Sith’d and Sunburnt

Open Letter, Thursday, May 19th, 2005

I saw Revenge of the Sith today. I’ll hold off on completely spoiling it for you, but if you don’t like movie reviews that contain the spoilers necessary for a spot of criticism, you may want to skip to here.

Still reading, eh? Either you’ve already seen the film, or you trust me not to spoil it too badly.

Great movie. It makes up for the first two, but after having seen it, I’m pretty sure that once we get the DVD (and we will) the first two will go unwatched by me forever and ever. I mean, I don’t need to waste time on them again, and the eye-candy alone in the third film totally supplants anything they had to offer.

The space battles in this film were easily the best out of all the Star Wars movies — the most dramatic, the most believable, and the most “holy CRAP there are a lot of ships up there.” Remember that scene in Return of The Jedi when the swarm of TIE fighters swoops in? Oh, and the rebel fleet squaring off against the Imperial fleet while the Death Star plays sniper?

That’s child’s play compared to the Republic and Separatist fleets duking it out in the skies above Coruscant. And that scene was the first 5 minutes of the film.

And Palpatine? Wow. Well played, Mister McDairmid.

And now, the cringe-bits, in order of cringe-y-ness.

  1. Yoda and his damnable, damning, thrice-be-damned philosophy of “no emotional attachment.” Remember his “fear leads to anger” BS in the first film? Well, he took it further by telling us (through Anakin) that we need to become detached to the point that we don’t care if we lose a loved one. Grrr…. I’ve ranted about Jedi philosophy before, but I’ll sum up my feelings again here: they all deserved to die. Their religion had become corrupted, and any good the Jedi had ever done for the Republic was long, long in the past. Let Anakin “bring balance to the force.” I’m fine with that. Why? Because listening to Yoda makes me CRINGE.
  2. So, you’ve fallen onto a giant heat-shield that is burning up as it floats down a river of lava… pull back, pull back, BAM! LAVA WATERFALL!! If any of you remember the deleted scenes from Episode I, there was a waterfall escape on Naboo that very rightfully ended up on the cutting-room floor. The lava waterfall was too cliché for me. CRINGE!
  3. Finally, the moment we’ve all been waiting for… the voice of James Earl Jones in scuba gear. And upon learning of a particularly poignant bit of what he had wrought as Lord Vader, he puts his fists in the air, tips his head back, and says “NOOOOOOO!” The only thing saving that moment from my #2 slot for cringes was the fact that I’d never heard James Earl Jones in that cliché before. Still, I cringed.

So there’s my review. Should you see it? Absolutely. In theaters? Oh my, yes. Just don’t get caught up in thinking that Jedi philosophy works in the real world (it doesn’t) or that well-played petulance followed by some excellent “tortured brooding” makes Hayden Christensen a strong actor (it doesn’t).

Our attendance at the movie was sponsored by my friend Richard Bliss, who bought 100% of the tickets for the 10am show. The theater was full of old friends from Novell, most of whom didn’t recognize me without my beard. We spent almost an hour catching up before the movie started (I’m geeky enough to show up an hour ahead of schedule for a movie even though I know I not only have a ticket, but also a reserved “VIP row” seat), and I still didn’t get to talk to enough of my friends. Just before film began to roll, my first off-campus housing roommate from BYU popped down to see me. We hadn’t seen each other for a decade or more. He had no trouble recognizing me, though. Of all the people in that theater, he was one of two people who knew me from before I got the beard.

Sandra and I had lunch with another couple after the movie. The two of them were doing the exact same thing we were doing — ordering a big, three-item plate at Greasy Panda (or whatever that Mall chinese place is called this month) and then sharing it between the two of them. Ah, eating out on a budget! We had a great discussion about boring, real-world things like “how to find good health insurance,” and “the benefits of incorporating your small business.”

Sandra had to head home, and I was at the same end of town where my favorite Disc Golf course is, so I headed over to shoot nine holes. I’ll summarize: I had a few great drives, a whole bunch of crummy putts, and got overheated. It was HOT out there… and it was only 85. Somebody (me) has been spoiled by the wet spring here in Utah. I got home dehydrated and a little sunburnt in spite of putting sunscreen on my shiny top.

I stripped to my underwear (note: I’m at home, in my bedroom for this part of the story), splashed cold water on my face (I’d already imbibed at least 750ml of water), cranked up the ceiling fan, and lay down for a nap.

