Thursday, May 5, 2005

My Jedi nerve endings are tingling, but not with surprise

'Star Wars' dark side too dark for kids? [Marin Independent Journal - Marin, Thursday, May 05, 2005 - 5:04:26 AM PST]

George Lucas' new "Star Wars" movie has its share of critics - and they're not just movie reviewers.

Some parents are balking at scenes that are too violent.

"We're getting a lot of flak from parents, a lot of people saying how can you do this? My children love these movies. Why can you not let them go see it?" the Marin County film mogul said. "But I have to tell a story. I'm not making these, oddly enough, to be giant, successful blockbusters. I'm making them because I'm telling a story, and I have to tell the story I intended."

Lucas's narrative integrity aside, there is the story and then there is the telling of the story. There is the orator and there is the audience. There is the overall strategy and there is the set of concrete tactics. There is the ultimate goal and there is the accommodation to various hurdles along the way. There is Crime and Punishment and then there is the Kids' Reader Edition of it.

Thus, there is the story of Star Wars Episode 1 and then there is the camel-thing ripping a huge fart during the pod racer sequence. In Episode 1 there was also the fact that Anakin was a little boy, thus helping young children identify with him. (And, where there are eager children there are sure to be compliant parents' hustling lockstep to buy tickets at the nearest theater!) And, finally, regrettably, in Episode 1 let's not forget the jittery heap of playful racism and freakish kiddie-eye-candy that was Jar Jar Binks.

In Episode 2 we see a lot of the clownish enchantment replaced by the angst-ridden, light-sabering, rebellion-fomenting, and, ahem, Padme-lusting of a now-adolescent Anakin. Interesting. As the audience ages, so too do the themes and the mise en scene. Interesting indeed.

And now, as the primal Episode 1 viewers have aged yet more, we see Episode 3 raising the stakes and keeping enough of the parental lockstep up to speed.

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