Archive for June, 2005

C3-PO

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace with tags on June 22, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, so let’s go back to what George Lucas has said about the Star Wars saga and the orientation of the story.  Lucas has been quoted saying that “all of the Star Wars films are supposed to be from the point of view of R2-D2 and C3-PO.  This was always a curious viewpoint for me.  If that’s true, then why aren’t the droids the focal points of all the Star Wars films and not Anakin or Luke Skywalker?

Partial C3-PO:  ********* (9)


Okay, so let’s go back to what George Lucas has said about the Star Wars saga and the orientation of the story.  Lucas has been quoted saying that “all of the Star Wars films are supposed to be from the point of view of R2-D2 and C3-PO.  This was always a curious viewpoint for me.  If that’s true, then why aren’t the droids the focal points of all the Star Wars films and not Anakin or Luke Skywalker?

Although I believe that Lucas missed the mark about the viewpoint of the movies (which is basically a neutral viewpoint if you ask me) I do like the fact that he has made an effort to have these two droids in every Star Wars film.  In The Phantom Menace C3-PO seems to play a minor role in the movie.  What I find most interesting about this movie is the fact that we find out that Anakin is the builder of the most famous translating droid.  Think about the great irony here folks.  C3-PO who eventually helps get the Death Star Plans to The Rebels so they can destroy the Death Star is actually created by the man who created the Death Star itself, Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker).  There is a great irony behind this plot concept and I believe that Lucas set-up that idea on purpose to show us the irony of what we find important in our childhood and about how things can come full circle.  Prime example, I thought that Star Wars was so important while I was a kid, then I thought it wasn’t as important, but as an adult I find myself back into Star Wars again.  Instead, this time I connect with Star Wars on a more personal level and have found my son falling in love with the same story.

Interesting Star Wars fact, Anthony Daniels, the actor behind the C3-PO costume is the only person other than George Lucas himself that was involved in all six Star Wars films.  I believe that Anthony Daniels is a great actor and it is a shame that he has never seen any real credit, like an Academy Award, for being stuck behind that costume in all of these films.  I do like the fact that in this film we get to see the insides of C3-PO and we really start to understand his origins.  Although his character plays a seriously minor role in this film, I have always looked forward to seeing C3-PO in each of the films.  There is no doubt in my mind that C3-PO and R2-D2 will forever be the two most famous droids in American history.  Let’s face it, they already made it there by being displayed in the Smithsonian museum.  By the way, if you missed the exhibit in the Smithsonian on Star Wars, you missed an awesome tribute to Star Wars.  C3-PO was fun and interesting in this movie and I like his character.

Partial C3-PO:  ********* (9)

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What About The Slaves?

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace, Uncategorized with tags on June 21, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, I want to start today’s blog with an apology about not getting to yesterday’s blog.  I intended for this to be yesterday’s subject matter but never got around to blogging about the material because my day was just completely hectic!  I went to my “in-laws” and (as I like to put it) lost touch with reality because they have no TV and no Internet.  I feel that I get bored there way too easily, but this past weekend wasn’t too bad as I got a chance to shoot bow/arrow with my son and oldest daughter.  We seemed to have some real fun and it reminded me of my old boyscout days.  Now, on to the Star Wars “stuff”……


One of the key points of the movie The Phantom Menace is the fact that Anakin and his mother Shmi are both slaves on the offworld of Tattoine.  Now, we find this out in a very unique way as Qui Gon is batering for Ani’s life and wants to take him off he planet to train him to become a Jedi.  A tale that someone could pontentially run with sometime is Shmi and Anakin’s backstory.  How did they become slaves?  How did regular people like you and me start getting traded for profit?  Better yet, if Anakin left with Qui Gon without removing his “slave chip” would he have died?  I think that there is a very intriguing back story that George Lucas put into this movie that reminds me of the US in the Pre-Civil War Era.  Oppression seemed to be all around for slaves in the Star Wars universe.  But Anakin and Shmi couldn’t be the only slaves in the universe.  Okay, let’s fast forward a minute.  Are the slaves still around on Tattoine when Luke ends up there with Ben Kenobi in A New Hope?  It appears the only slaves that exist in that movie may be the Jawas or Sand People.

