Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Jedi_Ford_Prefect, Jul 5, 2011.
For me, it's as simple as this-- Lucas backed off from having the choke kill her. I don't buy "You're breaking my heart" as cause of death, but it's better than "Quick, it's the third movie and we have to raise the stakes!". I think the "kill the ring, save the girl" thing is also tied to the fact that Jackson spent too much time away from the ringbearers, and needed a way to incorporate that into the Aragorn plot.
I don't know if Lucas ever intended to have the Force choke be the cause of death, though, JFP. Remember the deleted scene in Padme's bedroom? Lucas explicitly mentions in the commentary for that scene (which is one of Padme's character building moments) that a thematic point was being reflected -- those who can't adapt must die. Padme was very much like this by the end of ROTS, unable to face a galaxy in which the Republic had crumbled and where there was little to nothing she could do for her children.
I'm not sure why the choke was included, then. It's a stronger scene if Anakin is the one directly, ie physically, responsible for her death. The "she's lost the will to live" thing works as an excuse, but really, it's just there to soften the blow of the choke, I think. Kinda like the "bloodrites" idea being the motivation for the Sand People kidnapping Shmi in AOTC. If you've seen The Searchers, you know what it's really all about.
That makes me think-- are there any moments from recent films that you thought were "softening the blow" of some potentially controversial, traumatic scene, especially for children?
This aspect does seem to blight the LOTR movies further; in my opinion. For instance, that troll that Aragorn fights at the end, improbably locking swords and holding his weight against something probably five or ten times his own strength, was basically footage left over and accordingly spruced up from an earlier idea of Jackson's, where Aragorn was going to personally clash with Sauron, who was somehow going to appear on the battle field and challenge him, mano-a-mano: a kind of Aragorn-Lurtz Redux. And what with a ghost army (that comes all the way to Minas Tirith, unlike the books), the armies of Rohan, the Gondorian army, the Oliphaunts, the Orcs, the Nazgul (and one mustn't forget those blasted eagles), and Frodo, Sam and Gollum tussling at the base of Mt. Doom, with lashings of slow-motion and Wagnerian wailing, it somehow all gets a bit much; and that's before the Ring is actually destroyed and we get all those interminable endings. I'll say one thing for Jackson: you may never see this kind of excess again.
But, of course, on this, more than most of my remarks, I could be charged with gross negligence by not at least acknowledging that Lucas has "third movie" syndrome of his own, especially in the PT. I think it was Roger Ebert who imperiously said, "one lightsaber battle too many", with reference to the no-less-than-five duels of ROTS, which could serve as some kind of fitting epitaph for the PT as a whole. For my part, I remain somewhat let-down by the Obi-Wan-Grievous fight, which is certainly executed with a lot of vim and vigour, but does feel a little like too much of a good thing in parts. And the Palpatine-Mace duel almost comes a cropper right at the start, with the easy way Palpatine dispatches those Jedi Masters, and in some of the choreography that follows (though, for the record, I love its kabuki-like intemperance, to reference a remark by TFN's Tyranus_the_Hutt about the same sequence). Finally, the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan is larded to an extreme when they start surfing on lava, perhaps depriving the duel of some of its kinetic realism, threatening to capsize the whole thing (though, again, for my part, I really enjoy it, and am able to drink in its excess, without finding the taste all that pungent or acrid). And I think Lucas is able to incisively weave the various strands of his third movie's final third -- for the most part -- into a sensational (dark-yet-rapturous) whole.
But then, SW and LOTR, as movies and whatever else, are quite different things in this regard. Were some kind of self-one-up-man-ship not to be found in either of their final installments, audiences would probably feel cheated; and I might be given to thinking that both directors had shirked their duties, failing to capitalize on all that build-up by backing away from danger, as if scared by their own potential to go a step too far. To some extent, that's what movie-going -- and the sequel experience -- is all about. If it's going to be the same director in the driving seat, we want to see them push that car into the red; just to find out where being in-the-red is, and what it means if and when they get there.
I always took the Force choke to be Lucas' visualization of Vader letting go of and forgetting Anakin Skywalker. Anakin initially turned to save Padme, but underlying that was a need for power that grew more pronounced. I think it was Lucas' way of showing how Anakin was turning his back not only on who he hoped to be, but who he once was as well. For Padme, the scene also evokes a strong connection to Luke in the sense that although Anakin has hurt her and she can't walk his path, she still believes that her husband can be saved. That's my interpretation anyway. Vader was most famous for the Force choke during the OT. Why not have his first victim be his wife? It also concretely demonstrates that Padme was certainly not the only reason he turned and, towards the end, not the major focus anymore. She can't be "blamed" for his fall (not that she should have been in the first place) because Anakin's reasons go deeper than her alone.
