I watched Episode 1 of Star Wars tonight on television when in just a few short weeks George Lucas will be laughing all the way to the bank with Episode 2. I forgot how bad this movie was the first time. I was in the theater on opening day. I’d won a drawing with six other lucky co-workers to take a limo ride into DC to see it at the Uptown. That was the heyday of the dot-com era when companies could spend a bit of their millions in venture cash to make a few geeks very, very happy. They could not, however, afford popcorn at the concession stand without more capital. The cost of one large bag of popcorn with butter, large coke and box of junior mints to throw at people who are talking during the movie? 1.8 billion dollars, payable in cash. Who’s got that kind of money these days? Thanks to us, George Lucas does. I’m kidding of course – I have no clue what his net worth is but I would imagine it would be nice to have him in your parish. Especially if he tithed. Let’s see, 39.6% to the feds, 10% to the church, and the rest to give his hair and beard body and lift.
Episode 1 was in no way as enjoyable as The Fellowship of the Ring. I’ll tell you why in a very short while. First, I have a confession to make. I’ve seen LOTR five times in the theater. And to answer your next question, yes, I have kissed a girl before. It’s been a while but I’m not like the comic book guy in the Simpsons or the guys who go to Star Trek conventions dressed as Klingons. I’ve seen LOTR a few times because it’s a great movie. It’s because in Tolkien’s books he created a world with a mythos, a Christian mythos, and all the aspects of story are driven by it. George Lucas woke up one day and decided to make a movie. It turned out to be so long he split it up into three movies, or three scripts anyway. By the time all three movies got to video he’d made so much bread he figured he’d make three more. I heard, though I can’t substantiate this, that the reason there was such a long period of time between Return of the Jedi and Episode 1 was that Lucas signed an agreement with his wife at the time that she’d make some huge sum of cash off any additional Star Wars movies he made within a 20 year time frame. I could be mistaken on some of the details here regarding their rather unique nuptial arrangement. Regardless, there is no driving force in the Star Wars saga other than good people doing stupid things, bad people doing evil things, and aliens being gross charicatures of different racial groups. It is so unlike the force of destiny, you might say the will of the God, that bids poor Frodo to take up his cross despite its difficulty. In Star Wars people with impossible-to-spell names (Yoda excluded) do the bonehead thing of training a little brat to be a Jedi. He turns out to be the biggest monster their universe has ever known.
No doubt I’ll have more to write about Episode 2, but here are some thoughts. Forget about Christian mythos – the action in all the Star Wars movies is driven by Lucas’s cinematic one-trick pony. Here’s the untalented stallion I am referring to: the bottomless pit. In Episode 1 that’s where the Darth dude falls after Obi-Wan cuts him in half. Just before that our hero is hanging precariously in the same seemingly infinite drop, looking like he’s about to buy the Jedi farm. He jumps out and give the Darth guy a Jedi wuffo. That’s means “what for” – he gave him the Jedi what for. In the Empire Strikes Back the fight between Luke and Darth Vader takes place over another naked abyss. This is where Luke gets his hand cut off and cries like a little girl. At the end of Return of the Jedi the evil Emperor is thrown into still another measureless chasm. It is ever-present in Star Wars. The whole scene with Jabba’s love barge in the desert takes place over that sand monster and it is the same thing. The same deep ravine, same inconceivable depth, same big hole in something. That’s the equus caballus that lost the show and went to the glue factory. I’ll betcha the price of popcorn, a coke and a box of junior mints he does the same damn thing in Episode 2.
Two more things about Episode 1 and what I can see happening in 2. First, the Jedi ORDER needs to institute a vow of obedience and some Jedi Canon Law. Obi-wan tells Yoda he’s training Annakin whether the council likes it or not. Yoda caves. I guess that’s why we had three movies to begin with and we’ll have two more. Second, it looks as though the Jedi do take some kind of vow of celibacy or at least some mamby-pamby “I won’t date royalty from another planet” vow. The older Annakin breaks this vow, it seems, in Episode 2. So I suppose it’s cool for the Jedi to have a vow of celibacy but not Catholic Priests in the Latin Rite? Maybe if they handed out light sabers in the seminary it would be.
How did I get started on this? Oh yeah – how Star Wars needs some Christian mythos. I need to get out of the house more.