Thursday, May 19, 2005

Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith

Just returned from watching the midnight screening of the last Star Wars movie. Overall I give it a thumbs up, mainly for the lack of awkward acting that has marred some of the first two movies and the amazing special effects. Also the acting by key characters like Darth Sidious (AKA Chancellor Palpatine, the Emperor), Obi Wan Kenobi, Mace Windu, and even Anakin Skywalker was very good. The problem with the movie, as with all Star Wars movies, is Yoda and the ridiculously lousy (if hilarious) Jedi philosophy (boiled down to its essentials: selfless = good, Jedi, selfish = bad, Sith) and the inability of George Lucas to write philosophy into a script in any consistent, rational, intelligent, or coherent way.

For instance, the most talked about lines leading up to the release occur towards the end of the film when Anakin, after having turned to the dark side and joined the emperor (taking the Sith name Darth Vader) tells Obi Wan, "If you're not with me then you are my enemy." To which Obi Wan replies, "Only a Sith speaks in absolutes." Problems are obvious with this exchange, going far beyond any dopey connections to George W. Bush and the war on terrorism. My main problem with this within the movie is that not more than ten minutes later, while they are trying to kill one another, Obi Wan and Anakin are exchanging words about good and evil. Instead of remaining Mr. Absolute, Anakin tells Obi Wan that from his perspective he is good and the Jedi are evil. To which Obi Wan concludes, in an absolutist fashion, that Anakin is truly "lost." When it comes to politics and philosophy, Lucas is in way over his head because he simply isn't capable or smart enough to write them into the script intelligently, let alone chose the correct politics and philosophy. He would have been better off leaving things in a simple and essential basic form, the good guys being good because they respect the rights of others and don't run around killing people, and the bad guys being their exact opposites. The majority of people going to these movies aren't interested in the balance of the force or trying to insult current political leaders in sci-fi fantasy dialogue that contradicts itself, they are coming to watch what is, in essence, a series of war movies with the triumph of good over evil through force of arms.

That is ironic considering Mr. Lucas has clearly put himself in the pacifist psycho wing of the universe politically. His greatest legacy will be for creating a narrative of war, and a good war at that.


Apollo said...

The Jedi philosophy is greatly influenced by modern culture. . Of course. And Joseph Campbell, who wrote a book called 'The Power of Myth'. But I often wonder what an Objectivist in the star wars universe would be like. He would probably be a rogue with no allegiance to either side, Id call them The Jeth, he he.

But the philosophy isn’t the only thing that’s wrong with Star wars, the battles are kind of messed up too. I Mean, I love star wars and I love watching the battles, but now that im older and know more about warfare I can see that almost all the battles are completely unrealistic. When I look at the ground battle in Phantom Menace I keep asking myself "why are robots with MACHINE GUNS forming up in line and column!??!" This isn’t the Napoleonic era!! Clearly Lucas didn't even TRY to study anything about warfare (maybe because he's a liberal and hates war).

And even in the original trilogy the storm troopers are kind of clumsy. They don’t look like elite soldiers; they look more like bad extras with no training.

And their blasters aren't rifles that real soldiers would use in those kinds of battles; instead they have sub-machine gun sized weapons...sheesh

So philosophy isn’t the only thing wrong with star wars . . .BUT I STILL LOVE IT!!!

Alexander said...

If we pick the movies apart for everything then the space battles should all be silent, since there is no sound in space. Space fighters shouldn't be roaring past, but then the movie would be part 2001: Space Odyssey.

Apollo said...

Actually the fact that there is sound in space is one of the "rules" or laws Lucas put up for star wars.

And also,it would be boring with no sound . . .

Im just pointing out the things that COULD have been fixed becuase it would have been cooler if the battles were more realistic.

日月神教-任我行 said...