Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Pimpsy, Nov 1, 2012.
The question I prefer to ask is, how will cinema improve if you don't break the rules?
And I would have found it unrealistic for the situation if Anakin (in particular) had had suave dialogue. I would have wondered where the hell he learned to do that, when he had spent his formative years in the Jedi Temple being told that romantic relationships were forbidden.
He was supposed to be awkward as hell. That was part of the point.
Entirely the point, if you ask me. If you want to see the definition of awkward, watch Terry "the Toad" in American Graffiti. He does some of the exact same stuff as Anakin, in fact. Including apologizing for making a move. Something he obviously has never done before.
I can speak for myself, but um... when it involves young, inexperienced people, awkwardness is all part of the deal. Let's be frank here. Hayden is playing a virgin who has never had a girlfriend. He can't be very smooth. And yes, young inexperienced awkward men sometimes get the girl. And yes, the wedding night was probably far from smooth too.
If anything Padme was less believable in the courtship stage.
People badly misunderstand the love story in AOTC and spread/feed the misconception.
The acting is perfectly fine FOR WHAT IS that it needs to accomplish.
Take the scene from AOTC where anakin says the "sand" line that all the hateboys try to use as some kind of example of bad acting. In REALITY, for what it was that the scene was trying to convey, the line is actually very clever and character driven...
Padme is describing her childhood growing up on Naboo, she goes on to say how one of her nicest memory's is lying on the sand enjoying the Naboo sun with her friends. Anakin then says he doesn't like sand and its BECAUSE he comes from a planet made up of sand, he comes from a hard, rough life of slavery. Its simply his way of saying "well I don't like my childhood...but I do like you" It is a simple metaphor for how he regards his past as well as contrasting their homes and drastically different childhoods. In fact, if anything its an awesome line.
See...the line or the inflection in which it was delivered doesn't do ANY harm to the movie...but the hateboys DO.
Misconception? So there is a single right way to read and feel about these films? Interesting...
I'm pretty sure I get the love story. But I find it leaves me cold because I feel like part of what I'm getting is the message "Get this message!" I don't find myself discovering the characters through their personalities, I find that they have very little in the way of personality and come across as "line delivery vehicles".
As for the acting, it is not perfectly fine, for some. And by your description you make it sound as if it is "adequate" it should be immune to opinion? Again, interesting...
But overall there is no one single thing it needs to "accomplish" other than the overriding need to "engage an audience member to the fullest extent possible". It is not simply a vehicle for delivering information. If it was, all actors in the world could just stand in front of cameras and deliver lines in monotone and we'd all feel that the film was great, wouldn't we? I don't think so. Some find the overall package (information, tone, setting, sentiment and so on) to not come together to speak to them, engage them and therefore effectively suture us into their world while simultaneously conveying the information (in both content and tonal message) the author wishes us to understand.
Anakin's line about sand may be "well written" in terms of layers of meaning etc (though honestly, it isn't that dense), but again it is only one part of that scene and that scene is only one part of that movie which in turn is one part of that trilogy, one part of the saga, one part of the franchise, one part of the entire field of cinema out there. If in this overall inter-relation it only manages to convey information no better than if I had read it off the page, then it can be critiqued. And in that sense, for some, it does do harm to the movie (not in terms of information, but in terms of disengaging us from what we are meant to take as the "real lives" of these characters).
I can't speak for anyone but myself, but one of the things I find frustrating about criticism of the Anakin-Padmé love story, is that there often seems to be an unwillingness to notice similar "flaws" in the Han-Leia romance. It can come across as a double-standard.
Case in point: People say that Anakin is "creepy" or a "stalker" because he thought about Padmé while they were apart and he looks at her once when she asks him to stop. But these same individuals ignore the multitudes of times that Han harasses Leia and ignores her wishes -- when he holds onto her after she begs him to let go. When he doesn't stop when she asks him to and instead presses her against a wall. I just don't buy the idea that Anakin's behavior is somehow creepier than Han's. In ROTS, yes, when he chokes Padmé that is decidedly wrong (and acknowledged by both the film and fans), but many people describe AOTC Anakin's behavior towards Padmé as creepy when I see it as far more innocuous than Han's. It's one of those instances where I find that fans can't help but to project Vader onto Anakin -- they know that the relationship is going to end badly and thus they project bad intentions onto everything Anakin does.
