Monday, January 25, 2010

The Star Wars Prequel Trilogy

I like the Star Wars prequels, but I don't love them. I watch and rewatch them all the time because they are ridiculously entertaining films full of excitement, action, and amazing visuals. But there are a few, fundamental problems that simply hold me back from heaping upon them the same pure, unconditional love I show for the original trilogy.

And, no, it isn't Jar Jar. I kind of like Jar Jar. He's cute and he makes me laugh.

And no, it isn't Hayden Christensen or Jake Lloyd's performances as Anakin Skywalker. I actually think both are ok actors who did as much as they could with what they were given. These movies would've been far worse with less talented, charismatic actors. Well, ok, Jake Lloyd is pretty obnoxious, but he still isn't what kills this movie for me.

And no, it isn't midiclorians, too much talk about trade negotiations, political dealings, or senate hearings. All of that was boring to be sure, but no more so than talk about wamp rats or Beggar's Canyon back home.

No, what kills these movies for me is the depiction of the Jedi as some weird, Buddhist like religion and Anakin's downfall being do to his inability to... not love the people who are close to him. These concepts kill the films for me on a fundamental level not only because they are stupid and make no sense, but because they are contrary to the ethics on which I attempt to base my own life.

Jedi really can't love? Jedi can't get married? Jedi can't have any attachments, property, or material goods? Come on. They took what used to be the coolest occupation of all and turned them into lifeless, sexless monks.

And we are really expected to believe that Anakin is corrupted to the darkside because he loves his mother and because he loves Padme? So love is bad? If it had just been because of his secret relationship with Padme -- including their secret marriage and her secret pregnancy -- maybe I could understand why that might be bad. But he shouldn't love his mother? He shouldn't miss his mother? Even though he left her as a kid to wallow and suffer alone as a slave on Tatooine? I'm not sure where George Lucas is from, but I've always thought that the people who don't love their mothers are the ones who turn out to be sociopathic followers of the darkside.

Basically what I'm saying this is: My ultimate goal in this life is still to become a Jedi, but when I do, I want to be able to bang chicks and love my mother without fear of turning evil. The prequels ruined that dream for me. But at least they have lots of cool space battles and lightsaber fights.


Justin Garrett Blum said...

I agree with the Jedi council. Being a Jedi requires certain sacrifices. Specific emotional attachments are dangerous (a general emotional attachment to all life is fine and part of being a Jedi), especially when, in the case of Anakin, love and hate were so hopelessly intermingled that he necessarily lost all perspective on more objective values, like justice and forgiveness.

Hell--I'm not saying I'm any better. I wouldn't want to have access to Jedi powers, because of the temptation to use them badly. If somebody hurt my wife, I know I would go apeshit on anybody I felt was responsible. Better to simply not forge those sorts of personal bonds.

Donald said...

I'm going to tell you why you -- and the entire Jedi Council -- are wrong.

There is a scene toward the end of Attack of the Clones where Obi, Anni, Padme, and some clone troopers are in a ship speeding after Count Dooku. After Padme falls out of the ship, Anni wants to stop and rescue her, to which Obi tells him, flat out, no way. Her life is not more important than the Republic, and that if they can stop Dooku now, they will end the war.

All well and good, until later on, during the duel between Yoda and Dooku, Dooku attempts to distract Yoda by bringing the ceiling down on the unconscious Obi and Anni. Yoda effectively abandons the fight and lets Dooku escape in order to save those two Jedi.

Now, you might argue that Yoda's actions only prove that Jedi's shouldn't have emotional attachments. But I don't think anybody could argue that Yoda is in any danger of being tempted to the dark side. Yoda was simply doing the right thing. And I think, given the proper training and encouragement, Ani would've as well. He was never taught how to use or control his emotions, he was simply taught to deny, suppress, and ignore them.

It was the Jedi who brought ruin upon themselves. Luke married Mara Jade and had a bunch of kids, and he never went to the darkside.

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Just to be sure:

(a) Yoda was only fighting Dooku to a stalemate,
(b) he had to have realized there was somebody behind Dooku, pulling his strings,
(c) and in the grand scheme of things, Yoda probably saw the Jedi being better off with Obi-Wan and Anakin surviving to fight another day.

heh. What a silly debate this is. Anyway, I hope we can at least all agree that Anakin was a whiny little bitch.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, but do you think this is a better depiction of the jedi?