On Star Wars

Star Wars as Anime

By Bruce Bethke

There is a defining moment in Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and it takes place quite early in the film. No, it’s not the moment when Anakin Skywalker gives in to his anger, his pain and his desire to emulate Russell Crowe in Gladiator by using two lightsabers to slice off Count Dooku’s head, only to then spend almost an entire thirty seconds afterward agonizing over the morality of beheading helpless prisoners. Rather, the scene I’m thinking of begins about another minute after that, when General Grievous’s flagship takes a solid hit in the vitals and begins to plunge toward the surface of Coruscant, and R2-D2, the Jedi starfighters and pretty much everything else that isn’t lashed down begins to fall toward the bow of the ship. During this scene, Anakin, Obi-Wan and Palpatine get to take some pratfalls and do some light heroics in an elevator shaft, as the direction of “down” undergoes several rapid changes—

But think this through with me. They are onboard a spacecraft. In orbit. Meaning, in free-fall in a vacuum, as will become evident three minutes later, when General Grievous is blown out the window by explosive decompression and does not immediately plummet to his doom. And yet, for the sake of the action sequence in the elevator, R2-D2 and everything else within the ship briefly behaves as if they have looked down, suddenly noticed the presence of gravity and gone rushing headlong toward that great big round planet-thingy down there, in  …

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