I awoke at 5:40, roughly two and a half hours after lying down. I dreamed of angry jedi and fields of lava. In retrospect, getting sunburnt after seeing that film may have been hard on my poor brain.

42 thoughts on “Sith’d and Sunburnt”

  1. Lucas is an idiot, Part MMMXVIII

    “we need to become detached to the point that we don’t care if we lose a loved one.”

    Well. I guess that sort of flies in the face of his whole redemption in Return of the Jedi, eh? His love for Luke — the fact that he DID care that he was about to lose him — is what brought him back to the good side. If he’d detached himself, he’d have let Luke die, and would’ve gone on to rule the galaxy.

    Oh, or maybe that was what Yoda was getting at. ANAKIN would never amount to much if didn’t learn emotional detachment.

    Damn Lucas for getting dumber as he got older.

    1. Re: Lucas is an idiot, Part MMMXVIII

      Well, if you look at the episodes in numerical order, then it seems to come out right. The Jedi preach detachment, it’s their downfall, and their redemption through Luke and Vader when this detachment is disavowed is what allows the rebels to win and the galaxy to be saved.

      It’s just looking at Ep III as an end that makes it look bad. It’s just a middle, though.

      1. Re: Lucas is an idiot, Part MMMXVIII

        Well, but clearly to be a Jedi is a good thing in episodes 4-6. I don’t think Lucas really was trying to show a faulty religion bringing about its own demise. I think, as he got older, he decided that emotional detachment was a good thing, so he reshaped the Jedi to fit his new paradigm.

  2. In retrospect, getting sunburnt after seeing that film may have been hard on my poor brain.

    See, Howard, moderating the effects of the sun is why we have hair in the first place? Aren’t you kind of sorry you opted for the “Mr. Clean” look? 🙂

    As for the movie, you’ve confirmed what I’ve been reading in the other, early reviews. I always knew I’d go see it, just because my curiosity would eat me alive if I didn’t.

    1. “See, Howard, moderating the effects of the sun is why we have hair in the first place?”

      Us baldies generally take advantage of a modern innovation known as “hats”

      1. ‘Hats’ are generally known for heat retention, rather than sunlight deflection – at least in European tradition.


        *Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun!*

  3. What I thought was cool was how the looks of the ships, the clone troopers, and so on, have been evolving toward the ones in episode IV. You can tell which ships are the ancestors of the X-wings, which ones are the ancestors of the TIE fighters, and so on.

  4. More and more, I see the Jedi as less cool and more evil in a less obvious form than the Sith. Yes, I’m imposing my values as an LDS, but with their detachment, implied celibacy, etc, etc, it’s all very, very wrong. And their behavior led to their own destruction and it’s good. I don’t see Luke as a “real” Jedi. He wasn’t stripped from his family at a very young age and didn’t have decades of training and such, but that also meant that he knew how to love fiercely and strongly, and while sometimes it screwed things up, he was such a person that he didn’t let love drive him down the wrong path as Anakin did.

    I’ve not even put down a quarter of my thoughts on the Jedi and their corruption, but it’s probably time to stop now. 🙂

    1. An IRL conversation with you, me, and Randy (the three Latter-Day Saints posting thus far in this thread) would be GREAT fun. Refuting Yoda with Alma. Supporting Sidious with Kishkumen. Wheee!


      1. Ooh! Let me in on this one! True, I’m not a veteran Howard-journal-poster, and true, I’m still a BYU student (23 years at present), but I totally agree with this mindset! Can I play too!?

      2. My 2 Cents

        I’ve been thinking a lot about this “Prophecy”.

        It probably began by describing Anakin. Then stating, “he would destroy those that perverted the ways of the light side of the force, thus bring balance to the force.” They all assumed it was the Sith that perverted the ways of the light side of the force. Which wouldn’t be true, they use the dark side of the force.

        The sad thing is that Anakin was never warned against the things that truly caused his fall. Instead he was warned against love, fear, and anger. I laugh at the fact that the Jedi are continually telling people, “Use your feelings, and yet teaching that you should be devoid of feelings.” Doesn’t make sense.

        The truth is, fear is a good thing, it keeps you from doing things that are stupid, and builds courage. Anger can be good or bad. If one allows anger to control them, then it is counterproductive. However, anger when controlled can drive a person to action. And love… well I’m not even going to dignify that with an argument.