The Tusken slaughter was probably "softened" since showing more of it would likely have given the film a PG-13 rating. Shmi's torture also wasn't included for a similar reason I imagine (we never even see Anakin's dreams of her). Some of the politically-heavy themes (particularly the anti-coporatism in AOTC) seem to have been "softened" or left through implication rather than outright stated.
I mean stuff from different movies/shows, but that's also not precisely what I was talking about, there. We cut away from the Tusken slaughter at the right moment, just as we cut away from the youngling slaughter-- we got all the information we needed, and it wasn't watered down in any way by some sci-fi/fantasy twist. Shmi's torture is never given an explicit motivation in the film (again, it's painfully obvious to an adult, and even Anakin's line-- "I'd much rather dream about Padme" has a strangely Oedipal ring to it), but in interviews he came up with an in-universe explanation that kinda offsets things.
I do wish that the politically heavy stuff and anti-corporate themes were more present, though that's not to keep from upsetting kids. It's to keep from upsetting their parents.
Padme is often depicted with a kind of sad, withdrawn quality to her across the PT; at key moments, anyway. Think back to TPM and that scene of her watching the TF invading the streets of Theed, on her own, at the window. And in AOTC, she remarks to Anakin, "I've been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life." I think Lucas was planning something like the death we see from the start. The choke is Anakin's way of grabbing onto what he wishes to possess (literally grabbing), and then holding that thing, a person, Padme, his wife, his beloved one, as if to startle them with his power. I don't think he's really trying to kill her in the finished film. Of course, there is a storyboard/illustration where Anakin actually raises Padme into the air and flings her body against the ship, but that was perhaps Lucas just indulging a bit and trying to work out the best way of going about Anakin's anger: using extremes to find and appreciate a middle ground. FWIW: I also like this aspect of Lucas. It's the sign of an open mind to consider other possibilities before rejecting them. And then again, in the film proper, you have Anakin saying, "You will not take her from me!" (though, this would be ironic if he'd already killed her there and then, or the choke itself proved fatal), and Obi-Wan checking Padme's life-signs.
I mean, if Anakin had truly choked Padme to death, how could she really speak, asking after Anakin when Obi-Wan returns, and then being conscious and lucid enough to deliver twins, naming and embracing them? It creates problems of its own. But I guess, those issues aside, Lucas simply deemed it too violent, too extreme. That's not still not quite the same as saying the other plot-point is there to "soften" anything, however. It may have that collateral effect, but it also adds depth and complexity, in my view -- the opposite of what its opponents charge, of course, but something I stand by. And I think Anakin just holding Padme there, in that choke, not knowing entirely what to do in that stark moment, only enhanced the tragedy of Darth Vader. He is, in a way, like Threepio without his head, unable to stop himself fully, but equally frantic and confused. As violent and as nasty as the act is, it has a limit. But at any moment, he could completely choke the air from Padme, or crush her trachea, and that could well be the end of it. Obi-Wan's intervention both causes the choke and ends it, and Padme's life then hangs in the balance for an entirely different reason. It's compelling.
In a way, I think Padme's fate also echoes a famous line by Keats: the
The throw could've been a throwback (ugh) to the ANH Rebel Blockade interrogation. I do think that moment in ROTS is a little... I don't know... empty, for how little it incorporates the physical environment. They're just standing on the platform, he chokes her, she drops. It's rather static. By and large, my main complaint with ROTS is that there isn't enough proper set shooting (ie, more than just green screen), and especially, no location shooting. It's not because I don't like green screen, but rather I think an undersung talent of Lucas' is setting up and playing out normally blase scenes in a physical environment rather well. THX 1138 is all about this, but even all of the scenes on Naboo and stuff in Tatooine from TPM and AOTC is really well done in this regard. He comes up with angles and set-ups from the environment nicely-- it's taken for granted in a lot of directors, but those moments in Lucas' SW films stand out nicely from all the contrived set-ups. I miss that in ROTS, by and large. There's less happenstance, and Lucas does happenstance rather well.
