Sunday, April 20, 2008

The top 10 worst elements in the Star Wars prequels

I was doing some spring cleaning today and decided to clear out some old items in the idea bin. Without further ado, 10 things from the Star Wars prequels that should never have been.

  • 10. Count Dooku's acrobatic flip in "Revenge of the Sith"
    In one of the early battle scenes of the film, Jedi knights Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker are trying to rescue Chancellor Palpatine from captivity on a starship as a prisoner of Count Dooku and General Grievous. Obi Wan and Anakin finally discover Palpatine tied to a chair at the far end of the ship's observation deck; at this moment, Count Dooku emerges at the top of a staircase to confront the two Jedi.

    This gives George Lucas two options. He could offer some respect to an 83-year-old actor playing an aristocratic character and allow Count Dooku to walk down the stairs, or he could add in a cheesy special effect to beat us over the head with the fact that, yes, Count Dooku has Jedi powers. The end result is simply one of the worst CGI effects ever: Count Dooku doing a front flip off of the stairway landing.

  • 9. Elan Sleazebaggano
    Wanna buy some deathsticks?

  • 8. Queen Amidala gets demoted. Jar Jar Binks gets promoted.
    This post could really just have been 10 things that I hate about Jar Jar Binks given how completely Jar Jar symbolizes George Lucas' brain-damaged directing style. In the interest of differentiating this post from an anti-Jar Jar rant, I'll restrict attention to a single Jar Jar screw up.

    In "The Phantom Menace", Amidala is Queen and Jar Jar Binks is getting his head stuck in active power couplings. In "Attack of the Clones", Amidala gets demoted to Galactic Senator while Jar Jar Binks is promoted to Representative. Later in the film, Jar Jar gets to replace Amidala as Senator when she gets shipped back to Naboo. Despite the massive amounts of mind-numbing stupidity required for anyone to appoint Jar Jar Binks, of all beings, to a position of responsibility, Jar Jar Binks does something even more stupid -- something that will make his name a galactic house-hold word synonymous with stupidity for all time.

    In Lucas's defense, it could be argued that Jar Jar's moronic Senatorial behavior was intentionally inserted into "Attack of the Clones" in order to destroy this character beyond the possibility of redemption.

  • 7. Anakin Skywalker built C3PO
    By all rights, Darth Vader should have converted Luke Skywalker to the Dark side of the force, crushed the Rebellion, and gone on to rule the universe with his son at his side. That he utterly failed to do these things is due to a single, highly ironic fact: building a protocol droid and teaching it how to speak "Chub-Chub" in case it ever got shipwrecked on Endor seemed like a great idea when Vader was 5-years-old.

    Yes, that's right. The tragedy of Vader was that, if he had never created his child-like android pal back in his overly cutesy, pod-racing childhood, the Rebel commandos would have been barbecued by Ewoks long before reaching the Endor force field generator.

  • 6. Dex
    A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there was a diner just like the ones we have on Earth. The diner was staffed by wise-ass waitresses just like the waitresses in some real diners. The head cook was a big, hulking alien who looked like he had served in the Navy, just like some of the real head cooks here on Earth. Just like our Earth conspiracy theorists, our alien short order cook knew everything there was to know about the secret alien planet that nobody else ever heard of - and it was all totally real! What a amazing happenstance!

  • 5. Anakin rides the giant ass monster of Naboo.
    He only did it to impress his girlfriend (6:19 into the clip).

  • 4. The Death of Mace Windu
    Actor Samuel L. Jackson swore a blood oath to Star Wars fans that his character, Mace Windu, would go down fighting when he dies.

    If this made you suspect that Mace Windu was going to suffer the kind of undignified bodily harm typically reserved for comedic duo "Tom & Jerry", you were right (2:23 into the clip). In Lucas' defense, in this scene he does successfully resist the temptation to give Mace Windu the "Wilhelm Scream" when he gets nailed by Force-lightning.

  • 3. Midi-chlorians
    Supposedly these were some kind of microscopic life form that inhabited living cells, thus allowing their host organisms to access the Force. Even though this idea is a massive retcon of the entire "Star Wars" universe, for the sake of argument lets accept this for now. We are thus left three facts, any two of which logically negate the third:

    A. A being with a high midi-chlorian count is invariably a potentially powerful Force user, and vice versa.
    B. The Jedi test anyone and everyone looking for high midi-chlorian counts.
    C. The Jedi can't figure out that Chancellor Palpatine is a powerful Sith Lord.

  • 2. The virigin birth of Anakin
    In the original "Star Wars" trilogy, the Force was a mystical energy field while Darth Vader had an ordinary, rational, bilogical origin. This was and is a wildly popular concept of the films. In the new prequel trilogy, the Force has an ordinary, rational biological origin while Darth Vader has the mythological conception. This was and is b******t.

  • 1. Anakin's Oedipus Complex
    In Lucas' mind, the "Star Wars" movies are childrens movies about a little boy who was born with an evil destiny to become one of the galaxy's most psychopathic genocidal maniacs. Except that to say that Anakin was born evil would actually imply that something like good and evil could objectively exist in a universe governed by midi-chorians. Lucas was therefore forced to rationalize away Darth Vader's madness, and, in typical Lucas fashion, he decided to explain away evil in a way that his tiny-tyke fan base wouldn't have much trouble wrapping their minds around. In other words, Anakin went bad because those mean Jedi took him away from his mommie!

    The decision to give Anakin an Oedipal complex ultimately has a decisive and highly negative effect on the rest of the films. Take "The Phantom Menace" as an example. Here Anakin needs a virgin birth because having Skywalker senior in the films would screw up the highly reductionist child psychology that Lucas needs to turn Anakin into Darth Vader. Thus, we have the conveniently sperm-sized midi-chlorians entering the storyline. Lucas also needs Anakin to bond with Padme Amidala in order for her to become his mother surrogate. Thus, making Anakin a child genius, super-reflexes pod-racer at age 5 gives him plenty of away-time from both his mother and his day job as a menial slave laborer. Except that the Jedi are supposed to be guardians of law and order, which means that they have rules that prevent people with potentially deep-seated neuroses from getting highly dangerous Jedi commando training. Thus, we have the ancient Jedi prophecies of the Chosen One to muddy up the waters and give the other Jedi an incentive to depart from their moral principles when dealing with Anakin.

    The cumulative effect of all of these events is to make roughly two-thirds of "The Phantom Menace" the saga of a singularly improbable happenstance.


    Blogger The Rush Blog said...

    When are you going to list the top ten worst elements of the Original Trilogy?

    Or do you expect us to believe there was nothing wrong with them?

    12:08 PM  

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