Thursday, May 21, 2015

31 Day Star Wars Challenge, Day 21: Favorite Scene in Revenge of the Sith

I saw this movie in the theater three times, two of which were by myself. The only real reason that Revenge of the Sith isn't my favorite of the prequels is because of Hayden Christensen, because this really is a far better movie than either of its predecessors. It has better action, better acting*, and better pacing, and I actually felt the stakes as the Jedi fell to the troopers, one by one. It has the exact opposite tone as Return of the Jedi: hopeless.

That being said, my favorite scene happens to be one of the goofiest, even if it isn't trying to be. Funnily enough, it also includes the same character from yesterday's favorite scene - Mace Windu - but the reason for its place in my heart has to do with Ian McDiarmid, playing Chancellor Palpatine. He is what Eddie Redmayne was trying to channel in his portrayal of Balem Abrasax in Jupiter Ascending, and I mean that as praise for McDiarmid (not so much for Redmayne). When Windu tries to arrest and then kill the Chancellor, McDiarmid could have taken the easy way out and just delivered his lines as lifelessly as Christensen did as Anakin. But noooooooo, the veteran actor manages to go all-out nutso, but not in a comedic or cringe-worthy way. Like, it's this weird line to toe, but somehow, he made me believe this character was just as dogmatic as the Jedi on opposite day. He was a fucking Sith.

Film School Rejects published an amazing and hilarious article by Scott Beggs** just two days ago, and he wrote one of the most incredible sentences regarding Palpatine and Anakin.
Palpatine is a perfect Hitler, and Anakin is a moron. A true idiot. An even stupider Harry Potter.
And honestly, that's why this scene delights me so. It's a reflection of that very sentiment. While looking at one of his mentors (albeit one that he feels is "holding him back" even more than Obi-Wan did in the previous movie) fighting against lightning coming from a dude who just admitted that he was pretty much the evilest of all the evils, Anakin's still like, "Nope, gotta save the one who is probably a liar! Death to Windu!" In the meantime, Palpatine, in all his scarred glory, can say to himself, "Job well done, Sideous." The Emperor is truly what Hitler thought he was, although I don't think that the Fuehrer was quite as sane as Palpatine.


* I maintain that Ewan McGregor's performance in the final battle between him and Anakin - let's forget that it takes place on a lava planet, because OMG, that was so fucking stupid - was the best in any of the Star Wars films. The real emotion stemming from his friend's betrayal could be felt, made even more poignant by Christensen's pitiful attempts at displaying anger. "In my opinion, the Jedi are evil!" Goddammit, boy, the dialogue is cheesy, but shit, try.
** I agree with everything in his article except the last sentence. 
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