Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Fall and Redemption of Anakin Skywalker

A story in pictures

This piece is composed entirely of images from the six Star Wars films and is a tribute to the saga's central mythology. For a more critical and analytical piece on the movies, please visit my Notes on the Star Wars Saga, which has also been posted this morning.



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20 comments :

J.D. said...

What a fascinating post! An entire character's life represented in pictures. Anakin Skywalker is certainly one of the more intriguing characters in cinema and his arc from an innocent young boy to the most feared person in the galaxy is beautifully realized in most of these films. Good stuff!

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, J.D. By the way, I did two posts today - this one and a more analytical look at the Star Wars saga - but for some reason my jump break didn't take and all the images knocked the second post of the front page. Happened last week two with the Wonders post - argh. Anyway, it's been fixed!

I've had an idea for another post or two in this light, though it wouldn't appear for a few months. Stay tuned.

Stephen said...

Fantastic, MovieMan. I will go and read your notes now.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, Stephen. You & Bob will disagree with much of my notes - I'm still pretty tough on the prequels, though I admire Ep. II & particularly III in many ways. But I thought you'd appreciate this one!

I also re-discovered how visually impressive Revenge of the Sith is. I'm not a huge fan of CGI, it's true, but when it can be quite stirring when used as a backdrop (as long as the landscape itself is synthetic, like Coruscant).

I think the visuals that most blew me away, upon re-visiting for screen-caps, were Empire though, especially those deep blue and orange sets of Cloud City: what gorgeous set design and cinematography!

MovieMan0283 said...

Also, the crisp digital image of Clones & Sith is incredible. Lucas seems much more at home in it than in the traditional celluloid of Phantom Menace, oddly enough.

Stephen said...

Revenge of the Sith and Empire Strikes Back are the most striking visually for me too. I like the Deco design of Cloud City

I actually think, despite relying on its predecessors for much of its impact that Revenge of the Sith may be my favourite of the lot - Emotional, Epic, Beautiful to look at.

The digital / CGI in those last two are indeed excellent.

Daniel Getahun said...

Very cool idea, and I look forward to reading the text version as well.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, Daniel - I'd be interested to hear your own perspective on the saga when you're done, too.

Troy Olson said...

Wow -- I'm not even a huge fan of the whole series, but this is amazing to look at. Knowing how fun it is to get screencaps, I'm curious as to how many hours this took you :)

I'll be reading your text writeup soon.

MovieMan0283 said...

Troy, it's sort of a long story but I took care of the screen-caps for this, In the Beginning..., and a major series coming up in a month or two a few weeks ago. Over the course of 2-3 days (during which I was doing other stuff too of course) I extracted all of these.

I also want to do a big post with screen-caps from the fantastic art-history show Civilisation, so I may be back at it soon! It is pretty fun.

Bob Clark said...

Ha, you've certainly cast a pretty wide net here! Surprising that you left out the ghost of Anakin from the end of ROTJ-- visual proof of Skywalker's spiritual catharsis! Still, an impressive effort. One might even say, MOST impressive...

I will say that you've left out a few key images that always come to my mind when I think of the character, but kept in the really crucial ones-- li'l Ani before the Jedi Council at sunset; Padme holding her husband's mechanical hand; Vader scarred and beaten on the medical table, encircled by an Imperial rotary symbol; blurred behind the sharp-focus of Tarkin, the man holding his leash; sitting at a table in Cloud City, a circular window of clear blue sky behind his head, like a halo; and finally, unmasked as an pale, frail but saved old sinner, cured of all his evils just in time to pass. If I remember correctly, he may have died before reaching his 40th birthday-- would it be going too far to call Anakin/Vader "the most complete man" of the Galaxy Far, Far Away?

...actually, yeah. I have no idea why I said that. I'm mixing Vader with Big Boss, from "Metal Gear". Still, it all works in my head, at least.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, Bob. I TRIED to include the Anakin ghost, I really did (and the Hayden Christensen version, not the Sebastian Shaw). I tried using one shot of it, I tried using the wide and the medium, I tried reversing between it and Luke's reaction. It just didn't work - so I finally just stuck the more somber ending with the funeral pyre. It works ok in the film I think (and the use of the later actor falls into the same category as other changes, like McDiarmid as the Emperor, which make the saga feel more of a whole; I don't really mind it). But here it just seemed a tacked-on feel-good ending.

Yeah, Vader dabbled in a little of everything, didn't he? Dark side, light side, Jedi, Sith, warlord, spiritual guru, wounded son, betrayed lover, stern father, and he even had a hand in creating C-3PO! Ha ha...

Sam Juliano said...

This is quite a unique and thought-provoking post!

And where pray tell is Bob Clark?

Ha!

MovieMan0283 said...

He made a brief appearance 2 comments up, but he & J.D. have pretty much taken over the comments thread under Notes on the Star Wars Trilogy, which is coming close to a Dancing Image record!

Hokahey said...

This wonderful post clearly shows how the Star Wars Saga is so amazingly visual! Well done. Still, to this day, I was very disappointed with Return of the Jedi and very disappointed that Vader went good.

MovieMan0283 said...

Ha! The Dark Side is very strong with you, Hokahey...

Hokahey said...

Yes, the Dark Side is strong with me - and the way I viewed Darth Vader through episodes IV through VI was that the Dark Side was very strong with Darth and I thought the happy resolution was inconsistent and too much contrived to end on a happy note. I enjoyed the evolution of Darth Vader in Episode III - also, the much criticized Episode II comes off as visually gorgeous in your captures here. I love the image of the wedding assemblage. Just beautiful!

MovieMan0283 said...

Fair enough - as for II, I agree. I had not seen the films since they came out, but Bob's essay pointed me to the fact that they were shot digitally, and the sharpness and vividness of the image really caught me this time.

Hokahey said...

MovieMan - Your series of images meme has inspired me for the past week or so and I'm still running with it at Little Worlds.

MovieMan0283 said...

Yikes, sorry I missed this! I've been a bit MIA from the blogosphere for the past week due to "real world" distractions but I will definitely check these out and link them up. By the way, the new banner looks great...