The Case against Star Wars

Before you Wookies directly head for the comment button to spam me, I would like to assure you that I have nothing against the series, and indeed, I enjoyed every bit of the first two movies (in real-time). But, as I have so explicitly stated in the column on the right, I have a penchant for looking at gaping holes in plots and processes. And, as I explained to¬† Lefty a while back, in Ross’s words, I do not know why I do that.

Let us get the minor irritations out of the way first. C3PO. The worst gentleman’s personal gentle-android ever. Lots of characters have bugged me so, including Ted Mosby, Legolas and the arbitrary comedic character you will find in modern Indian movies, that extra piece of luggage that books and movies have, the so called character who projects the story in a lighter vein. Humbug. Through his actions, 3PO has repeatedly and egregiously violated the First Law of Robotics over the fourth wall. The only major role for him was as a prop in the Return of the Jedi, and frankly, I think that could have been handled better.

Which leads us to the greatest disaster that could happen to the movies. The director was George Lucas. Now, I have great respect for the guy as long as he funds Spielberg, but he is an atrocious director. The transition between scenes is as poor as a Powerpoint slide transition. There is no rhyme or reason to choice of angle or sequence of portrayal events. The saving grace are the special effects, and this is what cinched the Oscars for the first movie. Not direction.

There are then the subtleties, both that affect me in a very personal way and are actual loopholes in the plot. Yoda’s grammar falls into the first category. I detest poor grammar. And while I actually like Yoda as a character, the idea of a little green man placing the object before the subject and the verb at the end in English repels me. It is now part of the character, but hardly right. In the second category falls the fact that Obi-Wan Kenobi called Vader ‘Darth’ when he was facing him on the Death Star. This was an acknowledgment that his name was ‘Darth Vader’, as opposed to ‘Darth’ being used as a title. Was it that tough to see this and make the necessary modifications, rather than considering that ‘Darth’ sounded cool for villains and appending it to the names of all the Sith? Has no fan ever noted this before? Then there is the woefully inaccurate portrayal of space. Asteroid fields that are packed with debris, the sound of an explosion in space, the inaccuracy in describing the Force, all these add up to a non-rigorous treatment of the subject. In contrast, both Firefly and the new Star Trek movie portray it in a much more believable fashion. And, speaking of scientific accuracy applied to fiction set in outer space, there is always Kubrick’s masterpiece, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

There also lies the problem of genre. While most people would prefer to consider Star Wars as sci-fi, it is more correctly classified as high fantasy. It has illustrious company there, including the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter etc. Sure, this is murky territory, but this, above all, puts the series off my list of the greatest sci-fi franchises ever. It does not belong.

Therein lies the problem with this great series. Of course, I could also have taken apart the Terminator, or blasted Star Trek. Now please do not post ‘I find your lack of faith disturbing’ comments. I love the line, and I simply will not be able to resist Force choking you over the net.