Saturday, November 9, 2013

What It Means To Love Star Wars

In the interest of full disclosure, I am the sort of Star Wars fan that loves all six films. I don't make outrageous claims of George Lucas "raping" my childhood by tweaking the original trilogy (OT) films or by making the prequel trilogy (PT) films.

Rather, I choose to view the overall story as something to embrace and love while not getting hung up on the minor things that others choose to nitpick at.

"But I only rant about (insert concern here) because I love Star Wars," say certain fans.

Oh, really? That's like a man saying he only beats his wife because he loves her - that sort of logic is ridiculous!
"Relax Padmé. I'm only choking you because I love you."
Yes, I'm comparing your relationship with Star Wars to your relationship with a significant other. It is as if you "just learned the terrible truth" about her past (i.e. the PT). Now you have a decision to make: Either break up or figure out how to embrace it. Remember that you are not perfect, so you hardly have the right to demand that your partner (in this case Star Wars) be perfect either.

In the words of John Eldredge: "No woman wants to be analyzed, and many marriages fail because the man insists on treating her as a problem to be solved, rather than a mystery to be known and loved."

If you spend your time analyzing Star Wars you can find plenty of problems that you want to solve. However, it is just going to drive you crazy in the end. If you really feel George Lucas and Star Wars are so horrible, then get out of this abusive relationship and find something else to love. But don't come around me whining and criticizing what I love. It just makes you look bitter and unattractive.

If you want to claim to love Star Wars, then you should work to embrace whatever you find off-putting and try to view it as a "mystery to be known and loved." That is one reason I wrote the post about how I rationalize Padmé's death in Episode III. I'm hoping to write a few more posts in the future about how I not only justify Jar Jar's existence, but actually embrace it. I also plan to write about why Yoda would quit his fight with Darth Sidious in Episode III.

Here is one common complaint: "Anakin was so whiny in the PT. I can't respect him as Darth Vader now," Well, Luke was pretty whiny too, if you remember anything about his wanting to go to Tosche Station. Honestly, an emotionally healthy person would not likely fall to the Dark Side. I appreciate that George was smart enough to make Anakin flawed (or "whiny") because otherwise I wouldn't have believed the story of his fall.

So why do us old-timers tend to rip on the PT and not the OT? Probably because we have a tendency to view our childhood through rose-colored glasses.

For example, we overlook that Yoda told Luke, before he left Dagobah in Episode V, that his training was incomplete and was reminding him of his failure in the cave. However, the next time Yoda sees him, he's telling Luke that he knows everything he needs to know to be a Jedi. I didn't see Luke get any more training, so, which is it, Yoda? Make up your mind! Maybe Yoda was just lonely and looking for any excuse to keep Luke around so he'd have someone to talk to. Hmm?
Yoda: "Luke! Leave me do not. Lonely I am."
Speaking of which, why do we believe that Luke was nearly fully trained through his short stay on Dagobah? Since this training occurred in the time span that Han and Leia were in the asteroid field, he couldn't have been there for more than a day or two. Even being generous with the clock, you would have to assume his training lasted less than a week. So how did he learn so much in that short time when it took Anakin - and every other Jedi - years of training to get so good? I haven't seen something happen so fast in so little time since I saw Belle fall in love with the prince in one day in Beauty and the Beast (Seriously, watch the Disney film. She goes to the castle one night and by the next night she's fallen in love with him).

We complain about Jar Jar, but seem to forget how annoying people used to consider C-3PO. Admittedly, I do not consider Jar Jar to be annoying, but I should note that my kids find him hilarious and love him - just like we embraced C-3PO as children.

Another issue with the OT is that we're supposed to believe that Princess Leia is a diplomat. Well, what sort of diplomat insults the opposition the way she ripped into Tarkin? If this had been in the PT, we would have cried foul, but in the OT we're perfectly fine with it.
Making fun of another person's stench - a classic way to start peace talks.
Lastly, I would like to point out that, even though Han had a head start on his way to Cloud City in Episode V and was flying the "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy," somehow the Empire beat him there. Lando even says, "They arrived right before you did." Well, how is that even possible?

My goal in bringing these points up is not to disparage the OT. Rather, I want to point out that none of these films are perfect, but I love them anyway. Rather than nitpick, I try to find a way to love the weaknesses and turn them into strengths. I try to look at all six films as a "mystery to be known and loved."
Leia: "I love the prequels."
Han: "I know."
So for the love of all things Star Wars, try to use your imagination as you watch the movies. Find ways to make the so-called "weaknesses" fit. For example, on the last problem I mentioned, I assume the Empire called a nearby battalion of stormtroopers to go to Cloud City so that Lando could honestly say, "They arrived right before you did," while Darth Vader was still on his way.

In conclusion, go out and enjoy all six films. And if you can't get yourself to do it, then at least stop coming to me to bash some part of the series... I'm in a committed relationship and am trying to make it work for the sake of the children (i.e. - the Sequel Trilogy).

P.S. - If you hate my point of view, the best way to get even with me is to buy a copy of the The Complete Bubby Anthology. Honestly, I will totally feel your wrath if you just do that one little thing.