The Journey Continues: Revenge Of The Sith

imdb.com

It was an epic year of high school firsts and personal discoveries, of big victories and small failures, and over-all great change in the weeks and months leading up to the release of Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith. And throughout it all, my house was chock-full of minutely detailed fan-theories and wide-eyed conspiracy theories regarding the final fate our galactic heroes and supposed villains. I remember having countless detailed conversations with my dad as to what exactly was going to make Anakin turn to the darkside and become Darth Vader. We all figured it had something to do with Padme dying since we’d all seen what happened with his mother and the rage that lurked beneath the surface, especially considering he loved her so intensely and she definitely wasn’t in the originals. so as sad as it was, it was a safe bet that our badass Queen turned Senator was going to be taken from us somehow. But by whom? How? And why? These were the million-dollar questions and dear god did we have some crazy ideas.

weheartit.com

Looking back at it all, the entire lead-up to the release was completely nerve-wracking and thrilling – the stakes had never been so high for me before with regards to a movie franchise. The only thing that came close was waiting for each new Harry Potter book (and let me tell you was a whole-other level of stress, especially after The Goblet of Fire), but Star Wars was something I had literally been born into, I had lived and breathed with theses character and their stories my entire life, and now with this final episode on the horizon, we were going to be given the answers to every question we as fans had ever asked ourselves. What were we going to do with ourselves once it was all over?!

tenor.com

I remember when the Sunday paper released the first detailed images of Episode III and Anakin, I was eating breakfast with my family at one of our favorite diners and I just couldn’t take my eyes off the haunting image of Ani surrounded by the black and red of Mustafar. This was it… it was actually finally happening. The Anakin I had fallen in love with over the last two films was about to face the thing that was going to break him, that was going to turn him from the bright happy boy who loved an amazing woman, to the black-clad mechanical monster that terrorized the galaxy. I was going to be with him every step of the way, but this was a perilous journey and I knew we weren’t all going to make it through to the other side. I was almost 16, and this was the first time I had to let a character go. I’d known going in that there was no saving him, but over the course of two films and six years, I had forgotten somehow that Anakin was not mine to keep. That I had to give him back to fate so that he could become the villain he was meant to be. Because the end of his story had already been told, it was the cliffhanger of a middle that was about to be revealed.

giphy.com

When the film finally soared into theaters May 19th 2005 my parents, my little brother, and I took our seats and I held my breath. This was the last time we wouldn’t know the whole story…or so we thought. It didn’t surprise me to learn that I had been right, that it was the loss of Padme, or rather the fear of losing her, that lead Anakin down the darkest of paths, but I was blown away by how intense every second of the film was. I cried in anguish as Anakin made that fatal decision to leave the Jedi temple to stop Mace Windu from arresting Palpatine, and then again in horror as he marched back into the temple to wreck the destruction of Darth Vader. That scene shocked me more than any other. My Anakin was gone, I had watched him leave, watched him blur into Darth Vader before my very eyes, and no amount of begging and pleading from either Padme or myself could get him to stop and come back to the light. I left the theater stunned and absolutely amazed, telling those waiting in line for the next showing that they were in for a heck of an emotional roller-coaster!

gfycat.com

Fourteen years later and I still feel utter shock and devastation every time I watch Revenge of the Sith. Every time Anakin stands alone in the temple, feeling the weight of Padme’s life on his shoulders I want to scream at him not to leave, not to make this horrible decision. Even as I’ve gotten older and my love of the Jedi Order has faded into a much harsher viewpoint, I still find myself wishing that Anakin could have found another way, that he had just waited for Obi-Wan or something, I don’t even know what really! But his fate was sealed long before his birth, and this was the path the Force set him upon and no amount of tears or wishes was going to keep him from bring balance to the galaxy in the most brutal way possible.

