Star Love

I can’t tell if he’s more worried he’ll get caught or that he’ll lose her.

Let’s stop hating on Star Wars, okay?

I’ll be the first to admit that I love Star Wars. I’ll take my planet killer moon-sized stations with the best of them, and I don’t feel slighted by updates made over the years either. These movies are living representations of my childhood, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks about them. I’ve heard a lot of stuff, and I’ve lived through it all and I’m tired of people deciding that every little tweak, every little niggling problem is something we need to attack each other, and the whole Star Wars legacy about all the time. Give it a rest folks, and just Love Star Wars already? Please?

Setting aside the Clone Wars, Rebels, and Mandalorian television shows, comic books, and all other media, I want to take a look at just the movies. Primarily I want to focus on the Skywalker Saga.

1. The Phantom Menace

I’ll go in order because I feel like it, and besides, I like the idea of seeing all the headlines in order like this. I’ve been hearing three things about the Phantom Menace that make me crazy. But it’s not what you think. These things don’t bother me, I’m just tired of hearing about it all the time. 

People are upset by Qui-Gon Jinn’s death. I’ve got friends who wouldn’t watch episode two or three because they were so upset that he dies. Of course, he dies! All the guides pass away. None of them can move forward (Anakin included…) until their master passes away. It’s a thing, deal with it. It’s okay. 

I’m tired of hearing how bad the kid is as Anakin too, that he’s a bad actor, that he was terrible. I thought Natalie Portman gave a pretty stiff performance too, but she seems to have gone on to have a pretty splendid career afterward, so please stop hating on the kid, and admit it, you still go back and watch The Phantom Menace from time to time. 

The title is another thing I keep hearing about. The title is pretty goofy, I’ll admit that, but really? This is the trouble? These movies are adventure films about space wizards for kids. Let that sink in. When you keep that in mind, it’s a perfect title! It’s supposed to be goofy, and funny. 

Don’t get me started on Jar Jar blinks, that fool was at my Star Wars-themed wedding. (No kidding, I did this.) many fans love to hate on the world’s most hated clown, and that’s what he is. He’s a clown, a fool, he’s supposed to bring about a sense of goofy fun, do dumb stuff, and be the butt of jokes. I think the backlash (maybe regarding his unfortunate accent) burned Ahmed Best for life. It was really harsh stuff. Here’s the thing. This character represents Anakin’s childhood best friend. He’s a confidant, someone Anakin, even as an adult will break his Jedi-ness to complain to, worrying that Padme doesn’t like him that way. We don’t see much of Jar Jar once Anakin is grown, and the Gungan’s essentially vanish entirely from the story once Darth turns to the dark side. It’s like he’s locked them away never (rarely) to be seen again because they are part of his good memories growing up. He’s there to stay. He has a place. Ease up on the hate.

2. Attack of the Clones

The ‘second’ film in the franchise hasn’t taken nearly the heat, but there have been a few things that have drawn fire that I’d like people to forget about, and just enjoy. The main issue is Hayden Christian’s acting chops. Seriously? This whole series has essentially been vehicles for young unknowns to ride alongside more experienced actors taking up supporting roles. I think part of the issue here, is that the attack of the clones shows Anakin genuinely happy at times, and how quickly he can lose it when loved ones are taken away from him, which I think he did a wonderful job with given the constraints of a two-hour movie. We got to see a lot more development in the Clone Wars cartoon, but he’s going through an opera singer’s range of acting emotions and flips between his own separation anxiety and hate issues that set him up to fail. I don’t think we like seeing him happy at his secret wedding because we know it’s all going downhill later. It makes us feel uncomfortable, and so is he. 

It’s working. So it’s time to stop hating it. 

3. Revenge of the Sith

Oh, dear good old Revenge of the Sith. Ever since Revenge of the Jedi had its name changed to Return of the Jedi, we’ve wanted that word back in a title for Star Wars, and now we’ve got it. It’s the big tragic downfall of Vader. Here it comes. When you go into a theater to watch it, you know it can only end badly. Hayden’s still got a kind of a stilted performance, and I personally don’t think so much of Padme helping to start the rebellion should have been cut. I think she, a very strong character, is pretty much a victim most of the time here. That part I don’t like. She’s stronger than that. 

