1: Darth Vader’s Scream in"Revenge Of The Sith"
Everyone knows Darth Vader to be a cruel villain with little regard for who lives or dies. In Luke Skywalker’s quest to save the galaxy (always with the saving the galaxy for these people, tsch) Vader is built up to be the villain he must fight at the end to save the day. We see Vader attack Luke’s friends and allies, and try to kill him on several occasions. When he fails, he kills the generals he sent to do the killing. All the while though, we know that come the end of the series, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker will have an epic fight and Luke will probably win. The way in which this happens, though, was unique, in that we found out Vader was Luke’s biological father in the second film of the trilogy. This made it even more tense, and in fairness the way everything pays off makes sense and feels like a good ending that the characters have earned. Vader is redeemed, and Luke is the hero.
Yet whilst the audience was watching the films and thinking how interesting the conflict became, George Lucas was thinking something else – these people need to have the origins of Darth Vader spelt out in excruciating detail using various levels of computer generation in place of plot or characters. And as George Lucas, thinks, so it shall be done. Three prequels were made to Star Wars which turned the focus of the films from Luke Skywalker to his father, Anakin, played with robotic pizzazz by Hayden Christianson, already proving to be one of the worst lead actors of his generation. The part of the final film in the prequel line-up that destroyed everything, though, was hardly Christianson’s fault. It’s no spoiler to say that Anakin turns into Darth Vader after an epic FAIL in his fight with Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his wife, Padme, dies after giving birth to twins.
It’s during the transformation – arguably the one scene the entire series has been leading up to, and the point of these three films – that the audience realised just how rubbish the film was. We get the slow-motion shots of Vader’s armour being put together, he rises atmospherically while a bunch of operatic singers wail melodramatically, and James Earl Jones returns to provide the voice. It should be a massive moment, the central moment of all six films. And this is what happens:
That scream is the worst set-up ever. Poor James Earl Jones gets practically nothing to do before the scene shifts away and Vader is evil and Anakin Skywalker is completely gone. What we demanded as audiences was to care about Padme dying and how that would affect Anakin, but instead people were actively waiting for her to die and (at least where I was) laughing at Anakin’s pathetic emo moans. This scene cemented the fact that the first three films are almost entirely without merit and partially ruined what was the best trilogy of all time. Try watching the original Star Wars now without remembering the reason Anakin/Vader is doing all of this is because he’s a whiny idiot, and see if it still seems as terrifying when he first appears.
On the plus side, this scream single-handedly won the Back to the Future/Star Wars debate without Michael J. Fox having to lift a finger.