But, I gotta add something. As a long time Army guy, I think I know a little bit about management – I’ve certainly seen enough examples of good and bad, if you insist on excluding experience and training. And I know a bit about Star Wars — I watched the series again this summer, back to back over 6 days, and blogged about it, here. Let me see if I can add something to all this.
1. Doing right can be harder than doing wrong. The senate legally appointed an emperor – remember that? They handed over to him all the power, in order to suppress the brewing rebellion. Nothing illegal in them doing that — though some argue there was elaborate politicking and shenanigans involved it setting it all up. But it was legal. The Jedi Knights and their council decided to abandon their oaths to the Republic, over the issue of a man. They chose the easy wrong. Anakin, before become Vader, chose the hard right – he sided with the Republic, even when things were at their worse. Of course, he also slaughtered the kids training at Jedi U, but hey, we all have our personal faults and flaws.
2. Sometimes, the masters are wrong. Even the experts screw up. The Jedi abandoned the Republic — it was a decision they made, as no one had a gun to their head making them do it. It was choice. And they chose wrong. Unfortunately, everyone saw them make that choice, and they had to deal with the repercussions (some days, it sucked to be a Jedi, huh?)
3. Know your beliefs, and be comfortable with them. With the Sith in control of the Republic (for good or for bad), and the Jedi on the run or just plain dead, Vader was the most visible sign of the Force that the regular Joe had. Remember those scenes with him almost being taunted by subordinates, when they were building the Death Star? Darth knew and understood his beliefs, and was OK with the fact that his mastery of the Force was different than that of others, and he was OK with it. He was also OK with choking people – not always a good management skill.
4. Move past your personal differences. It’s important to be willing to move past personal feelings, animosity, etc. That feeling of hatred and rage and all that crap works for only so long. At some point, you’ve got to bury the hatched and make things right — like with your son right before you cut off his hand.
5. Understand what is important to you. Darth was all about the Death Star. All about it. So much so that he likely bankrupted the Republic building it — not just once, but twice. How important was the Death Star to ol’ Darth? Apparently, very important.
6. Know when to keep it on the down-low. That secret office romance? Needs to be secret. No hand holding. No long stares. No slappin’ that ass. And no large bulges — for either of you.
7. Seriously, keep your daughter under control if she’s going into the same line of work. If not, things can go wrong — for you, for her, for teenage boys everywhere.
Because he has a light saber? If you watch the movies, Jedis are always losing their light sabers. It’s something of a galactic epidemic. And with that, they are landing in the hands of all kinds of folks — General Grevous, for example, had a whole collection of them, and he was no Jedi. So, just having a glowing stick sword thing isn’t enough to be a Jedi.
Because the Force is strong in him? Well, no. The Force is in everyone and everything, and not everyone or everything is a Jedi. The Republic was ready to skip on ol’ Anakin when he was found, because he was “too old” — even knowing that his midi-chlorians were the highest ever recorded. There’s no benchmark for midi-chlorians levels, or the Force in someone. No Kelly Blue Book.
Because he graduated from the Jedi Academy? Well, no. He wasn’t identified at a young age, wasn’t brought into the bosom of the Jedi community, wasn’t raised and trained as one. He didn’t take part in the formal Jedi culture that had existed for the thousands of years of the Republic. He just picked up a light saber and went at it.
Because a Jedi trained him? Well, no. Yes, Yoda did train him, but no, that’s not enough. The Jedi Council confers the title of Jedi Knight — and if you recall, that frustrated the hell out of Anakin, as he felt he was ready / worthy of the title, and they did not. Just studying under a Jedi Knight isn’t enough.
I know what you’re thinking – by Luke’s time, there was no Jedi Council. Thus, there could be no new Jedi Knights.
Yep. I totally agree. Luke Skywalker — poser. He’s the Bill S. Preston Esq. of the future. He should not be calling himself a Jedi Knight — pick a new name for whatever it is that he thinks he is.
After watching all of the other movies over this past week, Return of the Jedi is such a disappointment.
Easily, of the six movies, this is the lamest. And it’s lame for so many reasons.
1. The Ewoks. Seriously, who wants teddy bears with lips? Not me. The only thing of any value that came out of the whole Ewok thing was the brief scene with Luke and Leia talking, and realizing that they are indeed siblings.
2. A second Death Star? What’s that going to cost? No wonder the Emperor has no interest in resolving the dispute over the trade route taxes — he obviously needs the extra taxes to pay for all these damn Death Stars. And they build the Death Star while in orbit around a planet — you’d figure that the planet would be a giant steel factory. Or is the Death Star made from wood harvested from the Ewok forest?
