it is that he did not save her.
Yes...but what does any of this have to do with slavery? (and that's one heck of a self-rebuke for mass-murder. Followed soon after, seemingly, by 'oh well, you'll get over it')
Except...he can leave the Jedi. He is not beholden to live by the Jedi Code (repressive or otherwise) if he wishes not to be. Which leads to the claim of his fear of "existential annihilation". Do what? No, you've already explained why he won't make that choice. He covets the power he sees in being a Jedi. He wants it all, he refuses to choose love over being a Jedi. He refuses, actually, to commit to one or the other. He chooses. Again, none of this is contingent upon a character being a slave at any point in their lives.
"More enslavement follows" is not an explication. If he is enslaved by anything it is his own deceptions, both to himself and to others. He 'hems' himself in. There is nothing in the story you have told me that requires one to have been a slave.
This brings me to one point I will make regarding the use of 'enslavement', as it is being used in the PT. It is being used (I understand, you see) to represent the 'chains' that Anakin feels, how he feels hemmed in. I understand the notion. But...it is expressing a feeling of 'enslavement' as 'hemmed in' that we all might feel. We are all 'hemmed in' by societal expectations and norms, by our own political systems, by our own flailing and confusing personal relationships. I simply don't see any choice that Anakin makes as being relevant to him having been a slave.
Which leads me to my original point. Anakin's being a slave is nothing more than a symbolism that is to be used within the PT. His enslavement is simply a conceptual cypher for his later problems. It is this lesser notional form of enslavement that underlies his slavery in TPM.
Whatever TPM might depict, it does not depict slavery, it simply utilises the notion of enslavement as part of a wider symbolism. It does not depict slavery; it does not set out to depict slavery. The film is not addressing slavery; the films address a notional concept of 'enslavement' as being 'hemmed in'; imprisoned within chains of our own making etc. But they do not depict the very real institution of slavery. That, basically, is all I was saying.
I disagree. I feel TPM did exactly what it was supposed to do. Set up the PT, and the Saga. It started to plant the seeds of a trip to the dark side, war, and political upheaval. The time difference doesn't really bother me, I just look at it as the beginning of the "Big Picture"
Okay, but violence and dehumanization are implicit in the life circumstances of Anakin and Shmi, in my opinion.
It goes back to what PiettsHat was trying to say to you: you don't have to have lashings and beatings for a situation to qualify as slavery. In fact, slavery is more potent -- also, I think, what PiettsHat was trying to say to you -- when it doesn't need to bring about compliance through repeated bursts of violence. Productive slaves are happy slaves; or at least remain capable slaves when they're not beaten black and blue so that they can do little or no useful labour.
Those clues are contingent clues. In and of themselves, they don't say much. You have to resolve them with the bigger picture.
Cherry-picking is not a salient device here.
It'd be like looking up a mental health condition and asking if a person can really be suffering from schizophrenia or depression when you're only looking at two or three symptoms and ignoring the rest.
It *is* shown. Telling is part of showing.
Moreover, I didn't mention it before, but TPM, for its Tatooine section, also draws on the imagery and plot details of "Ben-Hur", a film with an explicit slavery narrative.
Lucas is not throwing it in a viewer's face, but he certainly gives them enough dots to connect.
Shmi looks a little uneasy around him. Like she's waiting for this stranger to show another side or disappear for good at a moment's notice. This, in my personal reading, stems from the internalized powerlessness of her situation, arising predominantly from the fact that she's a slave.
I find that unlikely.
I'm purposefully leaving that one hanging.
But I'll add Martin Scorsese's maxim:
"Cinema is a matter of what's in the frame and what's out."
Anakin is not entirely free to choose. When he starts openly lusting after Padme, for example, Obi-Wan quickly warns him, "You have a made a commitment to the Jedi Order, a commitment not easily broken." It's never explained precisely what Obi-Wan means, but the very threat is a suggestive detail in itself. It sounds like something one gangster might tell another who thinks of leaving the fold. It's very sinister. Later, Obi-Wan screams at Anakin, when he wants to go back for Padme, "You will be expelled from the Jedi Order!" Expelled -- and maybe even hunted or left spiritually broken after the mark his life as a Jedi has already left upon him (the earlier quote of Obi-Wan's again). The Jedi hang the threat of bad things over Anakin should he choose to go against the Jedi Code. In logic, this is called an Argument From Adverse Consequences.