More importantly to the story of this movie is Anakin’ claim that he is going to come back and free all the slaves.  I like this story line and more than expected it to be played out in the next two movies.  But, like so many other story lines that get dropped out of fear of degredation, Lucas drops this backdrop like a hot potato.  What was Lucas afraid of?  Was it possible that it may look too much like Anakin was becoming an Abe Lincoln type that had his mind on freeing the slaves.  I feel that even the books emphasized this concepts in the storyline and then the rest of the storyline goes unnoticed.  I would love to see a book writer give out a storyline that has Anakin (even if it’s as Darth Vader) going back and freeing every slave in the universe in order to create order in the galaxy.  Is it possible that this is how Darth Vader (Anakin) is supposed to bring balance to the Force?  I can’t believe that the Jedi Order could just let slavery exist in the universe.  Why aren’t the Jedi fighting the concept of slavery over the Techno Union and the Trade Federation?  Darth Vader may still have a role to play yet and he may bring balance to the Force in his own useful way based on freeing the slaves in order to gain their trust and then destroy their trust by getting them to buy into the idea of The Galactic Senate and Emporer Palpatine.  This could be a powerful story.  Heck, maybe I’ll write it.  Well, when I get the moment to do it, and let’s face it, I’m not going to do that while I still have this blog.  Until tommorrow, May The Force Be With You (I think that will be my new tag line, I know “lame!”).

The Immaculate Conception

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace, Uncategorized with tags on June 18, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, George, let’s talk Immaculate conceptions!  I know you didn’t want the Jedi concept to become a religion, but then why did you put in the idea that Anakin’s birth was an immaculate conception.   Sure, the basic concept is different, but no wonder religious groups thought you were trying to tell the story of Christ.  Or were you?


Okay, George, let’s talk Immaculate conceptions!  I know you didn’t want the Jedi concept to become a religion, but then why did you put in the idea that Anakin’s birth was an immaculate conception.   Sure, the basic concept is different, but no wonder religious groups thought you were trying to tell the story of Christ.  Or were you?

In The Phantom Mance the question comes up about the birth of Anakin Skywalker.  Qui Gon asks who Anakin’s father is and Shmi says that she just ended up being pregnant.  When I heard this I immediately began to think about the immaculate conception of Christ.  I started to wonder if Lucas was trying to imply that the Jedi religion had a “chosen one”.  We never really get to hear the full story behind the “chosen one” in any of the Star Wars movies.  There are many references to the “chosen one”, but we never get a chance to hear the complete story behind the “chosen one”.  We do learn the “chosen one” is supposed to bring balance to the Force, but we really don’t know what that means.  Bringing balance to the Force may mean that there needs to be evil in order for there to be good in the universe.  This implies some sort of ying/yang philosophy that the buddhist monks believe in.

On the other hand, Lucas completely bends the immaculate conception story by having Anakin Skywalker become the ultimate Sith.  This is like saying that Christ is going to become Osama Bin Ladin and lead the most terrible attack in the world shortly after being recognized as the son of God.  Why would Christians liken this story to the story of Christ?  It is nothing like it!  Think about it people, did Anakin get crucified?  Okay maybe he did by being burned alive.  And maybe he got deceived by his own because Obi-Wan is the one who lets him burn up.  But did Christ fall to the temptation of the Devil?  Anakin does by turning to the Dark Side and believing Palpatine and what powers he may have.  How does this work as an immaculate concpetion?  I’m not sure that Lucas really thought that through.

Okay, so who is Anakin’s father?  There are rumors abound on the Internet that there were important scenes cut out of Revenge of the Sith that would supposedly explain this away.  I hear rumors that the implications that are on the cutting room floor is that Palpatine may actually be the father of Anakin and he had relations with Shmi.  These rumors came from a friend I have that works at Skywalker Ranch and have almost been confirmed on headlines found on http://www.theforce.net.  If this is true this changes the whole concept of the immaculate conception.  George, just tell me that if you cut it out that you will re-introduce it on the DVD verison so we can learn the whole story.  Who knows what we will find out in a special edition later on.  We may find that Anakin was Mace Windu’s long lost son.  Nah, probably not, but I believe there are many questions about Anakin that still need to be answered!

