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Saga Palpatine's 'Anakin' Scream

Discussion in 'Star Wars Saga In-Depth' started by StarWarsVerses, Feb 21, 2013.

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  1. StarWarsVerses

    StarWarsVerses Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 14, 2013
    During the now long-forgotten public meltdown in reaction to Darth Vader's added dialogue on the blu-ray release of ROTJ, I noticed another chunk of audio in the same scene that was far more mystifying. Since then I haven't seen it brought up anywhere else, and I figured now might be as good a time as any to point it out.

    During the top-down shot of Sidious as he's hoisted into the air by Vader, it's sounds (to me, anyway) as if he's yelling 'ANAKIN!' or at least 'ANAKAAA!'. Go and check for yourself. There's something syllabic buried in there. Since the name Anakin is spoken several other times throughout ROTJ, it isn't entirely implausible that Sidious refers to his apprentice by his original name in the instant of his betrayal. Hidden dialogue or audio pareidolia? Either way, I haven't been able to 'unhear' it in nearly two years.

    I don't know. Maybe I'm just going crazy.
  2. Joe

    Joe Jedi Master star 6

    Dec 25, 2012
    I think the use of the name 'Anakin' vs 'Vader' is an attempt by Sidious to appeal to Anakin's former self, the person who saw Palps as a mentor. That would make sense. However, I have yet to actually hear it, and I think it would be more audible if is was added in after-the-fact.
  3. StarWarsVerses

    StarWarsVerses Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 14, 2013
    Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that it was another change. It's just as audible in the theatrical release mix, which is to say slightly echoey and combined with a lot of electrical sounds, but loud enough to sound like dialogue.
  4. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
    I just had a listen to it here:

    Emperor picked up at 7:16. He's just yelling "AAAAAARRRAARRGGHHH" or the like, as far as I can tell.
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  5. Vthuil

    Vthuil Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 3, 2013
    I think it's just an inarticulate "AAAAAAAARRRRRGHHH" too. People have a known tendency to read actual dialogue into that sort of thing - see the old "misconceptions you had about Star Wars when you were a kid" thread for a huge list of them. But I doubt there's anything actually there.
    Jedi Merkurian likes this.
  6. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    I dunno. I, personally, cannot hear it. But it sounds like it's not an absurd thing to hear. << Does that sentence contain a paradox?

    In the original screenplay for ROTS, when the Emperor comes upon the blackened, mutilated, gnarled semi-corpse of Anakin on Mustafar, he shouts Anakin's real name, despite having knighted him as "Darth Vader" earlier in the picture. There's a degree of attachment that is, perhaps, "cloaked" in the final film/saga, between the Emperor and Anakin, although it's also quite obvious the two have a weird relationship of co-dependence, like, say, I dunno, a "real life" relationship like the one that existed between Elvis Presley and his Machiavellian manager Chancellor Palpatine... I mean, Colonel Parker.

    In mythical terms, if we can collapse the Emperor into any "one" thing, he's probably best thought of as the saga's equivalent to a "demiurge", being either God or almost-God. The end of ROTJ therefore represents a stunning challenge: can we, like Anakin, find the courage to overthrow our degraded/deluded conceptions of God, and remove ourselves from the yoke of mental, moral, and spiritual bondage that has dulled our intellectual fortitude and restricted our conception of the universe and our understanding of suffering? Another discussion for another time.

    Anyway, that's some BS riffing, because, controversial statements aside, honestly, I can't provide a concrete answer. Which is probably just as well.

    There are some really neat design elements in that pivotal scene, however. Note:

    - Luke's gasp when the Emperor announces, "And now, Young Skywalker, you will die." And yes, I capitalize the "Y". And no, there's no "and" there. But I like to use "and" a lot. And "yes" and "no". Ah.

    - The Emperor, as he begins his final attack on Luke, looks -- to me -- like a scowling cat. The circle is once again complete: Maul, his first apprentice, stalked and prowled (and was emblazoned) like a tiger: "Tiger, tiger, burning bright..." And TPM and ROTJ have pronounced "nature" motifs. Nature -- or life as its animated manifestation -- is worth respecting and preserving, but can be brutal and never entirely squelched? One reading.