Or the dialogue -- AOTC is trashed for its dialogue while ESB is held up as an example of the best Star Wars has to offer. And I just don't buy it. I can much more easily appreciate awkward, inexperienced Anakin trying to give Padmé a compliment through the "I don't like sand" line (while revealing a bit about his childhood), than I can readily accept the supposedly cool and smooth Han Solo saying "Your Highnessness" and "Afraid I was going to leave without giving you a goodbye kiss!" or his snotty "Well don't get all mushy on me." He honestly sounds more like a child than an experienced, worldly man in those instances.
I would never defend (anymore anyway...) Han/Leia as the pinnacle of believable, mature, flawless onscreen romance. However, there is something that "all comes together" for me in their cliche romance that I buy, probably in part because it is cliche and probably in part because the romance is much more integrated into the action, short and sweet, it is a game that gets played between them. Plus you don't have Han and Leia getting into a big political discussion (that comes out of nowhere...Anakin and his "dictatorship ptich", that I just watched again two days ago has to be one of the most forced lines and moments in the PT, it comes out of nowhere and seems based on nothing), they don't park the Falcon and take a walk on a beach and talk about who they used to have crushes on, they aren't pushed together by a supposedly intelligent Order that must have encountered hormonal padawans before...but they still send him off with her! Han and Leia are brought together by a rescue attempt, united by the Death Star battle where Han reveals he's not really such a con man after all, and then get to play out their "hidden feelings" around the plot of Han having to pay off Jabba and leave...which gets foiled once again pushing them together in action-motivated desperation as they attempt to outrun an Imperial invasion and have to work together to try to survive. There is just something so much more integrated about their relationship, it is energized by and kept in the context of the overall plot. I just never get the sense that Padme is attracted to him until the moment that it is essential to the plot that she has to be. It may be more a fault of the writing and actors rather than it having anything to do with it being better than ESB in some sort of "realism" based way.
And once again, I never feel the personality of the characters takes a back seat to the plot that drives them to romance. I mean, in the PT, the end of the trilogy depends on them falling in love. In the OT, it is merely just up-ing the emotional ante/stakes by having these two fall in love, their love itself doesn't lead to anything essential in the denouement. They could just as easily have respected each other as soldiers and friends. Obviously for the OT to happen, Padme and Ankain had to fall in love. In this way, there are times I think when the plot seems to be forcing them to like each other, it just never hangs together well enough for me to buy and see it leading to the end result (the birth of Luke and Leia) and as well as driving Anakin to do dark things that turn him into OT Vader.
I never really thought that the political discussion came out of nowhere. Their entire situation is enormously political -- the very reason Padmé is in hiding, after all, is due to politics. Plus, we see in the very beginning of the film that Anakin is engaged in politics on some level -- such as when he defends Palpatine to Obi-Wan. I always thought in made sense that they would discuss such things given that Padmé's life has been consumed by politics and Anakin himself serves the Senate as a Jedi. There's a naiveté to both of them, though, that I think shines through exceptionally well in those scenes -- Anakin concerning his rather idealistic view of dictatorships and Padmé's defense of the corrupt Republic while perceiving Anakin to be joking.
Moreover, their relationship never came off as overly hormonal to be honest, at least compared to Han and Leia. There's more of an innocent touch to them -- such as when Anakin rolls with Padmé on the fields of Naboo, their dinner together, or her comforting him as he cries. I can see why the Council made the choice they did, though -- they know how to deal with "hormonal" padawans, but I don't think they took Anakin's emotional attachments into account nearly as much as they should have.
Problem is that the way the "hidden" feelings plays out is atrocious. They don't mutually fall in love. Instead, the film, in a very real way has Han force Leia to accept him and pretends as though there's nothing wrong with him constantly disrespecting her and ignoring her protests. Not only that, but the entire paying Jabba off plotline is asinine -- why hasn't Han paid him back already? Didn't the Rebellion pay him in ANH? Did he really not have time (as the Rebellion was re-locating to Hoth) to drop by Tatooine and pay off the gangsters. And I disagree that their relationship is integrated into the plot -- it doesn't matter in the slightest. Would our emotional ties to Leia really be weakened if we saw her pain at losing a very close friend rather than a lover?