There’s a lot here to like and dislike, but we get some pretty satisfying stuff too. We get to see how coldly the Stormtroopers can turn on the Jedi, how the old Phantom (Dennis the…) Menace himself set everyone up and took control of the government, and we get to see Vader turn. 

I call Vader the cleaner. To me, he represents the scene in The Godfather where the other family is totally wiped out. Vader comes in and finishes cleaning up. We get to see Obi-Wan and Yoda escape and the twins separated, but everyone else (who can’t show up in the next movie) are all gone. It’s an uncomfortable movie, but such a difficult theme. The rise of the hero’s journey leaves Anakin broken, destroyed, burned, and full of hate, much like some of the more vocal fans. 

I’ll bet you still watch it, don’t you? I mean all the prequels, even episode 1. You know you do.

4. A New Hope

We all grew up on Star Wars, yes I’m talking to those like me, who knew them in their original form. I love the original movies. I still think you should be able to see the original Star Wars without the special edition changes as an extra feature, but that doesn’t mean that hatred of the chances should make you choose to hate on the movie. It’s still fantastic. I still love it, and the changes weren’t bad, they were good. Even the whole debacle about Han and Greedo. 

“Han shot first!” It seems to be the worst transgression, the one that have people up in arms the most, but you know, I have little issue with this. On a certain level, Star Wars is essentially Wagon Train in space. What’s wrong with having a gunfight middle-of-the-street style? Han and Greedo could have done this in the street, twitching their fingers, trying to out shoot the other, with a win going to our favorite smuggler pirate, but in the original Greedo is so bad, he doesn’t even get off a shot. What’s wrong with giving Greedo a little more backbone, a little more credit as a threat to Han? Is it okay to make Han one percent better than he was before? He’s a character notoriously full of shit anyway. Does he have to be cold-blooded too? It’s okay to show that he’s not 100% bad here. 

I think that the crazy ring around the exploding Death Star was kind of strange, but looking at the original version, the new explosion is so much more satisfying, that and all the extra shots of the X-Wings. The subtle changes made to the big final battle made the dogfighting sequences make so much more sense to me. Highly worth it. 

5. The Empire Strikes Back

There’s nothing wrong with this movie, I’m sorry. If there’s a complaint, or a grievance here I don’t know what it is. I can watch this movie any time of the day or night. Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian, the reveal of Yoda. (I always think of this as his first appearance) they added to the Cloud City skyline, very nice, and didn’t add or remove too much with the special edition. Another thing the Special editions do very well is updating these movies so when you watch them with the others, they match up, instead of sticking out like a sore thumb. I realize I’m biased. Let me have it.

6. Return of the Jedi

Ewoks. People complain about our favorite little fuzzy representatives of the Vietcong (against us, metaphorically speaking, yarg!) Once the idea was to do this with Wookiees, but they were too sophisticated to have defeated the big evil technological Empire with them. They flew space ships, fixed them, they needed to be closer to nature, to the Earth, and Lucas did that literally by shortening the creature, shortening the fur, and the name as well so we wouldn’t even be thinking about them. I remember they were a total surprise. Until the movie premiered, we didn’t know what they were or what they looked like. The action figures all came on cards, and until after Return of the Jedi came out, the figures for the Ewoks were blacked out in the list, like a big secret. 

They turned out to be such a delight (After the whole holy cow, it’s a mad teddy bear thing) that we still cheer for and look for Warwick Davis’s cameo whenever he shows up again. Assuming all that wreckage of the Death Star I’m seeing in the promos for the Rise of Skywalker are on Endor, I’d really love to see Wicket now as the chief of all the Ewoks. I’ve been looking for Wicket to be somewhere with the Resistance. Maybe he’ll show up in the Rise of Skywalker with Lando. I’d love to see that. 