    - Luke, a fictional character being fictitiously electrocuted/tortured by another fictional character as a third one watches, is a weird triangulation of forces which has another paradigm with us, as viewers, watching. Watching, that is, while the world suffers. We place more of our focus and emotional concern here than we do on everyday issues that ravage the planet and its inhabitants. This kind of "voyeur" mentality is perhaps being condemned in Lucas' "THX-1138", which also includes a hooded figure and similar scenes of torture/electrocution/beatings. A "watching eyes" motif also manically runs the length and breadth of the six-film, George Lucas-created saga. Can we turn away from art and face reality? Are we aware of our own complicity in evil?

    - The Emperor, when shown in an overhead shot as Vader carries him to his doom, resembles Edvard Munch's world-famous figure in his painting "The Scream", replicated down to the blue lightning in ROTJ's awesome shot recalling the blue swirls of water behind the figure in Munch's composition: This is one of those amazing grace notes, in my opinion, that gives the final duel in ROTJ a very expressive, self-consciously "artistic"/stylized quality. I luvvs it.

    - A bit more on the "Munch" connection. The fuller name for Munch's painting translates to "The Scream of Nature"; and the Emperor can be regarded as corpulent embodiment of the Dark Side (an essential aspect of nature or para-nature in Star Wars) screaming at its own destruction within the mechanical monstrosity of the Empire it created to empower and shield itself from annihilation (the SW saga equivalent of everything going "tits up" for the Dark Side). And interestingly, "The Scream" -- which has several versions -- first appeared in 1893, which is an anagram of 1983.

    - I used the word "shield" there. This is a word/concept with unique primacy in Star Wars. The Death Star itself is shielded and a big part of the final action sequence revolves around the rebels' attempt to knock out the Death Star's shield. Vader's face is also poetically lit up by the glare of the Emperor's lightning bolts against Luke, in a fashion that evokes the first in-narrative shot of the first film (ANH) as ships trade laser blows and light up rhythmically as they glide past the "eye" of the receptive viewer eager for astonishment and spectacle. Ships duelling in a manner that looks "cool". And, ultimately, a personal battle of self-realization: multi-faceted, harder to define. What good is Vader's own "shield" if it prevents him from truly living? Anakin: the "human being" of the story trapped inside a walking tomb.

    - Okay, back to the water motif I introduced by calling it to mind with "The Scream". This subliminal "water" motif now has eerie connotations after the extensive water motif in the prequels; and especially -- this is significant -- Padme's close association with water, carrying right through to her death scene.

    - Still with me? When the Emperor is hurled down the reactor shaft, the conic/speed-lines-visual echoes Anakin's dream sequences of the visage of Padme receding through a kind of digital mist. Better yet, when the Emperor actually dies, a blue mist comes up, and the cries sound faintly feminine, and it even sounds -- to me -- like someone is crying, "Help me!" at the end, like Padme does in Anakin's first dream sequence. This might be my own "pareidolia"; but then, that's cricket. Er, art.

    - Of course, the simpler explanation for the above -- simple? -- is that it's the sound of all the souls the Emperor corrupted being set free (I think of Ursula in "The Little Mermaid" -- and there's another female connotation for you). But a scientist in the GFFA (where are they?) would just tell me to stop spreading nonsense and that it's obviously just all that gas being expelled at high pressure through a narrow passage or something. Death Star flatulence. How appropriate, though, that the Emperor, who clearly disdained bogs and swamps and boggy and swampy things in TPM ("stunted slime", "bogged down", "mired") should meet his end in the form of a cosmic fart.

    - Okay, getting serious again. The Emperor's association with Padme is not unexpected but quite obvious after ROTS. They come from the same planet, have tremendous effects on Anakin's ability to think straight, and in one of the more striking analogies between characters, BOTH LOOK PREGNANT IN ROTS (Palpatine as the Emperor wears notably bulging robes in ROTS -- the visual affectation that identifies Padme as pregnant; again, carried through to her death scene). Anakin tries to save his pregnant wife from death by aligning with a demonic spectre of her ("Are you an angel" -- irony).

