Day By Day

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Star Wars -- The Politicization Thereof

She Who Shall Not Be Named and I went to see Star Wars, part whatever, on Friday. It's pretty much a waste of time. The FX are good, but nothing you haven't seen before. The acting is horrible. Even good actors are reduced to hack work by Lucas' dialogue and direction. Regarding the screenplay, the less said the better. Bad writing, bad directing, bad acting, mediocre FX -- an altogether annoying couple of hours. The only thing that can be said for it is that Lucas has done worse.

In an attempt to create some points of interest for people to talk about [other than how idiotic the whole thing is] there has been a [probably studio generated] buzz about hidden left-wing/ anti-Bush messages coded into the excruciatingly bad dialogue. This, of course, is just a futile attempt to impart meaning to an essentially mindless exercise. And, as Toby, the "Bilious Young Fogey" points out -- the movie could just as easily be read as a right-wing fantasy. He writes:
In summary, looked at without leftist blinkers:
The senate is the UN/EU

The dark side is Islamism

The Jedi are the US and Australia (alas, not the UK)

Kofi Annan is Jar Jar Binks - the bumbling appeaser who unwittingly hands democracy to the dark side (not the hideous Jamaican caricature)

The assorted evil countries who have voting power in the Senate equal to the votes of the good are Iran, North Korea, Zimbabwe

The role of Naboo [a country that thinks that the processes, rather than the substance of democracy, must be preserved (see Padmé's successor in II)] is shared by Canada, New Zealand and the EU

China is the Trade Federation (subverting the Senate to increase its GDP and disregarding human rights in the process, rather than Lucas' woeful caricaturing of inscrutable and lisping Mandarins)
Read his review here.

The ease with which Toby [apparently without even having seen the film] constructs a plausible alternative interpretive framework shows how silly and superficial are these attempts to ascribe political significance to films that are nothing but mindless adolescent fantasies. There are serious films embodying political significance out there -- but Star Wars is not one of them.

Toby is right -- nobody who was not already suffused with leftist perspectives could possibly see this piece of tripe as a political film.

On the general problems associated with attempts to attribute sociological or political [or even cultural] significance to broadly popular heroic fantasy films see Timothy Burke's excellent post over at Easily Distracted here. He feels that such materials function powerfully at an intensely personal level and are not designed to carry sociological or political or even cultural messages. Attempts to analyze them in terms of their "messages" inevitably miss the point of the films, the reasons for their popularity, and their deep meanings.

By the way, Tim sorta liked "Revenge". Read his review here. His judgment, "It Doesn't Suck", is one with which I would respectfully disagree. It sucked big time! Even if we consider it on the level of meaning he prefers, it did not speak to my boyhood fantasies, [and I was once a "faan" who knows quite well what it means to be a "slan." -- of course I've been "gafiating" for several years].

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