Despite promise to self, I broke down last night and went to see the new Star Wars movie. Expectations were extraordinarily low, and only reinforced by the sure judgement of the magnificent Anthony Lane.
But it was 30 degrees at street level last night, about 10 higher in The Sauna on Rue Villenueve, so I headed to the cheapest air conditioner I could find.
I don’t have much to add to the criticisms. It is a brutally cynical movie, a total bore from start to finish, made by a man with a wax ear for dialogue, a buttery grasp on mechanics of plot, and a Californian disregard for consistency. blah blah blah, my childhood has been betrayed, etc.
But there is one scene that, IMO, illustrates how collossally brain-dead George Lucas is.
SPOILER AFTER THE JUMP
It occurs in the final act, as Obi-Wan and Anakin are fighting to the near-death in the mines of Mordor, and Anakin says something like, “Either you’re with me, or you are my enemy.” And Obi-Wan says, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes. I will do what I must.”
This is an obvious, and pretty clumsy, anti-Bush statement. As such, it got a big cheer from the Montreal crowd at my screening. But it is ridiculous for two reasons.
First: A film like this relies more heavily than most on the suspension of disbelief (a friend of mine still can’t get past the line, “Bring the Princess and the Wookie to my ship” from Empire). This line immediately jerks you from a galaxy far far away to the front pages of the morning paper. Idiotic.
Second, and worse: It makes no sense, since the jedi worldview — indeed, the entire SW universe — is based on a Manichean battle between opposing forces of darkness and light. There is a “good” side to the force, and a “dark” side. There are good guys, and evil (not “bad” — evil guys. The whole 6-movie series is about the battle between absolutes.
For Lucas to put that line in the mouth of Obi-Wan Kenobi, in the climactic scene of the entire prequel trilogy, shows one of two things. Either a) he’s an incredibly stupid man who does not understand his own creation, or b) he’s an incredibly cynical man, willing to score a cheap political point even at the cost of demolishing the metaphysical basis of his imagined universe.
Either way, Luke Skywalker said it best:
What a piece of junk.