    - This could all be a kind of slave narrative, y'see, about embracing the feminine and not building yourself a prison of fake masculinity, or something like that. But this probably just resonates with me because I am somewhat androgynous/girly and into transgenderism.

    - Ya still reading? You love me that much? Okay, that's all I got.

    P.S. Neat website, Mr. Verses. I've said it before, I'll definitely say it again.
    Joe Antonetti and StarWarsVerses like this.
  7. StarWarsVerses

    StarWarsVerses Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 14, 2013

    Better than Christmas.

    If I were to isolate a particular thought in that excellent bramble of ideas it would be the Padme dream/speed line connection, probably because I'm biased to the visual (says the guy who started a topic about an audio detail that may or may not exist). I've been trying to crack that one for a while now and only got as far as the little rainbows of colour that give way to a grey-black jump into hyperspace, sort of a microcosm of the whole colour progression in ROTS (red and yellow Jedi Cruisers vs monochrome Star Destroyers (the colours of the sunrise over Coruscant are mimicked by the paint on the starships, yellow circles ringed with red - Sith eyes, you see? - followed by red and yellow miniature versions of the larger cruiser with the same Illuminati eye-like Republic insignia)). Somehow the motion of those scenes went under my radar. Of course the first moving image in Star Wars after the FOX logo/Lucasfilm alchemy is the main title speeding away from the audience and disappearing into a centerpoint, which in a way acts as a primer for the visual language of all six films, and of course is subject to any number of inversions and reversals.

    Another point, since now you've got me started on this stuff it's hard to stop: Maul and Palpatine resembling each other as they appraise their victims. This is another 'verse' that's been on my mind, characters looking into/past the audience and down at other characters who are usually in some state of torment, just before the tables are turned. There's quite a bit of this kind of looking in ROTJ especially - one shot I'm particularly fond of is Jabba, Leia and Boba lurching back in surprise/relief after the climax of the struggle with the Rancor. Maul gives a similar sneer of confusion just before Ben outsmarts him in TPM, and Vader looks down after Luke at the end of TESB, and after tossing Palpatine. The picture I posted above is a good example of this sort of Kuleshov effect that crops up constantly.

    Seems a little superficial next to your far more in-depth analysis, but I find that once the line between two or more images is drawn it tends to speak for itself. I always struggle to do these films any sort of justice in writing, which is why I admire those who can as much as I do. Brilliant stuff, as usual, anyway.
  8. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005

    You're definitely a writer! It's now official.

    Well, believe it or not, but after visiting your site for a while, I tried a mash-up using the SOUNDS of the movies (their actual soundtracks/soundstrips), overlapping ... lemme see ... I think it was a portion each of TPM, ANH, ROTS, and ROTJ (as I recall, the estranged middles of AOTC and TESB were excluded). Let me just be clear: I mean I played a bit of each movie simultaneously and recorded the resulting fugue. There were some peculiar resonances there -- and it made for one hell of a "symphony of sound"! It's hypnotic to experience SW that way. Going back to just a single movie, a monogamous existence, is kinda dull! My old computer is on the blink at the moment, but if I can dredge up the file I made (the aural muddle that emerged), I might share it.

    Oh, darn. I wish you hadn't said all of that. I was saving this one up until I can screen-capture (long story short, I currently have none of my SW DVDs handy, except AOTC) -- but I might as well explain it now.

    Check out that shot you have of ROTS here (from the smoke/portals mash-up):

    I did this before, but if you increase the saturation a fair bit, the image, as memory serves, will take on a slightly reddish hue.

    Now look at the Padme dream sequences.

    If you freeze-frame correctly and get the right snap, you should see a parallel.

    - The side of the destroyer makes for a kind of perspective line like the edges of Anakin's dream halo.
    - The destroyer shot also has a kind of halo with the surrounding smoke.
    - The destroyer shot is like "redout", while the Padme dream frames are like "blackout".
    - Anakin's a "pilot".

    I know that feeling!

    They actually both "wipe" characters who are alternatively halo-ed in TPM: Padme (Palpatine) and Qui-Gon (Maul).

