Great Scenes of The Prequel Trilogy: Yoda Counsels Anakin

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Shortly after Anakin experiences his premonition that Padmé dies in childbirth, the troubled Jedi goes to see Yoda for advice. Because of the secrecy of his relationship with Padmé, he cannot come right out and tell Yoda, “Hey, I think my pregnant wife is going to die!” But he does tell Yoda that he had a vision of “someone” close to him dying. If Yoda has any idea of who it might be, he never reveals it. After he listens to Anakin, he gives sage advice that also turns out to be absolutely the worst possible thing you could say to Anakin. “Mourn them do not. Miss them do not,” Yoda counsels, because they get to be part of the Force. By the time Yoda talks about holding on to loved ones is the shadow of greed, you just know Anakin has probably tuned him out already. It’s not the answer Anakin wanted to hear. He wanted a concrete, mechanical solution to prevent Padmé’s death before it happens. Yoda’s right that there really isn’t anything one can do if it’s someone’s time to go and that trying to clutch on to someone, even from the inevitability of death, because you can’t bear being without them is a form of greed. But just from my standpoint, “miss them do not” is a little too cold. Perhaps Yoda had become somewhat inure to losing friends because of his very long lifespan. Plus the Jedi philosophy emphasizes detachment. But, it’s normal and human to mourn and to miss people we lose. In fact it’s part of the natural process and a psychological necessity.

This subtle, short scene is very important because as Lucas noted in his commentary, when Anakin is disturbed and frightened by his visions, he goes to “God” first (i.e. the most powerful good guy, Yoda) and when he doesn’t get the answer he wants, he goes to the “devil,” Palpatine. Palpatine of course offers Anakin a solution.

One of the things I love about this scene is the way Yoda is animated. His gestures and expression remind me of a shrink trying to get a patient to open up and talk. Hayden Christensen does a terrific job playing off of Yoda, given that there wasn’t animated figure there when the scene was originally shot! He’s quiet and keeps his emotions in check while speaking to the Jedi Master but you can also tell there’s something deep down that’s bothering him. The overall rhythm of the back and forth creates an effect of tension when Yoda’s sparse quarters is supposed to be a sanctuary of peace and meditation. Williams’s score is quiet, just underscoring the drama rather than trying to dominate it. Topping it off is the way the room is lit. It’s dark with slats of light coming in from the blinds, for the conflict between light and dark is taking place in this very conversation but neither of them know it. The light catches Anakin’s blue eyes but otherwise the dark obscures most of his face. It also visually represents the secrecy that affects the conversation.

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5 Responses to “Great Scenes of The Prequel Trilogy: Yoda Counsels Anakin”

  1. peacetrainjedi Says:

    Yeah, the cinematography in this scene is incredible! And a great gold-mine of Yoda quotes applicable to many aspects of life. This scene and the rumination scene in the Jedi Council Chambers are my favorite scenes from Hayden in Revenge of the Sith.

  2. Adam D. Bram (The Nilbog) Says:

    Right lesson, wrong time.

    “MOOOOM?”
    “Calvin, don’t yell from across the house! Come over here!”
    *walk walk*
    “I stepped in dog doo. Where’s the hose?”

  3. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    [“Perhaps Yoda had become somewhat inure to losing friends because of his very long lifespan.”]

    I believe that in the end, Yoda discovered that he was not immune to the grief of losing friends.

    But like many, Yoda was very good at not practicing what he preached.

  4. PrinceOfNaboo Says:

    Really liked the lighting as well. The light and dark contrast kind of alludes to the nature of life and death. I mean, not a lot separates life and death. Sometimes it’s only one choice and then eternity.

    When we talk about this scene: I never knew if this is an error on my DVD or part of the score. But on my DVD, there is a quiete yet clearly identifiable, metallic “hissing” underlying the scene. It works well, because it nicely support Anakin’s pain and dilemma.
    I just never knew if this was actually a part of the soundtrack….?

  5. lovelucas Says:

    Yoda Yoda Yoda….he’s not listening to what Anakin is saying. Should take his counselor/psychiatrist/friend shingle down. He was none of these things when Anakin was going down for the count. Heck – between Yoda, Mace and Obi-Wan there was no hope for Anakin whatsoever. They all wanted the Republic to stay as it was and they all assumed it could only be their way. Too late Yoda says – “Wrong, I have been” Well – duh.

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