3. How long does it take to build a new Death Star? Why is their no scaffolding? If there are unions involved, well, I’m sure it’ll take billions of years to finish and the mob is involved.
But really, the big kickers are this:
The Emperor and Darth Vader both want to turn Luke to “the Dark Side.” And we’re suppose to assume that this means that he’d become a Sith. But wait — there can only be two Sith at any given time. Does the Emperor plan to replace Darth Vader with his son, or does Vader plan to kill off the Emperor? Or are they both so stupid that they don’t think the other one remembers the whole “Rule of 2″ regarding the Sith?
The Rebels, after all these years, have figured out that the Emperor is the Center of Gravity for the Empire – kill him / take him out of the power, and they can finally affect change within the Galaxy. To which I can pretty much only say, “No shit, Sherlock.”
If there is any redeeming value to this film, it’s Leia and her bikini of yumminess. Watching her in that outfit, choking the snot out of Jabba the Hut, was better that watching “professional” women’s wrestling.
I’m glad I had a chance to rewatch these. After all these years, and all this time in the military, I see them in a whole new light. What was good, isn’t, and what was bad, well, is just less bad.
Worst: Jar Jar Binks, and then the Ewoks.
What I learned: The Jedi Knights are either just plain dangerous, or living in a world of denial. Oh, and that The Force is a bunch of poppycock.
What I already knew: It’s really not much of a rebellion.
Favorite pet peeve: R2D2 is the common thread throughout this entire series, yet he recognizes no one.
I don’t know why anyone else would undertake watching all six of these in order, like I just did. I hope these notes, and the ideas I presented in them, make it a different experience. I doubt we’ll get a series like this any time soon.
19 08 2008
When this movie came out, it was dogged. The critics went to town on it, really beating it up. Why? Lots of reasons.
* It suffers the same fate as that other great cinematic achievement, Back to the Future II, in that it’s a bridging film. It has no real beginning, and no real end. it just is.
* The storyline is a lot more complicated and advanced that Star Wars IV, with deep emotional and intellectual issues. It’s no Western, that’s for sure.
I’ll admit — when this movie came out, I was underwhelmed, if you can be that as a pre-teen. Really, I liked the fighting on Hoth, which was totally cool, but the rest of it — all of the grown up crap — just had me wanting the next movie to be released so we could get back to the adventure stories. (and — my God! — those were a long three years waiting for the next movie!)
But now that all of the movies are out, and we all have the chance to watch the story unfold from the beginning, I think I’m not alone in saying that this may well be the best of the six. It’s only real competition is from III — that whole “turning to the dark side” / Anakin choosing to side with the Chancellor and the Republic when the Jedi Knights try to stage a coup d’?tat. While III has the more complex internal struggle issues of Anakin, this is a complex study of interpersonal relationships.
Also, watching the movie changes so much now that 1-3 are out. Vader is his father? No surprise there, though it was a HUGE deal back in 1980. Vader is actually human? Well, duh — we saw him suit up in his rig in Star Wars III. Luke and Leia are twins brother / sister? Uh huh, yeah, we know.
Of these, though, the biggest change in perception is with the whole Vader / Luke dynamic, and what this does to the movie. In 1980, it was the mega shocker of the year, a plot twist that put The Crying Game to shame. Now that we’re past all of that, the revelation really ties into a key element of the film, and helps to define the road ahead for both Vader and Skywalker.
And while this movie also makes great advances in the character development of the 4-6 folks — Luke, Leia, Han, etc — it’s also, as I see it, the turning point for the Empire. Sure, the Death Star was blown up — big deal. They obviously got over that. But by the time we get to this movie, the Emperor has done nothing to resolve the issues that caused the conflict in the first place. All those issues remain unresolved. The Empire is no better than the Republic.
And yes, I realize that I probably sound like a broken record, spouting off Army doctrine, and “counterinsurgency” this and “counterinsurgency” that. But hey — that stuff is important today, and both understanding it and applying it are important things. So, bear with me — it’s important.
But for all of the fun and games of watching the Emperor struggle with leadership and civic duty, with war and peace and conflict and unruly systems, it’s a lot more fun to watch Han and Leia in this movie. Yeah, yeah, yeah — I’m a big softy, and I get a kick out of their back and forth banter. They are, at times — a lot of times — worst than high schoolers. And it doesn’t hurt that Leia is pretty damn cute in this film (and so is R2D2). It’s a good chuckle seeing Leia kiss Luke, to spite Han — back in 1980, we didn’t know they were twins. Now, though, it’s either comical or, well, creepy.