        No… what Anakin should have been wary of but was never taught is:
        Lust, Selfishness, Dishonesty, and Pride.

        In my opinion these things are the things that brought about the fall of Anakin. They were also the things that were seriously lacking in his training.

        Finally, I would like to comment on what happens when a teacher tries to force, confusing, contradicting, and wrong ideas on someone.

        I remember my second grade teacher, she was a wonderful dedicated person. I recall that she was teaching us how to subtract and told us that you could not subtract a larger number from a smaller number. I had a calculator and knew this was not true. By playing with my calculator I was able to figure out the mechanics of how to actually subtract a larger number from a smaller number, although I’m do not think I completely understood the abstract concept of negative numbers. When it came time for the test, instead of writing “not possible” under the problems where a larger number was being subtracted from a smaller number, I put the actual negative number as the solution. Ever problem that I did this on came back marked wrong. When I confronted my teacher about it, she told me that I had not done what I was suppose to, and that subtracting a larger number from a smaller number was not possible.

        A couple of months later the same teacher took a bucket of water and spun it around and around with out any of the water coming out. I thought this was cool. She proceeded to tell us (I swear this is true) that gravity worked the same way. The reason we stayed on the earth was because the earth was spinning! I immediately told her this didn’t make sense. If gravity worked the same way as the water in the bucket we should all be thrown from the earth not stuck to the earth. I told her she there was no way that could be right so she must be wrong. I was told not to argue with her and to sit down.

        My point: I never trusted anything she taught me again. I didn’t believe anything she taught unless I had confirmation from another source, and I pretty much quit doing my work in her class unless forced. As time has gone on, I have come to realize that she was sincere and was doing her best to teach us as a group. She probably saw a need to maintain her authority over me. However, in the end she alienated me.

        I think Anakin found himself in a similar situation. He wanted to trust the Jedi. But a good deal of what was being taught to him was just plain wrong! So in the end they alienated him and he turned to a different mentor who although recognizably evil did not seem to ignore facts but embraced them.

        In the end, it was Mace Windu’s hypocrisy that pushed him over the edge. It is indeed interesting that the thought process Mace’s followed as to why the Chancellor had to die was exactly the same as the way the Chancellor reasoned to the conclusion that Count Duku had to die.

        Please do not take this post in any way as an indication that I seek to absolve Anikan of fault for what he became. Rather, I mean to point out that the Jedi themselves are not to be found faultless.

        This is a simple case of the wicked being used to destroy the wicked. Happens all the time.

        1. Re: My 2 Cents

          I actually think that Mace Windu was on the verge of crossing to, or at least stepping onto the path of the Dark Side when he talked of killing Palpatine. So yes, extremely hypocritical, especially with all the criticism he gave Anakin.

          1. Re: My 2 Cents

            It certainly seemed dubious. But Palpatine really would have killed him if he tried to leave, and calling for police wouldn’t help. The guards worked for the Sith. (The Jedi code on killing seems a lot like U.S. rules for self-defense. Excluding Florida.)

      3. Wow, that would be really cool, especially with the addition of my husband, whose scriptural and Star Wars knowledge is rather frightening. Too bad I never make it down to Provem anymore.

  5. Warning: Some Spoilers

    I pretty much agree with everything you said here, especially about the key scene w/ Vader. The first battle was big and yes, there are a bazillion things coming at you at once, but it never gave me that “edge of my seat” feel. I understand what you mean about Yoda. At least in Episodes 4, 5 and 6 the Jedi had a bit of mystery to them. Now they have all been explained and not very well, I might add. The Jedi philosophy is loosely based on Taoism which does concern itself with the whole more so than any one person. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, if I may enter Vulcan logic into this. 😉 I think that’s ultimately what Yoda was trying to say, but Lucas just didn’t give him the right words. Yoda’s philosophy is also loosely based on Zen Buddhism. In Zen Buddhism when you focus on a task at hand be it pouring a cup of tea or putting a motorcycle back together you only focus on the task and absolutely nothing else. No emotions. No concerns. With the exception of whatever it is you are doing, the rest of the world does not exist. So Yoda is saying that Anakin (SPOILER HERE) should not care about Padme because he is the protector of everybody. No, that doesn’t work in the real world, but it kind of, sort of follows the Zen philosophy of focusing on one thing.