Granted-- there's a hell of a lot more of it in ROTS than there is in, say, Speed Racer, which is the fakest damn movie I've ever seen. Not bad, mind you, but extremely artificial.
As for TDK-- I wouldn't say it softens any blows, it does play within the PG-13 rules rather well. The only moment that I think you could say he actually "softens" things is in the depiction of Dent's death, having him lie there with his eyes peacefully closed. That was a mistake, primarily, because quite frankly, you couldn't tell if he was dead or not. Thus setting us all up to think that the next movie would be about Two-Face, but no. That's all we're ever gonna get. Hm.
Re: profanity in PG-13 films-- Did you see X-Men: First Class? Let's just say that they make the perfect usage of a single F-Bomb in that movie. Just perfect.
And you're a Brit, Cryo? I don't know why that surprises me.
Oh, blegh. You've just reminded me of a similar issue I have with this scene: Natalie Portman's acting during the choke. It's... not very good; in my opinion. It doesn't ruin it, because the emotional quality is there, but there's little to no physical effect of her being choked. Again, it's a more moderate choke than any of Vader's or Luke's chokes in the OT, I think, so I wouldn't expect anything too wild, but it does need a tad more embellishment than it gets, I think. Interesting comment on the use of physical environments and how using one may have brought out more creativity in Lucas here. Yeah, this scene may have benefited from sharper angles or something, because it could honestly have been done with a bit more verve. The effects are right, the music's there, the tragedy is taking hold, and yet... well, the scene doesn't flat-line or anything, but a tiny bit more viciousness from Anakin, or more meaty compositional work from Lucas, could have maybe brought this up a peg. I think, maybe, what Lucas tried to do here was bring a more soap-opera-ish quality to the scene, like he did to certain scenes in AOTC: e.g., the fireplace scene (it's almost like something out of "The Bold and the Beautiful", albeit, much darker and intense). I'm not quite sure it clicks, though.
I dunno. There are different degrees of fake. A reviewer in the IMDb comments section for AOTC kinda summed it up for me with this one: "It all looked REAL fake!" "Speed Racer" is one pretty sweet-looking movie. And I think it's a fine tribute to Lucas and the PT, given that it looks so fine and has the same DP, David Tattersall. Oh, yeah!!!
It doesn't help matters that Nolan has Batman falling the same distance, then surviving, only a little winded/out-of-breath. And this is on top of Batman just being shot by Dent, at almost point-blank range, seemingly *between* his plating, which Fox warned him made him more vulnerable to gunfire. Yeah, Batman has training, and a suit, and what-not, so he can survive against pretty unlikely odds, but still...
Nope. Not seen it. Looked
Oh, okay. Sorry for the confusion. One that immediately comes to mind, for me, is the scene from Spiderman (a PG-13 movie) where Peter must choose to save either Mary Jane or a bus full of kids. Peter of course chooses MJ first, but manages to save the kids as well with no injuries. This was a particularly egregious softening since I thought it completely ignored the moral implications of Peter's actions (saving the woman he loved over the lives of many children) while at the same time basically demonstrating that you don't ever need to sacrifice to do the right thing. When it's compared to AOTC, or ROTS, especially, this point comes into focus since these films emphasize how much more difficult it is to let someone you love die rather than putting yourself in danger to save them/making a moral choice.
Another at hand is LOTR: TTT glossing over the fact that children died at the battle of Helm's Deep. Of course, we see them get outfitted with too large helmets and axes, but we never see any of these children's corpses. Wouldn't want to make Theoden's cry of "Victory! We have Victory!" ring hollow now would we? I always think back to Yoda's last line in AOTC "Not victory. The shroud of the Dark Side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has." -- a much more poignant and realistic view of war, in my opinion.
I think Portman's very good in the earlier films. In TPM she has a very nice idealistic attitude, even as the handmaiden. In AOTC she has great chemistry with Hayden. In ROTS, she's a little more passive, as the role of course dictates, but still. In that scene in particular, she isn't given much more to do than act as an unwitting chauffer for Obi-Wan, and set up the tragedy. Maybe it is the soap-opera writing of that scene (Hayden was on a Canadian soap, or whatever), and with all the volcanoes firing as these symbols of pent up emotions, I guess it makes sense. It's all very over-the-top, and you can feel Lucas playing it for camp, like that balcony scene (where she's brushing her hair... while it's still up...?). It reminds me of the "acting" in Twin Peaks, which was always very... um... "soapy".
