Skip to comments.No Star Wars for Oil
Posted on 05/11/2005 6:39:05 AM PDT by EarthStomper
BRUSSELS -- I just saw a press screening of the new Star Wars movie, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and here's my capsule review: It's superb; the last 15 minutes are better than anything George Lucas has ever done; and as Yoda would say, "This film must you see; love it, you will."
However, I left the theater with something more than the feeling that after nearly 30 years as a Star Wars fan, a cinematic era of my life -- with plenty of ups and downs along the way -- had been closed on a thrilling and thoroughly satisfying note. I also wondered why George Lucas suddenly felt the need to add so much topicality into the story line.
Everyone knows what is going to happen in this movie -- where it starts and how it will end. Part of its brilliance is the way it turns a foregone conclusion into a kind of challenging plot puzzle. You know what the picture's going to look like at the end, but you want to see how all the pieces will fit together. And Lucas has fun with this game, throwing in a lot of cheeky references to other films -- from Frankenstein and Nosferatu to Commando Cody and Apocalypse Now and even, yes, to other Star Wars movies -- to lighten the otherwise darkening mood.
But something else is disturbingly -- and rather awkwardly - evident: a recurring anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war message. Forget about the merits of the argument in question. This stuff has no place in a Star Wars flick.
The dialogue in ROTS is rife with distinctly unsubtle references to the current political situation. "This war represents a failure to listen," Padme laments at one point, before declaring after a vote to give executive power to Chancellor Palpatine: "So this is how liberty dies -- to thunderous applause." The wicked Chancellor, played brilliantly by Ian McDiarmid, talks on and on about "security", giving it an evilly sibilant S, and about "peace". As he lures Anakin over to the dark side, telling him what to say in Jedi Council meetings, you wonder if he's supposed to be Karl Rove. He does, after all, appear to be the smartest man in the movie.
The ultimate reference comes in the climactic duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi on the planet of Mustafar, which seems to have long ago failed in its struggle against global warming. "If you're not with me, you're my enemy," Anakin shouts to Obi-Wan, who responds: "Only a Sith lord deals in absolutes." Yes, and so, it would seem, do neo-cons.
Meanwhile, at that very instant in the Senate chamber, there is a cool fight scene between Yoda and Darth Sidious that, as one reviewer has already pointed out, evokes Democrats and Republicans in violent deadlock. (I was just glad there weren't any more endless Congressional debates like the ones that bogged down the previous two Star Wars chapters. Episode I: The Phantom Menace had more talk of trade pacts and intergalactic confederations than an EU summit.)
The internet has been rife with rumors that Lucas had some script-doctoring help from noted playwright Tom Stoppard. Given the greatly improved quality of much of this film's dialogue over its predecessors (Lucas has a brilliant imagination but he is terrible at scripting a believable conversation between two or more humanoids), I'm apt to believe them. Could Stoppard have injected a dose of left-wing sentiment into our beloved film franchise? It's tough to say. The Czechoslovakian-born British writer has long been a foe of communism and once had nice things to say about Margaret Thatcher. But he was a vocal opponent of the Iraq war and recently wrote a dramatic trilogy idealizing the roots of socialism.
Again, all of this shouldn't matter. The film is exciting enough that I overlooked the few annoying instances when it veered away from its fantasy world and towards today's front pages. The rest of the time, thankfully, this movie took place right where it is supposed to: in a galaxy far, far away.
Which side used chemical weopons on their own people, had rape rooms and mass graves...?
This really isn't surprising since Return of the Jedi was supposed to be an allegory of the Vietnam conflict, where the ordinary peasants (ewoks) take on the powerful empire and defeat them despite their superior technology. I'm going to ignore the political overtones.
The reference to liberty dying to thunderous applause is a reference to the rise of Nazism in Germany. The author of the review does not appear to have the knowledge of history that George Lucas demonstrates.
Well, nuts, I can't. Sigh.
In viewing most movies nowadays, I have to overlook many blatant allegorical references by filmakers trying to make a political statement rather than making a movie. The only other politically motivated wince inducing moment in any Star Wars movie is in Return of the Jedi in which ObiWan tells Luke "that many of the truths we cling to are only true from a certain point of view..." so I guess moral relativity exists in other galaxies as well.
But I'm still seeing the movie. I'm waiting for a few days after the 19th, I just can't deal with the onslaught of people dressed up like Jedi wielding plastic light sabers anymore.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Don't feel so bad. Richard Nixon wasn't fooled either when he heard about Lucas equating the vietcong and the ewoks in Jedi. He wrote in his book that Lucas apparently failed to notice that the vietcong "peasants" were trained and armed with AK-47's by the soviet union.
This is the only bit that seems to add any legitimacy to the author's complaints, and really, Obi-Wan's condemnation of 'absolutes' is more troubling to me than any reference to 'if you're not with us, you're against us.'
I find neither truth nor morality to be nuanced.
I must be a Sith.
The quote: "If you're not with us, you're against us" sure has riled a lot of liberals. Perhaps it was a little too over the top but, the meaning can't be considered controversial.......you're either with the terrorist or your with the forces of freedom. What's the problem here? Sure it's an absolute but, some things are absolute. Aren't we all against murder? George Lucas comes from an era when rejecting even 'common sense' policies passed as intellectual sophistication and was 'cool'. Many folks from his generation continue to yearn to be 'Cool Hand Luke', a 'Rebel without a Cause', or 'Easy Riding'down the high ways of America. It's a cry for attention as much as anything else. His goal is too insult the good folks of America. While it is sad and pathetic, it's the cause many in his generation has embraced.
Actually, between the post-Star Wars VI novels (where Jedi led by Skywalker are mostly idiots), and the general idiocy of the Jedi in Star Wars I-III (we find out where the Jedi learned to be idiots), I have come to like the Empire a LOT more than I would ever like the the Republic...
Sure thing. I guess we shouldn't have courted Stalin as an ally to take out Hitler either...
I had the singular opportunity of hearing Reagan respond to that very question when he gave a speech at Brigham Young University.
His answer: There were no good guys in that war. We sided with the side we thought was the lesser evil. We were wrong.
Isn't it intersting how liberals always demand Christ-like perfection from conservatives?
And we didn't do 1/1,000,000,000th for Saddam as we did for Stalin.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.