Midi Clorians (I think that’s how you spell it!)

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace, Uncategorized with tags on June 16, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, I have to step back from the characters of The Phantom Menace and deal with some questions that I have that affect the characters of the movie.  I want to start today with a discussion about Midi Clorians.


Okay, I have to step back from the characters of The Phantom Menace and deal with some questions that I have that affect the characters of the movie.  I want to start today with a discussion about Midi Clorians.

First off, Lucas needs to agree how to spell words and maybe present them in a book instead of just introducing terms in a movie.  I have yet to read a book that refers to Midi Clorians, so no one is sure how to spell it.  I find it very interesting that George Lucas all of the sudden tries to come up with a scientific explanation for the force.  In the previous trilogy, the force was viewed as more of a religion and belief than reality.  Lucas carefully places the lines in the movie about Midi Clorians.  Lucas decides to scientize that which is really religious.   What does this remind you of in history?  Come on, think………………………………………………………………………………………………

Okay, I’ll tell you.  This whole concept reminded me of The Theory of Evolution.  First the theory came out of nowhere and then Darwin admitted that he was Christian and that maybe God had a role in science.  That’s what the whole “scientific church” is based on.  I believe that Lucas went through a fear.  Shortly before The Phantom Menace came out, there seemed to be a new religious movement on the Internet based on The Force.  I personally believe that The Force is partially true.  I do believe that there is an all powerful force out there in the world that connects all sentient beings.  Maybe it’s God or some other form of a greater being.  The Force has only re-emphasized my belief in that concept.  Am I going to jump on the bandwagon and claim The Force as my religion?  Well…..no, I’m just kidding, not really.

So why did George Lucas talk about Midi Clorians in the movie?  Simple.  Lucas wanted to dispell the rumors that he was trying to start his own religion.  Lucas did not want that stigma on his movies so he quickly came up with a scientific explanation for his religion he created in the first three movies.  Just like Darwin was able to “un-prove” Christian theories, Lucas was able to put doubt in people’s minds about the Jedi religion.  I would like to point out that there is never a discussion about Midi Clorians in ANY other Jedi film.  Why didn’t he explain it more?  How do people become strong with Midi Clorians?  How do Midi Clorians in a Sith form differently than in a Jedi?  Do Midi Clorians really control the universe?  How small are Midi Clorians?

There are many questions that I believe that many Jedi fans have about these mystical “things”.  Maybe Lucas will explain them more if he were to go back to The Knights of the Old Republic in his T.V. show.  Or he may simply explain Midi Clorians more in books or in another movie.  Nah, this was the last one, right?  (wink, wink).  That is a blog for another time!

Young Anakin Skywalker (Ani)

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace, Uncategorized with tags on June 16, 2005 by jedicouncil

Okay, so there is no way to talk about The Phantom Menace without talking about the child version of Anakin Skywalker.  I was happy to see that George decided to make Anakin a regular child in many ways like you and me.  I had always pictured Anakin being this “not so normal” child.  I pictured him as a kid that had so much power that he was juggling balls in the air using the force while lifting power couplings with his arms and playing games with his mom all at the same time.  I had always concocted this mytical being in my head.  Although Anakin isn’t quite so mystical in this movie, I really did enjoy having Anakin viewed as a typical boy.

Young Anakin Skywalker:  ******** (8)


Okay, so there is no way to talk about The Phantom Menace without talking about the child version of Anakin Skywalker.  I was happy to see that George decided to make Anakin a regular child in many ways like you and me.  I had always pictured Anakin being this “not so normal” child.  I pictured him as a kid that had so much power that he was juggling balls in the air using the force while lifting power couplings with his arms and playing games with his mom all at the same time.  I had always concocted this mytical being in my head.  Although Anakin isn’t quite so mystical in this movie, I really did enjoy having Anakin viewed as a typical boy.