And I kind of have the opposite view of Leia and Padmé. To me, it became very clear that Padmé loved Anakin, especially after the fireplace conversation. After that moment, she is the one to initiate every single romantic action, not Anakin. Instead of standing idly by, she takes initiative in their relationship and her say matters. The only thing Leia does is say "I love you" and Han doesn't even say "I love you back."
See, the thing I dislike about the Han-Leia romance is that it is an utter waste of time, in my view. It never amounts to anything, especially in ROTJ where it's just kind of..there (although I do prefer that in comparison to Han's rather pushy manner in ESB). Whereas with Anakin and Padmé, I can see why they fall in love and why Lucas is showing us this. A lot of their strengths and weaknesses are made apparent in the romance -- such as Anakin's deep need for emotional attachment and Padmé's desire to help others. There's a much more human element to their romance in that it shows the characters' vulnerabilities and these are eventually exploited in the narrative. Nothing really happens that makes the Han-Leia romance worthwhile, in my opinion, and I can't think of a single scene in all of the OT that is as realistically tender as Padmé going to see Anakin following his nightmare. They always felt much more like an actual couple to me rather than Han and Leia that seem there merely to entertain the audience.
Padmé and Anakin's relationship works well for me because it not only shows how and why they fell in love, but tells us a lot about the characters too where I get the felling that Han and Leia only got together because they needed to have a love story and for marketing purposes.
I've always been of the opinion that Han/Leia and Anakin/Padmé are so much more alike in style than most people seem to think, especially in the case of Han and Anakin. They're both written with dialogue which is on the edge of "realism", realism in the sense of what people expect to hear. Han seems over the top as a macho-guy just like Anakin seems over the top as an inexperienced Jedi learner who desperately tries to impress a women. Padmé and Leia act more in the "conventional" way.
It's the same style, but with very oppositional interpretiations ("cool" vs. "awkward") of it, if you ask me.
What you have to understand is that bashers were never at this awkward stage. Never! We didn't see it, there's no video footage, therefore it didn't happen. They've retconned their own pasts.
We're going to have to agree to disagree on Padme and Anakin, no matter how many times I watch it and try to buy it, it fails, utterly.
But it's funny because when I was writing my post above I meant to say, but in ROTJ, after he is rescued, it just kind of gets yawn worthy from there. For me the way the relationship goes in ROTJ is pretty much how I feel about the best moments of the Padme/Anakin thing. I'm fully ready to admit that in part, beyond my problems with the way it is staged and carried out, it in part boils down to the idea that Vader became Vader because of something involving love....like he "loved too hard" and that the Han/Leia thing isn't anything special, it just works as staged for me.
As politically incorrect as it is, the Han/Leia thing works because it is cliched (tough pushy guy, girl falls for that "type" for whatever cliched reason) and they carry it off with believability. They are both tough characters (until Leia is neutered part way through ROTJ...the beginnings of which were there in ESB too), both afraid to love because of who they are (responsible leader versus drifter/con man) and they both secretly find each others confidence and world-weariness appealing. Actually, the more I think about it, there was very little pushiness. It was obvious from the start of ESB that Leia was falling for him. He caught her look across the control room on Hoth, she begged him to stay, when he challenged her on why, she was slow to respond. He read her like a book and she resisted for fear of letting her self-control go. In the end, I take it back, their relation worked pretty darned well!
Really? That's what you got from the story; that Anakin became Vader because he "loved too hard"?
Either you missed it or you're intentionally oversimplifying but there's a hell of a lot more going on than that. In fact, the way I saw it, his love for Padme was what he used to justify his own lust for power and desire to control. He was well on his way to becoming Vader long before he began having visions of Padme's death.
But that's the point, that is how I felt about it because I didn't get roped in well enough to care to try to read more! I don't want to have to do that kind of detective work. And both the love and power things don't work for me. I don't believe his motivations as portrayed. I honestly do think we are supposed to see him doing both, lusting for power and loving too hard. But the way they are portrayed just doesn't work IMO. They both seem there because they had to be...because the OT showed us a guy that went through something to get where he was! Must have had something to do with power anyway, and maybe he sought that because of love???
