Well I went and saw Star Wars: Episode III with my dad the other day. Its hard to explain the experience. I grew up with Star Wars. My first favorite toys were Star Wars figurines, especially Luke Skywalker. Seeing Episode III was like the missing piece of the whole puzzle. The piece that makes the whole thing fit, you know. So its like a crack in the universe where everything’s finally been revealed. My dad has only watched the movies passively. He remembers bits and pieces here and there but he didn’t understand a lot of what was going on. I kept analyzing the scenes theologio/philosophically and then noticed that it was keeping me from the story itself. But each scene in this last film has all this abiding saga significance. I really got into Bin Kenobi’s statement to Anakin on the volcano, “Only Siths deal in Absolutes.” At first I thought, well the Right’s gonna pick up on that and say, “See they’re preaching Relativism.” But then when I thought deeper the truth of the statement made me rejoice. Its not a question of Absolutes, its the Dealing in Absolutes. Perhaps that’s where the Right to me are like Siths. The Sith Lord promises Anakin the power to save loved ones from dying. Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen all make this faith promise that with their kind of faith healing, wealth, and day to day power are all a guaranteed reality. Our president promises that with the philosophy and guidance of his neo-cons’ New American Century he will rid the world of evil and accomplish the impossible: Democracy and Peace in the Middle East. The Christian Right believe they finally have a truly Christian president, moreso than any other president in history. That is dealing in Absolutes my friend. Ok, now I’ll admit I’m constructing a narrative out of sci-fi for present reality and it doesn’t really fit. But I’ve got that right as much as anyone right?
I just saved a bunch of religious film criticism articles on the Star Wars series here are the links:
I’m sure there will be many more discussions and essays by the end of the summer. I expect that this movie will lock up the box office this year as it should. I was more moved by this one than any of the others. It packs more theologio/philosphical reflective scenes into it than any of the others that I can remember. My dad’s remark was that he never saw one tree in this whole movie. Ecology itself was sucked out of the narrative as death came to the front. He was amazed at the cities without anything but buildings in them. I pointed out that they were noticeably absent for a reason and that other worlds such as Naboo, the Ewok moon, and the world of the Chewbaccas were all in harmony with nature rather than without a need for it. They were primitive civilizations who were by-in-large rebels of the powers that be. But their people are the story’s heros, working to restore what is good and right in the galaxy.
Star Wars is a morality play to be sure, with Anakin Skywalker as the central character. The son, Luke, has his own struggle for identity, but his father’s life is very much a part of his own struggle. When he learns this, the Force and his father become central to his own search. That struggle resonates with every man I’m sure to some degree. Though truthfully the sons who can confront and be confronted by their fathers are rarer indeed.