About 3 years ago, I did the one-day Star Wars marathon: all six episodes in one sweep. A few thoughts:
-The most riveting part for me was the end of Return of the Jedi. After watching Anakin's journey into darkness because of the love he had for Padme, Vader's temptation of Luke really hit home. When Luke finally gives into rage in order to protect his sister, it felt like a real loss. The music especially sets the mood. I always felt that John Williams' score was epic; when I'd watch that scene, I would think “This is the final battle between Luke and Vader.” But watching it now, I felt “I'm watching a tragedy.” It felt like Luke had lost from the outset simply by giving into hate because we already saw where that road had led with Anakin. It made it even more powerful, therefore, when Luke says: “Never, I'll never give into the Dark Side. You've failed your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.” At that point, whether Luke lived or died, the tragedy was averted: he won.
-The turning point for Anakin's fall and his redemption was also wonderfully juxtaposed. In Revenge of the Sith, he is won over by Palpatine, who begs for help while being electrocuted. He is won over by Luke in the same way. He gets to redo his awful choice, only this time he does it right. I loved how the catastrophe happens in Revenge of the Sith, where the Jedi think that they have victory within their grasp, but then are betrayed to death by Anakin. And then the Emperor almost defeats the Alliance, the love of Luke saves the day.
-Two themes kept coming up: power vs. love and death vs. evil. Palpatine grasps more and more power be it political, military, or personal. He tempts Anakin with power by convincing him that he should use it out of love (just like the power of the One Ring tempts all the heroes of Middle-Earth). Luke on the other hand, rejects the Emperor's offer in favor of love. Anakin's utter fear of death also takes away his ability to be a hero. He would do anything, even that which is evil, to preserve life. Luke chose death rather than evil. He shows this when he throws himself off the edge of the station on Cloud City, when he surrenders to the Emperor (“Soon I'll be dead”) and when he refuses to kill Vader. Only when Vader understands that there are things worse than death, he can be redeemed. When Luke tells him that he'll die if he removes his mask, he replies “Nothing can stop that now.” Love is stronger than death
-Shmi tells Anakin that you can't stop the change any more than you can stop the suns from setting. In each of the prequels (and in A New Hope) a major change occurs after a sunset. In The Phantom Menace, Padme decides to return to Naboo and Qui-Gon chooses to defy the council and train Anakin after the sun sets on Courascant. In Attack of the Clones, after the suns set on the Lars homestead, Anakin finds his mother and begins to give in to the Dark Side. In Revenge of the Sith, when the sun sets, Anakin decides to defy Mace Windu and go to Palpatine. Also, after the suns set in A New Hope, Luke begins his journey to becoming a Jedi.
-There is a huge change in Anakin from Attack of the Clones to Revenge of the Sith. He moves from whiny teen to tragic knight. I give credit to Hayden for the change in performance between films. You see it at the outset, but especially when he and Obi-wan are on Grievous' ship. (Rick O.: feel free to fire back on this one)
-All of Luke faults are much more pronounced and frustrating after watching mirrored first in Anakin.
-I used to think of Yoda as incredibly wise. But looking at all of the films together, he his foolish in two important ways. First, he does not believe that personal connections are good. His advice to Anakin in Revenge of the Sith to let go of the love he has for others only drives Anakin further away. (This is ironic, because Yoda doesn't do this himself when he chooses to save Anakin and Obi-wan rather than kill Count Dooku). Second, he does not believe in redemption. He tells Obi-wan and Luke that they have to kill Vader. Any chance Padme had to save Anakin was lost when Obi-wan showed up to kill him But it is Luke who is wiser when he realizes that his love for his friends and his belief in his father's goodness save the day.
-I prefer the special editions of the original trilogy except for Return of the Jedi
-Padme's love for Anakin pulls him away from his duty while Leia's love for Han calls him to a higher duty.
-I've decided I like Revenge of the Sith more than A New Hope. Episode III has a lot of story and action and resolves the slow build up of Episodes I and II. Watching all of them together makes Episode IV drag a bit, especially in the beginning.
-Luke asking about his mother was very touching after watching Padme die in Revenge of the Sith (although I still think she should have died of something else. More on this in a future post)
-Palpatine, Anakin, and Obi-wan have subjective moralities (goodness and truth are simply a point-of-view). Padme and Luke don't buy it, which is why he can see the truth about the goodness found in Anakin.
-Still thrill at that Yoda/Dooku fight.
-Still wince when Padme jumps on the Reek
-Opening to Revenge of the Sith is the best space battle of the series
-Jango is much cooler than Boba
-I don't care what anyone says, Luke becomes a much bigger bad-ass than Han. On Jabba's sailbarge, Luke almost single-handedly kills almost everybody!
...that's all I got for now. Feel free to let me know what you think or where I'm crazy