Late to the Party: Notes from Watching ‘Star Wars’ for the First Time

STAR WARS, EP IV: A New Hope

  1. “Utinni!”
  2. “I ain’t in it for your revolution.” – That episode of Community makes sense now.
  3. The Millennium Falcon is awesome!
  4. Yeah, suck it, Storm Trooper!
  5. NOOOO OBI-WAN – although he looked suspiciously peaceful
  6. Die, Death Star, die! Pew pew pew!
  7. Leia is a badass.
  8. [end of film] Oh my god. STAR WARS is awesome!

The next step in my education was to watch the films, in numerical order, with my brother at Christmas, and only then would we head to the movies for The Force Awakens. (This would be the first time I’d seen Eps. 1-3 since their theatrical release.) I brought home his DVD box set, and we quickly got to work.

STAR WARS I: The Phantom Menace

  • Jedis: cross btwn. Navy Seals and diplomats. VFX appears worse than 1970s’. WTF, Lucas.

  • Queen Amidala! (Keira Knightley? Natalie Portman?) Senator Palpatine – so far a good guy, but looks like one of those British actors who eventually becomes evil.

  • ANAKIN SKYWALKER!: works at spare parts shop (Ew! He grows up to sleep with Queen Amidala!)

young anakin

  • Film is endlessly clunky. Indulgent. It’s like terrible fan-fic w/penchant for creatures. John Williams’s soundtrack generally signals whimsy/fun, not dramatic depth or insight.

  • A’s mother bore him, raised him, no father -> parthenogenesis -> Jesus allegory -> but he is not a savior. He had the potential but squandered it.

STAR WARS II: Attack of the Clones

  • Clear attraction btwn. Anakin & Amidala
    -> he’s clearly rebellious, his Master urges him to focus on the positive & here-and-now
    -> he’s a teenager. Could be guided to the Dark Side.

  • CLONES ARE ORIGINAL STORM TROOPERS.

  • “You’re not all-powerful.”
    “I should be. I’ll be able to stop people from dying. It’s all Obi-Wan’s fault. He’s jealous.”
    -> Anakin will be his own undoing.

anakin aotc

– Iraq allusion?
Galactic Senate approval : Congressional approval :: Emergency powers : President going to war w/o Congressional approval

  • AWFUL SCREENPLAY

– Story at this juncture is v. important but method is horrendous.

  • Race/class commentary: main characters are British & American. Lesser characters speak pidgin/heavily accented English or phonetically non-English dialects.

  • Motifs:
    Good vs. evil
    Father/son
    Western
    Master (teacher)/student
    Personal vs. service (public) – also autonomy vs. state

STAR WARS, III: Revenge of the Sith

  • General Kenobi, yay!

  • Noir-heavy open: rain, shadows, exchange of misinformation/deception
    -> High-octane action sequence – flying cars!
    -> VFX is noticeably better

  • General Grievous: “mostly machine,” according to my brother

open-uri20150608-27674-1empmi4_e1f04d9f

  • Anakin’s weakness is his fear for the safety of those he loves.

  • Droids as expendable comic relief – does not work.

  • CHEWY!’s uncle!

  • Peacocks on steroids! (Obi-Wan is literal beastmaster)

  • POWER CORRUPTS (into. Darth Vader theme)

  • “And we shall have peace” = I don’t think that means what you think it means

  • 1st GALACTIC EMPIRE

  • Darth Sidius vs. Yoda: battle in empty theater of Congress = (figurative) sending galaxy to pieces

  • One life leaves the world (Anakin), another (in this case two, Luka and Leia) enters it.

Since I’d seen Ep IV already, and was on the clock for my day job, I went off to work while my brother watched. We then reconvened for:

STAR WARS, Ep V: The Empire Strikes Back

  • Leia won’t tell Han how she feels about him (like Liz Lemon!)

  • INCEST ALERT

  • Nazi imagery
    -> IN THE TRENCHES: WWI imagery as well – or, rather, fascist imagery for the bad guys, trench imagery for the good guys

  • Luke’s bravery is clear – he is willing to let the Force guide him, he wants to learn.
    -> Vader on land!
    -> “Evasive maneuvers” – Community reference!

  • LANDO IS BAD GUY?!?!
    -> Whew, he redeems himself.

Lando-Calrissian_a679fe1e

  • R2 should move a lot faster. They’d get everywhere faster.

  • “All the way to the end.” Luke would go to the ends of the Earth to get away from you.

Episodes VI and VII get their own piece, coming soon to a Queen Mob’s post near you…

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