Why Star Wars is Bad

Well the 9 part franchise has finally come to an end.  There is probably no franchise so beloved that is actually fairly bad (on any criteria that defines a movie), with perhaps the exception of Arby’s.  That’s right, I’m saying it. Star Wars are B movies. Now I’m not saying I don’t feel a certain degree of joy watching it, and there is nothing wrong with watching B movies, but from a storytelling and movie making perspective, it’s got a lot of problems.

 

star wars GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFsStar Wars is the classic good vs. evil tale, but there is no complexity to it at all.  Either you like freedom or you don’t. Either you want to hurt people and are evil, or you don’t want to hurt people and you’re good. If a planet isn’t a criminal run planet in chaos, your only other choice seems to be monarchical rule.  A system of governance that opens itself up to despots and authoritarianism and thus we shouldn’t be surprised that good can turn to evil.  Or you have totalitarian, theocratic, dictatorship. We are first led to believe that there is a senate that is representative of different worlds. This governing body seems to be totally without any governing powers.  Nobody seems to have any political position.  There is an argument over a trade blockade.  Allowing commerce to proceed is fine, but it’s hardly a political ideology. I mean even as one planet we have far more competing ideologies than this entire galaxy seems to have.  Once Palpatine takes over, he has no real manifesto. He’s just a bad dude who wants to hurt people.  He wants to make people live in fear of the might and power he controls.  This is cartoonish villainy which is why these movies are largely for children from about 8-14. The mildly comical antics definitely solidify the movies into that age range as well.

Funny Star Wars GIF - Funny StarWars Comedy - Discover & Share GIFsAnd what are the good guys really about? What do they really believe in? In their off time, most of the good guys seem to enjoy either informal dance parties, or award ceremonies.  I would agree that societies should be free to have such things, but it’s hardly a meaningful ideological position.  I imagine if the Empire wanted to have dance parties and award ceremonies that could do so as well, just about different things. What are they doing to ensure any kind of lasting peace? If there is one thing we’ve learned is that the dark side of the force is easier to fall into that a blindfolded man at the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Star wars GIF - Find on GIFER

Jake Lloyd Confusion GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHYOne of biggest problems with the movies is how easily Anakin Skywalker falls to the dark side.  Let’s review. We have this little kid, who initially Yoda doesn’t want to train. Why? Because he misses his mother. I mean he loves his mom and was taken away from her forever by these adults who can appear to do magic but still need to rely on this mechanical genius kid who helps them from being stranded on one of the myriad of desert planets that people for some reason live on.  It seems pretty standard for a child to miss his mother.  So Yoda’s powers of deduction here is hardly impressive. Then Yoda says he’s too old, we can’t indoctrinate him properly. Eventually he reluctantly agrees, the boy gets trained. Next we meet him as a 16 year old who is impatient and headstrong. Just like every other fucking teenager.  Maybe it’s because we know what’s going to happen to Anakin that we feel dread, but he’s really just an obnoxious teenager played by a terrible actor. You almost can’t wait for the mask and James Earl Jones’ voice so you can be rid of Hayden Christiansen. But you get through episode II, still hoping that an epic struggle to remain good and loyal to the Jedi Order will happen.

I Hate Them Episode 2 GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

But in Revenge of the Sith what happens?  Despite the fact that he understands the Jedi governance structure from almost his entire young life he gets all upset that he isn’t asked to be on the Council.  Even though the council head is fucking 700+ years old, somehow Anakin, in his early twenties gets a branch up his butt about not being voted in on the council.  Meanwhile he’s making out with his former babysitter and Queen and has amazing powers to be a force of good.  But it’s not enough.  So what is the start of his descent into liking the feeling of his power? Well he goes to Tatooine to find his mother.  He naturally is upset at her death, and when a powerful person gets upset, people die. But who dies? A bunch of slavers.  This is the beginning of evil?  I mean look, I think violence is a last resort, but how is killing a bunch of slavers really the lure of the dark side. And then who does he kill next? Count fucking Saruman.  One of the evilest dudes in two movie franchises, but apparently that wasn’t good for his psyche. Even though Yoda or Obiwan would have done the same thing in combat.