    Of course, you can care about the ones you love and protect the whole world in the movies. Henry Fonda did it in “Fail Safe”, but then he’s Henry Fonda. And Christopher Reeve did it in Superman and got to punch a giant Marlon Brando face in the process. It can be done. 🙂

    1. > The Jedi philosophy is loosely based on Taoism which does concern
      > itself with the whole more so than any one person. The needs of the
      > many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one, if I may enter Vulcan
      > logic into this. 😉

      So what Lucas was trying to say in the current movies was said better by Star Trek over 20 years ago? To quote hitchhiker’s, “Poingiant. Very poingnant.”

      After Episode Zero gave us Darth-Darth Binks and Mannequin Skywalker, I ignored episode zero-plus-one until it wandered by on HBO at a relative’s house. I’d already been warned that the Angsty Teenage Mannequin was happy Padme wasn’t sand, but the whole bit with threepio’s head and flying r2d2 was just irredeemable. WHAT was Lucas SMOKING?

      Yeah, the lightsaber battle at the end of Episode Zero was cool. Too bad it seemed to belong to a completely different (and much better) movie. (Now if Darth Maul had been coming to kill _Padme_ rather than coming after the Jedi, it would all have tied together instead of being an unmotivated diversion, but not only was Lucas missing the obvious he apparently wasn’t listening to anybody else pointing it out to him, either. Hello, they are bodyguards. If nobody wants to kill the person they’re guarding, why are they _there_?) And Yoda going postal was cool (my relatives made a frog-in-a-sock analogy that I can see, although to me it the only comparison has to be Miss Piggie).

      But Lucas forgot that eye candy does not a movie make! I’ve got “making of” videos from 1982 where he’s talking about how each movie was faster than the one before it. But as he got older he’s obviously slowed down, and not in a mellow Eric Clapton way. In Return of the Jedi he had workers spend six months building Jabba’s barge and then blew it up in less than three seconds of screen time! How long did the nameless space station in episode zero take to blow up on screen? Longer than the orignial Death Star in 1977! (You can hear the John Williams music orchestra hold a note, take a breath, and continue the darn note. _Williams_ was going “this is too long”. Go back and listen.) It seems like if he did Jabba’s Barge again today he’d recreate the 12 minutes of exterior footage of the Enterprise from Star Trek: The Motionless Picture (where Nomad has gone before).

      There’s a reason “the phantom edit” is widely considered a much better movie than Episode Zero, and it’s not just cutting out Darth-Darth binks. (Yousa all gonna die! He’d have made a great _evil_ character. We’ve already got hating his guts down. Go with your strengths…)

      1. Bravo!

        Hah! Some excellent points here. But I don’t know if I agree about Darth Maul. The Sith got their power from hate, mainly hate for the Jedi. Dying for pointless revenge (and sacrificing apprentices in order to taunt and confuse) seems right up their alley.

  6. Where I think the Jedi philosophy really screws up is taking the idea of the balance from Taoism, where there is bad in good and good in bad and blending it with the Judaeo-Christian tradition of good vs. evil. The problem is that one deals in absolutes and the other deals in more abstract philosophy. IMHO, anyway. 🙂 Of course “Jedi” brings in the idea of redemption, which at the very least is a little more universal. Plus Vader killing the Emperor at the end was cool as hell.

  7. Walrus.

    Care to comment on the ongoing keenspot exodus?

    Obviously you left, and left, but now two more of the comics I read (melonpool and wapsi square) have big announcements on their pages that they’re leaving, and a couple of the others have made rumbling noises…

    Is keenspot naturally just a comics incubator that people graduate from, is the internal politics spilling over, are google ads offering that much of a financial incentive to leave…?


    1. Re: Walrus.

      Actually, reallife has been off for a long time. Hence many of their server problems (too much PHP scripting for a high end system).

      /me begins a proper engineering rant…

      wait, better not here.

  8. meh filosofikelity is pested on yey

    I just think Lucas is a terrible communicator, at least with the way he presents the Jedi philosophy.

    I’m seeing a glimmer of something in there that works, but of course he (and of course Yoda) has to screw it up by focusing on the exact wrong thing.

