Yes, I was one of those crazies who was at the midnight premiere of “Revenge of the Sith.” Great movie. But I’m not Roger Ebert and this will not be a movie critique. I write about the erotic, and so I sought the most erotic element I could find in a movie which is really not concerned about eroticism at all. Hey, it’s my job.
And it’s gotta be That Look. Anakin’s sexy glare. You know the one, when the proto-Darth tucks his chin, stares out of the tops of his eyes, looks tortured, fuming, anguished. You’ve seen it everywhere: the posters, the movie stills, the publicity shots. You’ve seen it everywhere because it is so damn appealing, to sci fi fans intrigued by the birth of a super-villain, to action-flick lovers wanting to find out why he’s so pissed off, and to females of every nation, race and creed who respond to its beckoning.
Because the Look is a classic seduction. I know Anakin didn’t mean it that way (although I also know Hayden did); nevertheless it is a facial expression that has been sucking in victims since humans developed heads. You’ll find it on Valentino, on the classic poster for “A Clockwork Orange,” in some scene of every vampire movie ever made, and in the act of Constantine Maroulis on “American Idol.”
So what is it about that Look anyway? I theorize it’s working several different physical cues together to make a knockout combination. Chin-tucking, for example, is really a sign of submission, like a little bow. The mind responds to this gesture by feeling saluted, invited. By contrast, however, a piercing stare is an act of aggression. It says, “I’m after you—be very afraid.” So these two opposing cues create confusion, agitation, which is very like arousal. The ambiguous glare does something similar: it provokes questions that beg to be answered. Is Anakin hurt, does he need comforting? Is he angry and dangerous? Or is lust in those deep eyes? Don’t you want to find out? Aren’t you burning to know what he wants?
It’s no wonder that Look makes a girl feel like swooning. It beckons, it frightens, it entrances all at once.
Occasionally I’ve run into a woman or two who admit with chagrin to an infatuation with Darth Vader. The reason that makes sense to me is a topic for another day. But now that Lord Vader has been given a face, and it is a face that has so perfected The Look, I expect we shall have a whole generation of females afflicted with Vader Love.
Nicely done, Messrs. Christensen and Lucas.