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.