501st Legion | Tamewater CWRP Wiki | FandomNow he’s apparently evil, turns on the Jedi after this, and what’s his first target? A whole bunch of fucking kindergartners at the Jedi Academy. The poor kids don’t expect a thing. And why should they? He became evil faster than a bored worker at The Gap outlet store asking if you need help. All because in this universe despite the fact that they got lasers, can travel faster than light speed, sophisticated AI and massive language translation programs, but apparently forgot to research medicine to help pregnant women (fucking patriarchy!) and needs Palpatine’s tutelage to learn how to heal. Who knows why the good Jedi Order isn’t trying to learn this healing technique? I mean it seems like a pretty basic good guy Jedi power to have. And despite seemingly knowing nothing about obstetrics (did I say ‘fucking patriarchy!’ yet) they do have cloning technology.  What Anakin, a cloned version of Queen Amydala isn’t good enough for you? You just had to kill a bunch of kids, because you thought this good person (who’s pro not hurting people) would be glad you killed a bunch of kids so you could learn the power to save her life.  That’s a serious misunderstanding of what appears to be a fairly simple concept of goodness. So when Darth Vader chooses to turn on the emperor and save his son he remembers back to the good man he once was, he’s apparently about 7 years old. Because after that he’s pretty much a whiny dick.

But what I realized when watching Return of the Jedi recently that as flimsy as Anakin’s fall to the dark side is, the reasons for the main characters being good are equally flimsy.  Luke gets the hots for the hologram of his sister and decides to find old Ben Kenobe. Han has the hots for Leia and decides to help the rebels and give up the rogue life.  All the Jedi simply rely on religious dogma to carry them through to the next day as good guys. Obi Wan is just waiting for 20 or so years to turn into Alec Guiness before doing anything good at all. And Yoda spent the last two decades in a swamp licking his wounds. The fact that Luke is this rare 1 out of several billion people in the galaxy who thinks it would be a good idea to fight a fascist, authoritarian regime is astounding. Because let’s face it, the rebel alliance, despite having the whole galaxy to choose from can never seem to muster more than a couple hundred people to attack the empire. And that’s when they aren’t just letting a chunk of themselves get blown up so that Laura Dern can come out of nowhere and have some stoic music play before she rams her ship into the star destroyer.  I mean here on Earth I could easily get a couple hundred people through Facebook to take up arms against some of the most ridiculous causes.  But government tyranny? There are millions of gun owners in the U.S. itching for an excuse to fight against a tyrannical government.  This whole galaxy far, far away seems to be completely hopeless unless about 200 people are in the middle of a fight first and then go “Hey look they’re doing it so I guess I’ll get off my ass an help.” So how those rebels have any hope at all is beyond me if they can only find a couple hundred people to join the cause.

Star Wars Rebel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

And what about all the ghost Jedi sitting on their asses? Luke Skywalker can apparently raise an X-Wing out of the ocean as a ghost.  Why wasn’t he just over on Exegon flinging heavy objects at the Sith instead of getting the people who could actually die do all the work? Obi Wan claimed he would become more powerful when he’s struck down. But apparently more powerful just means “voice in Luke’s head” and reminding Luke to “use the force” at the right time, and “Go to Dagobah”.  Pretty sure you could have done that while alive Obi Wan.  I have no idea why Darth Vader says in “Obi Wan” has taught you well. Obi Wan hasn’t done shit.  As far as I can tell, other than a few words of advice as far as he got in the Jedi training with Obi Wan is to deflect a few lasers from a floating ball while blindfolded. That doesn’t make you ready to face Vader.

I Shall Become More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine Episode ...Finally, why is it that despite having droid technology the Empire has all the droids that would actually be useful against a military force, and the rebels seem to only have droids that access computer systems and can speak a lot of languages while moving very slowly from place to place. Literally there were so many jams that they could have gotten out of way faster had they had droids who weren’t slowly ambling over to them.  Meanwhile when it comes to fighting droids the empire has legions of them.  Does the state control the means of production? Are we talking about some Soviet Union-like Empire?  Perhaps so.  My point is some angry fighting droids could have been a real help for a cause that can only scrounge up a couple hundred people from an entire galaxy.

Awesome Animated R2D2 C3PO Gifs - Best AnimationsThere are many common complaints I haven’t dealt with here. For instance many people say the writing is terrible in later movies. This is wrong. It’s all pretty bad. If you don’t think the writing in the original movies was bad it’s because you’re looking through it with a nostalgic lens. This isn’t rich writing with complex characters with a complex history, or complex relationships with each other.