I wish we got more of Leia’s story. From the looks of it, she’s got some of the same issues her mother has.
It’s an honest film, not trying to be a marketing tool first and a movie second. There’s no Jar Jar in here, no Ewoks. And frankly, that’s refreshing. Before 1-3 came out, I shunned this movie; now I look forward to seeing it.
(and when they run into Yoda, shouldn’t R2D2 recognize him?
A couple of observations, and then a couple of more serious topics.
Really early on, one of the storm troopers says to set their gun things to “stun” and then he blasts Leia. So, if “stun” is an option, why isn’t that used more often? Stun some rebels, take them to the cell and waterboard them later, right? Stun would be awesome.
In case you have not noticed, I am much more of a concept guy than I am a fact guy. I am most comfortable arguing about ideas and big, broad concepts that I am about specific facts, mainly because I have no mental capacity to remember exact facts.
Which should explain why there are two additional things from Phantom Menace that I need to add. Both came to me as I was trying to go to sleep this morning. And by “this morning” I mean, yes, this morning, as watching that movie and birthing that giant blogstrocity last night went well past midnight.
1. Padm? Amidala is a dirty old man. A cradle robber. “Born in a mountain village on Naboo 46 years before the events of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” (here) which means that she was, well, 14 when Phantom Menace takes places (and when Anakin Skywalker is found, freed, and, oh, yeah, nice years old). I have problems with this — she’s the elected queen of the planet at age 14? Fine – I’ll assume that the nerds of the Galaxy are right about that. Still, though — the Queen and later as the Senator / Ex-Queen, she’s getting all hot and heavy in secret with a guy 5 years younger than her. Whooooo, scandal! OK, not really — It’s ten years later, when she’s supposedly 24 and he’s 19, that they get busy and make babies. I just find it hard to believe that she’s suppose to be 14 during Phantom Menace.
You know, maybe part of her attraction to little Anakin later is that she just hasn’t had time to be herself, and he’s the first guy around her that pursues her. Before this, she did her long stint as the Queen, and was more or less untouchable and outside the societal norms. And even later, as she emerges as a Senator, little has changed for her. Too smart, too powerful, too perfect. My dad, when I was heading off to college, told me to ask out the incredible women around campus. The insanely popular ones. The amazingly beautiful ones. He had learned in college (he claimed) that they didn’t go out much, because everyone held that view and because of that, few asked them out. While my dad could have been totally off his rocker, his observation at least appears to have some bearing on Queen Hottie and her reaction to young Anakin as a suitor.
But as the movie rolls on, I wonder more and more how or why they would be together. Granted, I do not claim to understand the affairs of the heart — my master’s degree is in applied violence, not the touchy-feely stuff. But still — she’s about democracy, he’s about totalitarianism. She’s for the people, he’s for relying on the best to look after the rest. She’s about talking, he’s about “aggressive negotiations” and “negotiations with a light saber”. She’s mature and logical and responsible, and he blames everyone else for everything.
2. What’s up with this Trade Franchise thing? Late in the movie, when the war seems to be won by the locals, that Queen Amidala tells the Viceroy that he will likely loose his Trade Franchise. That really was bugging me last night — what the hell is that? So, I sank some time over lunch today to try and figure it out. I’m still nt sure, but I think I found a decent explanation here.
I can live with that description.
Anyway, on to the Attack of the Clones.
And if you suffered through my long piece last night about Stars Wars 1: The Phantom Menace, here, have a cookie. It goes perfectly with the end of the movie, when the clone Army is formed up before the Supreme Chancellor, and is heading out into space. Fleet week, indeed.
I haven’t even made it through the opening scrolling text things, and already I have the movie paused. Something just isn’t right.
Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Are you freakin’ kidding me? If I have to keep pausing this thing in order to write loooog things, it’s going to take all weekend to watch this movie.
OK, let’s start with the easy ones.
1. “The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.” Hmm. Where have we heard that one? That happens all the time in the US — people don’t like the taxes, or how they are implemented, or their rate of taxation, or whatever. Sometimes, the people get all crazy from the heat and do things like throw tea in the harbor, when they don’t like the taxation and what it brings them in the form of representative government. Opinions on taxation are a lot like asshole — everyone’s got one, and generally speaking, you should keep your to yourself, but if yours is giving you angst or discomfort, you probably need to go see someone about it — a doctor, a congressman, even the Supreme Chancellor.
Do you need to go get a beer or something? Use the bathroom? Because, as Theron says in 300, “This will not be over quickly.”
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