A New Hope, Anakin Skywalker, Attack of the Clones, Darth Maul, Darth Vader, Empire Strikes Back, Episode I, Episode II, Episode III, Episode IV, Episode V, Episode VI, George Lucas, Han Solo, Hayden Christiansen, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, Movies, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Padme Amidala, Qui-Gon Jinn, Return of the Jedi, Revenge of the Sith, Star Wars, The Phantom Menace
I watched all six Star Wars movies, for the umpteenth time, within the past week, and I’ve noticed all kinds of things about the Star Wars storyline that bug me. Some of these things I’ve noticed before, others I had never really thought about.
The first thing wrong with Episode I is Jar Jar Binks. I doubt I actually need to explain this or go into detail.
Secondly, at the beginning of the movie, when pinned against a wall by two droidekas, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon use the force to run faster than a speeder and disappeared before you could blink an eye. So, at the end of the movie, while Qui-Gon is fighting Darth Maul and Obi-Wan is trying to get back to the dual after having fallen several stories, Obi-Wan fails not just once, but twice to use the Knight Speed ability to run through the force fields that for some reason go up and down at regular intervals. Had Kenobi used this ability he would have been there in plenty of time to help Qui-Gon. That’s not to say that Qui-Gon would have been saved, but come on. He has the ability. He knows he has the ability. And he’s used it before. Why wouldn’t he use it now?
The next thing that bothered me, and this one recurs throughout the saga, is when Qui-Gon, Obi-Wan, Padme, and the rest of the gang flee Naboo in the Queen’s ship. There is a blockade of battleships occupying an area of space beside Naboo. So do our heroes fly the other way? Do they then enter hyperspace somewhere else while avoiding this blockade altogether? No. The fly straight at it, thus necessitating their side quest to Tatooine where they fatefully meet Anakin. There were far better, and plausible, ways to have our heroes coincidentally and fortuitously happen upon a child fathered by the Force (really, Lucas? You had to steal Jesus’ thunder and the immaculate conception that was solely his?). These folks flying straight into the blockade makes them look foolish and senseless.
Also, the (re)introduction of C-3PO and R2-D2 into this trilogy created inconsistencies with the original trilogy. The first of which is the meeting of Obi-Wan and R2 in Episode IV. They have no idea who each other are even though they worked together multiple times during the Clone Wars in addition to the Trade Federation blockade of Naboo. Episode III closed this loophole with 3PO by having his memory wiped at the end of the movie. No such act was performed on Artoo. And, as mentioned in my Episode II rant the other day, Artoo has thrusters with which he can use to fly in the prequel trilogy, but he, for some reason, doesn’t have them in the OT.
In Episode VI, Obi-Wan tells Luke that Anakin was a gifted pilot when he first knew him. Anakin was a pod-racer, thanks to the Episode I story, not a pilot. The fact that he’s not a pilot is further reinforced at the end of the movie when it takes him forever to figure out how to turn off the autopilot on his Naboo Starfighter. Then he somehow flies the ship into the droid battleship and accidentally, and auspiciously, fires two missiles into the ship’s reactor core, destroying it. It could be explained as the work of the force, but the movie makes it look like clumsy luck.
Obi-Wan also tells Luke in Episode VI that he took it upon himself to train Anakin as a Jedi. Which is not what happens. The Jedi grant his request to train Anakin. In essence, he had their blessing to train Anakin. It wasn’t quite the rogue action he made it out to be.
I spoke the other day about how awful Episode II is.
General Grievous is pretty much a cyborg. He’s mostly machine, but he has a beating heart, and working lungs. So how is it that when he busts one view ports on the command deck of his ship to escape the clutches of Obi-Wan and Anakin and floats into space for about 20 seconds does he survive? Sure, someone could hold their breath for 20 seconds, but wouldn’t his organic parts freeze instantly? The average temperature in space is south of -300 degrees. Nonsensical.