I really liked the “Nascar like” race we get to see in this movie.  The pod race was just a really cool nudge that George gave to this movie and I believe that he drew in a lot of Nascar fans that existed out there into the Star Wars galaxy (even if it were for only one movie).  I simply liked where Anakin’s role went from there.  The fact that he gets freed from slavery (a great play on the Kunta Kinte role in “Roots”) and really is found to have midi-chlorians (I think that’s how you spell it) in spades!  I do like the great irony that Anakin brings down the robot control ship and then is given the right to study the Jedi arts with Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Anakin also falls in love with Padme and really begins his fall into the dark side by playing his emotions on the love that he has for her.

Kudos to Jake Lloyd for playing the role of Anakin so well!  I was impressed that a boy so young could act so well and give Anakin the start he needs as a kid.  And let’s face it, he probably didn’t get much direction from George Lucas (rumors are that Lucas doesn’t say much on set).  If that is Jake Lloyd without direction, what would he be like with some direction?!  Which begs the question, where is Jake Lloyd now?  I looked up his bibliography on the web and he has not done one worthwhile movie since Star Wars.  I was amazed that Jake Lloyd’s career ended with The Phantom Menace.  I expected to see him involved in at least a few artsy type films overseas, but he hasn’t been in one.  Jake, get yourself a real manager and get yourself into a good film.  You would be worth every penny!

Okay, so I have realized that I need to have a rating system to the discussions for each of these characters in each of these films.  So, I will use a star system based on a one to ten scale.  Ten stars (**********) for a higher end character, and one star (*) for the lower end characters.  If I make general comments about the movie, obviously there is nothing to rate.  I also plan on going back and adding my rating system to the previous posts I’ve made.

Young Anakin Skywalker:  ******** (8)

Queen Amidala

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace, Uncategorized with tags on June 15, 2005 by jedicouncil

Ultimately I believe that Natalie Portman played the role of Padme and Queen Amidala the best way anyone could have.  I believe as an actress she will have a long and prosperous career after Star Wars has come and gone (unlike a fellow female Star Wars actor which I will discuss many blogs from now).  I do really believe that Natalie Portman had some independence in creating the Amidala character and I think that came acrossed on the screen in all three movies.  Let’s face reality though, she does die in a really shitty way. 

Queen Amidala:  ******** (8)


Ultimately I believe that Natalie Portman played the role of Padme and Queen Amidala the best way anyone could have.  I believe as an actress she will have a long and prosperous career after Star Wars has come and gone (unlike a fellow female Star Wars actor which I will discuss many blogs from now).  I do really believe that Natalie Portman had some independence in creating the Amidala character and I think that came acrossed on the screen in all three movies.  Let’s face reality though, she does die in a really shitty way.  I mean come on, she goes through all of the things that she goes through in life and then dies of a “broken heart”?  I’m not buying it!  But I will cover my viewpoint on that more in my Revenge of the Sith reviews.

So how does Queen Amidala fair in The Phantom Menace?  Well I think she just kicks ass!  She ends up being a strong female role that I believe my daughters were looking for and my wife had been looking for since the beginning of the Star Wars movies.  My wife has said that she can associate herself much more with Amidala than that “other female character” from Star Wars.  Let’s look at Amidala’s role in this movie.  She ends up helping the Jedi and her own security forces escape the planet and take off for the beautiful planet of Tattooine.  She then accompanies Qui-Gon in finding Anikan and in helping to find a new Hyperdrive for the spacecraft.  She thinks she’s cunning by replacing herself and her assistant (who is also called Padme and this all confuses me later).  She then escapes to Coruscant where she convinces Senator Palpatine to take her side.  She makes one of the biggest mistakes ever by calling for a vote of “no confidence” in Chancellor Velorum.  Then she decides to leave to go back to Naboo where she knows she risks being captured.  Then, she convinces the Gungans to die in the thousands to create a fake distraction so she and the Jedi can get into the Palace and take down the Trade Federation blockade.  Somehow, everything works out for her and she comes out on top.  I don’t know if there were ever a stronger female character in any film EVER!  I really was impressed with this character and knew she would be helping to carry the other Star Wars films as they came out in their prequels.

