Thursday, May 19, 2005

Revenge of the Absolutes. [Revised and extended] I saw SW: E3: RotS today -- first impression is that it's better than the last two, but doesn't approach the original triolgy. The acting is incredibly wooden, the dialogue is horrible, the storyline is still confused, and the CGI is way overdone. Still, by closing on the events which will take us to the original Star Wars movie (which I refuse to call "A New Hope."), it wraps up well.

Now for my gripes.

I'm really bugged by George Lucas' desire to take a potshot at Dubya and his supporters -- not because he's doing it; rather, because he does it so poorly, with such over reach that it doesn't make sense.

The following may be a minor spoiler, but I don't think so.

There's a scene where Obi-Wan and Anakin have a duel and Anakin says something along the lines of:
ANAKIN: If you're not with me, you're my enemy.

OBI-WAN: Only a Sith deals in absolutes.
The problem is, Lucas seems to believe this.

I believe that there are seeds of greatness here, but because Lucas is unwilling to give up his fealty to relativism and his eastern theology ("Use your feeling"), he is not able to truly develop a basis for the transformation of Anakin to Vader.

Yes, the Jedi play a minor part in pushing Anakin over to the dark side: They don't make him a master although he sits on the council, they ask him to act deceitfully, they don't let him have a girlfriend (or wife). Still, Lucas want to put the blame exclusively on the Sith (I'm being somewhat general here because of my desire to avoid spoilers). "This is how liberty dies - to thunderous applause," Padmé laments as the Senate gives Palpatine new powers.

In many respects, Obi-Wan turns out to be the greatest villian (a la Steve Maryk of the Caine Mutiny) of the sexology, because his commitment to relativism blinds him to that which is truly evil. Consider these lines from Return of the Jedi:

LUKE: Obi-Wan! Why didn't you tell me?

The ghost of Ben Kenobi approaches him through the swamp.

LUKE: You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father.

BEN: You father was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I have told you was true... from a certain point of view.

LUKE: (turning away, derisive) A certain point of view!

BEN: Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
(emphasis added). Perhaps, if Obi-Wan and the rest of the Jedi had been a little less relativistic -- dare I say it -- perhaps if the Jedi had been more Christ-like, the double-dealing which leads to the fall of the republic and the rise of the Empire would not have occurred.

Second, and strongly related, as you can see by the above, my respect for the Jedi have been completely destroyed by this movie. It's been declining for awhile -- in SW: E1: PM, we learn that to be a Jedi, one must be specially enhanced with the Midichlorians. In SW: E2: TAotC, we learn that the Jedi cannot be in love. In this one, it is confirmed that the Jedi believe they can lie about anything (which explains why Old Ben Kenobi lies with such ease to Luke in the original Star Wars movie [lies, by the way, which aren't really disclosed to be lies until The Empire Strikes Back]). Serious spoilers follow. Or take Mace Windu...

[Last chance -- I mean it, really serious spoiler below]

In the scene where Mace Windu goes to arrest Palpatine, they have a big fight -- Palpatine kills three [expendible] Jedi, then he and Mace have a huge fight. Near the end, Anakin walks in (the following is rough, taken from this purloined script (which has a number of inaccuracies, although this appears to be correct):
MACE pushes PALPATINE out to the edge of the ledge. As the Jedi moves closer, the bolts from Palpatine's hands begin to arch back on him. The Chancellor's face begins to twist and distort. His eyes become yellow as he struggles to intensify his powers.

PALPATINE: I can't ... I give up. Help me. I am weak ... I am too weak. Don't kill me. I give up. I'm dying. I can't hold on any longer.

MACE WlNDU: You Sith disease. I am going to end this once and for all.

ANAKIN: You can't kill him, Master. He must stand trial.

MACE WlNDU: He has too much control of the Senate and the Courts. He is too dangerous to be kept alive.

PALPATINE: I'm too weak. Don't kill me. Please.

ANAKIN: It is not the Jedi way . . .

MACE raises his sword to kill the CHANCELLOR.

ANAKIN: (continuing) He must live . . .

PALPATINE: Please don't, please don't . . .

ANAKIN: I need him . . .

PALPATINE: Please don't . . .


Just as MACE is about to slash PALPATINE, ANAKIN steps in and cuts off the Jedi's hand holding the lightsaber.

As MACE stares at ANAKIN in shock, PALPATINE springs to life.
It is clear that Mace and Anakin could have combined to arrest Palpatine, but Mace, acting like a Jedi, sees himself above the law (or a law unto himself) and in an act of perfect relativism acts to put an end to Palpatine, pushing Anakin over to the Dark Side.

Thus, it seems that all those infected with the Midichlorians -- all those controlled by the Force -- are relativists who see absolutes as something that only the little people worry about. In that respect, the Jedi and the Sith are two sides of the same coin.

I submit that there is another way -- a way which was nicely summarized by a man who used to be called Joe, who said the following not too long ago:
We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one's own ego and one's own desires.

However, we have a different goal: the Son of God, true man. He is the measure of true humanism. Being an "Adult" means having a faith which does not follow the waves of today's fashions or the latest novelties. A faith which is deeply rooted in friendship with Christ is adult and mature. It is this friendship which opens us up to all that is good and gives us the knowledge to judge true from false, and deceit from truth. We must become mature in this adult faith; we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith. And it is this faith--only faith--which creates unity and takes form in love. On this theme, Saint Paul offers us some beautiful words--in contrast to the continual ups and downs of those were are like infants, tossed about by the waves: (he says) make truth in love, as the basic formula of Christian existence. In Christ, truth and love coincide. To the extent that we draw near to Christ, in our own life, truth and love merge. Love without truth would be blind; truth without love would be like "a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal" (1 Cor 13:1).

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