Saw it I did.
Unimpressed I was.
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“Actually” it’s stupid, or in your opinion it’s stupid?
Actually, Obi-Wan’s reply to Anakin’s “Bush moment” was stupid.
What, the dogmatic Jedi don’t believe in absolutes? What a bunch of crap.
er, “experiencers” should be “experiences”
No, I’m not coining new terminology.
Hm.. I thought it rocked. It’s pretty much the only movie I’ve ever seen where there was a legitimate, monumental perspectival difference and I couldn’t just fob it off as a “cheat” or by saying the characters were just idiots.
Palpatine’s argument for embracing the dark side (great leadership requires enlightened ecumenism) was brilliant, as was the confrontation between Anakin and Mace regarding the fate of Palpatine. Padme’s wondering whether she was still on the right side of the conflict (and Anakin’s McCarthy-style reaction) was great, as was Obi-Wan’s reply to Anakin’s George W. “If you’re not with me, you’re my enemy” Bush moment. This movie displayed an impressive willingness to play with the high-minded motivations of hated people, and with the possibility that “good” people can (and often do) fail to win the war of “hearts and minds” against the persuasive rhetoric of their enemies (“So this is how democracy ends; to thunderous applause”). As well it sets up another subtle moral of the whole six-movie story: when good people fail at diplomacy and negotiation, perhaps their only recourse is to form a rebellious faction to use violence against greater powers.
As for the alleged problems of special effects, digital animation, etc., I think ultimately one must sit back and recognize that even though Star Wars represents another universe (er, “a galaxy far, far away”), cinema is deception, and crude deception at that. Who doesn’t watch The Empire Strikes Back, near universally recognized as the best SW flick of them all, and think, “I know that big worm is just painted foam rubber, and that the Millennium Falcon is just a plastic model, but I’ll buy it for the sake of the story”? What’s the difference between that and watching one of these newer movies and thinking, “I know 3PO is just a computer animated figure in a computer animated droid factory, but I’ll buy that he’s still the same character (whose “lot in life” is to “suffer”), for the sake of the story”? Movies with special effects portraying the impossible will always involve this kind of cognitive dissonance. Personally, I think that’s half the fun.
Star Wars didn’t get really interesting to me until I cranked that critical tendency up to eleven (which, of course, is “one louder”) and started watching the films as layered and multi-faceted discourse experiencers instead of just regular flicks. For instance, I think it’s far more interesting (and profitable) to give Lucas the benefit of doubt and say, “Okay, Obi-Wan and Yoda say nothing of ‘midichlorians’ in episodes 4, 5, and 6. Assuming they aren’t just idiots who forget things, why would they not say anything? How would it change the story if they did? Why would an author choose this course?” Maybe that’s too critical and postmodern for some people, but it really pays off for me.
Anyway, I’ll stop now, ‘fore I turn your blog into a Star Wars forum. 😉
I don’t think it’s so apparent that the Jedi defined the “Light” and “Dark” sides of the Force. Presumably the Force predates the Jedi, and the films tell nothing of how the Jedi order originated within this Force-imbued galaxy far, far away.
Aside from that, I don’t see this absolutist dogmatism in the Jedi, either. At least in these prequels, it seems like the Jedi spend all their time compromising, muddling through, and trying to persist in a difficult and ambiguous situation. Meanwhile, our friend the Sith Lord Palpatine is busy carving his path without any hesitation, compromise, or deliberation at all.
Taking the six films together, I think prequels actually set up the idea that neither the “Light” Jedi order nor the “Dark” Sith have their stuff together. Ultimately, it turns out that “bringing balance to the Force” leaves the galaxy with a lone, half-Jedi who is about as interested in the discipline of an institutionalized order as his father was. Which is why I find Revenge of the Sith so interesting, particularly in our own cultural context which has, for the last couple decades, considered Star Wars like it was some kind of unambiguous, Good vs. Evil, Light vs. Dark mythology, when really it’s far more subtle—the conflict itself, between “Good” and “Evil” is ultimately self-destructive. What is the galaxy at the end of episode six? Probably pretty much the same as it was at the beginning of episode one, except now the power structures, both sacred and secular—Republic, Jedi, and Sith—have been smashed.
In that context, I think it’s quite reasonable to take Obi-Wan’s reaction to Anakin’s for/against dichotomy not as a representation of the Jedi as they have been, but as the beginning of his own reassessment of the situation, which leads him ultimately into the resigned, self-sacrificing Obi-Wan of episode four, and the shifting “point of view” Obi-Wan of episodes five and six.
Anyway, I’m probably in the minority with my interpretation here, but that hasn’t stopped me before, has it? 😉
I must admit I was a little disappointed with the new STAR WARS movie. I guess my biggest criticism is that it seems to be terribly unfocused. The problem this time isn’t Lucas’ usual problems, dialog and acting. I wouldn’t call the dialog or acting great, but like Ep. IV I think it wasn’t embarrassing and served the story. The problem this time is usually Lucas’ strengths as a director, structure and editing. We have these great scenes of Palpatine trying to seduce Anakin, which are inter-cut with Yoda and the Wookies, or Obi-Wan fighting Gen. Grievous. What purpose does this serve, none as far as I can tell. Lucas spends so much time on the Wookies and Gen. Grievous it means that the end of the movie feels like its been cut down. There is potential for some powerful stuff there, which really isn’t because it feels so short. Lucas just dosen’t give it the time to be powerful. Like I said, I’m disappointed. Its not a bad movie per se, but tell you the truth, I liked Ep. II better on my first screening.
I’ll second the “stupid” motion. The whole scene was entirely inconsistent with the Star Wars universe and served only to make a political statement. “Only the Sith deal in absolutes” is wholly wrong: Jedis often *do* deal in absolutes and the Sith usually *do not*. It’s pretty apparent that the Jedis decided what elements of the Force were light and which were dark – an absolute distinction. The Sith, however, avail themselves of whatever is of utility to them.
My brother sent me this link (I actually could care less about Star Wars, sorry), but I mentioned to him about your comment on your blog after he sent me this…said I should send this to you:
Apparently all about how Lucas ruined Star Wars…I don’t have the patience or interest in reading it all…
Well, I liked it. 🙂
You might like the thoughts of my friend Tod on how the movie reveals the underlying themes of death and immortality in Lucas’s movies. http://sodsbrood.com/dhalgren/index.php?title=revenge_of_the_sith&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1dlw
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