In this manner, I can't help but see the Jedi Code as anything other than repressive. Your incredulity is excess to requirements. A rigid code of conduct, by its very nature, is inherently limiting and repressive.
I didn't say anything about Anakin wanting to be a mechanic, either. I said he longs to fix things. I didn't say which things. He's a fixer / tinkerer by nature. It mirrors his "maker" (i.e., George Lucas).
Er, primarily, it's a description of Anakin, such as I see it. The very basic point is... Anakin is all of us.
What if we were thrust into the same galaxy, the same situation?
Would we not respond like he does? Would we not develop the same frustrations and excitations?
See, this is where you catastrophically misread the Anakin Skywalker character, in my opinion.
Shmi was most certainly not free when Anakin left her.
And Anakin had no way of knowing what happened to her in the intervening years.
When he finally breaks with his mandate, goes to Tatooine, and speaks to Watto -- lucky, even, that he could still find Watto -- he discovers that Watto sold her and that Shmi was subsequently freed and married. But this doesn't put him at ease. He still has no idea what state Shmi is living in; or how her her husband is treating her.
Anakin's guilt ineluctably stems, in part, because he did not free her as promised, so his guilt is then displaced onto the idea that he didn't save her. He becomes obsessional to fill a very real void. If he broke one promise -- however understandably -- he formulates a new vow which he takes at Shmi's grave. (Incidentally, this is mirrored in the film, in case you didn't notice, by the child Boba, Anakin's "clone", kneeling and clutching his dead father's helmet on Geonosis -- gloomy lamentations for the passing of the masculine/feminine). Anakin's very pursuit of Padme is a striking example of transference. And Padme will soon become his new focus: the luminous object of this dark vow.
You don't see how Anakin was coveting power as a function of his indentured powerlessness even in TPM?
"I saw your laser sword..."
You don't see how he's becoming increasingly keen to align himself with the big and the powerful -- taking one as his private friend/mentor and the other as his wife -- and that he wants more for himself?
You don't see how this admiration of power and his growing impatience both arise from the fact that he lives his formative years as a slave who wanted to become a master and leave his stamp on the universe?
These issues have everything to do with Anakin's slavery.
I've dealt with the fallacy that Anakin can simply "leave" the Jedi.
And I said they BOTH fear existential annihilation. Anakin and Padme derive much of their personal identity from the societal roles they assume. Were their marriage to be discovered, both of their roles would be in jeopardy, and they presume that their identities would suffer greatly because of it, leaving them changed and ruined. "It would destroy us."
And it's very contingent. You may have forgotten, but Anakin had to use subterfuge in order to enter the podrace and win his freedom. And he was already, of course, building a pod without Watto's knowledge / consent. So, yes, once again, his background as a slave is critical in understanding the mindset he operates from in the following episodes.
It *is* an explication -- of the enslavement of an entire galaxy and Anakin as its fallen angel / demonic overseer.
Anakin's constant, crushing mix of fear, doubt, self-pride, and fatalistic determination all come powerfully from his slave past.
TPM uses "notional" depiction.
But so does Star Wars as a whole.
It rises closer to the explicit in Anakin's case, but slavery is also quite obviously occurring on every level of the story.
The Star Wars saga is a vivisection, a meditation, and a symphony of slavery and a million more motifs mutually entwined.
Either you see these things -- or you don't.
Of course it set up the PT. That's what it was supposed to do. However, the characters in Ep.1 vs. Ep. 2 are vastly different. The tone of Ep. 2 is much more serious and dramatic compared to Ep. 1.
I enjoyed TPM, but it is not the same "feel" as episodes 2 & 3 to me.
I guess I'm just not understanding why the characters are "vastly" different as you put it. Anakin, OB1, Padme, Palps, 3po, R2, Mace, Yoda all still there. Qui gon is gone but that'll Happen in a story. The enemy never changed just his henchman. If you speak of their maturity and character than yes, 10 years will do that to people. I'm just interested as to how the characters changed so drastically.
As for how it "feels" to you than that is nothing I can dispute. Your opinion is yours and you are welcome to it. I just don't feel the disconnect. It's lighter at first but darkens as it progresses, in TPM and the saga as a whole. Just my opinion though. I hold all 6 movies on par for each their own reasons and I love the entire Saga.