    While I agree with you in the assessment that the Lucas’ Jedi seem to encourage emotional repression (which is a horrible thing to do, and only forces all that emotional energy to go somewhere else), I think that’s not what the Jedi are all about.

    I don’t think it’s about Taoism, though. I’m pretty sure the Jedi have some pretty strong Buddhist elements as well. It’s very similar to the idea of releasing oneself from dukkha by releasing themselves of attachment. This, again, can work, even if the Jedi are seen as warrior-monks.

    A side effect of this would be that a Jedi exemplar would not be a calm being, but a compassionate one. It actually makes them as about as equally ineffective in combat as if they were unemotional, but for different reasons: the unemotional being would feel the urge to feel aggressive to win, and the compassionate being would be endlessly tempted to shield itself from the pain it feels from its opponents. Succumbing to either leads into the Dark Side.

    Of course if Lucas went this way the Jedi Council would have even less influence on its members (or not, and Thai Buddhism comes into mind), and Qui-Gon Jin wouldn’t have had the Council banning him from training Anakin. Possibly.

    1. Re: meh filosofikelity is pested on yey

      Actually I believe the Jedi “Religion” had its ideal roots taken from Buddhism, Shintoism, and most importantly Bushido. While great religions and ideals in their own right, what the Jedi had happen to their way, and arguably what has already happened to what inspired it (especially from an LDS standpoint), is that they became so focused on the how and forgot the why. It was one of the major reasons they were becoming increasingly blind to the force, because they wouldn’t listen. Qui Gon was actually realizing this and trying to usher everyone into a more “natural” sense of what they had in the past. The biggest obstacle in his way though ended up being Yoda, whose rule of 900 years over the Council had been narrowed to the point where it was simply a maintenance of the status quo. Yoda in fact refused to realize the truth of everything until he fought against Palpatine in the Senate Chamber, it took his being beaten to realize that he may have been wrong and that in a way he was responsible for the destruction of his Order.

      One thing that I really liked was how there were little hints here and there that suggested that Palpatine was far older than anyone realized, and the scope of the games within games he played would have done Vladamir Harkonnen proud. Half truths and skillful manipulation in order to force Anakin to realize the problems he already suspected within the Order is what Palpatine used like a maestro conducting an orchestra.

      Oh and Howard, be happy that you got to see it all the way through uninterrupted. The power went out when I saw it yesterday at the point where Anakin went to tell Sidious that Obi-Wan had engaged Grievous, and it stayed out for just over an hour. ^_^

  9. Hey Howard I know it’s been said before a few times but..

    Yoda was wrong. Thats really what it comes down to. Lucas had the entire plot line idea from start to finish after the first movie came out (heck before he said it in enough interviews in the 70’s and 80’s). I know Randytayler below says Lucas is getting old, but just follow the logic. Vader fell because he was an emotional eunch. Luke succeeded because he had his passion and convictions. If you look at IV-VI you can even see Yoda rejecting Luke because he is too emotional! A mistake he made with Anakin and hadn’t learned from.

    To put a more logic perspective.. Think of The Force as electricity. Then think of emotions as resistors. The Force flows through someone with the least emotional turmoil at the moment. But the Force is both corrupting and enhancing. Sometimes you need to be able to block the force out.

    Honestly one really great peek into ‘force mechanics’ is to read I, Jedi. Yeah of course the title is cribbed but it’s really well done.

    Anyway 🙂 I actually said out loud when Vader got up ‘Arrghh… Smash…” heh.

    1. So, in other words, before Luke came along the Jedi had the emotional maturity of a three year old.

      I guess it’s true that a writer cannot successfully write beyond his own personal mental and emotional capabilities.

      1. Actually they had no emtional maturity. They were devoid of emotion. They took a philosophy of being clear-headed and turned it into one of a rejection of all emotions all the time.

  10. Backwards talking it gets ridiculous that Yoda should always be.

    Had to — not out of any anticipation that I would enjoy it, but just to get CLOSURE.

    I know with a surety that I dislike George Lucas. If he ever wants to be friends, he owes me 3 movies first.

    There were lots of cool bits, but it was just hard to sit through. I wanted to fast-forward in so many parts.