But you don't have to do any "detective work", it's all there as plain as day from almost the moment we're introduced to teenage Anakin in AOTC.
I actually liked that Vader sought out that power from Palpatine because he "loved too hard." The fact that he had good intentions--that he wanted to save Padme so badly, to succeed with her where he believed he had failed with his mother, and the fact that he was naive enough to believe that giving Palpatine absolute power really was the best way to lasting peace--just makes his fall more tragic for me. If he had wanted power for power's sake, or because he wanted to be able to kick asses whenever he felt like it, I would feel he was diminished as a character.
After the throne room scene in ROTJ, I assumed that Anakin would fall due to "loving too hard." That part of ROTS was no surprise for me.
To me, what separates the Han/Leia romance and the Padme/Anakin romance isn't the style or even the dialogue.
It is simply that the former the actors manage to make work, the latter they didn't.
To me, the romamnce in AotC falls flat because I never once believed what the characters were saying. I did not see two characters in love, akward, formal or whatever. I saw two actors saying lines and trying to say them like they meant them, but failing.
If the romance worked for you then great, I am happy for you. For me it didn't work. And the actual lines don't matter. If the dialogue had been more slick or casual but the actors still hadn't been able to sell them, then it still would have failed for me.
I watch alot of SciFi/Fantasy and quite often you get very cheesy or stilted dialogue. Some actors are able to say very weird lines and still sound like they mean them, other don't. When the actors pull it off then it works, when they can't, it doesn't.
Ex. Vulcans in ST. They are meant to be calm, logical and reserved, never showing much emotion if any.
Some actors, like Leonard Nimoy, manage to play such a character and yet show his emotions, albeit more subtly.
Other actors that play Vulcans do not quite manage this and then they come across as flat and wooden and not very beliveable.
One aspect that I think separates Han/Leia and Padme/Anakin is the time spent on the romance and how much the movie focuses on it.
To me, the Han/Leia thing went on while other things are happening, while the Padme/Anakin thing is more focused on. The whole Naboo bit is mostly focused on the romance, we get some other bits but overall several scenes are devoted entierly to the romance.
Perhaps that explains why some people come down harder on it. If the Han/Leia love doesn't work, there is other stuff happening. But with Pamde/Anakin, very little other than the romance happens in those scenes. So to me, since the romance didn't work, those scenes stopped the movie.
Whenever we cut over to Padme/Anakin the whole movie ground to a halt for me. I was following Obi-Wans detective story and was quite engaged in that and then the Padme/Anakin scenes takes me out of the movie. Then I try to get into Obi-Wans bit again but then Padme/Anakin loose me again.
Lastly, one other difference is that AotC tries harder with the romance than ESB does. The Padme/Anakin scenes are in very romantic settings, very romantic music and so on. To me it felt like the movie was hitting me over the head with the romance. "Look isn't this romantic, BANG!", "See how romantic it all is, BANG!".
In all it seemed forced.
Bye for now.
The Guarding Dark.
One of the most well delivered, charming and funny lines in the film was between Anakin and Padme:
Anakin: "You call this a diplomatic solution?"
Padme: "No, I call it aggressive negotiations"
More character driven and well written than half of all the lines between han and leia for their romance.
A lot more classy than hans sexist, pig headed rape joke: *picks leia up and shoves her* "I haven't got time for anything else!"
Really? Anakin using love to get power is there from the start? I don't think so. Anakin wanting Padme is pretty obvious, though I'm not sure where it comes from since last time they met he seemed to think she was "an angel" but didn't seem to be slobbering over her and seems pretty passive in her presence in TPM. The detective work is to figure out why they should be falling in love, what would make this older, professional woman who met this guy as a kid and probably thought "I'm an angel eh? Why that's so cute! I'd totally love to baby-sit you someday!" and where the heck Anakin's opinions on politics come from. And then, from there, which is coming first, if you are right about the power/love thing, the love or the lust for power. I feel George went with love with power to protect that "love object" giving rise to that other desire in him. But that's not really obvious until ROTS.
Hmm, that wasn't a rape joke. He was insinuating that she was more than willing.