Amidala’s role only grew and the Star Wars Prequel saga grew.  Were there cheesy moments for her in all of the films?  DEFINETLY!  However, I don’t blame Natalie Portman for cheesy writing, I blame Lucas (whom I love) for that.  I do think that Queen Amidala is one of the stronger roles in The Phantom Menace and she helped to propel the story to a new level.

On a personal note.  I’m glad to see some others are actually reading my blog and posting comments.  Some have sent me emails in response to some of my blogs and that’s okay too.  I’m not offended if you disagree with my by the way.  I believe in “open-spirited” discussions about Star Wars and I believe that we can all have our own opinion without getting angry with each other.

Also on a personal note, I recently became a home buyer.  I have been living in an apartment for the past four years with my wife and three kids and it’s been tough not having a lot of space.  We found a house over the past weekend and plan on closing at the end of July or beginning of August.  I’m hoping to continue to post everyday but there may be days over the summer where I will be unable to post because of packing or simply because I will lose my internet connection.  If this happens, never fear, I WILL BE BACK!  And I will be just as oppionionated as ever.  If you’re a friend of mine, pray for a smooth transition as this will be a tough next couple of months.  Thank you for your time and for your support!

Queen Amidala:  ******** (8)

Jar Jar Binks

Posted in I - The Phantom Menace, Uncategorized with tags on June 14, 2005 by jedicouncil

Well, there’s no way to talk about The Phantom Menace without talking about the most hated Star Wars character of all times.  Jar Jar Binks seemed to turn everybody’s ears and heads and even caused political upheaval for George Lucas.  I don’t understand any of the problems that people had with Jar Jar Binks.  He was a computer generated character for crying out loud and I can’t believe that he created the problems that he created.  So lets deal with each of the issues one by one.

Jar Jar Binks:  ****** (6)


Well, there’s no way to talk about The Phantom Menace without talking about the most hated Star Wars character of all times.  Jar Jar Binks seemed to turn everybody’s ears and heads and even caused political upheaval for George Lucas.  I don’t understand any of the problems that people had with Jar Jar Binks.  He was a computer generated character for crying out loud and I can’t believe that he created the problems that he created.  So lets deal with each of the issues one by one.

The first issue that Jar Jar had was the fact that people thought he was supposed to represent the african-american side of Star Wars.  Hello people, he doesn’t look african-american and he sure doesn’t sound like the african-american friends that I have.  Where did people get this insane idea from anyway?!  I think this is a ridiculous notion.  The NAACP was trying to say that Jar Jar was mocking african-americans and made them feel dumb.  I really don’t agree with this concept.  NAACP, open your eyes!  One of the strongest characters on the Jedi Council is Mace Windu, an african-american male (played by Samuel L. Jackson)!  If that isn’t equality, I don’t know what is!

Anyway, there are other Star Wars die hards that don’t see Jar Jar as an important character.  Think about this for a minute folks, who gets Qui-gon and Obi-wan through the planet core to save the Princess?  Who helps to negotiate with Boss Nass to create the distractions so the princess and Jedi can get back into the palace?  Later on, who replaces the senator in the galactic senate?  All of this would not have happened without Jar Jar!  Is he the most important character in Star Wars?  Not really.  But, let’s face it the Jawas weren’t very important and neither were the Sand People, yet we love them.  Somehow we still hold much disdain for the Gungans.  Star Wars fans, listen up!  The Gungans are not so bad, they are just a unique culture that we may just not completely understand.  I would like to see some authors start to write some books that are completely Gungan without other characters.  I believe that if they are well written, it may change the public’s view of the Gungans and of Jar Jar.  Maybe I’ll become an author if this Blog takes off.  Then again, I may have about five people reading this Blog and I may be just wasting my time.

Jar Jar Binks:  ****** (6)