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PT The Fantastic Ian McDiarmid

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Darthkarma, May 18, 2002.

  1. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005

    Well, he has, in fact, a great, natural warmth to his "real" voice -- and that really helps with Palpatine.

    But for Sidious, or "the monster" as Ian calls him, he certainly conjured something pretty memorable.
     
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  2. Darth__Lobot

    Darth__Lobot Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Dec 29, 2015

    Hi enunciation - particularly in ROTS - was absolutely fantastic. You can tell he put a lot of work into that delivery and seemed savor every syllable in some scenes
     
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  3. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

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    Jul 20, 2005

    Not something that is always noticed. But yes, absolutely!!!
     
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  4. DarthSheev

    DarthSheev Jedi Knight star 4

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    Mar 9, 2015
    I love how Ian seems to switch to the Sidious voice during the scene where he reveals his true identity to Anakin. That scene is one of the best in the prequels.
     
  5. Mostly Handless

    Mostly Handless Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 11, 2017
    McDiarmid at Celebration, 2017
     
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  6. Smellmet

    Smellmet Jedi Knight star 1

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    Feb 16, 2017

    Yeah I love that bit... 'gives you focus, makes you stronger' I adore his performance in ROTS.
     
  7. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005

    I love the sort of fake (or so fake it's real) sympathy evinced when he switches to: "I know what's been troubling you. Listen to me."

    Not to mention the Sids-Palpy blurring-together on the line: "Ever since I've known you, you've been searching for a life greater than that of an ordinary Jedi. A life of significance, of conscience."

    And the "gives you focus, makes you stronger" outpouring has the added luxury of a strong, searing close-up on Palpatine's curiously warm, yet sunken, foul features. Awesome cinematography, awesome line reading.

    I remember that I was smiling with a kind of sick relish when he uttered that line a second time when I saw ROTS again with a big crowd (first time was smaller). It was like, "Now, yes, *this* is the Emperor at his most seedy, thrilling, operatic, seductive, brazen, brass-balled best!"

    Daaaaaaaaaaaaaammmn. I still love this movie. And Ian. And Hayden. And George. Everyone involved. They did "goooooood", they did so good. ^:)^
     
  8. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2016
    The jump cuts of Palpatine's demeanour as he is beginning to reveal himself to Anakin always gave me the impression of a mind trick.

    It jarringly cuts from more languid shots of him in conversation into head on straight at the camera as he begins hammering nails of doubt into Anakin's psyche.

    Even as early as the Opera. The "....keep the ones he loved from dying." line is read sort of like "...when you friends arrive." line from ROTJ.
     
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  9. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005

    Interesting. There is some very neat framing and cutting in the reveal scene.

    What I like, among other things, is the weirdly angelic light on Palpatine when he "begs" Anakin to use his knowledge. And the statues behind him. And then the mural.

    The camera was also placed on some circular dolly track to capture the part where Anakin and Palpatine seem to be skating around one another; doing a strange dance.

    The part where Anakin is actually stood at an off-angle to Palpatine, pointing his blue Jedi blade at the back of Palpatine's head, is also similar in blocking to the scene between Anakin and Padme on Naboo, after Anakin's nightmare, in AOTC. Like the person at the "front", looking ahead at some as-yet-uncharted horizon, is pulling the person behind and off to the side along with them. Only, in ROTS, the camera is the "other side" of the invisible 180-degree line.

    One other thing is the digital rack focus used when the focal plane transitions from Palpatine, at the end of his close-up (the aforementioned "gives you focus, makes you stronger" moment), to Anakin, almost struggling to keep up his lightsaber (so to speak) in the background. A subtle switch from the dominant person near the camera, at the left of the frame, to the weakened supplicant behind, at the right.

    I like what you say about the opera. It seems to also have a lot of tricky stuff within it. I actually synced ROTS and TFA up, and right at the moment Han is pointing at a blue screen (before the Rathtars sequence -- the TFA sequence basically coincides with the opera scene in ROTS), Anakin is heading straight for the purply-blue-ish door leading straight to Palpatine's box the other side (and George Lucas himself appears as a blue baron, leaning on a cane, conversing with his older blue daughter, in just that moment at the left of screen). "Patience, my blue friend". And the Jedi ghosts. "Don't tell me a Rathar's gotten loose."

