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Sep 07 2012

The Star Wars that I Used to Know

This parody cover of Gotye’s Somebody that I Used to Know is fucking awesome.

Okay, I have one quibble. Anakin is very much not emasculated in these films, save for being an apprentice to Obi-Wan — he goes on a power trip and murders like everyone by the end of the third film. That’s “toxic masculinity” if you ask me.

22 comments

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  1. 1
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Well… “emasculated” isn’t the word, but certainly stripped of agency and any character to speak of. He’s either being shuffled around like a pawn or lashing out uncontrollably, or some combination of the two. There’s definitely something prophetic about Anakin, in that he’s not a character as much as a place-holder for the Darth Vader yet to be. Nothing he does, or that is done to him, makes any sense except that the movie needed to get him from A to B by whatever means would leave room for as much meaningless CGI and gymnastics with glow-sticks as they could cram into each “movie”.

    The prequels are so STUPID!!!

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Complete agreement, Joe. The prequels ONLY work if you’ve seen the original trilogy. Otherwise Anakin’s the “annoying kid who escalates” — Wesley Crusher without charm or direction or purpose.

  3. 3
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Jason, that’s a good point. If you’ve never seen the original trilogy, you would look at Anakin as more like Renfield to Palpatine’s Dracula… and then wonder why someone made a movie about effing Renfield! Or he’s the character in a mob movie where he betrays his side and then at the very end gets a couple of .45 slugs to the back of his head for his trouble.

    No way does Palpatine look at the way Anakin behaved in the prequels and says “Hey, you can be my #2, here’s the keys to a Super Star Destroyer. Have fun ruling at my side!”

  4. 4
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Joe:

    No way does Palpatine look at the way Anakin behaved in the prequels and says “Hey, you can be my #2, here’s the keys to a Super Star Destroyer. Have fun ruling at my side!”

    Given how much it seemed the Emperor wanted Luke, I wonder if an argument could be made that Anakin (before and after his transition to the Dark Side) was only ever meant to be a placeholder.

  5. 5
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Given how much it seemed the Emperor wanted Luke, I wonder if an argument could be made that Anakin (before and after his transition to the Dark Side) was only ever meant to be a placeholder.

    Based on the novelization of RoTJ (yeah, I know…)Luke actually does a better job of fulfilling the whole “brings balance to the Force” nonsense of the prequels. We get a peek inside the Emperor’s head and he thinks something along the lines that Luke was strong enough to dip his toes into the Dark Side without being corrupted by it. Visually, Luke wears black but doesn’t lose his humanity… a balance between the two sides?

  6. 6
    Crissa

    My SO believes it’s really R2D2 who brought balance to the force, and that since he was a droid, Obiwan was just blind to it.

  7. 7
    Ysanne

    Seeing how Anakin is an annoying sulky brat without a hint of self-control or thinking ability throughout all of the prequels, I can see how the Emperor was so eager to get his hands on Luke, who — while undeniably a whiny brat in ANH — does show some potential to grow up to be a responsible adult one day.

    On the topic of Anakin and the prequels… I think the whole story is a perfect example why one needs good public health services, public education and to protect children from being indoctrinated by weird religious cults. Let’s work backwards:
    1) Why did Anakin join Palpatine? Because Palpatine had implied that he could prevent people from dying and even bring them back from the dead.
    Now, when Anakin helpes him kill Mace Windu, Palpy admits that aaaaactually, he hasn’t quite found out yet how it works, but he’ll try… and Anakin, the epitome of gullibitiy, just nod, and then goes off to pointlessly massacre the kids in the Jedi kindergarten as instructed, apparently never having learned to use his own sense of right and wrong to question orders coming from an authority.

    2) Why was Anakin so desperate to believe that this cheating-death thing was possible? Because he was really scared that his wife could die while giving birth, based on a nightmare/vision he had, which in turn might have been based on the fact that his wife is planning a water birth in a dirty pond on some backwater planet, without medical assistance and far from any medical facilities.

    3) So why didn’t they just ask their OB/GYN and sort out these worries? They didn’t have one: Padme talked about “the child” all the time up to right before the birth, so obviously she hadn’t seen a doctor/med droid even once during the whole pregnancy, because then she would have known that she was pregnant with twins.
    Oh, and Padme is already 5 months along when she tells Anakin that she’s pregnant (after the opening battle of ROTS), and he’s totally confused how that happened and hasn’t noticed a thing. Then again, you’d think that she could have told him just a little earlier.
    This points to a lack of easily accessible preventative medical care. Also, Anakin and Padme obviously had no idea how they should go about this whole pregnancy, birth and parenting thing; something that you would expect kids to be taught in a decent education system.

    4) So why didn’t they just go and ask someone with experience? Ah, because the Jedi order didn’t just neglect to develop basic critical thinking skills, they also had this unrealistic ideology of Jedi knights suppressing their emotional needs and not having partners or families. Dealing with people who don’t conform to these pointless rules isn’t the order’s strong point either. (Remember Qui-Gon and his decision to train Anakin.) So Anakin and Padme had to hide their relationship and could not ask for help when they needed it, which led to all the problems above, and eventually culminated in the Sith’s rise to power.

    Good job ruining Darth Vader for me, George Lucas! He used to be a competent villain with agency; now he’s just a victim of bad health and education policy.

  8. 8
    NiOg

    Ysanne, you win all the internets forever for that analysis.

  9. 9
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Thanks to SMBC, I can only picture Lucas rolling on the floor, giggling.