After Anakin reports to Mace Windu that Palpatine is a Sith Lord, Windu and three other Jedi attempt to arrest Palpatine. Palpatine whips out his lightsaber and kills three of the Jedi with one strike each. They don’t even block one blow. Did Windu take Padawans over there with him? Granted, Palpatine was a bad-ass Sith Lord, but they really couldn’t block one attack? They didn’t even move while he slices them up like deli meat. Inconceivable.
When Obi-Wan confronts General Grievous on Utapau they are in a ship dock built into the side of a mountain. Pretty close to the top of the mountain, actually. Obi-Wan could have ended this fight before it even began. Grievous is not a Jedi. He cannot use the Force. Thus, if Obi-Wan would’ve used the Force to pick up Grievous and drop him down the side of the mountain there was nothing Grievous could have done to stop him. Obi-Wan doesn’t do this though. He challenges him straight up with a lightsaber. He does at one point use the Force on Grievous, but picks him up and slams him into the ceiling, which doesn’t hurt Grievous since he’s made of, you know, metal. Obi-Wan does eventually kill him by shooting him in the heart, but dropping him off the edge of the mountain would have been much more efficient. And funny. Kind of like that moment in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those two guys start whipping their swords around trying to intimidate Indiana and Dr. Jones just whips out his revolver and shoots them both. Anticlimactic, but very hilarious.
After Palpatine has defeated Windu and the other Jedi, and subsequently converts Anakin into Darth Vader, Palpatine issues Order 66. Order 66 was an order apparently embedded into the clones’ minds and compelled the clones to kill all Jedi. The first Jedi slaughtered is Ki-Adi-Mundi, who actually senses the attack coming and defends himself. He dies, though, because one lightsaber can’t deflect 10 blaster bolts at once. The other Jedi, however, do not sense the attacks coming and are killed with ease. Jedi “see things before they happen” according the Qui-Gon Jinn. So why did none of these Jedi sense that they were about to be attacked? Only Ki-Adi-Mundi and Yoda sensed it. Not even Obi-Wan did. He didn’t even find out about the clones betrayal until eavesdropping on the clones later. I realize the movie was already 2 1/2 hours long and the Jedi not being killed so quickly would have prolonged the movie, but I believe that as long as a movie is good it doesn’t matter how long it is (hello Lord of the Rings).
The last thing that didn’t make sense to me in this movie was the decision by Yoda for he and Obi-Wan to split up after they learn of Anakin’s betrayal. Yoda goes to face Palpatine and he sends Obi-Wan after Vader. Why the hell wouldn’t they tag team each one of them individually? Yoda admits later that he underestimated Palpatine’s power, but it still doesn’t make sense to split up knowing that you are the only Jedi left in the galaxy.
Nothing to see here, until the Special Edition anyhow. Three words: Greedo shooting first. ‘Nuff said.
Well, I guess there’s one more thing. After Han, Luke, and the rest escape the Death Star, Leia adamantly tells Han that they’re being tracked. She’s certain of it. Sooooooo, why would she go straight to the Rebel base knowing that they’re being tracked? Why not have Han drop them off somewhere else and then have a different ship take them to the Rebel base? Not a very bright tactical manuever.
The Battle of Hoth. The Rebels are trying to escape their secret base before the Empire kills or captures them all. So what do they do? They fly straight at (again) the blockade. They sent the transports through it. Han, Leia, and Chewy go through it when they try to escape. And it doesn’t end well for them. The only person that didn’t try to go through it was Luke. Again, why, when you have infinite three-dimensional space, would you fly straight toward an enemy from which you are trying to flee? Preposterous.
Next is Luke’s x-wing landing in the swamp on Degobah, half-submerged in water. Why leave it there? Why not use the repulsor lifts to levitate the ship and then land it somewhere else? Stupid.
Then, there’s the cave. Luke goes into a cave tainted with the dark side. Yoda tells him not to take his weapons, but Luke takes them anyway. While in the cave, Luke is confronted by (an apparent apparition of) Vader. In the ensuing lightsaber duel, Luke cuts of Vader’s head. Seconds later, the front of Vader’s mask explodes and reveals the face of Luke underneath. Yoda later refers to this as Luke’s “failure at the cave.” How did he fail? Luke didn’t attack. He wasn’t aggressive. He looked frightened by the appearance of Vader, but he did nothing that screamed “failure” to me.