    Even Chewie's bowcaster is being used at the end of the Rathtars sequence at just about the same moment those Wookiee airships show up after Palpatine's "Not from a Jedi" close-up rounds out the opera seduction.

    But if you don't go in for sync viewings, there are still some exotic transitions within ROTS itself. After the scene of Palpatine revealing his identity, the film cuts back to Obi-Wan on Utapau, chasing Grievous down on a dragon, while Grievous himself is trying to escape inside a wacky wheel bike. A mad action caper between scenes of epic character disintegration.

    Star Wars, I think we can all say without too much hesitation, has some pretty crazy stuff within it.
     
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  10. Mostly Handless

    Mostly Handless Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 11, 2017

    An aspect of this scene I really love is the exchange between Palpatine and Anakin just before Plaguies gets his first mention. This is where the Chancellor's manipulation of Skywalker really starts to become somewhat passive-aggressive for the first time. In earlier scenes between these characters Sidious is content simply to bolster Anakin's ego, but now he actively pursues the young Jedi in an intellectual battle of ideologies.
    Also worth noting is that Anakin's responses, both in writing and delivery, appear rote-learned. Suggesting that he is merely repeating dogma that he knows he is supposed to believe, but does not.

    From the indifferent crowd of theatre goers on the red carpet, the almost gothic columns of the building's exterior, its gaudily opulent interior, and the location of the meeting in a private box. Public yet secluded, in full view of the galaxy yet totally clandestine, for that is how the Sith gained power. This scene has fantastically atmospheric.
     
  11. Smellmet

    Smellmet Jedi Knight star 1

    Registered:
    Feb 16, 2017
    I love the bit where he hints that he murdered Plaguies. The devilish look on his face like he's almost getting off on it. I love the opera scene. Ian owns this movie.
     
  12. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Ian has formerly called it a "lightsaber duel of the intellect"; and I like how, at this year's Celebration, he called the whole scene an "island of evil".

    And yes, I guess there is something rather passive-aggressive about the whole thing. Palpatine is the ultimate gaslighting agent.


    That definitely ties back to AOTC and the "packing" scene: "Sometimes we must let go of our pride and do what is requested of us." Note the multi-textured way that delivery comes out in terms of line-reading, expression, cinematography, blocking, etc.

    I love the moment right after Anakin tries to tidily rebut Palpatine at the end of their "debate": "The Jedi are selfless. They only care about others." In the close-up, Anakin looks pretty cool and confident, but then the scene cuts to a wide shot, and a lot more seems to be going on.

    The music provides dark assistance at that same moment, giving us a moody take on the Emperor's Theme, as both characters seem to freeze the other out. But the very occurrence of the theme in just that moment implies a cracking in Anakin's mind and, contra Palpatine's slightly "Darn it", rankled look, his poison beginning to do its work.


    Oh, man -- what an insight there. But I love your entire description. I was just saying in another thread, and you just fleshed it out, how there is this theme of "barely hiding" in ROTS:

    For instance, when Obi-Wan is breezily chatting with Anakin and teasing him about how he deserves his "glorious day with the politicians", note that he, too, like Padme hiding in the shadows, but standing to the side of the pillar with her face unconcealed, is half inside the airbus, half outside of it; as if barely hiding from those politicians himself. Later, there is a shot of Anakin admiring Padme that is quite similar, with Anakin leaning against the arching wall as Padme dreamily brushes her hair on the patio; both of them, in their own ways, are again barely hiding. Barely hiding. Like Palpatine as Darth Sidious. Like Anakin when he is being counselled by Yoda about his visions. Like Obi-Wan who manages to sneak on Padme's ship while she is in a daze. Like Anakin who barely conceals his lust for Empire. Like Anakin when he is sealed inside his "life support" suit. Like the twins who are hidden in something close to "plain sight"; yet, ironically, where the Sith cannot detect their presence.

    Fine work; very sweet timing as always!!!

    One observation, or a set of observations, quickly becomes two...

    And yes, what a gaudily opulent interior, the closed-off patrons, the epic staircase, the flashing holograms, the strange sounds...

    I think those chairs inside the box are a great win, too. They are modified versions of the chairs in Palpatine's office (which seems appropriate; especially as this scene was originally set there); yet made sufficiently "alien" enough (the armrests) to be eye-catching (without being obtrusive) on their own terms.