pinterest.com

And in the end that’s what makes this film so epic and timeless. No matter how much time has passed since its original release, fans still find themselves interacting with the moments playing out onscreen, hoping time and again that this time the story changes, that this time Anakin makes a different choice. We sit there entranced as the events unfold before us, the way that they always have ever since 2005 and still we can’t help but have hope. Hope that this time, we can rewrite the story, that we can defy fate. Hope that this time, maybe if we’re strong enough, we can reach through the Force and save the characters we’ve come to love.

elenatintil.blogspot.com

The Journey Continues: Attack of the Clones

It was a year chock-full of Harry Potter hysteria, marching band performances, swoon-worthy new crushes, and general over-the-top middle-school histrionics when Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, finally soared into theaters in May of 2002. Three months shy of my thirteenth birthday and with the end of seventh grade looming on the horizon, I was in that dreamy/dopey stage of life where everything was epic and larger than life and I didn’t understand half of what my peers were talking about, but it was fun just being in the conversations. It’s easy to look back on this time of my life and cringe at the ridiculous nature of how everything was so dramatic and completely larger than life all the time, but in reality that’s what made it so great. And the same goes for the movie itself. Yes it’s cheesy and over-the-top and I spent half the movie cringing from second-hand humiliation but my God that’s what makes it so amazing.

My biggest (and most awkward and therefore embarrassing) memory of AOTC releasing happened a few days after seeing the movie in the theater. A fellow classmate mentioned how many times Anakin and Padme “made out” and as I had the completely wrong idea of what that phrase meant, I was horrified and vehemently denied it, like what movie did you watch?! I know, I’m still getting red-faced thinking back on it now, but I was a Harry Potter obsessed band-geek walking cliché, I wasn’t up on all the dating terminology. Suffice it to say, I was completely confused and then epically embarrassed to discover that it just meant kissing…

Sigh, don’t you just miss middle-school?!


Anyway – despite my lack of dating knowledge, I was and always have been a sucker for romance (the more extravagant and angsty the better) and this movie with its idyllic picnic sequence and forbidden love tension just fed my melodramatic pre-teen soul. Han and Leia had a love that burned bright and true in the original trilogy, but Anakin and Padme’s suppressed desire rattled the damn stars. This is the type of drama I LIVED for, and between AOTC and Moulin Rouge, it was a damn fine time to be alive. If at any point Anakin had sung a ballad to Padme declaring his undying love and devotion like Moulin Rouge’s Come What May, I may have actually perished.

In a lot of ways this second movie – and especially the characterization of Ani – encapsulated who I was when I watched it for the first time – endearingly awkward and sweet, full of hope for the future and the promise of adventure. But beneath the surface, there’s the churning of fate and the inescapability of time as the first tugs of destiny pull you toward the path of adulthood. There’s fear and resentment and anger but it’s tempered with the brightest of joys and the thrill of experiencing so many life-altering firsts. First love, first solo trip, first time making decisions for yourself, and of course, the first true dose of epic humiliation.

Overall, Attack of the Clones was a whirlwind, wild ride of all out emotions and danger and drama, and frankly some of the most gorgeous fashion statements I’ve ever seen in my entire life. (I’m looking at YOU lake dress!!!) I laughed, I cried, I cringed, and almost twenty years later, I’m still enraptured by the beauty of it all, of the forbidden love between a Jedi and a Senator that couldn’t be denied, and the tragic-and-yet unbreakable bond between Anakin and Obi-Wan that runs just as deeply. It marks the end of Anakin’s youth, the end of his innocence, and sets the stage for the inevitable enactment of his destiny. And as someone transitioning into adulthood at the time myself, I could totally relate. This is the phase of life where everything is possible, where you’re invincible and at your most vulnerable, and every emotion is a torrent that threatens to consume you. This is middle school my friends, and damn wasn’t it a magical time to be alive.

Media via:

imdb.com

pinterest.com

thecantina.starwarsnewsnet.com

tenor.com

pinterest.com