Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Second Time, Same As the First

The more I watch these, I think Attack of the Clones might be my favorite of the Prequels. It’s got so much going on. Let’s look at the beginning for a second.

Once again, we have an early scene with two Jedi discussing their mission.

I don't need more security, I need answers. I want to know who is trying to kill me.

We're here to protect you Senator, not to start an investigation.

We will find out who is trying to kill you Padmé, I promise you.

We are not going to exceed our mandate, my young Padawan learner.

Paralleling the scene near the beginning of Episode I. Before Qui-Gon was the mentor and Obi-Wan the apprentice, now Obi-Wan is the master.

Before Qui-Gon was assured and calming Obi-Wan, now Anakin is hot-headed but managed by coolly insistent Obi-Wan. Anakin is whiny and tempermental.

Except, Qui-Gon was wrong. Remember he was assuring Obi-Wan that nothing wrong was going on, right before there was a trap.

What are Anakin and Obi-Wan actually arguing about here? Whether they are going to investigate the assassination attempts. Of course they are going to investigate! We the audience wants the plot to move forward, and purely playing defense isn’t going to do anything about that. (Obi-Wan is correct in his interpretation of the Jedi Council’s orders of course, but the Jedi Council is also often wrong. Yoda just said the Dark Side is clouding their vision, but they do nothing to investigate it.)

But since these movies have the perspective of the complacent Jedi (such as Obi-Wan, or even more, Yoda who is arguably the protagonist of Episode 2), we see things as they do. Obi-Wan is calm and acting on authority, so he must be right. Anakin is uncertain and full of attachment to Senator Amidala, so he must be wrong. Even though if the sides were presented without these tints, then, we would see pretty quickly the the apprentice is right once again.

Hell, in the entirety of these trilogies, do an apprentice and master ever disagree and the master is proved unambiguously right? I’m struggling to think of any examples.


The scene also shows us Anakin’s unhealthy attachment to Padme, a woman he hasn’t seen in ten years (what other woman has Anakin not seen in ten years.) It’s pretty clearly a bad relationship from start to finish, but the question of attachment is a much more difficult one.

The Jedi talk about attachment, and escaping it, a great deal so we can’t really ignore it. Yet the reality the movies present of attachment is much more muddled. Luke rejects Yoda twice, first by rescuing his friends, and secondly by trusting his father. Personal attachment like that saves the galaxy.

But it looks quite bad on the elder Skywalker.

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