Boring conversation anyway. | funny gifsNow if you’re a big Star Wars fan you are probably full of counterarguments, and I’m here to tell you they are all wrong, and if you want to tell me that if I really want to appreciate it all, I need to read some nerdy set of books, that is also wrong. Star Wars is a movie experience.  Also you should really just read my next part about why Star Wars is good.

36 thoughts on “Why Star Wars is Bad

  1. I can still remember sitting in a theater with all the bells and whistles and seeing Star Wars, the first movie. I immediately recognized it as Space Opera, kind of schmaltzy at that, but I loved the special effects. I compare that with watching the first Star Trek TV show and was disappointed at how cheesy it was. Star Wars was cheesy, but only in the plotting and dialogue, not in the visual effects (well maybe not the bar scene and anytime a bunch of aliens got together).

    I have tired of the Star Wars series, quite some time ago (during the production of I, II, II), but that first hit, wow! I try to get re-engaged by the magic is just not there anymore.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I talk about the special effects in my next part. I can completely get how that would get people excited and enraptured at that time. The special effects in those movies was far ahead of what one normally found in movies at that time. I think the later movies partially disappointed in that way, not because the special effects were bad, but they just weren’t groundbreaking in the same way it was in the originals. But what people typically complain with the later movies are all still present in the older movies in my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah it’s one of those things where, when I was younger I might have been like many people and said, “I can’t believe you haven’t seen them, OMG you have to watch, have you been living in a cave?” Now, I’m like…meh…you can watch if you want, you might enjoy it, but you could also not watch it and your life wouldn’t be any less complete. lol

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  2. It occurred to me the other day that C-3PO was around for everything. He witnessed everything. He knew everything. Why, why, why then didn’t C-3PO just tell Luke Darth was his father and save everyone the bother and pain?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Doesn’t 3PO gets his memory wiped at the end of ep 3?

      The one who sees everything and knows it was originally planned to be R2. He was originally supposed to be the chronicler of the Journal of the Whills. (Although whether that’s true or post-hoc BS from Lucas, who knows.)

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you! I’ve always believed that Star Wars is hugely overrated. It was really jarring when Yoda rebuked Anakin for being worried about his premonition that his wife was going to die in childbirth. He wouldn’t have been human if he wasn’t concerned about that. And Yoda was always reprimanding people for feeling fear, while he himself didn’t want to train Anakin because he feared the consequences. It’s clichés instead of logic.

    Then there’s “The Force” which for something so important is never defined except very vaguely. It’s just this nebulous thing which emerges now and then to do whatever the plot requires.

    I blame Star Wars for the infiltration of mysticism/magic and fantasy elements into science fiction movies generally, and for turning the emphasis from ideas to special effects and explosions. That’s what most “science fiction” movies these days seem to have become. I wonder if something like 2001 of The Andromeda Strain could even get made these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL…thanks. I will have some good things to say in my next post, but I agree it is hugely overrated. I think Steven’s comment above is a big part of why it was so popular. The spacing of these movies is intentional as well, insuring that the first “indoctrinated” generation of kids, get their kids excited, and then the kids of the kids. lol Ultimately that’s what was fueling Star Wars all these years, largely people who enjoyed the first movies as kids and wanted their kids to be just as excited. They were always kids movies.

      And I couldn’t agree with you more about the damage it did to the sci-fi genre. I know smart people who say those are their favorite sci-fi movies, and they aren’t science fiction at all.

      I think there is room for good science fiction movies. Most of them are not super popular compared the special effect blockbusters. But I would agree there are a lot of really good sci-fi stories that would make great movies, but I don’t think they would have a wide-appeal because they are more cerebral than what most people want in their movies.

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      1. c u n d gulag

        Another thing that got folks in different generations hooked on this episodic Space Soap Opera, was the marketing via toys:
        Figurines, space ship and robot models, swords, decals, and a wide vafiety of other tchotchke’s – usually made out of plastic, which is basically indestructable, so in one sense, Star Wars will be with us for a long, long time.
        Maybe longer than humanity?
        The way we’re going, that seems more and more possible…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Hello, and thank you for reading!