    Padme is halo-ed at certain points in TPM, including that very scene of Palpatine "wiping" her (ick), which I think you have in a mash-up already (the halo progression), while Qui-Gon... check out the bongo scene(s). The latter is less a halo, mind, and more a lattice.

    But yeah, look for the wiping effect I just mentioned. It's basically a direct artifact of what you've just described: they get appraised while lowly and vulnerable, and at the same time, they're wiped.

    Ah, yes! Great spots. Another I meant to flag up -- all this was intended to take place soon in the "Visual Links" thread -- is Obi-Wan and Luke (TPM and ANH "climaxes") both looking pleased/relieved after they initiate their final gambit and send a payload down a hole (killing Maul, blowing up the Death Star). Oh, my.

    Not at all.

    Thank you. I think you're quite the writer and analyst yourself.

    Love all those image tags you use on your site/visual blog, too. ;) [face_party]
  9. StarWarsVerses

    StarWarsVerses Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 14, 2013
    This sounds (heh) absolutely fascinating. I've toyed with the idea of an audio version of SWV, as there's just as much if not more information encoded in the 'sound and fury' of these movies as in the images, to the point that what you're hearing often distorts what you're seeing. Quoth the Mstrmnd, 'travel directions that lead nowhere'. If I have one frustration with the site it's that the still images alone only convey a small portion of all the information on screen, by removing the sound, spoken dialogue, music and motion all I'm left with is composition and contrast. I'd be very interested to experience the 'mirror' of my approach.

    Have you ever tried watching these movies without sound? More and more that's how I've been exploring them, either muted or with just the expanded scores synched up to the action. There's no end to the mind experiments you can play. For the sake of good science I say we should be sharing all we can.

    AHA! Classic Cryo-brand astuteness. Particularly the bit about Anakin's vehicular dreaming. Pink and gold, french fries and ketchup, blonde-haired seer-children in yellow starships...some Shine and some don't.


    Going-To-The-Sun Road. Boy are we in the wrong topic now.

    I pledge your teachings. ^:)^

    Stoic monks vigorously attempting to penetrate one another across the dream-cosmos. Sometimes I just don't understand human behavior!

    Learning from the best. And thank you, I tend to put some thought into those, although I'm never sure if anyone's bothering to read them. Helps me break things down for myself, either way.
    Ingram_I likes this.
  10. Darth_Nub

    Darth_Nub Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Apr 26, 2009
    Welcome back to Saga, Cryo. Carry on.:)
  11. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Jul 20, 2005
    The Internet is obviously becoming more sophisticated by the day. I don't expect you'll have to wait long for a reasonably widespread implementation that allows you to embed a whole library of videos with little-to-no hit on bandwidth allowance or browser performance. For the near future, however, you'll have to be mindful of rousing the sleeping -- or not-so-sleeping -- giant of Disney. But yeah, audio. I think it's quite doable. Albeit, again, with caution, noting the glare of the possessive, litigious, autocratic Disney.

    Here's what I've tried so far (not necessarily with the entire saga, mind you):

    - Watching on silent
    - Watching in black-and-white
    - Watching with portions of the image cropped
    - Watching overlapped with other SW movies (try the first 5 mins of AOTC and TESB some time)

    I'm keen to explore those options further and to try out new ones.

    The more sharing, the better. A person can only be wrong; or have a different POV. :cool:

    I think we can already see the world transitioning to a global society that allows -- and frequently demands -- that information be kept free, open, easily accessible, and checkable.

    And that is, indeed, good science. The world is playing catch-up to the example set by science which is already founded on apolitical principles where good communication and the ability to check claims -- and even "facts" -- are paramount.


    Movie-opening "helicopter" shots with tantalizing connections; especially "horror" ones!!

    Don't forget big blue credits/blue engines at the opposing edges of frame.

    I also can't help noticing the "matte grey"/"rock face"/"sheer drop" of both.

    Kubrick helpfully annotates there: STONE.

    And have you ever considered -- this one's very apt given your current avatar ...


    Not personally, mind you.

    I mean with respect to the films. :p

    Look at the dashes of maroon-blood colouring on that Republic ship. The flare in that shot even hits the lens right over where the maroon decals are: like blood splashing into the camera (shades of Maul getting bisected by Obi-Wan).