  10. 10
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Ysanne:

    Now, when Anakin helpes him kill Mace Windu,

    One thing I’ve learned in my years reading comics:
    If there’s no body, it’s not a confirmed death. Heck, sometimes even if there *is* a body, they still aren’t dead.

  11. 11
    Tim Reid

    Hilarious, and #7 is just fabulous also…

  12. 12
    timgueguen

    I must be one of the few people who saw the originals yet has yet to see any of the prequels the whole way through. I think I’ve seen about half an hour all told of the first one.

    For some reason a lot of what I have seen just doesn’t seem to fit in with the universe of the originals. A lot of the story and culture just doesn’t seem to jibe with the way things look and feel in Star Wars et al. Of course that’s probably because little if any of what appears in the prequels was floating around in Lucas’s head way back in the mid ’70s.

  13. 13
    Luna_the_cat

    @ Ysanne That is now going to live in my head forever. I also need to share it with my social sciences-type husband. I think I love you for this analysis.

  14. 14
    Midnight Rambler

    On the topic of Anakin and the prequels… I think the whole story is a perfect example why one needs good public health services, public education and to protect children from being indoctrinated by weird religious cults.

    No, they’re a perfect example of why one person should never have sole control of the script and directing with no one ever questioning whether things are actually good/consistent or not.

    timgueguen: I suggest you watch these video reviews instead. Besides being funny, they articulated exactly why I had such a visceral dislike of the prequels. Among other things, none of the characters’ actions make sense, and the cinematography is horrible because everything is shot against a blue screen so there’s never a sense of being in a place.

  15. 15
    Argle Bargle

    Han shot first.

    Enough said.

  16. 16
    sambarge

    Rodney – You beat me to it. You speak the truth. It is heresy to think otherwise.

    Also, can I point out the giant missing piece of the prequels? Han’s back story?! WTF Lucas? We get Boba Fett’s tale but Han, arguably the most popular hero of the sequel triolgy, is just some random dude in Mos Eisley when Ben and Luke show up looking for a ship?!

    Okay. Whatever.

  17. 17
    Ysanne

    Tony #10,
    I know, that was an unwarranted assumption about Mace being really dead, but I just couldn’t ever make myself read any of the prequel novel stuff (and this while I read basically all of the non-prequel Star Wars novels in existence).

    sambarge #16,
    A.C. Crispin did a better job with Han’s back story before the prequels ever came out than Lucas could ever have done… (ok, not saying much, but if you’re 18 at the time, like somewhat cheesy Star Wars coming-of-age, and can’t really tell good English writing from bad because it’s not your first language, it’s ok).

    MR #14,
    suspension of disbelief, maybe? ;-)

  18. 18
    Blobulon

    1. Re: Boba Fett.
    Anyone who saw the New Zealand soap Shortland Street knows how terrible it is to find out that the Imperial Storm Troopers are all Dr Ropata.

    2. Han shot first.

    3. Anakin is not midichlorian Jesus. There are no fucking midichlorians, there is only the Force.

    4. Noooooooooooooooooo!

    Does Lucas hate money so much? Does he not realise how much cash he would rake in if the originals were released on blu ray?

  19. 19
    Rob

    1. Re: Boba Fett.
    Anyone who saw the New Zealand soap Shortland Street knows how terrible it is to find out that the Imperial Storm Troopers are all Dr Ropata.

    ^This^. So much this. First glimpse of his face and all I could think was “We’re not in Guatemala now…”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3nOU3jUf1Cg

    Also, waaaay to much time spent analysing movies that were barely worth watching. (The prequels that is).

    Also,

    One thing I’ve learned in my years discussing equal rights reading comics:
    If there’s no independant proof body, it’s not a confirmed instance of harassment death. Heck, sometimes even if there *is* independant proof a body, they still aren’t actually harassed dead.

    As someone once said to me “Reality is the stories we tell ourselves.” I think they left out the words ‘perception of’.

  20. 20
    doubtthat

    “Masculinity” isn’t the right word, but in the end, all Darth Vader managed to do was kill a bunch of younglings.

    I always imagined that Obi-Wan had to flee because Vader was wandering around the cosmos cutting down Jedi in badass light saber duels–Highlander style.

    None of that, just murdered some kids. It certainly makes him a homicidal maniac, but not the awesome power that we thought after the first three. Why is it impressive that Luke beat him in their duel? He was just a child killer.

  21. 21
    Ysanne

    doubtthat #20,
    I think (imagine? hope?) that the “hunting down Jedi” stuff happened after the end of ROTJ, when Darth Vader was already all suited up. It seems likely that not all Jedi would have been killed in the clone trooper ambushes (just the important ones who were working with clonies when Palpy gave the order), so there would be enough of them left over for Vader to kill off, giving him a somewhat more impressive title than “Slayer of Toddlers”.

  22. 22
    doubtthat

    Ysanne:

    I suppose there’s a little hope of that, but the Jedi seemed to be scrambled at the end of the last movie (although I haven’t seen it in years and it was so bad that I won’t be seeing it again any time soon). As long as we’re doing mental gymnastics to salvage one of the great characters in movie history, I vote that we collectively conclude that the prequels were just malicious propaganda pieces put together by the Rebels after episode IV–history is written by the victors.

    Whatever the case may be, for the life of me I can’t understand why Vader became an Emo kid and not a relentless nightmare cruising through the galaxy and slicing through the ancient order of the Jedi. That both inflates Vader’s legend and makes Luke’s later success much more impressive.

    I honestly think the prequels may be the most impressive cultural achievement of my lifetime. They are so horrible and so universally hated that a decade later we can spend hours discussing what we hated most and never really run out of material.

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