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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Movies: The Dark Side 

One month from today... the saga concludes.

In what will surely be a whirlwind, month-long barrage of Star Wars mania, leading up to the release of Episode III -- The Revenge of the Sith, MSNBC contributor Erik Lundegaard kicks off the stretch run with a look at cinema's greatest bad guy.

I have little to add, as I agree with his premise:

Why did Darth Vader appeal so much? In a time of detente, of nuance, there was a purity about “Star Wars,” and no one was more pure than Darth Vader. He was the biggest baddest man on the biggest baddest ship in the galaxy. He wore black. He was evil, but a cool kind of evil, not like the other men of the Empire, pasty white British guys with bad haircuts and flared nostrils who bickered needlessly and couldn’t pronounce “sorcerer’s ways” correctly. No, Darth got it. The movie was about spirituality over technology, but only three people were really aware of this spirituality enough to control it, and one was wise but old (Obi-wan Kenobi), and one was idealistic but young (Luke Skywalker), while the third, Darth, was just right. You believed him when he told Obi-wan, “Your powers are weak, old man.” If “Star Wars” is the first modern super hero movie then Darth is the only one who seems super in it. He even has the cape.
I'm not sure where the Star Wars generation begins and ends, but I do know that I'm a part of it. And even as an impressionable youngster that always cheered for the good guy, I couldn't help but love Darth's evil genius. He was a villain unlike anything else -- articulate and savvy, yet unflinching and brutal.

Next month long-time fans of Vader finally get to see his real genesis. The last time he graced the silver screen it was as a defeated, dying old man. Now he emerges as the greatest warrior in the galaxy. I'm not the only one who's excited at the prospect.


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