I also applaud George Lucas for making the hero a fourteen year old girl. Lucas makes childhood in the Star Wars universe a sci-fi throwback. He transformed Buster Keaton into an orange amphibian outcast. The movie thought outside the box, experimented with storytelling structure (think four battles converging), propelled visual effects, and did not give us the same Star Wars film we already owned. It was completely original and to this day, I can’t think of a blockbuster film as original as The Phantom Menace.
The Phantom Menace didn’t follow the rules. It made up its own rules. You don’t become George Lucas on accident. People have called him lazy. If he was lazy, Anakin would have been fifteen in Episode I. He wouldn’t have been pure of heart, he would have been born a bad seed. He wasn’t. Anakin was good. I deeply respect George Lucas for thinking outside the box and always doing the unexpected and giving his characters a trajectory.
The above post sums up 99% of the reasons why I feel nothing but cold contempt when I see people complaining about Anakin’s age in TPM or the fact that he was undeniably selfless and good, instead of their darkened, stereotypically ‘badass’, macho-laden ubermensch and proto-Vader. Last I checked, even mass-murderers had more or less innocent childhoods and didn’t just pop out as screwed-up examples of humanity.
Give me the innocent, the selfless, the one who shines as bright as the sun and I will cry a thousand more tears when he’s finally consumed by hatred and darkness.