And while I agree that AOTC beats the viewer over the head with ROMANCE, it mostly comes off partly as naive and sappy, especially in the visuals on Naboo. One of the biggest themes of the prequels is loss of innocence. Those scenes on Naboo reflect this very well, and for all the cliches, I think they're wonderful to watch. Nature and innocence depicted in the bright blues, greens, and earth tones and they contrast to the Original Trilogy's blacks and greys. Come to think of it, the love stories have a similar contrast. Idealism in AOTC, realism in TESB. Remember, the love story does not end well in TESB either, and that has a certain appeal I think, to people who don't usually even like love stories.
PASSIVE? He starts out with a good pick up line (for a 9 year old), follows her, saves her friend from a bully, and invites her to his room. ...
But the problem I have with his wanting power out of some (misguided) sense of love is how it plays out: much too quickly to believe he'd go the distance he does and become that particular dark warrior for this motivation. The moment Palpatine tells him that he doesn't actually have the "magic formula to save his wife" was the moment I thought Anakin, given how we saw him in the rest of ROTS should have been like: "Whhhhhhaaaaattttt!?!?!?!?! You mean I just killed a Jedi Master for you you lying sack of &$#@!!!" But no, he then goes off and murders children and takes out politic leaders (at which point he finally cries a tear) and then chokes his wife and tries to kill his best friend...and then, so we're told, takes out the entire Order and starts an Empire...because he wanted to save his wife, whom he choked while knowing she was preggers. See? This is why I would rather have him get lusty for power and then feel his wife is his possession and lose sight of the love they had until it was too late. This is the type of person that I think would have then gone on to do everything he did once he realized his wife and friend weren't going to back him. But the fact he went from being so disturbed that people were using him for their own purposes to basically being told to jump through all sorts of hoops for a confessed Sith Lord that lied to him about having the power to save his wife? It just doesn't follow. He put the cart before the horse here. Ep I - older Anakin and Padme fall in love in the midst of adventure. Ep II - They are separated (perhaps even between (I and II), so that in II he is away from good influences and gets war-hardened and feels the glory of using his Force powers to achieve victories, while simultaneously noting that the populations he saves have their own vices, nothing is perfect, they claw at each other for scraps even while being saved. So in this or Ep III he returns from the outer rim a changed man, but expecting to be hailed a hero, but he disturbs his wife and friends (and Jedi) and....then things go down the crapper. He basically still loves too hard but he just can't stand that his wife would side with his friend and think he was wrong and gone astray.
Yeah but honestly I read it as "hey, you're almost a kid, I want to play" There was nothing in his behaviour that made us think he was like "If only I was older!" I'm guessing GL hoped we'd think that, but I never did. I actually remember thinking, huh, well I guess in the next one we'll see them fall in love somehow. But I never expected Anakin to be already in love with her after having not seen her for 10 years was it?
Yep, that's Anakin.
You or I probably would have done that. However, you are assuming that Anakin would think rationally, which he has never done before. What I saw happening in that scene was Anakin clinging to the desperate hope that while Palpatine might not actually know the "magic formula," he had access to it, and that access was more than Anakin had been granted before--and Anakin was desperate enough at that point to lap up any crumbs that he got. No, it wasn't rational, but it wasn't supposed to be. "Rational" and "Anakin" don't mix.
I didn't like the scene on Mustafar any more than you did but for different reasons. Lucas decided to go with the "self-fulfilling prophecy" in which Anakin lost his **** and indirectly killed Padme after she was not as enthused as he was with his ideas about "saving" her. I'm not a fan of "prophecies" of any sort and I think that scene was inserted to appeal to a segment of the fan base who wanted to see the newly inducted Vader using the Force-choke, so I hated it.
But one thing I would have hated just as much, would have been seeing Anakin or Vader returning from war enjoying using power for power's sake. At least I could somewhat understand his motivations in ROTS, even if I couldn't get behind the lengths to which he was willing to go to achieve his ends. Power for power's sake is not something I'll ever understand, and thus I can't enjoy seeing either a hero or villain using that as a motive.
I think power for power's sake is weird too. Especially when I think someone already has more than enough, more than they'll ever enjoy 100%.