I will say this, though-- Their love is what destroys them. Anakin tells Padme where he's going, and what he's going to do, because he trusts her. Padme refuses to tell Obi-Wan anything, but rushes to Anakin's side, after hearing the worst about him. Obi-Wan takes advantage of their love, manipulating her just like Palpatine.
Also-- those scenes in the... uh... "open" part of the penthouse? Very nicely shot, and an example of Lucas' use of physical locations.
I quite like Speed Racer myself, I just mean that the green-screen work there isn't as seamless in its reality as the Prequels. It has a very linear two-dimensional quality. Even at its most artificial, the PT always has a real look to it. I just wish that Lucas had kept more physical sets, to encourage more immersive angles, at times (though maybe I'm being too harsh-- where there full sets for all the Jedi Temple scenes? They're shot very nicely).
One thing I'll say about Speed Racer-- my God, Emile Hirsch was miscast. You don't play a character named SPEED RACER with that kind of withdrawn monotone. He's underdoing a performance that should be as energetic and enthusiastic as he can muster (within realism, I guess). Everybody else in that film knows how to play their roles-- by chewing the heck out of the scenery (especially Matthew Fox-- god, how refreshing it was to see him outside the dreary burdens of Christian Shepherd, and hamming up his comic-book lines like there's no tomorrow-- "They're not alone!"... come to think of it, he would've been great in
Good example. I think this sequence is a perfect illustration of just how badly Raimi misunderstood the whole Spider-Man concept. I mean, the whole selling point thesis is "With great power comes great responsibility"-- and trying to save both his girlfriend and the kids is a fundamentally irresponsible thing to do. Never mind the fact, of course, that it's all done with the subtlety and nuance of a handlebar mustache'ed, top-hatted villain tieing an heiress to the train tracks. It reminded me of the gaudy climax of Batman Forever, but at least that kind of shtick works when Joel Shumacher is playing things up at 11, and you have Jim Carrey playing the Riddler (plus, the choice between saving Nicole Kidman and Robin has an implied menace to it, because at least one version of Robin has actually died in the comics).
The main thing that bothers me about that scene, though, is how it appropriates stuff from the fabled "Death of Gwen Stacey" story and fashions it into a rather lame set-piece with even lamer emotionalism (again, those terrible New York caricatures left me gagging-- I was happy to see the same scene repeated in the second movie, if only for how Doctor Octopus responded to them). But really, that movie is just plain awful. Moving on.
The LOTR movies strike me as largely bloodless affairs, really. Only one member of the Fellowship ever dies, and it's the one that you don't trust anymore, anyway. Why couldn't Merry and Pippin have croaked? Or Legolas? Hell, at least let somebody lose a limb, or an eye, or something!
One of the things I noted about the Spiderman films (I can't speak for the comics, having never read them) is that they seem largely "squeaky-clean" affairs, if you'll pardon the childish descriptor. Peter is never truly faced with a moral dilemma that can't be resolved and one of the most interesting plot points of the first film, that Peter played a part in his uncle's murder, was largely rendered moot by the third film's retcon. The attempts to give Peter a "dark side," while amusing, were nonetheless hard to take seriously. Very often, these films just don't lay out consequences for our protagonists very well. Spiderman 2 almost gave us some moral insight when a man died in a fire (if I recall correctly) after Peter had given up his role as Spiderman, but it was glossed over rather quickly, unfortunately.
I can give Raimi a pass on the caricatures. The film was released quite soon after 9/11 and I believe the scene was a late addition, trying to give a sense of unity and empowerment of the masses when a lot of people felt helpless. I had a friend from New York who really enjoyed it. I can sympathize with your distaste, though. It's a little over-the-top.
Truly, I'd have been content just to see Legolas get dirty. And not a strategically placed smudge to accent his holy Elfin divinity, but actual grimy, disgusting gore. As it was, he remained untouchable throughout the whole affair.
Yeah, it's too bad, how squeaky clean the moveis are, as you say. Death was a regular thing in the Spidey comics, with him being unable to save people as a hero-- Uncle Ben, Captain Stacey, Gwen Stacey obviously. Even his villains could suffer mortality in ways you don't see in other comics of the period, and subsequent years as well-- the Green Goblin impaled on his own glider; Kraven the Hunter burying Spider-Man alive, adopting his costume and then succumbing to suicide. Even little subplots like Harry Osborn's drug addiction were groundbreaking. Only the Frank Miller years of Daredevil were more hard hitting, for their time (I could also mention the Green Lantern & Green Arrow comics over at DC, but those were kinda preachy).