    More notable than anything else, however, is that the Jedi enter battle by skimming the DARK SIDE of that immense ship, plunging through its shield with a smothered sonic boom.

    In some sense, they SNEAK into battle. Yet Anakin seems to hate sneaking and sneak tactics:

    - "Buzz droids!"
    - "Ray shields!"

    (A nice duality)

    - "I'm tired of all this deception..."
    - "They asked you to do something that made you feel dishonest, didn't they?"


    "Then his apprentice killed him in his sleep."

    Watch out, Anakin! The dark-hearted Darth Vader is comin' to get ya.

    His hatred -- their hatreds -- and their certainties are, well... murderous.

    GOOOOOOD. [face_devil]


    I think I need to rescind your pledge and make one of my own.

    (You're very good at this -- I CAN KEEP TELLING YOU!).

    I really read 'em. It actually gives me the right lead-in to whatever it is I might occasionally be struggling with when I first see a new entry; or point me in the direction of things I might otherwise miss.

    You've got a very well-executed concept going. You've taken your cue from MSTRMND and you've well and truly ran with it. I'm very impressed with your gumption and I'm learning from your site all the time. It's a glorious tribute to George Lucas' visual art -- and the emergent properties of visual media -- too.

    Thank you, DN! Thank you kindly! [face_cowboy]
    StarWarsVerses likes this.
  12. StarWarsVerses

    StarWarsVerses Jedi Knight star 1

    Feb 14, 2013
    'That's always been the danger. It's loomed like a shadow over everything we've built here.' I can see videos being a problem, but there are some other ways of going about this stuff. Animated gifs, for one.

    Great list. I'd also recommend watching with the image mirrored horizontally - there are some interesting spacial discoveries to be made there. At some point I'd like to try watching these John Fell Ryan-style, as in one version of the movie moving forwards superimposed over another version moving backwards.

    The only real limits here are the speed of your computer and the breadth of your imagination. And how good your manners are. And how big your...pocketbook is. Heh heh heh heh.

    Someone pointed out somewhere a long time ago that the drum beats that start off Sith sound a little like 'RED-RUM. RED-RUM.' Or as Stephen King might put it, RED DRUM. RED DRUM. The two images are similar in almost every way, and if they're not evidence of direct referencing then certainly they're proof of some analagous visual thinking. The way the camera flies in both sequences as well, sometimes trailing behind, other times overtaking the main subject (there are two Volkswagens in THE SHiNiNG to match the two starfighters, a yellow one and a less-fortunate red one - a not-so-subtle jab at King). And speaking of colour-splatter, as I hastily breezed over before, the round Republic insignias painted on the 'wings' of both types of spaceships bear more than a passing resemblance to Sith eyes, yellow ringed with red - which, of course, bear more than a passing resemblance to the real sun we're shown (shone). A stylized 2D mirror to the real thing. I wonder which Republic official came up with that design.


    Also looks oddly similar to Artoo-Detoo from the top-down. Huh.

    The denizens of the GFFA tend towards sun-worship, evidenced both with the binary sunset that ends this film or the Maya temples at Tikal that end the next. The Sith have doubled solar eclipses for eyes, like the Falcon overtaking the Death Star or the ying-yang sunset Anakin/Vader watches on Mustafar. And that's just the top of the proverbial iceberg, of course MSTRMND gets much further into this.

    'The SLEEP of reason breeds monsters.' Almost as good a primer for the mayhem that follows as 'There are heroes on both SIDES, evil is EVERYWHERE.' And of course the dive into battle is another falling motif, like the opening title and Vader's TIE fighter speeding away into the distance, leaving we in the audience to choke on the stardust - in this case somewhat literally. You could write a twenty-page essay on the intricacies of just the opening thirty seconds of this movie and still not quite unravel it all. Compression, compression, compression.

    Just a simple fan trying to make his way in the communiverse. I am trying. [face_mischief]

    DARTHSHAME Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 19, 2003
    In reference to the original post, i do not think he said Anakin. I think he was just screaming.
  14. I Are The Internets

    I Are The Internets Force Ghost star 8

    Nov 20, 2012
    It sounds like screaming to me.
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