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Oh, my goodness. Finally, FINALLY I've found an article addressing just how stupid and nonsensical the whole "dying in childbirth = certain death" excuse for Anakin Skywalker's downfall is. I've read and watched a lot of rants/criticism about the Star Wars prequels, but never one that so thoroughly addressed how ridiculous the whole "dying in childbirth" thing was. I swear, it's like this author was reading my mind.

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/womens-healthcare-star-wars

Sample quotes:





  • "He seriously spends two hours of the movie freaking out about his wife’s uterus, and hypes himself up so much that he gets to the point of slaughtering tiny tots in a Jedi temple. All because he can’t think of another way to save Padme from reproductive health complications."

  • "Why didn’t they just go to a goddamned obstetrician-gynecologist?"

  • "Prenatal visits never happen in Episode III, not even offscreen. Despite Anakin’s spiraling paranoia about Padme’s health, doctors or hospitals are bizarrely never mentioned."

  • "If there were any women’s healthcare available, there is no reason why Padme wouldn’t take advantage of it. For one thing, her husband is flipping the fuck out over her possibly dying in childbirth. Why didn’t she visit a doctor in an attempt to soothe his fevered mind?"

  • "Even if access to reproductive health services is limited in this galaxy—as in ours—Padme is probably the woman best situated to get it. She’s a sitting Senator residing in Coruscant, the capital of the galaxy. She’s clearly a woman of means, given that she has three elaborate costume changes for every hour of the day. Padme is hanging out in a posh penthouse in the most populous city in the galaxy: if there’s medical assistance out there, she can get it."

  • "And if the couple were still super paranoid about visiting the doctor together, she could just go by herself. It’s not like “ANAKIN SKYWALKER IS THE SECRET FATHER OF MY BABY” is written on her cervix."

  • "The droid then goes onto pronounce that she has “lost the will to live,” despite leading with an admission that they don’t know what’s wrong. How is that consistent? And why would a robot be programmed to detect “will to live”? In short, this droid is completely full of shit."

  • "That said, depression after giving birth, and death caused by emotional shock, are both real things. But they’re medical things, with diagnosable symptoms and actual medical remedies. The same thing goes for a death caused by Anakin Force-choking Padme when she goes to confront him. A Force-choke is still a choke, and a choke is a physical cause of injury. If any of these things actually caused Padme’s death, then this droid is just an incompetent fuck who doesn’t know what it’s doing."

  • "But the point is that broken-heart syndrome manifests as literal heart failure: the left ventricle of the heart spasms the way it does in a conventional heart attack caused by blocked arteries. But cardiac failure isn’t mentioned by the medical droid."

  • "But in general, you don’t really just up and die from postpartum depression. However, you’d think that if Padme were dying from being very sad, someone would at least mention postpartum depression? You know, in passing. Maybe even eliminating it as a possible diagnosis."

  • "But no, in Revenge of the Sith, everything related to birth is just a big question mark hanging over the characters. Who even knoooooows how uteruses work? Sometimes they just kill people, randomly, because you get sad."

  • "Even if we do accept the inane premise that she lost the will to live and died of being sad about Anakin, she’s only sad because Anakin has completely lost his shit after psyching himself out over her imminent death in childbirth. If Anakin hadn’t been frightened out of his mind about the deadly capacities of Padme’s fallopian tubes, he wouldn’t have turned to the Dark Side."

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
ladyhadhafang
Jan. 13th, 2017 09:04 pm (UTC)
That was a pretty interesting article! It really does address the issues with Padme's death in the movies really well, and makes a good point about the Force choke. I don't think people would have called bullcrap if the medical droid had said that the Force choke had ultimately killed Padme, or even cardiac failure (even if twenty-seven is pretty young to have cardiac failure). I think the Force choke would have been enough, honestly. Granted, I have my own issues with it (I think it wasn't really handled with the grace it deserved. It was like it was just shoved in, though then again a lot of Anakin's more evil acts kind of feel that way. I actually watched Jeremy Jahns' review of ROTS and he made a good case, IMHO, as to why the kids scene in the Temple actually wasn't necessary), but if Lucas had gone with that explanation I think people would have bought it.

Um...hope I made sense.

Edited at 2017-01-13 09:10 pm (UTC)
aikaterini
Jan. 14th, 2017 11:26 pm (UTC)
/I don't think people would have called bullcrap if the medical droid had said that the Force choke had ultimately killed Padme/

I still would’ve had issues with it because of the timeframe of Padme’s death: it still doesn’t fit with what Leia said in RotJ at all. But at least the Force choke would’ve actually made sense instead of this made-up “she lost the will to live” nonsense.

