Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Okay, so the photo is just weird ...
My wife and I finally got around to watching the third Star Wars prequel the other day. We didn't expect much, and the movie delivered. Like many a crusty ol' bugger I found the prequels to be rather awful compared to the originals.
Many things bugged me about the prequels. The over-reliance on special effects. The bad attempts at humour. The overt racism. The bad storytelling. The wooden acting. The way Lucas decided the way to make each bad guy seem more evil than the last was to have him use more lightsabers (If there are any more Star Wars movies I predict the next 'Darth' will be an Octopus-alien wielding at least six of them.) The attempts to turn a monarchy into a democracy by having princesses elected (A democracy, mind you, that elects teenage girls to the top job ... Miley Cryus for President anyone?) And, of course, the sudden need for midichlorians to explain how the Force works in a pseudo-scientific rather than pseudo-mystical way (to stop those boycott calls from the Bible belt).
However, I was prepared to let these things all wash over me ... until I had a terrible thought ...
... the prequels mean the original movies make absolutely no sense at all.
Let me clarify. At the end of the prequels the Emperor takes over. He deactivates the vast droid armies with an order. Why? Well, because we don't see them in the next movies is why. There's no logical reason to suddenly get rid of a large army of loyal killing machines. "I just feel like it, and I'm the Emperor. So there."
The children of Darth Vader get split up, for their safety. One of them gets to keep his father's last name and go live with relatives of his father. Just as well Darth never bothers to look up the phonebook. "I have you now, young Skywalker, and all I had to do was let my fingers do the walking."
Obi Wan changes his name to Ben, but keeps his last name. A surname that he doesn't keep secret. Either Kenobi is a common as Smith, or once again the White Pages are all you need to track him down. "Your mastery of the Force is no match for my ability to look things up alphabetically."
Obi Wan is to spend his time training with his old dead master, and keep Luke safe. Of course, he doesn't actually bother to teach Luke anything, and it seems the only trick Qui-Gon teaches Ben is how to come back from the dead. Suddenly the Jedi faith has become akin to a suicide cult. "Luke! Luke! You must drink the spiked Kool-aid, Luke, so you can join us."
When Ben finally does instruct Luke, from beyond the veil, to go get some training, Yoda rightly points out that Luke is too old. The prequels reveal that Luke's father was also too old to start training when he was merely a ten year old. Did no-one think to start the training of the last remaining hope for the Jedi before it was too late? Was life in the swamp and desert, respectively, so exciting for Yoda and Ben that they just lost track of time? "Hmmm, forgot your birthdays, I did. Owe you many presents, I do."
Of course, this brings us to the other major problem ... Leia. There are two 'last hopes' for the universe, the twin offspring of Darth Vader. Yet they just ignore Leia. Why? Because she's a girl? There seem to be plenty of female Jedi in the prequels. Is it just that Ben, Qui-Gon, Yoda, and later Anakin, don't want a girl to join them in their shimmery other world beyond the grave. "Clean up heaven, she would make us. Naked Thursdays embarrassing would be. So no girls in Jedi heaven allowed."
That's my biggest problem with the prequels. They imply that the Ben and Yoda of the original films are idiots who suddenly remember they were meant to be doing something important one day ...
"Oh yeah, we were meant to be saving the universe. Sorry everyone, but I was busy cleaning sand out of my underwear for the last sixteen years and plum forgot."
"Foolish, I feel. In fetid swamp lost track of time, I did. Reading books on grammar, was I. Comprehend them, I did not."