There’s one inconsistency in this movie. When Luke leaves to save his friends, Ben tells Yoda, “That boy was our last hope.” To which Yoda replies, “No, there is another.” You eventually find out in Episode VI that Leia is the other hope to which Yoda refers. Soooo, Ben forgot that Padme gave birth to twins? He seems to remember that when telling Luke about it in Return of the Jedi, so why doesn’t he know this in Empire Strikes Back? A conundrum…….
The last thing about this movie that troubles me is during Luke and Vader’s duel. At one point in the contest, Luke hits Vader on the shoulder with his lightsaber. Sparks fly, but not much else happens. Last I heard, lightsabers cut through anything. So what gives? Did Vader have cortosis ore (the only metal that a ligthsaber can’t cut through) in his armor or is this one more inconsistency?
To start off, Lando is supposedly a fairly well-known guy in the galaxy. Infamous, if you will. So he did he get a job as a guard in Jabba’s palace without anyone recognizing him?
During the battle in the Dune Sea on Jabba’s sail barges, Luke is tearing fools up with his lightsaber, but not literally. Again, lightsabers supposedly cut through anything. They do in the books and in the prequel trilogy, (and even in some parts of the OT) but in this scene enemies just go flying when Luke hits them instead of being sliced and diced. Kind of like he’s hitting them with a baseball bat instead of a “laser sword.” I realize this would have made for an R-rated movie in 1983, but you have to stay true to your story, don’t you?
They show a droid being tortured in Jabba’s palace. The droid howls in pain when searing hot metal is pressed against his feet. Since when can droids feel pain? They don’t have nerves….
The way Boba Fett dies is pretty lame. This is neither nonsensical (depending on who you ask) or an inconsistency, but it still kind of irks me that Boba Fett dies (or does he?) because Han accidentally hits his jet pack which sends him flying into the side of the sail barge. Somebody as bad-ass as Boba Fett shouldn’t go out with a whimper.
One thing about this movie that has always bothered me is how the rebels “sneak” onto Endor. They “need’ the shield lowered so they can go down to Endor to disable the shield generator for the rebel attack on the Death Star. See the picture below.
The shield is not covering any part of the planet. Why do they need it lowered to land on the planet below? The shield is being projected from a dish array on the surface of Endor.
They could have easily had a ship fly down there seconds prior to the attack and fire a couple of proton torpedoes at that thing and had it done with. That would have eliminated the epic ground battle between the Empire and Ewoks, but at least that sequence of events would have made sense.
More senselessness can be found in the way the Emperor tries to lure Luke to the dark side. He does it by trying to kill all of Luke’s friends and all the rebels. Sure, that could make Luke pretty pissed. Pissed enough, even, to come to the dark side. Guess what though, Your Highnessness. Luke’s dark side anger would have been directed at you. Two things would have happened. He would’ve killed you or vice versa. A meritless plan, this is. As bad as the writing was in the prequel trilogy, Palpatine’s plan to seduce Anakin with the dark side was fairly ingenious. His plan with Luke was self-destructive at worst, and pointless at best.
The last thing is this: replacing the original actor who played Anakin in Episode VI with Hayden Christiansen in the DVD release. What was the point? Anakin didn’t look like that any more. He was twenty-something years older.
That is really all I can come up with and this post is waaaaaaay longer than I thought it would be when I started. You might read this and wonder if I even like these movies. I do, but the prequel trilogy is extremely disappointing (mostly) and Lucas’ constant tinkering with the original trilogy with every re-release is annoying. Star Wars is still a universe I can, and do, get lost in. I love the books and the video games. I played the role-playing game for a bit. I even write a little bit in that galaxy far, far away.
Here’s hoping that there will eventually be more movies for me to critique.