Star Wars Isn't an Iraq War Analogy, It's Just a Great Movie
I finally got around to seeing Star Wars Episode III. Some have said the movie is an analogy for the Iraq War but, I gotta say, I didn’t see it.
The plot of a duly elected but evil chancellor who uses fear-mongering and war to take imperial power is almost a direct retelling of Hitler’s rise to power. Or perhaps even of Oliver Cromwell’s. Come to think of it, you can relate Star Wars Episode III to plenty of moments in history. And that’s why this movie is so much better than the other two new episodes. In Revenge of the Sith, Lucas returns to the archetypes and universal themes that made the originals so wonderfully enthralling.
The Revenge of the Sith is primarily about one man’s descent into evil set against the backdrop of the rise of an evil empire. Anakin Skywalker’s fall is tragic, inevitable and painfully familiar. We’ve seen and cared about this story before. It’s Michael Corleone in the first Godfather. It’s Othello. It’s the archetype of “the fall” in the same way the original Star Wars was the archetype of “the fantastic adventure” (rag-tag band led by a wizened wizard storms a black knight’s castle to rescue a princess).
It’s no surprise that some would see the Iraq War in Episode III. But that misses the universal points of this excellent movie. Lucas shouldn’t even have bothered making Episodes I and II. Revenge of the Sith tells us all we need to know and it’s the only one of the new movies that actually rises near the level of the originals. Never underestimate the power of universal themes.