Another Defense of Anakin Skywalker

Jedi News staffer Max N posted this on the Jedi News Facebook page today:

In Defense of Anakin Skywalker… Much like Jar Jar Binks, fans have been highly critical of Anakin Skywalker’s character, specifically Hayden Christensen’s acting. Critics felt he was stiff, wooden and delivered some of the worst “romance dialogue” in the world. “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse, and rough and irritating. Not like here, where everything is soft.” It may seem like the worst dialogue ever, but come on. Anakin was a 19-year old boy with zero exposure to relationships, and was awkwardly looking for the right things to say. Adolescent crushes do NOT have Shakespearean dialogue. They are awkward and oftentimes don’t make sense. It’s actually quite realistic. Anakin gets gushy later on, saying that Padme’s kiss is like a scar, and laments that he wishes he could just wish away his feelings. Don’t we all? Love hurts, and can make us feel like we’ve been cut open with a knife. Anakin was pouring his heart out, revealing the naked, honest truth. Years later, after successfully wooing Padme, he stands on a balcony watching Padme brush her hair. “It’s only because I’m so in love” she says. “No it’s because I’m so in love with you.” Anakin basically echoes her, and a lot of people criticize it as poor dialogue, but to be honest; he’s a warrior, not a wordsmith. What else could he say? Recite a well thought out sonnet? Anakin is more left hemisphere anyway. He knows how to fix things, and prefers “aggressive negotiations” over talking. All in all, Hayden Christensen captured Anakin’s character perfectly. He was an awkward boy, full of love but also full of anger. He was an imbalanced person who could be easily manipulated. He may have even been a savant, as he constructed a working protocol droid at 9 years old, yet was ineffective interpersonally. That could be indicative of high-functioning autism or Asperger’s. He had his challenges, and they were ultimately overcome thanks to the love of his son.

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8 Responses to “Another Defense of Anakin Skywalker”

  1. mes520 Says:

    Nice!

  2. Bob Clark Says:

    I’ve said much the same thing, myself. Glad it’s a more prevalent idea.

  3. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    I think Hayden Christensen may have done a better job than many think. I once saw him portray a self-indulgent 23 year-old who had spent the last eight years of his life with no parental supervision whatsoever. It was the movie “JUMPER”. And he was spot on with the characterization.

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

    “That could be indicative of high-functioning autism or Asperger’s.”

    I brought that up several times years ago, once even in one of my early articles for JN.

  5. madmediaman Says:

    It’s really quite simple… there’s no deeper meaning, no hidden agenda on Lucas’ part. With all six films, Lucas was trying to emulate a style of film storytelling that had been dormant for some 40 years… namely serials, and the style of old Hollywood filmmaking from the 30’s and 40’s. Lucas has said this time and time again during the creation of all six films… this is not new. While there are modern trappings in terms of special effects, the story and dialog are pulled straight from a 30’s Hollywood B-film.

    This goes for the OT as well. Han and Leia’s love scene in Empire is awful, the dilog is just terrible. Ford and Fisher do a great job of making it convincing, but lines like, “My hands are dirty too, what are you afraid of?” are vestiges from a bygone era.

    In the Prequels, Lucas ramps it up to a whole other level. Episode II has to be the “romantic movie.” I suggest readers go back and watch some of the big budget, classic romance movies of the 30’s and 40’s, you’ll find most of Anakin and Padme’s dialog fits quite comfortably there. My only criticism of Episode II is that at the time, I’m not 100% sure Christensen, or Portman (especially her), really got what Lucas was trying to do. The fireplace scene was shot fairly early in production, and both seem to suffer from a little too much method acting syndrom rather than just playing out the dialog as scripted. However, in the scenes shot later on set, and subsequent pickups, like the Arena love pledge, they clearly both “get it,” and their performances throughout Episode III reflect that.

    The kind of dialog from the 30s/40s just needs to be said with conviction and read with confidence. You can be pensive and conflicted, but there’s a way to say the same dialog in more of a traditional, theatrical manner that just works better with that kind of dialog. Lucas often criticized direction of “faster, more intense” is spot on… that’s how you have to deliver the lines, otherwise the audience doesn’t buy it.

  6. Marshall Says:

    I remember seeing TESB for the first time as a teenager and I thought the silliest thing about it was the romance between Han and Leia, who seemed to act like squabbling teenagers. So I don’t see how Anakin and Padme’s romance was any better or worse.

  7. Abz Says:

    Totally agree!

  8. thedarkone95 Says:

    AGREEEE

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