Raimi's Spidey never has to face a problem that can't be solved simply, and never contradicts with the law, really. That's another big thing-- in the comics, the cops always chase Spider-Man. A lot of regular joes hate him. It's more than just J. Jonah Jameson, acting like a buffoon.
Yeah. Especially considering Jackson's roots in splat-stick, or whatever you call it, it seems especially... chaste... that there isn't any bloody cast-off. The heroes of LOTR are too good to get bloodstained in any way. Blood reminds you that it's living beings you're fighting, and not just monsters. Can't have that.
I'd forgotten that Hayden was in a soap. Heh! I just Googled it and the second image that comes up is this one:
Yet another meaning to that black Jedi tunic -- and pretty good proof, I'd say, that Lucas wanted a "soap opera" feel to scenes of Anakin and Padme.
I love those scenes you've just mentioned. And I now realize I was operating from a different interpretation of the word "physical" than you. Sexual connotations to the A/P romance aside, I thought you meant physical as in really-there: that there-thereness you spoke of before (another thread) when talking about the real locations used in Episodes I and II for Naboo; or, for that matter, the Rebel base in ANH and the Tatooine homestead. In other words, I thought you were continuing in that vein and you were saying that Lucas should have used a pre-existing location of some sort for the platform confrontation on Mustafar. I'm pretty sure that the platform itself is physical, though. Or, I guess, *was*. I think a partial set was built. It's not all green-screen. Works very well, but as we've both said, maybe an even more expansive physical set could have helped Lucas punch it up a bit.
Perhaps the Jedi Temple scenes were done with models? So I guess there's still more of a physical aspect there, instead of the CGI landscapes of Mustafar (but then again, I think there are a lot of miniatures for that). The Cosmos example is perfect, and it's one of the reasons I love the Temple sequences. While I like digital, there is a great sense of place that you get from the models, the small-scale sets. There's a there there, to anti-paraphrase Gibson.
The trippiness of Speed Racer works when it's the odd transitions-- it reminds me then of Coppola's even more surreal One From the Heart. The flattened look-- I don't like it much, but I can begrudge it. What I'm annoyed by is how fans of that film (and there are plenty in highbrow places, believe me) can stand that while bemoaning the Prequels as fake. For all the faults I have with the "plastic qualities" of ROTS, it's a fraking French New Wave film compared to that.
He was good in the parts of Milk that I saw. He's not a bad actor, I just dont' think he was a good fit. Now, for an actor I truly can't stand-- James Franco. During 128 Hours, I was rooting for the boulder.
Coming from the same guy who said the trench run in the original Star Wars was too long. As for ROTS being rushed - well, that was unavoidable, given the nature of the trilogy and ROTS having the meat of the story. I think extra 10-20 minutes would have benefited it, but I'd take "rushed" over the filler scenes in I, II, and VI.
Cryo, something you might share with the LOTR films-- at key moments, they look unbearably artificial in the way that Jackson digitally manipulates his footage. I don't mean creating CGI landscapes, creatures or camerawork that looks patently fake (although that all is true throughout-- Weta's good, but they're not ILM good, and Jackson's treatment of all this stuff on-screen isn't as capable as some of the other directors they've worked with). Rather, I'm talking about the way that he'll take scenes and give them a post-production digital color timing that looks incredibly soft, and synthetically monochromatic. You can see it mostly in the "magical glowy elf cities" scenes, but it's also there in the Mines of Moria sequences, where he takes lit footage, makes it dark, and then adds an artificial light-source in the scene (Gandalf's crystal staff) that isn't indigenous to the actual shooting.
This is one of the reasons David Tattersall deserves a lot of credit for the Prequels. Yeah, a lot of it's digital, but as a DP he did a great job of making use of the most important in-camera resource any film has at its disposal-- the lighting.
Well, the Jedi Archives/Library scene was largely achieved by combining a physical set with a physical miniature. But the camera angles there are still pretty tame. I do love that wide shot of Kenobi sitting on his own, lost in thought, as the scene closes out, though. And at other places -- like when Obi-Wan, Yoda and Mace are moving down that long hallway -- you can actually see what appears to be lens distortion carried out digitally (note, in that scene, the pillars in the background, at the edge of frame, as the camera slowly tracks across). There's no escaping the "density of digital", as I might paradoxically call it, in the PT, however. I mean, basically every shot in TPM, the most "physical" of the three movies, bar a single shot (gas coming through the vent), supposedly has VFX work of one kind or another.