    The cheesy dialogue and horrendous direction of the romance scenes — Lucas should be stripped of his director’s license for those. At one point he even “crossed the line” in one scene — a Directing 101 basic that you never disobey, unless you’re intentionally trying to disorient the audience. (They did it in “Sphere” near the end when things got all psycho-mental. Lucas just made a flub — though I don’t know HOW he could’ve flubbed it. In setting up the shot, half a dozen people on set would have instinctively said “Oh, wait, that’s crossing the line.”)

    Loved Order 66, though. Definitely the best part of the movie.

    Didn’t like Ben’s mount.

    Loved Yoda’s entrance to Sidious’ chambers.

    I liked Anakin’s initial reaction to Palpatine being a Sith, but didn’t buy his final conversion after the Windu confrontation. I don’t think Lucas/Palpatine did a good enough job making the Dark Side seem ambiguous or gray. Something more like “As long as people can choose, some will choose evil. Only what the Jedi call the ‘Dark Side’ will let us control and bring peace and order to the Galaxy.” It was hinted at, but I wanted it more clearly, logically argued, I guess.

    “Not from a Jedi” was a great line, though it was my least favorite delivery of all of McDiarmid’s lines.

    Ah well. All good things come to an end, like the Star Wars trilogy came to back in 1997. But all bad things come to an end, too, like the prequels. I can stop being angry…. riiiiiiight…. now!

    1. Re: Backwards talking …

      At one point he even “crossed the line” in one scene — a Directing 101 basic that you never disobey, unless you’re intentionally trying to disorient the audience.
      Sorry; it was a long movie, and I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about. Crossed what line, at what point, in what scene? Is this some kind of fourth wall thing? What are you on about?

      1. Re: Backwards talking …

        It’s a film term. Hard to describe without a picture.

        In a scene with Padme — I think learning that Anakin went to the Jedi temple, which she can see across the city — we jump over the line to watch her start to cry.

        I only noticed because I was jarred out of the movie. Did time pass? Where are we now? And then I realized he’d crossed the line, and left me confused.

        It’s a fundamental rule. Like “dissolves” mean time passing. Like starting on a wide establishing shot to show where your characters are, then moving to a medium shot, then doing close-ups when you get to the more important part of the conversation.

        You can break the rule, but you need to know you’re creating new film language when you do so. Like how we add -ing to verbs to make present participles and gerunds. You don’t add -ing to an adjective. “He was blueing and olding the car to hide its shiny red paint job.” Okay, he’s making the car blue, I guess, and making it look old? But how? How do you “blue” something?

        It can still convey a thought, and new language is created all the time this way, but only when it’s needed.

        Lucas wasn’t saying anything new in the shot. He just made a mistake.

  11. Yoda II

    I want to rephrase Yoda’s advice using the book Hardcore Zen and see if it sounds better that way. Here goes:

    The life you desire is imaginary, and cannot be real. Even if the future happens “as you want”, it won’t be the picture you imagine. If this brings you suffering, then life is suffering. Stop focusing on the picture and live in the real world! If you feel pain then experience it willingly, as you would any part of the present. Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist. But don’t dwell on “what should be” so much that it stops compassionate work in the present.

    That at least seems more human. Yoda shows us the warrior’s version. Perhaps he assumed that a Jedi would know all this. Or maybe Lucas isn’t a Zen Master. ^_^

  12. a thought about “Darth Plagus”

    Palpatine tells a story of a Sith named Darth Plagus, who was able to save people from death. He was betrayed by his student and, in the bible-wresting words of Palpatine, he was able to save others, but he could not save himself. My question: in the spirit of C.S. Lewis’ naming Christ “The Enemy” in The Screwtape Letters, is it possible that “Darth Plagus” was a Jedi, and that the Sith really were extinct until Palpatine betrayed his teacher?

    1. Re: a thought about “Darth Plagus”

      I suspect Darth Plagus was, in fact, a Sith Lord, and had artificially extended both his own and his apprentice’s (Palpatine’s) life spans.

      I also suspect that Plagus’ ability to create life from midichlorians was shared with Palpatine/Sidious, and he used it to spawn Anakin Skywalker. I mean, Lucas as much as TOLD us that’s what happened — it’s just that nobody was there to connect all the dots on screen.


      1. Re: a thought about “Darth Plagus”

        I also think Plagus may have created Anakin, but that doesn’t preclude the possibility of his actually being a Jedi (or of his extending Palpatine’s life, if Palpatine was his student). Perhaps he withheld things from Palpatine for his own good, just as the Jedi were trying to do for Anakin, but Palpatine became jealous and used the power he already had to kill “Plagus” and revive the Sith.

