7.29.2006

Saw Star Wars, I Did

At first, I just thought the moon was extraordinarily bright. Then the truth hit me: dawn had arrived. That might be the first time I’ve ever stayed awake till the sun began to rise.

Last night also became my first-ever movie marathon, as well as my first full viewing of any of Star Wars episodes 1, 2, and 3. I generally blame of my lack of cultural knowledge on having been homeschooled on a farm in Montana, but for having missed out on these three experiences, the guilt rides fairly on my own shoulders for a) not having attended enough youth group functions in high school, b) never having gone to college (that’s a blog-post for another day), and c) never bothering to sit down and watch the new Star Wars movies.

I have to give credit for the whole idea to Brandon, Professor of Cultural Education (he’s already taught me nearly everything I know about anime and the Muppets.) He suggested the marathon in Blockbuster, after gasping playfully and looking rather shocked because I said I’d never seen the new trilogy.

Ten hours later, we sat on my floor amid a sea of DVD cases, empty iced-mocha glasses, a pizza box, half-full soda bottles, remote controls, and random pillows and blankets. We’d stayed awake—he checked frequently and faithfully to make sure I didn’t go to sleep and miss any of the story. My good-natured roommate, much amused by our movie marathon, had gone to bed. We finally looked around at the mess, rubbed movie-glaze out of our eyes and laughed, and I can now say that I’ve seen all of the Star Wars episodes. And the clone-war cartoons that go between II and III.

If anyone had told me three years ago that I’d ever actually like a movie like Revenge of the Sith, I’d have questioned their prophetic or perceptive abilities. Since I’ve spent the past three years outgrowing a lot of my old notions, however, and have fallen in love with deep and somewhat dark dramas like Harry Potter and Phantom of the Opera, it’s become less of a stretch. Now, having seen the new Star Wars, I have to say that I liked it… a lot.

When we have, in the world, parables like Star Wars… and Harry Potter… and Phantom of the Opera… it amazes me that we as humans could ever fall into the very traps those stories warn against: idolatry of power and of another person being two of the most dangerous. That, I think, more than anything else struck me in watching Star Wars. I watched the Sith poison Anakin’s mind, playing off his beautiful love for Padme, tempting him with the thought of controlling his own destiny and hers.

Yoda’s advice didn’t ring true with me the first time I heard it. He told Anakin to make the effort to let go of the ones he loved—well, being Yoda, he probably said it more like “Learn to let go, you must”—and my mind reacted immediately with “What is this, some sort of ‘He who loves none has no woes’ Eastern proposition?” Not until I contrasted his words with those of Sidious did I catch the wisdom that would have saved Anakin, had he only followed it: Even the deepest of loves must be held with an open hand. The moment anyone attempts to own it, control it, or put it absolutely before all other good, is the moment the door gets flung wide and evil finds its way in.

I loved the way the movie ended, with the babies Luke and Leia being placed in their adoptive families; Luke with Anakin’s stepbrother, on the very planet where Anakin first met Qui-Gon and Padme. Especially knowing what Luke went on to do... I cannot describe that ending any better than with the word redemptive.

6 comments:

  1. I miss you :( I wish I could be with you (and meet this guy) and take part in 10 hour movie marathon. Seriously, when all of the Harry Potter movies are out we will have to get together and have a MAJOR marathon! Deal?

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  2. Let's see... seven Harry Potter movies... at about 2 1/2 hours each... that adds up to: freakin' awesome! We're definitely going to have to do that, even if I have to fly to Montana to do it. And I miss you too. Are you sure you don't want to move to Bellingham? There are lots of great things to take pictures of here.

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  3. Tell you what...prove to me that there is a good market for me to run my photography business and I may be there after graduation, seriously. There are too many freakin photographers (or wanna be photographers that get jobs based on connections, not talent) in Bozeman. It doesn't matter how good I am, the market is flooded. When I graduate, I am looking at moving on, where is still up in the air though. It will probably either be Southern California ( I have family there that wants me to come out), Washington (friends), or Italy. Let me know.
    Love ya

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  4. I've got to ask: did you cry at any point during Episode III? I was at the midnight first showing last year when it came out and a LOT of people got choked up. The part that got me... the part that still disturbs me... is when Anakin ignites his lightsaber before he's about to kill those poor children. I actually gasped "Oh dear God no" when that happened.

    Good post!! :-)

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  5. Two comments to respond to. Briana, you shouldn't give me hope like that. I might lie to get you out here! Seriously, though, I'll look into it and we'll talk.

    Chris, as I watched I remembered you saying that "Order 66" was something you "wished you'd never had to witness." That scene in the Jedi temple was so short, yet it knocks the wind out of anyone watching it. I know I teared up in there somewhere, but I can't recall just where. It might've been at Anakin and Padme's confrontation, or when I realized that Anakin set himself up for his own burning in a world obviously created to look like hell. I've got to remember the end of Episode 6 to make it through that scene.

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  6. The fight on Mustafar - otherwise referred to as "The Duel" ever since the first time Lucas talked about Vader fighting Obi-Wan on a volcano planet almost thirty years ago - was by far the most anticipated event of the entire prequel series. It had become so mythic, the expectations so high for it... that few people believed it could actually be good and live up to what we were hoping for. But lo and behold, Lucas delivered.

    I remember choking up when Padme confronts Anakin too. Natalie Portman in that scene gave one of the most heartbreaking performances I've ever seen in a movie.

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