- By Bryan Dean
Many people call the Prequel Trilogy trash. Poor directing, poor writing, poor acting. I disagree. While there are some scenes that, quite honestly, bore me… for the most part it is an incredible story that is believable, imo. Let me share with you why.
Episodes I ~ III is primarily about Anakin Skywalker, as most SW fans know. This is the story of how an innocent, young boy could become the evil, menacing Darth Vader. I don’t know about you, but before the time of the Prequels, I had always wondered just how Darth Vader became, well, Darth Vader. Obi-Wan told us that at one time, Anakin was a good friend. I wondered, how could a man capable of being good friends with the kind and selfless man named Obi-Wan Kenobi become Darth Vader? What could cause such a major transformation? There are many ways that story could be told, if you think about it. However, Mr. Lucas had something in mind, and we now have The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.
A common complaint from some is… ‘why go back to Anakin’s childhood? That’s too far back’. Is it too far back? I don’t think so. It was this period that Anakin leaves his mother to become a Jedi. That is the first step towards his fall… leaving his mother. They were, no doubt, very close. After all, there was no father, which was probably hard for Shmi to deal with, and probably hard to explain to Anakin, if she did at all. TPM showed us that Anakin was special even as a boy, and had a giving attitude, even towards strangers. Yes, the kids loved this movie, but I think adults can too. Looking beyond the flashy graphics, the awesome battles, and the cool lightsaber duels, there is an important message to be found. And that is, an attachment to family is a strong, strong bond that cannot easily be broken. Anakin was going away to join a new family, the Jedi, but he could not break his attachment to his mother. Not to mention a new attachment that formed even before his Jedi training could start… his feelings for Padme.
Attack of the Clones showed us all something else we had been curious about for years… the start of the Clone Wars. Again, this was a movie full of fancy graphics, and incredible battle, and duels between Jedi and Sith. This movie gave us mystery, adventure, and excitement. But it also gave us more reasons why Anakin became Darth Vader. The death of Shmi, for one. Anakin had been away from his mother for so long. Nightmares about her kept him up at night. When the time finally came when he could do something, he was too late. She had been killed. Which brings us to another important link to Darth Vader… the lust for power. After her death, he took revenge. But that wasn’t enough. He wanted the power to save people from death. But did he want to save all people from dying? It seems that he just wanted the power to save the ones that were close to him. He couldn’t save his mother, but there was someone else he could try to save.
Then we have Revenge of the Sith. My favorite of the Trilogy. In this movie we literally witness the transformation of Anakin to Darth Vader. Anakin comes to live in turmoil over his responsibilities to the Jedi, and his role as husband, and future father. A marriage to Padme was forbidden, but Anakin felt he needed that attachment. Losing his mother was too much for him… being with Padme helped him to cope with that loss. Plus, all along, Anakin was being saturated with Sith training from Palpatine. Palpatine told Anakin exactly what he wanted to hear. He even told him supposedly how to save Padme from death. To someone with attachment problems, to know that the power to save someone from death is possible would be a hard thing to forget about. Later, Anakin makes the decision to turn against the Jedi. What follows is perhaps one of the most gut-wrenching sequences in cinema history, Order 66. Anakin becomes so entrenched in the Dark Side, he even kills the very person he turn to the Dark Side for to save, his beloved Padme.
Looking at the picture above, I can see how that young boy from Tatooine could make such a dramatic transformation.
Many people wanted the Prequels to be different. Some would even be satisfied to have the Prequels start at Revenge of the Sith. Not me. The feelings of loss that Anakin had are feelings that I personally can relate to. I can understand why Anakin fell, though I do not condone his actions after his turn. He really had so much going against him right from the start. Yoda knew it. His training would be dangerous. And it certainly was.
Before his death on the second Death Star, we witnessed the return of the little boy from Tatooine. Sure, he was old, scarred, and dying, but that same person who showed a caring, selfless attitude prevailed in the end.
In a nutshell, I personally am satisfied with how the Prequels turned out. I find the transformation of Anakin to Vader believable and understandable.