This is why I loved Darth Vader as a kid: he is one hundred percent tragic-opera yippee-ky-ay-motherfucker stone-cold spaghetti-Western-black-hat who’s-your-daddy this-is-how-we-do-it-on-the-Death-Star-bitch we-who-are-about-to-die-salute-you capital-B bad-ass. That dude is not trying to hear anything about Indian burns or the silent treatment, and the only thing he’s long-dividing is your ass with his foot.
I wasn’t in the same situation she was as a kid, but I had issues of my own, and I think part of Vader’s appeal is that he turns that rage we felt into power. He doesn’t sit and try not to cry when people tease him. He doesn’t worry about what he’s going to get on the test. He is the man.
She explains perfectly why one of Vader’s post-op lines is so unbelievably retarded and disappointing, and she also summs up Lucas’ problem as a moviemaker:
Lucas can really make a movie look like a million bucks. A big set piece, no problem. Huge battle sequences, shit-kicking Muppets, aging an evil chancellor three hundred years with static electricity, ain’t no thing. Two people just talking to each other and he’s at a complete loss.
Unfortunately, I actually disagree with her a bit in the rest of the essay.
Additional spoilery notes below the cut.
Unlike Sars, I didn’t have trouble with the motivations for Anakin’s turning. I see Anakin as having matured significantly in this film. He’s not nearly as whiny, for a start, and has quit bitching about Obi-Wan and the Jedi holding him back. He’s trying to be a good Jedi. But the whole “Well, you’re on the council but you’re still a n00b” thing pisses him off and riles him up again. Then the Jedi reveal themselves as shady to him by asking him to spy on Palpatine who has always been incredibly good to him. So now Ani is pissed off AND confused – he’s perfectly primed for Palpatine to do the whole “oooh, you could be more powerful — powerful enough to save Padme’s life! — but not as a Jedi. Also, the Jedi are lying, conniving bitches and you shouldn’t trust them.”
Another thing Sars has issues with is his power. As I read it, the reason he’s so powerful after he turns but doesn’t save Padme is that no Sith could have saved her. I firmly believe Palpy was lying or at least heavily fabricating about the Sith who could save people’s lives. Sith power is destructive, not constructive, that’s the point. The Jedi are constructive. I believe a Jedi could figure out how to save a life, but a Sith? Doubtful at best. And even if that one Sith could do it, it’s not a natural, automatic Sith power, as is made clear by Palpy’s comment that he and Anakin will figure out how to do it now that they’re working together.
I was actually kind of impressed with Lucas’s writing and storytelling in this film. Was it perfect? No. Was the dialog good? Well, no, especially not in the scenes with Padme (who dies because she “has lost the will to live?” WTF? Give me a break!). But I liked that there was less exposition and more action, and I thought the conversion was decently done.