We’re half awake in a fake empire

New Hope – Blink-182
Fake Empire – The National

There’s a good debate going on between some political bloggers about Star Wars. I say ‘good debate’ with reservations, though, because it implies that there are legitimately contestable opinions here. Which is not exactly the case here. Kevin Drum lays out as convincing an argument as can be made for Jedi as the best film, but ultimately falls short. The problem is that the Ewoks are not nearly as inoffensive or skippable as he implies. And the whole Endor plot is really pretty much a black hole. It’s the background against which the very good scene with Luke, the Emperor, and Vader can take place. But that’s it. Really, Jedi is two very good sequences in the middle of 90 minutes of a decent movie.

Still, nice effort. The far crazier position is Seth Masket’s claim that Revenge of the Sith is better than Jedi. I mean, sure, Sith is the best of the new trilogy. But that’s like saying that a blow to the head is better than pancreatic cancer or a wolverine attack. That is a slight exaggeration–Sith is actually a modestly successful film. But come on. It still has many of the lumbering incoherencies of the other two prequels. Plot elements layered upon plot elements with absolutely no reason to care. Not to mention a lack of explanation for those elements. Which weirdly makes it both way too long and way too short. Who in the world is Grievous, why does the film open with him considering he’s never been mentioned before, and why is this of interest? There are stupid action scenes (though none as aggressively stupid as the video-game crawl from Attack of the Clones), annoying references back to the original series (hey look! Chewbacca.  And he’s carrying Yoda.  LOLZ), but none as aggressively ridiculous as the idea that Vader built C-3PO.

Ultimately, though, there are two overwhelming flaws. First, the scenes with Anakin and Padme are just gut-wrenchingly terrible. Second, the whole premise of the prequel series was the anticipation of watching the emergence of Vader. Of him tracking down the Jedi and killing them. That’s what was supposed to make this cool. Instead, the Jedi are basically all killed in ten minutes or less. And it’s mostly done by drones!  And, um, haven’t we seen countless examples of the Jedi deflecting laser fire with ease?  WTF changed?  Ugh.

The decisive element in the battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin involves Obi-Wan stating that he has the ‘higher ground.’ Double ugh.

‘Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo.’  Triple ugh

Finally, ‘noooooooooo!’

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3 Responses to We’re half awake in a fake empire

  1. Scott says:

    It has recently been pointed out to me that without “Noooooo!” we would not have “DO NOT WANT”

    http://winterson.com/2005/06/episode-iii-backstroke-of-west.html

    It’s entirely possible that I am late to this party, but I felt I should point it out

  2. Scott says:

    Drum relies way too much on “Jedi could have been much worse, but wasn’t.”

    I also think that not enough attention is generally played to the way the Force works in Jedi. The more I think about the things the Emperor says, the less any of it makes sense. Vader knows what he is doing is wrong (“It is….. too late for me, my son”) but does it anyway (a problem exacerbated by the prequel trilogy, which shows that he actually never had a reason to begin with).

    The Emperor wants Luke to become a homicidal (and presumably lightning-throwing) maniac. Why wouldn’t evil Luke just kill Vader, kill the Emperor, then set himself up as galactic overlord? (I like to draw a comparison to Lord of the Rings here: using the Ring to kill Sauron would be bad, but Sauron doesn’t want you to do that, either, because, while it means you are now evil, it also means he is now dead).

    And why does doing something good (killing Vader or the Emperor) because you’re angry make you start doing bad things, anyway? Obi-Wan seemed pretty pissed off when he was fighting Anakin in Revenge of the Sith. No one worried about whether or not he was going to become Darth Kenobi. This is really where Revenge of the Sith falls down. That was the connection we were missing. Lucas never gave it to us.

    I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I? Sorry. I’m bored. I’ll stop.

    PS in the list of great lines, Drum forgot the most memorable (and probably rehashed): “It’s a TRAP!”

  3. Angela says:

    Hi! If you like the National, you should check out Sideditch. A Dutch band. Check out their free EP at http://www.sideditch.bandcamp.com. I’m in love with these guys!!!!

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