          Yes the marketing of the toys I think also was a big factor in how much kids of that generation latched on to the movies and wanted to recapture that part of their childhood with the later movies. I never had any of the toys myself so perhaps that’s why I am able to criticize the movie so easily without feeling like I’m betraying something from my childhood. lol

          But yes it does look like some evolved bird or cat with intelligence will find a plastic Chewbacca next to human bones some time long in the future!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Carrie Fisher, in some interview in the late 70s, when asked about comparing SW with other sci-fi movies like 2001 or Silent Running, noted that unlike those other movies, which have to be analyzed to be enjoyed, SW can’t be analyzed, since it utterly falls apart under it. Fisher was also a fan of literary science fiction, and I often remembered her remarks as I got older and saw Star Wars for what it is.

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    1. To be fair there are many things I enjoyed as a kid, which I obviously enjoy now, but of course many of those things are never argued as being anything more than entertaining just for kids. As I was saying to Steve up above, I can totally understand the wonder factor in going to see Star Wars in the theater in 1977. The spectacle would have blown me away and I probably would have walked out thinking it was the greatest thing I ever saw. It is hard now though having read and seen a lot of great science fiction and movies in general to really view Star Wars as an excellent story or set of movies from anything other than a special effects perspective. I consider it more in the genre of fantasy, but even when compared to other stories in the genre it’s fairly poorly done.

      Carrie Fisher really was a treasure and features in my next post on why one should watch Star Wars. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Star Wars is definitely fantasy, fantasy that uses some of the tropes of traditional space opera, but while also working in outright magic.

        I did see the original movie in 1977 in the theater. (I actually saw it several times.) And it was definitely a mind blowing experience. But after several decades of action sci-fi, I would expect anyone looking back at it now to wonder what the big deal was. It’s only in comparison with what came before that its unique contribution to entertainment becomes obvious.

        I do think the franchise has some value in the sense of being a gateway drug to more sophisticated stuff, although Star Trek probably servers much better in that capacity. I probably never would have read things like Dune, Foundation, or Heinlein’s juveniles if it hadn’t been for those two franchises.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. You make good points. It’s probably true that it was a gateway for many into the sci-fi genre, although I was always much more a trekkie and so that’s the main reason why I enjoy sci-fi. Voyager was the first movie I saw in the theater. I was quite young but still remember the experience although not much of the movie.

          By the way I love Asimov. I’ve read the Robot series and the foundation series. I love how he wove those together. My favorite robot will always be R. Daneel Olivaw!

          Liked by 2 people

          1. I think my favorite moment in the whole series is when we learn just how far in the future Olivaw made it.

            I can’t really say Asimov was a great plotter, and most of his characters sound like Isaac Asimov arguing with himself, but it turns out Asimov arguing with himself is great entertainment!

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            1. I agree that was pretty sweet. I really think it took some cleverness to weave the Foundation series and the Robot series together from the laws of robotics. It was ambitious and my opinions worked superbly.

              I think you’re being too hard on Asimov. I would describe his writing as efficient. The story moves at a good pace, but it’s very much in a straight line. You are pretty much with the main character throughout his books and moving through the story. Really talented authors zig zag a bit and have more complexity so I would certainly not consider him a top tier author, and he’s definitely not a wordsmith when it comes to metaphor and imagery, but is definitely very methodical and thought his stories were well thought out. I agree with you that it does often seems like he is wrestling with philosophy. I found his observations to be very astute. In many ways I feel like America is very much like the Galactic Empire in the final days of Hari Seldon. Decaying, and inevitable. We need a Hari Seldon to try to avoid too many years of barbarism!

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            2. I didn’t mean to sound negative on Asimov. I’m a big fan. I was trying to get at this idea that he himself expressed.

              I made up my mind long ago to follow one cardinal rule in all my writing—to be ‘clear’. I have given up all thought of writing poetically or symbolically or experimentally, or in any of the other modes that might (if I were good enough) get me a Pulitzer prize. I would write merely clearly and in this way establish a warm relationship between myself and my readers, and the professional critics—Well, they can do whatever they wish.

              I actually wish more writers took this attitude.

              Liked by 2 people

            3. As usual, Asimov can describe things better than I can. 🙂 I guess that’s what I meant. I guess basically he writes like you might expect a physicist to write. 🙂 And agreed it would be better if more writers took this attitude.

