Tuesday, May 31, 2005

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.


At 10:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many people ragingly against the Iraq war are at least equally guilty of the "absolutes" Obi-Wan referred to. They haven't found the validation in this film they think they have. However, how can one argue with them? They can't escape their monolithic ideology anywhere they go, so they probably can claim to find the same "support" for it in the Wizard of Oz, The Dark Crystal and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Tune 'em out.

Nothing gets their goat more.

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the Iraq (or any other) war analogy helps people to think smarter, I'll buy into it. Wouldn't it be nice if we enlightened 21st Century humans could put a little more time into compassion, acceptance of differences and working together. We really are too much alike to be pointing fingers.

The vast amount of money and resources spent on destroying each other with increased efficiency just seems like a less useful alternative to peace.

At 11:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One can also make the parralel between the Jedi "invading" the Chancellor's office to overthrow a tyrant to Bush's invasion of Iraq to overthrow Hussien, thus making this a pro-Bush film (only Palpatine actually had WMD, that lightning he shot from his fingers). It's also clear that the Jedi, like Bush's evangelical friends, sought to impose there own religious views on the government. They had no evidence of a crime, only that Palpatine worshipped the 'wrong' side of the Force.

At 4:42 PM, Anonymous Edo said...

It’s the archetype of “the fall” in the same way the original Star Wars was the archetype of “the fantastic adventure”

The origingal Star Wars was the archetype of "A Heroes Journey". Check out Joseph Campbell if you are truly interested.

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucas made it perfectly clear at Cannes that this was partly intended to be relevant to Bush and the threat of fascism in the US. He also said the Ewoks were supposed to be Viet Cong, at an earlier date. It's a fact, look it up.

At 5:26 PM, Anonymous Dave said...

If George Lucas was trying to draw a parallel, he's an idiot when it comes to history.

Are Bush's opponents really willing to give the President credit for creating any and all derivatives of the "if you're not with me you're against me" phrase?

If any U.S. President is supposed to be Palpatine, which country did we fight against that was secretly an ally? Even The X Files wouldn't suggest that either Ho Chi Minh or Saddam Hussein were actually servants of the U.S. President.

The Hitler analogy doesn't even survive the first look. His wars didn't start until well after he took power. For the comparison to work, Hitler wouldn't have been able to take power until the middle of World War II.

So yeah, just enjoy the movie.


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