Flickering Myth’s writing team are counting down to the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens by discussing their most memorable Star Wars moments. Next up is Simon Columb with the death of Shmi Skywalker in Attack of the Clones…
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones is infamously considered one of the weakest instalments of the sci-fi series. It lacks the memorable villainy of Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace and misses out on the satisfying connections to the original trilogy that earn Revenge of the Sith such appreciation. It’s the middle film, peaking with a strange part-Gladiator, part-The Matrix finale that even Ewan McGregor looks uncomfortable in.
But it’s not all weak characters and dull romance. In fact, Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker’s sulky, argumentative interpretation (we’re supposed to be frustrated with his temper) works, and precedes our enormous hatred towards him in Revenge of the Sith. But the moment of change happens in Attack of the Clones. George Lucas knew this moment was integral to the franchise and when it hits, everything Lucas was building towards, comes together.
What should be a brief stop to ensure Anakin’s mother is safe, soon feeds into darker issues as his he’s told she is missing. Her new husband, Cliegg Lars, is wheelchair bound and he explains how Tusken Raiders kidnapped Shmi. Anakin’s desire to save everyone is rooted in a narcissism we witness as he stomps around, powerless.
He leaves at dusk and finds the camp of Tusken Raiders. They sleep and his dying mother, in his arms, passes. It could’ve ended here but rather than cut away, John William’s outstanding score weaves multiple strings together as Anakin, filled with rage and anger, looks up from his mother.
This single moment could be what pulled Lucas into making the Prequel Trilogy. Some say Anakin turned to the Dark Side when he let Palpatine kill Mace Windu. Some say, killing the children within the Jedi Academy, was the moment he couldn’t turn back. For me, this decision to kill was the moment.
“I killed them, I killed them all … they’re dead, every single one of them. And not just the men. But the women… and the children too. They’re like animals and I slaughtered them like animals. I hate them.”
For a “kids” film to make such a bold statement about the consequence of anger is a testament to Lucas’ vision. Single-handedly, it lifts Attack of the Clones from the doldrums and immediately ensures it holds credibility and integrity that few “four quadrant” family films can claim.
What’s your most memorable Star Wars moment? Let us know in the comments below…