              Liked by 2 people

        2. Hello Mike Smith and Swarn,

          I enjoyed your conversation here. Please let me join in here.

          It seem that Swarn is back with a vengeance wielding the “force” to dismantle many people rose-coloured views about this movie franchise!

          Like Mike, I too watched the original movie in 1977 in the cinema.

          Whilst the franchise has whipped numerous aficionados to a considerable frenzy with cult following over several decades, other fans have had a change of heart induced by their great disappointments with the later Star Wars movies. However, even the earliest three episodes have not been spared their own issues.

          It is very obvious that there are many people who do not fully understand why those fans strongly disapprove of numerous aspects of Star Wars XVIII and certain earlier and later episodes, unless they can bring themselves to appreciate that, for those of us who are familiar with, and care about plots both within and between movies, the latest instalments have been egregious in affecting the validity, soundness and continuity of the whole series. Could anyone imagine and stomach something similarly egregious happening to other movie series or franchises such as Matrix, Back to Future, Lord of the Rings, Aliens, and so on???

          Swarn, I would like to congratulate you on writing a fairly comprehensive post critiquing the Star Wars movie series. In any case, those who are perceptive can detect in the franchise that there are some superficial reflections and philosophical deployments of the Buddhist ethos as well as Joseph Campbell’s archetype on heroes, plus sprinkles of existentialism, and to some extent, sensitivity towards the female perspectives.

          Yet, there are a great deal of unresolved issues, even if we could ignore the little-known but important facts and hidden histories of the Star Wars saga.

          Moreover, the deviations from the original narratives and elements continued unabated in the new instalments.

          I felt that those who give the later Star Wars instalments positive reviews overall tend to disregard and/or be ignorant about the plots as well as the strengths and weaknesses of earlier Star Wars movies, even if we were to give some concessions on the basis that some people may indeed prefer or insist that the later Star Wars instalments can be enjoyed and viewed on their own terms without being defined or judged by their relations to what have preceded them and what is yet to come in the franchise and saga, if indeed there will be more to come in one form or another.

          Perhaps the whole Star Wars VIII and later episodes is akin to Rey blazing a separatist, pro-autonomy path, no longer just catering to “FORCE-Sensitive Fans” but an order of “Upstarts” who wish to claim and shape the Star War saga with impunity, and where opinions and minions reign free without benefiting from the hard-earned wisdom of the Jedi.

          Is it still even the same FORCE? One wonders!

          Is the FORCE evolving or devolving? Who knows?

          It seems that the FORCE, one of the most central elements in the franchise, is only as consistent as the quality of this tale of good versus evil. In any case, the very FORCE in the later Star Wars instalments has been used so indiscriminately and unconvincingly to stretch both credulity and credibility that the reasonable and discerning person can no longer believe that it is still a plausible central “device” on which the long saga has been based. Therein lies the crux of the problems afflicting the later Star Wars instalments and others to come, in addition to all of the issues that you have excellently highlighted so far.

          By the way, I would like to inform you of a typo in your sentence “… the dark side of the force is easier to fall into that a blindfolded man at the edge of the Grand Canyon”. The word “that” should have been “than”, assuming that I have interpreted the sentence correctly. As for the other four or more typos that I noticed, listing them here is probably beyond the scope and purpose of this comment.

          Thank you.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you for your analysis. I agree with all your points here. And I agree that when Abrams took over I think it was an intention to try to move in a new direction. But after 6 movies I think that was hard to accomplished and it just ended up falling flat both in trying to improve the actual movie making failures of the old ones, but also, as you excellently point out, not really staying true to the plot and characters of the previous movies. Had the last 3 episodes been just a trilogy and the last 6 movies didn’t exist, they might have been better received. For as much as I appreciated Abrams flare for special effects, he is not any better at delivering a good story.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Damn it Swarn! Now you have just ruined it for me. I was blissfully unaware of all this stuff, now I don’t know what to do with myself. I have to reassess my life. I will get back to you when I feel better. 😉

    All truth be told I can’t watch damn near any movie without blurting out “pick up the gun!” Or “there is no way possible for any real human to do that!” or “shoot it again dumbass!”Or “how the hell did that make any sense?!” I can’t stand to be in the room with myself sometimes…

    Liked by 2 people

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