Star Wars: That’s what you get for wanting me to watch it.

I just watched Star Wars for the first time. Take a moment, if you need to, to get over your shock.

I know how beloved the original film is, and how much people love the franchise, in part or in whole. People have been telling me to watch this movie nearly all my life. They nearly always have the attitude that there is no way I could not like it. The person who lent me the DVD is one of few who did not tell me I would love it or that my life was missing something for having not watched it.

I have to say, I’m not impressed. In 1977 the movie may have been amazing, but in 2013? It’s a little bit lacking, and I don’t say that because of the special effects.

For whatever reason, I’m not a huge fan of the cinematography. It’s something I normally do not focus on, but ultimately always leaves an impression. If I could pinpoint what it was, I would share. I cannot, so I’ll just move on.

There were, as I counted, two female (humanoid) characters. If I am wrong about this, it is only because of the tremendous insignificance of any females other than Luke’s aunt and the Princess. That the movie only had two female characters is, quite frankly, ridiculous. I cannot imagine a worse way to make a rebellion look nearly as oppressive as the oppressors than to exclude an entire sex that makes up 50% of the viewing population*.

There is another way to make your rebellion against oppressors look oppressive. Make sure to include second (or worse) class citizens! The droids were like house elves in Harry Potter, except Harry and Hermione realized how creepy it was to enslave an entire race. Sure, the droids were enslaved by those that built them and didn’t seem all that put out by it, but R2D2 got no recognition of his efforts to destroy the Death Star, while Luke and Han got medals. The fact remains that it was slavery, and the droids were bought and sold like old clothes in a flea market (or, you know, like slaves in a slave market).

I’d critique the story itself, but it is hard to do. I necessarily approach this from my life happening in 2013. In 1977 this may have been a new type of story line, but today the entire rebel story has been done so many times, in so many ways, and so very well, that Star Wars doesn’t really stand up.

Perhaps I would like the later films, but the first one is not exactly motivation to keep watching.

*I realize that females of the various species in Star Wars may not make up 50% of the population, but the fact remains that roughly 50% of the human population – the population to which the movie was marketed – is female. I know the figure isn’t 50% on the nose, but it will do for our purposes.

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5 thoughts on “Star Wars: That’s what you get for wanting me to watch it.

  1. Hi Amanda,
    Quite observant re: the gender disparity. As a HUGE Star Wars fan, it is a major issue with the original movies. The prequels introduce and cameo a few more female characters, but it still doesn’t have much balance. Reading the Star Wars books as I have (if you aren’t aware, there are around a couple hundred), there are many more female characters developed and involved – with many of those being top level characters. There seems to be quite a bit of pressure on LucasFilm (now owned by Disney, as I’m sure you are aware) to include more women in their upcoming movies, which I am confident will happen.

    As for the droids and their ‘lot in life’ as C3PO puts it, I believe that their existence in the stories is a strong and intentional statement being made by Lucas. First of all, not to spoil the rest of the films for you (I do hope you will take the time to watch the others!) C3PO and R2D2 appear in all six movies. They remain central figures, albeit subtlety, throughout the entire saga. It’s interesting to see in the films (and further in the books) how the droids (all droids) are treated. Many beings hardly acknowledge their existence (very similar to how slaves were often treated as you mention), while some beings have a compassion for them and treat them as friends, family, or at least valued colleagues. It provides an interesting consideration toward how artificial intelligence will evolve in our own time and how we will interact with it.

    A New Hope, by popular opinion, wasn’t the best Star Wars movie ever created but it is where it all started. Empire Strikes Back, the sequel to ANH, is greatly improved and stands and my personal favorite of all six movies. I hope you will take the time to try it, and the others.

  2. Hey Amanda. Have you had a chance to watch Empire Strikes Back yet?

    • Alas I have not. It’s been sitting in my room for a couple of weeks. I hope to get to it when I get my life back from the company I work for (in other words when I’m not working 50+ hour weeks).

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