1:15:01 – 1:30:00
On Tatooine, Anakin Skywalker continues rocketing across the desert on his sand chopper. We see him questioning a Jawa beside a sand crawler in a long shot, no dialogue. The Jawa points him in a specific direction, presumably towards the Tusken Raiders who kidnapped his mother.
We cut to Geonosis, but this is initially confusing, because Geonosis is also an arid planet, and in another long shot, it isn’t immediately apparent that this is Obi-Wan Kenobi entering what looks like a cave entrance in a massive butte. But, the confusion is soon cleared up as we switch to an interior shot showing Obi-Wan entering what at first appears to be some sort of cathedral. It is actually a foundry, where battle droids are being mass produced.
In this movie, we’ve already seen how the Army of the Republic is being mass produced by the cloners of Kamino. Now, we’re seeing the Separatist Army being created on Geonosis. We are preparing for a full-scale war, it seems.
Obi-Wan hides behind a column as Count Dooku walks by with Trade Federation Viceroy Nute Gunray and a few other creature-characters whom I don’t know. The viceroy is refusing to sign a treaty with Dooku until he has Senator Amidala’s head on his desk. Dooku says that he’s a man of his word and will soon deliver. He’s not, and he won’t.
Mystery solved: Gunray and Dooku are behind the assassination attempts on Padme Amidala. Obi-Wan’s job is done.
And then we’re in a meeting. Count Dooku is convinced that 10,000 more systems will join the Separatist cause if he has the backing of those present. The Techno Union representative, who looks like a Steampunk Darth Vader with a lumpy green head, pledges his army to Dooku, as does the head of the Banking Clan. Dooku mentions that the Trade Federation has pledged its support, but doesn’t say that it involves the delivery of a senator’s head. Dooku proclaims that, with their combined forces, they will have an army greater than any in the galaxy and that the Jedi will be overwhelmed; the Republic will give in to any demands they make.
Anakin discovers the Tusken encampment, where a couple of dog-like creatures are fighting over a bone beside a campfire. He finds the tent where the Blessed Shmi, Mother of Ani, is being kept. She is still alive, but only barely. The Tuskens have not been good hosts. She lives just long enough to tell Anakin that seeing him all grown up has made her complete and that she loves him, and then she dies in his arms. Anakin gives in to hate and blazes up his lightsaber, with melodrama as its power source. We see Anakin cut down a couple of raiders before there is a screen wipe and suddenly…
We’re back in the Jedi Council chambers on Corsucant. We see Yoda meditating and hear Qui-Gon Jinn in voiceover, saying, “Anakin! Anakin! No-o-o!” I wonder how much Liam Neeson was paid for this.
Mace Windu strolls into the chamber, while Yoda still has his eyes closed in the foreground. This is the best Yoda has looked yet in the prequels. I think I mentioned that he just didn’t look right to me in Phantom Menace, but this looks more like the Yoda I remember from Empire.
“What is it?” asks Master Windu as Yoda opens his eyes.
“Pain. Suffering. Death I feel. Something terrible has happened. Young Skywalker is in pain. Terrible pain.”
Back on Geonosis, Obi-Wan is having trouble transmitting a message from his ship. He decides to try to relay it through Anakin on Naboo, only to discover that Anakin is no longer on Naboo but on Tatooine, in defiance of Obi-Wan’s orders. He transmits his message to Anakin anyway, asking him to relay it to Coruscant.
We see R2-D2 receiving the message on the silver Naboo ship on Tatooine.
Then, Anakin arrives back at the Lars farm with Shmi’s body, wrapped in what appears to be Tusken tent fabric. He looks pretty grim. In this scene, I noticed that Clieg Lars’s wheelchair doesn’t have wheels. It’s hovering above the ground. I could have sworn it had wheels earlier. Maybe that’s just for around-the-house use. This is his Hoveround Mobility Scooter.
In the next scene, Padme brings refreshments to Anakin in the garage, where he is tinkering on a broken shifter. Among the refreshments is some sort of blue juice. Is that Bantha milk, maybe? Yum. Anakin has gone into total sulk mode, his wardrobe subtly becoming more Vader-like. He’s always been good at fixing things, he says. But he couldn’t save his mother. One day he will become the most powerful Jedi who’s ever lived, he vows, capable of preventing people from dying. As he descends to full temper tantrum, he blames Obi-Wan for holding him back out of jealousy.
Once again, I want to remind you that Hayden Christensen is now worth millions of dollars because of these movies, which excuses me for saying that he is perhaps the worst actor in all of the films, and I’m including Jake Lloyd in this assessment. I mean, just terrible. Like Yoda, I feel pain and suffering, but it is my own.
As he’s losing his shit, Anakin tells Padme that he killed all of the Tusken Raiders. Not just the men, but women and children, too. He gave in to the Dark Side, it seems. That, and bad acting. Padme comforts him. Women can’t resist a brooding mass murderer.
Next we have the obligatory funeral scene as Shmi is buried on the farm. During the funeral, R2-D2 rolls up. C-3PO says that he has a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi.
I’m going to take a moment here to point out that these are the same two droids that Owen—later known as “Uncle” Owen by Luke—buys from the Jawas a couple of decades later. And, yet, no one recognizes them then.
Back on the silver ship, Anakin and Padme play the holographic message and relay it to Coruscant. Obi-Wan’s message details his findings on Geonosis, but he’s cut off at the end by the appearance of one of those rolling destroyer droids.
The Jedi Council is appropriately alarmed. Mace Windu orders Anakin to stay where he is and protect the senator at all costs. After the conference is over, Padme asks Anakin if he’s not going to go help his Master. Geonosis is less than a parsec away (again, Lucas showing off that he knows that a parsec is a measure of distance, not time). Anakin says he has his orders. Padme says his orders are to protect her, and that she’s going to save Obi-Wan. If Anakin is going to protect her, he’ll just have to come with her.
Padme is dressing and sounding more like Princess Leia in this scene. I guess the apple didn’t fall very far from the tree.
We reach the 1:30:00 mark as the silver spaceship is taking off from the surface of Tatooine. As he remarks, this is C-3PO’s first flight. I’m not sure why Anakin got to take C-3PO with him. That scene was apparently omitted.
In this chapter of the 15-Minute Force, we got a couple of very important plot points. We discovered that Count Dooku is amassing a large droid army and is in league with the Trade Federation, the Techno Union, and the Banking Clan, at the very least. From our previous chapter, we know that the Republic now has a massive clone army. To misquote Bob Dylan, if you have all these knives and forks, something’s going to get cut.
Also, we saw Anakin lose his mother and his mind, however briefly, and take another step towards becoming the mighty Sith Lord he’s destined to become.
It would seem that we are about to enter our final act, where there will be a showdown of some sort with Count Dooku. Let’s see if we get there in the next chapter.
Until then…May You Slaughter All Tusken Raiders Who Offend You, and May the 15-Minute Force Be With You.