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Star Wars: Revenge Of The Silliest
Monday, May 23, 2005   By: Mahone Dunbar

Or, Tired of Yoda and George Lucas, I am

Or, Tired of Yoda and George Lucas, I am

As a science fiction fan and a movie addict, I was anticipating Revenge Of The Sith with moderate interest. I had seen the other five in the series and, If nothing else, it promised to be a pleasing two-hour plus experience of digitally generated eye-candy. Then, woe and behold, a few days before the movie opened I read in the press that George Lucas had said that the theme of the movie (basically, good vs. evil) was analogous to the current situation with American and the war on terrorism. And here's the kicker - as if you haven't heard; Lucas implied that America - including George W. Bush and all who support him--is analogous to the dreaded Evil Empire! Inversely then, the murderous, fanatical, repressive, misogynistic, mind-enslaving, shooting-school kids-in-the-back, suicide-bombing, crazed totalitarian Islamics must represent the good guys - Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, the Jedi, Chewie, Hans Solo, Obi-Wan, and even the obnoxious little Ewoks.

I expect politics (of the rugged libertarian-individualistic type) from the likes of Robert Heinlein, the great science fiction writer, but George Lucas ain't that heavy, nor Star Wars that deep. Lucas is engaging in a bit of deconstruction, it appears, i.e., retrospectively reading meaning, themes, or nuisances into "art?" where it was never intended to be in the first place. Maybe he has a craving to establish himself as a social commentator by trying to glaze over the Star Wars saga with a sheen of political relevance? "Ah, that Lucas," his fellow Hollywood know-nots will say glad-handing on the back, "he's another visionary like H.G. Wells."

Lucas also said that the series, early on, was inspired by the Vietnam War. Again, with America representing the evil Imperial forces. So, our quintessential American boy (retrospectively and figuratively speaking) from a galaxy long ago and far, far away), Luke Skywalker, was actually analogous to the forces of the People's Liberation Army Of North Vietnam (or whatever the hell they called it).

Jesus Christ, George! Maybe it's time to put the weed away. Or is it crack?

Unfortunately, his comments are probably more likely generated by a massive attack of egotitis by yet another swelled-headed, Hollywood jerk who is as rich, powerful and elitist as the Sith-controlled Chancellor in ROTS. And here I thought that, if anything, the situation between the Imperial forces and the rebels in Star Wars was analogous to America's struggle for freedom from Britain. Duh.

However, fighting the rising bile with liberal doses of popcorn and M&M's, I watched ROTS. Here are a few random thoughts.

  • Early in the movie Anakin, acting on the Chancellor's orders, kills Christopher Lee, violating Jedi rules by executing an unarmed prisoner (shades of Abu Ghurayb Batman!). Ignoring for the moment the obvious excuses for Anakin's behavior (a: you have to cut a vampire's head off to be effective; b. isn't this what the wonderful, glorious Islamics do to prisoners?), the act defines Anakin and the Chancellor as evil. Yet, later in the movie, Jedi Samuel L. Jackson (who brings to the role the panache of a wooden cigar-store Indian) and his little green height-challenged, aphorism-spouting dyslexic buddy, Yoda, discuss assassinating the Chancellor - in clear violation of the law. But elitists, particularly unelected elitists, always consider themselves above the law. They remain good guys. Elitists always do. This is our Hollywood lesson.
  • Likewise, in the same vein, at the end of the film Obi - Wan and Anakin have a laser sword fight. Anakin doesn't fare well, as he manages to lose three limbs and get himself scalded by a volcanic flux. Obi - Wan allows him to slide into the lava flow, then leaves him smoldering and bleeding to die. How is this morally different than Anakin's killing of Christopher Lee?
  • Now, a technical note about something that's always bothered me. The Jedi use laser swords to block shots from laser pistols. The charges from the laser guns, being flashes of radiation consisting of coherent light, travel at the speed of light - which is on the order of 186,300 miles per second. If we graciously assume that a Jedi sees the flash from an imperial storm trooper fifty feet away and reacts instantaneously, his nerve system still takes a set time to get the message to his brain, then back to his muscles; plus add the time it takes for the muscles to react and move a limb to block, and we see this is clearly impossible. Besides, since they can levitate things, and shoot lightening bolts from their hands, why have the light sabers at all? They would seem to be excess baggage.
  • After Anakin's multiple amputation - as well as Luke's earlier - he has artificial, mechanical limbs attached as replacements. In a world that can produce millions of clones, why not grow him duplicate limbs? Or at least surgically reattach the originals?
  • In the Imperial City, and elsewhere in the empire, how do you keep the air-traffic controllers from having multiple nervous breakdowns?
  • After the clone wars, when the clone army is decommissioned, what do you do with the survivors? Does each clone get the equivalent of forty-acres and a mule? Do you pass out free college educations, so that several million clones can get IT degrees? Or perhaps train as supplemental air-traffic controllers?
  • Since Chewbacca is around in Anakin's time, as a mature male, and there almost twenty years later when Luke Skywalker meets him, what is Chewie's relative age? Are wookie years like dog years?
  • The whole series gives a sort of benign nod to slavery (which is very Islamic) with machines everywhere, even conscious ones like C3PO, who exist only to serve the elite, like pampered and coiffured "Senator" Padme. Notice also that the elite Senator lives in a lakeside paradise designed by a progenitor of Maxfield Parrish, while the rest of the empire seems to dwell on hell-hole worlds or live in crowded mega techno-metropolises where there is no blade of grass to be seen and everything that walks, crawls or flies - save for the thousands of air-traffic controllers who daily jump out of windows - is mechanical.
  • Finally, extrapolating from Lucas' deconstruction, I have a few more questions for Hollywood:
  1. Is Bugs Bunny a symbol of anarchy?
  2. Does Yosemite Sam represent the NRA?
  3. Is Daffy Duck an archetype of gay black men?
  4. Does Gandalf represent Ronald Reagan and Mordar monolithic communism?
  5. If George W. Bush is represented by Darth Vader of the evil empire, who among the good guys represents Usama Ben Laden? Yoda?

If there is an overt message in ROTS, it is Senator Padme's views, which seem to echo those of the Hollywood left: i.e., If we would engage in diplomacy, just "Understand the other guy's point of view", everything would be all right. Well, I understand Hitler's POV, and NMBLA's (National Man Boy Love Association) POV, and Usama's POV: I just don't agree with them. In fact, really understanding someone else's POV may make you oppose them all the more. The reality is that, No, we can't just all get along. That's why the protagonist and antagonists in ROTS start whacking each other's limbs off with light sabers. And that's why we should take a lesson from the movie and keep whacking the Islamics.

George, your movies are about as deep as a Steven Spielberg remake of the Mickey Mouse Club. Get over it. And George, why did you decide to foul the water with your ill-chosen political comments? You just had to pee in the pool, didn't you, and forever taint a pleasant kiddy-level entertainment venture with the stink of your leftist politics? Was the call of the dark side irresistible?

Finally, again engaging in a last bit of deconstruction: Was the fact that the acronym of the series finale was ROTS imbued with a meaning we are just now coming to understand?

Only George knows.


(c)1968- today j.e. simmons or michael warren