With Revenge of the Sith, our approach runs into trouble. A constant tension in reading both The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones was the fact that they were, in pragmatic reality, designed to be watched by people who had already seen the original trilogy. In practice both films were designed - with more intelligence than Lucas usually gets credit for - to still communicate their main ideas to an unspoiled audience. Indeed, in both cases you can plausibly argue that an unspoiled reading produces a clearer account of the films, revealing a more coherent (if still exceedingly unorthodox) logic for both.
That simply does not work for Revenge of the Sith. There’s no way around the fact that once Order 66 is activated, the film by and large stops being concerned with resolving the story that began with The Phantom Menace and turns its attention fully towards setting up A New Hope. The notion that what it’s doing might meaningfully be called storytelling limps along for a bit longer, its closing minutes don’t even pretend anymore. Yoda’s declaration that he will go into exile seems motivated by literally nothing save for lining up with The Empire Strikes Back - “oh, I ...
Welcome back to Eruditorum Press: A Star Wars Blog (apparently).
Some notes before we start.
Firstly, I still have a Patreon, and I send life-changing good vibrations through the ether to all those people who contribute to it.
Secondly, episode 2 of Wrong With Authority is still downloadable, here.
Thirdly, this post coincides (purely accidentally) with an excellent piece about Rogue One posted yesterday at Storming the Ivory Tower by Sam Keeper. Here. I strongly recommend it.
Fourthly, I may be dishing up something more substantial about Rogue One myself soon. It's an interesting movie.
Finally, please forgive me if what follows is a bit sub-par. I'm really quite ill at the moment.
Oh, and SPOILERS
The alt-Right and MRAs and MGTOWs etc have a point about Star Wars these days. They say all the new Star Wars films are part of the cultural Marxist/white genocide/misandrist conspiracy against straight white men and the Right. They’re wrong about that, of course… though it certainly is nice of them to admit - in the manner of Fox News labelling some wallscrawl reading “NO FASCIST USA” as ‘anti-Trump graffiti’ - that they, and the version ...
A fearsome storm rages on Bajor. Vedek Bareil surveys the fury from a balcony outside his temple. An attendant acolyte (who looks a hell of a lot like Vedek Winn but isn't cited as being her) fears for his health, but Bareil only asks if everyone who has lost their homes due to the storm has been given sanctuary within, stressing that no-one must be turned away. The acolyte hopes the Prophets stop the storm, but Bareil hopes they grant them their wisdom on how to act.
On Deep Space 9, Kira, Worf and Odo confront the Cardassian saboteurs. One of the assailants tries to gas the security team, but Worf is a quicker shot, and Odo turns into a praying mantis tentacle monster to subdue them. Not to be outdone, Kira swings from the rafters and kicks some dudes in the fucking face. But before they can arrest them, the intruders activate an emergency transport. Jadzia Dax couldn't catch them in time, but Data has found some technobabble that allows him to nullify the cloaking device used on their ship. Unfirtunately, neither Dax nor Data is able to snare the ship in a tractor beam before it ...
Middle parts of trilogies are famously hard. Ironically, this fact largely benefits Attack of the Clones. Freed both from the obligation to try to be the first Star Wars movie in sixteen years and the obligation to portray long-mythologized events in a definitive way, it is allowed to simply reflect George Lucas’s vision in a fairly undiluted way. There are countless snarky sentences that follow well from that, but there’s enough that’s at least interesting in that vision to make Attack of the Clones a compelling experience. To praise with faint damnation, it’s a hot mess instead of merely a bad movie.
Where The Phantom Menace was structured around a single protagonist, Attack of the Clones splits its attention between two plots and protagonists. The first of these is relatively expected: The Phantom Menace fairly explicitly set up a progression from Qui-Gon to Obi-Wan such that, just on the basic sense of structure and the Jedi/padawan relationship, you’d expect the mantle to pass on to him. What’s less straightforwardly set up is the ascension of Anakin to the role of co-protagonist. Obi-Wan, after all, was firmly a supporting character, and given the estrangement in the way Anakin was presented ...
Bit of business to take care of...
Firstly, yes I’m the Friday guy now.
Secondly, I have a Patreon now, so if you like my stuff, and have some cash to spare, then you know what to do. Now. A few discerning people have already done it, or promised to, and you should copy them if you want to look cool and hard and clever. My patrons already have exclusive access to two pieces of my fiction-writing. Form an orderly queue, fans.
Thirdly, Episode 2 of Wrong With Authority is up. It’s a new(ish) podcast about movies that claim to be based on real history, and features myself, the laconic James Murphy, the leonine Kit Power, and Daniel Harper, who possesses no qualities beginning with ‘L’. We take it in turn to pick films and host episodes. This episode is Daniel’s, and it’s about two Oscarbait biopics of mathematicians, A Beautiful Mind and The Imitation Game.
Finally, ‘Xenomorph’s Paradox’ is a series about Alien and its various progenitors, progeny, parasites, predators, paratexts, para-phenomena, and paraphernalia. As some of you will know, I’ve been planning it for a long time. This post doesn’t necessarily mean the series is about ...
It is with great pleasure that I am joined again by Ben Knaak for the second part of our examination of The Elder Scrolls series of video games. You may want to check out part 1 first, if you haven't already heard it. In that podcast, we did a brief (ish) rundown of the history of the franchise from our own personal perspectives. But tonight, we're diving headfirst into the infamous Elder Scrolls lore, for some arguably the series' signature standout component.
Hey all - just a heads up that I've started a newsletter for the Ithaca Psychogeographic Liberation Front. It'll mail out eight times a year. You can sign up for it here. The first installment of it is below if you want to get a sense of what it'll be like.
Oh, and Jack's on Fridays now, so do check back tomorrow.
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Rom is grousing to himself about how underappreciated he is at the bar and how things would run much smoother if he was in charge when his pity party is interrupted by an irate customer. A Starfleet officer, on scheduled shore-leave, is upset that all the Dabo tables seem to be rigged to favour the house (well, more then gambling machines already are I suppose). Rom goes to fetch Quark, eager at the chance to buck responsibility higher up the managerial chain. This sort of thing would slip by most people unnoticed, but then again, most people aren't Geordi La Forge, who, thanks to his remarkable VISOR, can see things most people can't.
Geordi is joined by Doctor Beverly Crusher and Commander Deanna Troi, and all three question an evasive Quark. The barkeep denies all responsibility and threatens to call station security, “A close, personal friend” of his to escort the bothersome Starfleet officers out before Odo himself shows up and sternly asks Quark if “that Dabo table” was still “giving [him] trouble”. Geordi tries to thank Odo, but Odo actually agrees with Quark: He's not happy the commander and his two associates are here, claiming that ...