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revenge of the myth

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Star Wars Silly Season is upon us again, probably for the last time – as if anyone on this planet can have failed to notice – with the coming release of Episode III. The RTE (Irish television network) are helpfully showing the first one today, and the next one next week.

One piece of dialogue just jumped out at me: Anakin’s mother saying “there was no father” – what, is she claiming a virgin birth? The Jedi are buying the story, anyway. That’s all we need – a pseudo-Christian “Son of the Force”?

I can hardly believe that Episode II came out three years ago, but the proof’s in the blogging. Opinion seems to be sharply divided; in the UK, last week , Guardian Unlimited Film carried an article entitled “Space Invaders”, with 40 reasons why “the franchise hails from the dark side”. George Lucas has a lot to answer for, particularly the mass marketing of the film, but my opinion of the series has remained constant over the years.

SF author David Brin has been particularly harsh on this topic – see his blog entry Star Wars Redux for a recent example. From an older essay of his, recenly reprinted in the same blog:

I concede the great attraction of the image that his Star Wars universe offers, while opposing it with all my power. (Especially the most evil elf ever depicted, that nasty, uncooperative, smarmy, patronizing, sourpuss, unhelpful, oppressively-secretive and cynically manipulative oven mitt… Yoda.)”

As I wrote before, the flaws are part of what makes Star Wars interesting – but not fascinating – to me. Beyond my disapproval of the overall mythology, I have more prosaic objections, like the impossible stunts I mentioned before. For example: one production report was that Lucas loves his spaceships, tweaking the sounds they make as they pass. The thing is, dear George, space is a vacuum through which sound can’t travel. Didn’t you watch 2001: A Space Odyssey, eh? Unless the ship happens to blast some gas into your ears as it goes by. Hint: spaceships don’t fall out of deep space – how can something fall when there’s no “down” to fall to?

I’ll go and see it, but I ain’t joinin’ no queue, not even the one at the cinema where it is being shown. The people queuing at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood are now famous enough to be immortalized, for a limited time, in the LA Legoland replica of said theater.

Written by brian t

May 9, 2005 at 8:23 am

Posted in culture, movies

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