7. The Force Awakens

A girl as the hero, a black stormtrooper as a hero, a snarky rebel pilot that we love so much, we can’t kill him off (like that was going to happen…) oh and the girl… she gets Luke’s Lightsaber! Not the guy, the girl. It chooses her! It’s an outrage! It’s a scandal! No, it’s not. There’s nothing wrong with this. We are dealing with rebirth here. I’ll get into my whole #reylo stuff in a second, that everyone needs to get over in a second. 

She’s’ s a Mary Sue! Maybe, but is that so bad? Even Snoke mentions in the next film that he’s surprised Kylo was bested by such an amateur. Funny, the Force seems to have awakened (I think in both of them) and we’ve only got two hours kids, so is it okay to have fun with how adept she gets so quickly? It even seems to bug her eventually. Everybody needs to get over it. The lead character is a woman. Her best friend is a black former stormtrooper. These are our lead characters. It’s the next generation, and the torch (one of Anakin’s old lightsabers) has been passed. It’s okay. No one’s manhood is being challenged or destroyed, and the shock of having a black character? Really? In a way they are supposed to upset us a little (the original fans) they go around, having adventures, and leaving the original heroes (us) behind. We want them to go away, so we can have adventures with our old friends again, but it’s been a minutes. They are older and it’s time to let the new kids grow up and be themselves instead if us telling them how to be all the time. 

8. The Last Jedi

Arguably the best moment in the film…

It’s time to let go of all hatred of the Last Jedi. It was targeted by internet Trolls with a smear campaign before it even got out of the gate, and instead of a story about us versus them, something Poe tries for most of the film and fails miserably, instead it’s essentially the story of two horny teenager/young adults who are into each other, and no one approves, who keep sneaking middle-of-the-night phone calls (Force Time) with each other, until they finally connect, working together to kill all of Snoke’s guards. I still believe in #reylo. I believe these two good side versus bad side characters are destined to get together and finally bring balance to the force, yin, and yang, together forever, to balance out the universe. They just have to deal with their masters first, then eventually the evil spirit who started it all. 

Doesn’t Luke look and sound like a parent catching his kid talking to her evil boyfriend? Then after that argument, he drives her away? There’s only one way this can end. With lots of bad behavior, a boyfriend she loves, but is a bad influence on her, but she doesn’t care. Then it’s tattoo time, and lots of hanging with his motorcycle gang, (the Knights of Ren?) though probably on her own speeder bike.

Balance! Yeah!

Deal with it. (I really hope that’s coming…)

9. The Rise of Skywalker

Word has been bad about the Rise of Skywalker for some time now. It’s keeping me from watching much about it on YouTube because I don’t want to hear any spoilers, and everything is already so rotten. 

Don’t go into this movie just looking for things to hate. I think J.J Abrams is doing his dead-level best here to bring some form of closure that will make people feel happy. We’ve already been warned that C-3P0 might be in trouble, and I’m sure there will be other bittersweet losses, but it’s a story that’s struggled to turn that next-generation over and lingers, grasping to the original characters, who are of course fatherly and motherly ones, handing off Excalibur to a new generation, which brings me to my only real concern. 

They keep touting this as the end of the Skywalker Saga, even though “Skywalker Rises.” All the commercials seem to indicate this is it, the big end, it’s all over. Time to go. That’s great, but don’t kill them all off for goodness sake! It needs to be a redemption, this time fir Rey and Kylo. I’m assuming that Kylo returns to the good side while Rey goes a little dark and meets her space wizard boyfriend in the middle. 

Also, if the Emperor can come back (or still be the actual villain) then so can Anakin, maybe to kill the Emperor for good himself and give his blessing to his grandson and his space wizard girlfriend. 

Then how can that be it?!?! There’s got to be years and years of adventures for these space dorks to have for the next forty years, until they are old and gray, with forty bazillions more comic books, and fifteen novels, and two more cartoon series about them, and then handing over lightsabers to yet another new generation of peace-keepers. 

The finality of the commercials bugs me. I don’t buy that part. Not one bit. Love Star Wars. Don’t hate on it. Give it a chance before you chose your side, okay?

Endnotes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Sue