Not seen that movie. I know Coppola is a big proponent of HD cameras these days. He advised daughter Sofia Coppola to film "Lost In Translation" in HD. I'm glad she didn't listen to him. I've saw his "Youth Without Youth" recently, and from a photographic point-of-view, I would say that that looks a lot more blatantly "digital" than the photography of the PT. There are some scenes in that where the still-somewhat-primitive performance of modern-day HD cameras show their limitations (in ways that I don't find to be the case -- or anywhere near as distracting -- in either AOTC or ROTS).
I wanted to slap James Franco up the head in Spideys 1 and 2. I did quite take to him -- when his character came good -- in the third movie, however. I've been wanting to see "128 Hours". Danny Boyle's "Sunshine" really let me down, though. That said, I enjoyed "Slumdog Millionaire" considerably more. So "128 Hours" can probably go in either direction for me.
Yeah. The movies of Davids Lynch and Cronenberg get brought up by detractors of "Inception", in addition to "Paprika" and some others. I read some ancillary "making of" material and watched a whole bunch of interviews with Nolan regarding "Inception". It seems he's all too enamoured of spectacle over substance. Falsely, he actually talks a lot in his "Comic Con" interview about being fascinated by dreams and the endless possibilities of a dream world, as he puts it, but we flagrantly see so little of that on the screen. I mean, the "Star Wars" galaxy is more dream-like than anything Nolan's come out with, in my view. It's also been remarked on how sexless Nolan's movies are, and how improbable this is where a movie about dreaming and repression is concerned. In the words of one critic, "Inception" also seems
The Archives scene looks great in my opinion, and is shot just right for what it is. I suppose I just don't like the wide, empty spaces that are prevalent in the sets of ROTS, but maybe that's part of the method. The miniature sets of AOTC are truly impressive, even when the compositing is a little dodgy-- that scene you mention with Obi-Wan, Yoda and Mace seems to have them sliding a bit on the ground with that camera movement, but the lens distortion is something I've always liked (and I do enjoy the irony-- one kind of fake flaw gives realism, another kind takes it away). There's good stuff in ROTS, mind you, I just like the sets that have layers of photographic elements in the frame.
I do remember that thread. I think the advantage here is there's a more specific goal in mind, than just the casual conversation. Every time we post, we should be adding another example or two of the double standards.
By the way, in one of your other quotes you mentioned the RLM guy saying that the big duel in ROTS should've been more lik
Only if you hanker to catch a film series at its very nadir. To put things in perspective, Roger Moore--yes, that Roger Moore--criticized its excess.
Until I got around to seeing The Tailor of Panama and The Matador, I had this pitiable image in my head of Pierce Brosnan at the Casino Royale premiere. Teeth gnashing. Fingernails pressed into the armrests. Devising a way to murder the Bond producers.
About the lack of children corpses, in TPM at the Gungan/Droid battle, how many Gungans do we see die and do we see any Gungan corpses? We see the children get put on the battlements and later on we see that there are not many defenders left and none of them look like children. So it is fairly clear that some of the children did die.
Also, the battle in TTT is different from the battle in AotC. Theoden was trying to save his people that have fled to Helms Deep, Saruman was looking to kill them all. Theoden did manage to save the refugees in the caves, or most of them, and stop Sarumans army. So from that perspective the battle is a victory, if a costly one.
Yoda and the Jedi did not want a galatic war and went to Geonosis to stop it but now they have one so from the prespective of peace, it was not a victory.
About that few of the heroes die in LotR, well take the OT. How many of the heores with anything much of a substansial part dies?
ANH: One, Obi-Wan.
RotJ: One, Yoda. You could maybe add Vader here but he was the villain but turned back and saved his son and dies in the process.
Also all these people live on in some fashion so they are not totally gone.
In the PT we have;
TPM: One, Qui-Gon
AotC: One, Shmi.
RotS: Two, Mace and Padme.
In LotR we have;
FotR: One, Boromir.
RotK: One, Theoden. You could add Denethor here but he is not that much of a good guy.
So not much a difference really.
