Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
9. Anakin is corrupted by Palpatine
Though George Lucas is incredibly good at world-building, choosing collaborators and crafting set pieces, and he also has some major flaws as a filmmaker. Without the talents of truly exceptional performers, his dialogue often comes off as clumsy.
The pace at which he tells stories is often needlessly languorous. And he has a penchant for convolution that has only gotten worse as he’s grown older. But while he does have a taste for the bombastic, he can do subtlety really well when he wants to.
One of the best examples of this quality is in the opera scene in Revenge of the Sith. On the surface, the scene exists to provide the exposition necessary to set up the third act. Chancellor Palpatine informs Anakin that he’s aware that the Jedi Council distrusts him.
This would set the stage for his launching the attack that destroys the entire Order. But in a subtextual level, the conversation functions as Palpatine’s corruption of Anakin.
To do this, Palpatine clouds the troubled Jedi’s mind with pernicious half-truths and tempts him with promises of unnatural power. He preys on Anakin’s mounting distrust and frustration with the Jedi Council to further erode his morals.
Palpatine makes the somewhat reasonable case that the Council’s attempt to spy on Anakin is seditious and motivated out of self-interest. Lastly, Palpatine dangles the possibility of hope in front of Anakin, suggesting that there might be a way for him to avert the tragedy he sees in his dreams.
Anakin’s full fall from grace would happen later in Revenge of the Sith. But the opera scene represents the moment when Anakin would consciously open himself to the dark side.