        It seems like such a classic way for Satan to spin a story: “they’re not trying to protect you; they just don’t want you to share their power” is right out of the Garden of Eden. Plagus could have created Anakin to try to bring balance to the Force, just as the prophecy said, but a serpent tried to foil his plans by causing his first creation to fall. But the Force continued in the seed of that first creation so that he was redeemed and the fall of the Republic was reversed.

        Or have I just gone ’round the bend?

      2. Re: a thought about “Darth Plagus”

        And oops– I just re-read your post and realized you think Palpatine created Anakin, not Plagus. Sorry

  13. I just watched The Empire Strikes Back to wash my brain after Ep. III, and I noticed something curious.
    First read this:
    Done? Okay.
    As you noted, the Jedi are indeed emotional cripples. But it’s not just Luke’s adulthood that gives him strength. Every Jedi who suppresses his emotions is Alice. He’s never been tempted because he represses the emotions that would tempt him and avoids situations that provoke emotional response. Anakin wasn’t raised in that environment, so he never learned to repress his emotions… so when he was faced by a powerful temptation, he fell. Luke, on the other hand, had a minor crash course in the Dark Side in the cave on Dagobah, then a much more serious encounter on Bespin. In both cases, he had to face his demons rather than running from them and suppressing the fear as most Jedi would. When he finally faced Vader on the second Death Star, he’d learned what temptation was like and learned how to choose the right course–he became Cathy.

  14. One funny little thing was how Anakin’s acting style worked better once he had gone over to the dark side. I mean, it didn’t really change much at all, but once you knew that he was disillusioned and corrupted, it just… worked.

    Also, the thing about saving someone from dying: In the extended universe (I think it was), it turns out that Palpatine was actually seeking to use Luke’s body as his own, since his own was on the verge of expiring. He’s discovered a way to keep living: To insert your own soul into someone else’s body. So when Palpatine dies at the end of Episode 6, it’s just his body dying: His soul lives on in one of a whole army of clones (presumably not of Jango Fett) he’s got set up. Whereas the light side way of doing that is, quite simply, to make sure that your soul remains… sentient.

  15. Also notable: The Jedi counsel basically treated Anakin like crap. A lot of his beef about them was fully legitimate. Take, for example (SPOILER) their decision to include him in the counsel even though he wasn’t a Jedi master yet. He complains about this, understandably not wanting to take part in something they apparently don’t think he’s ready for yet, and they basically tell him “sit down and shut up, bitch”. And for a reason that’s also understandably objectionable.

    You can’t really blame him for losing interest in democracy and bureaucracy.

    1. What’s the big deal with getting the title of Jedi Master? Consider: the Force permeates the universe. A Jedi’s power is limited only by his/her ability to use it. It seems to be a lot like the power of faith, or the priesthood. We (the LDS) believe that there are limits to a mortal’s priesthood power, but that’s because there are keys and levels of authority determined by a single intelligent being (God). But if the Force is as the Jedi say, what difference does it make whether the Council gives you a certain title? Anakin was already as powerful as some of the masters. If he had been a Jedi at heart, he would have been content to learn the ways of the Force regardless of his arbitrary rank.

      As I type this, one possible answer occurs to me: denying him the rank of master means that they don’t accept him, and that they may refuse to teach him certain things that would enable his knowledge of and power with the Force to grow. The Jedi and the Sith are Force guilds, and new secrets are given as the initiate rises to each new rank. An initiate may learn from the Force itself, but his/her growth would be greatly accelerated with the help of a master.

      1. When Wicca started, it apparently called all its members priests and priestesses. Then they noticed that in any gathering, 10% of the people do 90% of the work, so now they also have High Priests and High Priestesses. “Jedi Master” does denote a certain level of power, but mainly it recognizes the willingness and ability to perform certain work maintaining the Jedi Order. They quite rightly refused to give Anakin this rank. (What kind of teacher cuts off the student’s hand? ^_^)

        As for Anakin’s anger, he saw the refusal as an insult because it went against his sense of what ‘should’ happen. Like most of us, he tended to identify his wishes with morality. The fact that the Council had some silly rules helped exacerbate this tendency.

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