    The whole thing is a pretty spectacular event within the movie. It really shows some wonderful invention on "The Maker's" part (and he had to include "himself" in this part; this hypnotic night at the opera). Phantasmically, fatally good. A sort of "inner theatre" of the jaded mind's eye; suddenly meeting fresh waves of purple seduction!

    I have to imagine that Lucas' "environment" had some effect on him ultimately including this scene; or doing it in the way he did. The Sydney Opera House remains a unique design, on the lip of water; just as the strange design of the Galaxies Opera House overhangs a massive drop. And the Sydney Opera House isn't far from Fox Studios where a lot of ROTS was filmed.

    Similarly, I wonder if, perhaps, he decided to switch it to an "opera house" setting, in part, because of Ian and his theatrical background; knowing that he might relish the chance to "perform" a longer, more theatrical scene in a "meta" setting of recondite luxury. Although the filming itself (a few chairs, bluescreen, Ian with a dodgy throat having just done the window-transformation scene) was hardly quite luxurious!

    Lastly, just a quick mention regarding one piece of cinematography:

    This scene includes a shot that is held for quite a while from a good distance, with the camera slowly tracking in. Along with the film's opening shot, and a few other examples in the saga, I think it is one of the longest "takes" in Star Wars. No cutting away. Intimate "father-son" bonding time. :)
     
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  13. Martoto77

    Martoto77 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Aug 6, 2016
    Here's a fun exercise. Watch any dialogue scene with Palpatine, up to the opera scene in III, and listen to McDairmid's voice and his rhythms.

    Now watch the scene between Luke and Ben in ROTJ and listen to Alec Guinness.

    They are quite similar. I expect this is a product of training but also, I'd like to think there's a bit of admiration if not emulation going on there.
     
  14. Cryogenic

    Cryogenic Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2005

    Well, as Ian, His Excellency himself says.........




    Time Index: 1:14


    "If you wanted a subtitle for these movies, it could be 'Fathers and Sons'."


    But that's an interesting connection you might have identified there.

    To add to it, pay attention to the basic framing and even the subject matter of the opera conversation when it really gets going.

    A pupil having a long discussion with an older mentor figure he has known since the first movie. Esoteric knowledge. Luke's insight serves him well; Anakin's... maybe not so much.

    Dreaming of Padme dying = "internal sight" or "in-sight"??? Anakin being "dumb" to Palpatine being a Sith Lord; and so on.

    Oh, and in the Ben-Luke chat, the Emperor is, of course, being explicitly discussed in part of their conversation.

    And then the creepy lighting of the opera and the clapping, versus the ethereal Obi-Wan and the wildlife sounds on Dagobah.

    Then how the discussions are wiped with ship/vehicle shots followed by "briefing-room" gatherings where the heroes believe they're coming close to delivering a decisive blow and about to restore "peace and justice" to the galaxy.
     
  15. Chewies_bandolier

    Chewies_bandolier Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 5, 2002
    Popping back to wish the wonderful (truly) Ian McDiarmid a very happy 73rd birthday!
     
  16. Darth Chiznuk

    Darth Chiznuk Superninja of ST/Anthology/New Films star 7 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 2012
    I'm watching TPM right now and one of my favorite little bits is the barely noticeable but devilishly evil smile Palpatine gives just after Padme leaves his office after deciding to return to Naboo. I love that it happens just as the scene ends so you barely get a glimpse of it.
     
  17. themoth

    themoth Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 5, 2015
    That's the best part of that scene for me. We know this guy leads double lives and we can see his mind ticking over.
     
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  18. themoth

    themoth Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Registered:
    Dec 5, 2015
    That's the best part of the scene for me. We know this guy leads double lives and we can see his mind ticking over.
     
  19. ewoksimon

    ewoksimon Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 26, 2009
    When everything is going as planned...

    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Chewies_bandolier

    Chewies_bandolier Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    May 5, 2002
    Admission: I so much disliked TLJ that I swore that I was done with this story and this fandom.

    Yet. Here I am. On this thread. At this time. For no particular reason at all....

    Argh Disney! Take my money..
     
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  21. grd4

    grd4 Jedi Master star 4

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    Dec 11, 2013
    Sadly, my reaction is quite different. I thought Palpatine was the one element from the Saga that wouldn't be pilfered and exploited by Disney, yet here he is. So, as it turns out, the Chosen One didn't destroy the Sith, just as Balance wasn't brought to the Force, just as the Alliance didn't really defeat the Empire.

    This Sequel Trilogy just finds new ways to irritate me.
     
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