Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Shroud of the Dark Side

I've stumbled across an surprisingly in depth analysis of Attack of The Clones on Lard Biscuit's "The Shroud of the Dark Side" essays.

He discusses a lot of symbolism, but I was particularly intrigued by how he points out -- in exhaustive detail -- how the backdrop of the fall of the Republic is echoed in a series of literal falls by Anakin, Obi-Wan, Padmé and others throughout the film.

Here's a taste:

...Entering the Geonosian compound, Anakin and Padmé happen upon the battle droid factory Obi-Wan glimpsed earlier. They find themselves isolated on a narrow ledge that quickly retracts, and they both tumble down into the hellish industrial world of the factory. This is Anakin's fifth fall in Episode II, and Padmé's first. The scene unmistakably recalls Luke and Leia's predicament when faced with an unexpected chasm on the Death Star. But where the children succeed in swinging across to safety, the parents fall and become separated.

Here's another good observation:

Artoo and Threepio immediately follow their masters to the same ledge, and Threepio takes a similar dive into the droid factory. Artoo is the only member of our group who avoids falling, by unfurling his surprise rocket jets and blasting off. On a figurative level, Artoo's flight represents how he is perfectly at home in this world of droid construction. When placed in mechanical or computer-based environments, Artoo becomes a sort of "Jedi" in his own right, able to perform miracles and bend reality to his will, as indeed he saves the day for Padmé here.


Then the symbolism really kicks in once Mace Windu and the Jedi arrive. Windu scoffs when Dooku warns him that the Jedi are outnumbered, and Jango Fett's flamethrower attack forces the Jedi Master to leap backwards into the arena. Windu's fall represents the folly of his overconfident pride, as he's knocked off his high horse and made to acknowledge the truth of Dooku's superior numbers. A melee between Jedi and battle droids ensues, with the Jedi getting steadily worn down. At one point the Jedi Master Coleman Trebor attempts to attack Dooku, but ends up plummeting to his death in the arena below, the first of the movie's many falls to be a fatal one. We are witnessing the Jedi Order being knocked off its pedestal.
He even has a little something to say about Threepio's comic relief segment in the Geonosis arena:

Representing the idea of the good person turned bad, the divided Threepio foreshadows the fate of Anakin, his maker. Like Threepio, Anakin will lose part of his identity and transform into a villain; furthermore, Anakin will suffer dismemberment and find the remnants of his body fused with a hideous robotic form. Anakin's golden mechanical prosthesis at the end of Episode II even resembles Threepio's hand. In this context, Threepio's accidental outburst of "Die, Jedi dogs!" changes from humorous to chilling, since that's a threat that the transformed Anakin will actually carry out.

I can't wait to see this guy's analysis of ROTS.

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