/It was like it was just shoved in/

I really wonder if the original reason was just to get Padme out of the way so that Anakin and Obi-Wan could have their showdown. And then maybe George Lucas wanted the visual parallel of both Padme and Anakin on the operating table, so he had Padme die as a result of it, completely forgetting that Leia remembered her mother and Luke did not in RotJ.

/though then again a lot of Anakin's more evil acts kind of feel that way. I actually watched Jeremy Jahns' review of ROTS and he made a good case, IMHO, as to why the kids scene in the Temple actually wasn't necessary/

Honestly, nothing about the scene works. First of all, if you’re trying to convince us that there’s still good in this man who’s succumbed to darkness, then one of the ways you could do that would be to show that killing the kids is the LAST thing he'd want to do. He’s going to be a father himself and yet he has no qualms about killing children (then again, he had no problem killing Tusken children in AotC *grumbles*)? You could have Anakin either hand the task over to the clones OR (even better) you could have him secretly force the kids to leave while telling them that he’ll kill them if they ever come back. But by having him slaughter children (with the same lightsaber that his son inherits, no less), it just further makes his redemption unbelievable.

Second of all, why are the kids the ONLY Jedi that we see him kill on-screen? Who handles the adult Jedi? The clones! All of this build-up about Darth Vader, about how he “hunted down the Jedi”, implying that they could only be defeated by one of their own, and yet a bunch of clones can do it without breaking a sweat and all Anakin ends up doing is killing a bunch of kids. Yeah, I sure see why it was so important for Palpatine to turn him to the Dark Side.

Jeremy Jahns also made the point that if George Lucas did mean for Palpatine to be the cause of Padme’s death (as many fans have tried to give as an explanation for her inexplicable demise), he would’ve showed it. There would’ve been some scene of Palpatine cackling while Padme was on her deathbed or something, because George Lucas…tends not to be subtle. At least not in the prequels.

Don't worry, you made perfect sense! :)
ladyhadhafang
Jan. 15th, 2017 12:32 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's true. I mean, unless Leia had an incredible memory reaching back to newbornhood, it's pretty unlikely that she would be able to remember her mother in that aspect.

And that's pretty likely.

And very well-said! I think that Lucas put it in to show how "evil" Anakin was, but honestly, he didn't seem to have thought about the weight of including a scene like that. He didn't really think it through.

Honestly, re: the Tusken camp thing, was it necessary to have Anakin basically commit genocide in general in the second movie? I mean, the whole point of the prequels was supposed to be that Anakin was a good man who was seduced by the Dark Side, but Lucas kind of didn't seem to know if he wanted that or to show Anakin as...I dunno what he was going for. I think that really is one of the prequels' problems; they don't really know what they want Anakin to be. I think if they showed him as a good man who made bad choices for what he thought were the right reasons, it would have been powerful and effective enough; Lucas didn't need to have those two scenes in there.

(It's actually an issue that leaks into the Clone Wars series as well. With other villains, that is, not Anakin)

And good point. They should have shown Anakin hunting the adult Jedi too.

And another good point by Jahns; I mean, Lucas probably would have shown if Palpatine had anything to do with it, methinks. (That was a really awesome review in general; it really went into ROTS in quite a bit of depth)

And thanks!
aikaterini
Jan. 16th, 2017 03:07 am (UTC)
/I think that Lucas put it in to show how "evil" Anakin was, but honestly, he didn't seem to have thought about the weight of including a scene like that. He didn't really think it through./

I think that’s true for most of the prequels. :P

/Honestly, re: the Tusken camp thing, was it necessary to have Anakin basically commit genocide in general in the second movie?/

Personally, I wouldn’t have wanted him to commit genocide at all (since he’s still supposed to be redeemable by the end), but if that had to happen, why in the second movie? So many things seemed out of order. The Tusken genocide already marked him as being on the Dark Side, so the movie(s) are no longer able to pretend that he’s still a noble person who has yet to fall. Plus, Anakin committing genocide before he and Padme get married just makes her look like an idiot for marrying him anyway. Why not save that until after they get married and after she becomes pregnant? That way she doesn’t look as culpable.

In the 2nd movie, he’s constantly sniping at Obi-Wan and badmouthing him behind his back, yet they’re shown working well together as a team in the beginning of the 3rd film. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Obi-Wan and Anakin to act like best friends in the 2nd film and then show their relationship falling apart in the 3rd movie?