Also about the lack of blood, Aragorn gets bloodied and beat up on more than one occasion.
Boromir looks to have blood on his face when they leave Moria. And how bloody are the battles in the PT? We have the invasion of Naboo which is very clean, about all that we see happen is some animals that get scared and some trees getting broken.
The Gungan/droid battle is also a very bloodless affair, the enemy has no blood at all.
In AotC the droid/clones battle is again not very bloody, both sides have less than human soldiers. So the war feels less personal, much of the fighting is done by disposable people. How much effect did the war have on the regular people in the SW galaxy? From what we see, not much. The war in LotR did effect normal people, they died, had their homes destroyed etc. Now true the war in the PT is not about anything, it is a fake war, created by Palpatine and whoever side wins it will benefit Palpatine. So some of this is by design but still to me the war felt a little empty and flat. And I found the battles in both AotC and RotS to be less good as there is no apparent strategy nor much "story" to the actual battle. It is just a lot fighting, cool looking but little else
ANH: Owen & Beru, Obi-Wan, Biggs and countless Rebel soldiers and pilots (whose deaths we get to see up close and personal, the flames engulfing their cockpits).
ESB: Dack. Other than that, nobody. This one's bloodless, too, save for Luke losing his hand.
ROTJ: Some Rebel soldiers and Ewoks during the Endor battle. Some Rebel pilots, including that kamikaze guy who crashes into the Super Star Destroyer, and Ackbar appears to get sad over. Other than that, yeah, Yoda and Vader.
TPM: Qui-Gon dies, and quite graphically for a SW film, run through. Some Naboo soldiers and pilots get shot down. Other that, the good guys get off easy.
AOTC: Right from the start, Padme's decoy and the entire ship she's traveling in get terrorist-bombed. Shmi dies, yeah. And so do several dozen Jedi, or something (that shot of Obi-Wan checking the pulse of a fallen comrade always gets me), and no shortage of newly minted clones.
ROTS: Countless clones, throughout the film. Pretty much all the Jedi in the galaxy save for Obi-Wan and Yoda, including all the Council members (it's not just Mace, he's just the most prominent). And there's Padme, of course, plus Anakin left for dead.
So anyway, plenty more main or major supporting characters die over the course of the SW films, versus almost none in LOTR. Furthermore, I would add the fact that in the SW movies we're often encouraged to feel some kind of sympathy when one of the villains or monsters is killed, to question whether or not somebody's doing the right then, or at least feel sorry for it. Whether it's Zam Wessel dying in the Jedi's arms from Jango's dart (a lot of women die in people's arms in that film-- Dorme at the start, Zam, Shmi), Anakin questioning himself after executing Dooku, or even the crying Rancor tamer being comforted by his buddy after Luke survives Jabba's trap, there's plenty of bad guys we feel something for in SW, so their deaths mean something, too.
I'm not sure why the choke was included, then. It's a stronger scene if Anakin is the one directly, ie physically, responsible for her death. The "she's lost the will to live" thing works as an excuse, but really, it's just there to soften the blow of the choke, I think. Kinda like the "bloodrites" idea being the motivation for the Sand People kidnapping Shmi in AOTC.
I have encountered many articles about how people allow their emotional state to affect their physical state . . . or who die from a broken heart or the lack of will. Yet, for some reason, many SW fans refuse to accept this method of death for Padme. They also consistently refuse to accept the idea that someone can die from these methods. And I don't understand why, considering such methods have been known to actually happen. Padme's lack of will went perfectly with the type of romance that described the one between her and Anakin - courtly love. Were these same fans expecting Anakin and Padme's romance to be exactly like Leia and Han's . . . a modern, comic romance?
Funny story. Matthew Vaughn was supposed to direct X3, and had even rewritten it, storyboarded the whole thing out and cast the sucker (Kelsey Grammer as Beast is reason alone to see it, even if you have to suffer through Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde), but then was cut loose when he wanted more time than the studio allowed. Brett Ratner came along, and the rest is mediocrity.
I still think that Ratner's "X-Men 3" is better than Vaughn's "X-Men First Class". It lacked the flaws that permeated the recent "X-Men" movie.
After all, women are predominantly the mothers, nurses and teachers of young children, so to see them suffering harm, and being threatened with harm, or else showing distress, has to affect little kids quite deeply.
I keep forgetting that we still live in a patriarchal society. Unfortunately.