Everyone’s wrong about Star Wars II

I’ve seen every Star Wars movie, but none of them more than twice. Never have I sat and watched one alone. Never have I donned the outfit of a Wookie, bounty hunter, or slave girl on the way to fill a prescription. But I am a fan of the series, and I’ll tell you why: history.

Once Lucas started making sequels to the original Star Wars, he created a stand-alone universe that is much deeper than he ever intended. Fans and spin-off novelists can attest to that. Thus, I accept things from the Star Wars movies that I wouldn’t stand in others. The series, by dint of cultural incubation, has created a false history which takes some study to understand, and which becomes ever more complex with each movie and spin-off. I treat Lucas’s galaxy far away as a real, dusty old galaxy, and that makes it easier to accept, say, bad dialogue or poorly-drawn characters. These characters are more analagous to historical figures, whose dialogue we have to reconstruct from old wine cups and statues.

Now, I’m not giving the series carte blanche. I, Claudius was a historical series based on characters who never left spoken words for us to replicate, and the dialogue in that series rang to heaven. Permit me to fall back on my other Star Wars excuse – it is beautiful to look at.

At some point in the evolution of film criticism, it became a faux pas to appreciate a certain level of technical achievement. You can, say, praise the lagoons in The Night of the Hunter or the fantasia Mississippi of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, but if you gawk at the art in Star Wars, you’re one of the ticket-buying sheep. I don’t buy that anymore. Who’s to say that the brilliant design in Attack of the Clones is not artistic? The movie overflows with great visuals which hold court in your head for days after you leave the cinema. Now, to me, that’s something. I appreciate the Lucasfilm designers who slaved for 3 years over the computerized rain and clone armies. I daresay I appreciate them more than whoever wrote the script to Gosford Park. Who’s to say that writing is a higher art than design? And really, will more people be touched by a bon mot in that movie than were touched by the binary sunset in the original Star Wars?

Attack of the Clones bored me sometimes, but I loved it. Now you know why.

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