/I mean, the whole point of the prequels was supposed to be that Anakin was a good man who was seduced by the Dark Side, but Lucas kind of didn't seem to know if he wanted that or to show Anakin as...I dunno what he was going for./

I really don’t know either. There was so many decisions made about Anakin’s character in the prequels that boggled me (showing him as a 9-year-old, making him C-3PO’s inventor, making him an immature teenager, the Tusken massacre, etc.). He was a nice kid because he’s supposed to be good, then he became a whiny teenager because…that’s how Lucas thinks teenagers act and he thought that would make audiences relate to him? But then he tosses in a scene of genocide because Anakin’s gotta have darkness in him too, but then remembers that it’s not the third movie yet, so Anakin’s still supposed to be “good”…and then in the 3rd movie, that’s when he becomes Darth Vader, so child-killing and wife-strangling ahoy!

…Except that we’re still supposed to care about Anakin and believe that he could redeem himself three movies later. Umm…

/I think that really is one of the prequels' problems; they don't really know what they want Anakin to be./

Which is weird, because Obi-Wan practically spelled him out in “A New Hope.” A cunning warrior, the best star pilot in the galaxy, and a good friend. How does that translate to a 9-year-old pod racer and a whiny teenager who spends most of his time complaining about Obi-Wan?

/I think if they showed him as a good man who made bad choices for what he thought were the right reasons, it would have been powerful and effective enough/

Yes, that’s what I thought they would’ve done. There was so much potential in the idea of Anakin originally being a slave. He could either turn to the Dark Side for the noble goal of ending slavery and bringing order to a chaotic galaxy or, if he was supposed to be selfish, turn to the Dark Side because he thought it would be the only way to become powerful enough to be his own master and never worry about feeling helpless again.

/Lucas didn't need to have those two scenes in there./

He really didn’t. :(
ladyhadhafang
Jan. 16th, 2017 03:22 pm (UTC)
True that. :)

And yeah, that's a good point. Why not save it for the third movie instead, or, heck, even the Clone Wars series actually to show how Anakin's jumping off the slippery slope so to speak. (I heard the Clone Wars animated series did better showing Anakin's darker side. I heard, at least. So it would have made more sense to save it for there)

Yeah, I think you summed it up. Anakin was dictated by what Lucas thought the movies needed, not really by anything organic. (Someone on io9 also brought up some more points: http://io9.gizmodo.com/kylo-ren-is-everything-that-anakin-skywalker-should-hav-1749606647. I thought they brought up some interesting points in regards to how Anakin's descent towards the Dark Side was mishandled. I don't know if you'll agree with all of it, but I personally found it interesting)

And good point! I mean, Lucas really could have taken those points and gone from there. Sort of building on them.

And I like your ideas a lot. Seriously. And the thing is, they would have fit into Vader's character; I mean, part of Vader's recruitment pitch to Luke was "end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy". So Anakin turning either out of a desire to bring order or to be his own master...that really could have worked.

Edited at 2017-01-16 03:23 pm (UTC)
aikaterini
Jan. 17th, 2017 02:01 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link! You're right, the article was interesting. I don't know if Anakin visibly being as passionate and full of rage as Kylo would fix everything (I still would've taken out the Tusken massacre, Padme's Pregnancy of Doom, and the slaughter of the Jedi kids), but it would've been better than what we got. And I do agree that Anakin just seemed to be going through the motions. Why is he marching to the Jedi Temple? Because Palpatine/the script said so.

Actually, have you seen the film "Ladyhawke?" Rutger Hauer's character, Navarre, is a lot like what I imagined the younger Vader/Anakin to be. A proud, brave, and skilled warrior who's devoted to the woman he loves, while also being stubborn and hot-tempered.

Thanks! I think that it would've made him a better foil to Luke as well. Darth Vader is meant to be a cautionary tale for Luke, his 'darker' half as it were. If he started out as an idealistic man, I think that would serve the point better.
ladyhadhafang
Jan. 17th, 2017 08:08 am (UTC)
No problem! Yeah, it really did go into detail as to why one worked and the other didn't. And taking out those elements you mentioned really would have worked as well. And honestly, "because the script said so" could apply to a lot of what Anakin does. Why does he kill the Tusken kids, for example -- because the script said so and didn't really think about the weight of that scene. Same with the Temple and all.

I may have to watch Ladyhawke! It sounds awesome. (And Rutger Hauer is awesome, so I'm down for it)

No problem! And yeah, good point re: Vader being a foil to Luke and how making him younger and more idealistic would have worked.
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