I finally finished watching the complete Star Wars saga. It was around two weeks ago when I decided to re-watch Episode IV, which I first saw when I still believed I can have superpowers. Re-watching a movie in an age past your adolescence can be interesting. Re-watching a movie categorized as sci/fi in an age past your adolescence can feel almost liberating.
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD
Star Wars is a story of betrayal, and not simply of men in robes with laser swords that emit funny noises. It is a film with political allegories. Or better yet, it is a political allegory in itself, that is if you try to ignore all of George Lucas’ futile attempts to include romance in the plot. And from whatever angle you look at it, you can’t deny that Lucas is a libertarian. Though I can agree that it would be better not to interpret any economic gabble from the story (since some would be fine just to have it as a story of robots, aliens, and cool superpowers), I sometimes happen to enjoy things more when I overthink them. XD The Galactic Republic reorganized into the Galactic Empire by a Sith Lord–taxation, rebellion, democracy, all these constitutional references — why that can’t tempt you into throwing in real political connotations, I refuse to understand. XD
While running on the treadmill earlier, I tried to think of justifications why Star Wars is a great story. But no matter how deep I think, a seemingly trivial reason always climbs its way on top of the list: Han Solo. Witty, reckless, egotistical– all kinds of prick rolled into one– that is the detestable Solo. He is part of why the original trilogy was such a great hit, and his absence is also a reason why the prequels were hogwash. Han Solo is the character most watchers can relate to. He is self-centered and cares about nothing else but money and his furry friend, Chewbacca. He does not deny his lust for financial abundance and does not think twice about blaming everyone else when he finds himself in a tight spot. He is unmistakably an asshole, he is the character closest to reality, and he is undeniably human (literally and figuratively). Though it would’ve been nice if he remained an asshole, Lucas decided to sprinkle a bit of nobleness in him, which didn’t turn out as bad. Because, after all, every human being aspires to be a hero. And even when he became a hero, he was still a douchebag; he remained true to his nature.
The original Star Wars trilogy was released between 1977 and 1983. It is understandable then to anticipate substandard special effects, but George Lucas and his crew defied expectations. Of course, it wasn’t perfect, Yoda could’ve easily passed for a Sesame Street character for chrissake. But watch a preview of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, released in 1979, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Then, the prequels came out and Yoda became a full CGI. We finally see our little green friend in a lightsaber duel. We now see his feet when walks and his face can now express emotions.
However, special effects do not make a movie. Star Wars is an epic drama, it is expected to have content. After the original trilogy, Lucas needed to present the same quality of writing if not better. I may be stereotyped as a basher, but it will not stop me from saying that the prequel trilogy sucked.
For starters, I couldn’t grasp who the main character was. It was neither Anakin nor Obi-Wan, and it certainly was not Yoda. None of the characters satisfied the role of a protagonist. Unlike in the original trilogy, we actually followed the personal development of a Luke Skywalker. And didn’t it feel like the whole trilogy was a complete drag? It took me more than a week to finish the prequels. I had to summon as much courage as I could to form the slightest anticipation.
Hayden Christensen failed big time. I can’t believe how poorly he could act considering that he does it for a living. His acting was awkward and terrible. From little Ani to Padawan Anakin to despicable Darth Vader, I expected at least a subtle transition in Episode II, but Anakin was vile from the start. The way he would look at Padme was just disgusting. And as if Christensen’s acting was not enough of a disappointment, they had to cast Samuel L. Jackson as Master Windu. I always thought that a Jedi Master should be calm and graceful in action and words, Jackson as Master Windu was not. He appeared obnoxious and aggressive.
I almost died when I saw R2-D2 fly. Honestly, I was extremely excited until I realized I was watching Episode II; he never flew again in Episodes III to VI. And, oh, it also appears as though the physics behind it is wrong.
Finally, the single appearance of Darth Vader in the prequel trilogy was ruined by a single line:
The dramatic scene above will never equate to this:
While the former had been created to draw out the same emotions from the audience as the latter did, it just wasn’t good enough. I actually thought it was comical instead of jaw-dropping. Darth Vader was presented like Frankenstein’s monster. As he was hoisted upright, his attempt to free himself from the operating table was unnatural. I think that one of the world’s most iconic villains could’ve been introduced better.
P.S. This entry could’ve been longer but my brain refuses to cooperate. I think I am now in need of sleep. Even if bedtimes are for losers. 😐