Continuity? George doesn’t play that game

Jedi. I wish I could say that seeing the Jedi back on screen gets me excited for the events to follow, but this movie has already killed that in me. Now when I see Jedi, I just brace myself for arrogance and stupidity. This scene delivers. Here we have Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan taking a romantic stroll around the balconies of Coruscant discussing Anakin’s future. We run in to a logical problem at this point between the Prequels and the Original Trilogy: The age at which a Jedi can begin training. In the OT Yoda tries to turn Luke away saying “He’s too old. Yes! Too old to begin the training…” So what’s the problem? I hear you asking. Well, it’s the fact that this is quite clearly an excuse. The context of the dialogue and its delivery make that abundantly clear.

Luke isn’t too old to begin the training, Yoda is just scared. The responsibility of training the last Jedi, the son of the most powerful Jedi ever, who turned to the Dark Side is daunting. What if he fails? 2 Vaders? No thank you says Yoda. The problem this causes for the prequels is that while George clearly remembers those lines, he has totally forgotten the intent of those lines. As such, George pats himself on the back for linking up continuity and writes a scene wherein even at 9 years of age Anakin is “Too old”.

Don’t believe me? There’s more evidence. In the Empire Strikes Yoda says of Luke “Much anger in him, like his father” to which the ghostly Obi-Wan replies “Was I any different when you taught me?” I should certainly hope so; you were a fucking child when Yoda taught you now. Obi-Wan is clearly implying that Luke’s temperament and disposition were much like his own when he was being trained. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that he and Luke were exactly the same age, it does imply that the age difference was not terribly great, as it’s hard to imagine a young child having the same temperament as a surly 20 something.

Back to the on-screen action. Obi and Qui-Gon have had their little heart to heart and it’s time to see Anakin being tested by the Jedi council. It’s not really what I envisioned. Mace has a little screen which shows pictures, Anakin has to guess what they are. He must be powerful, Luke couldn’t do that. That seems like the kind of thing that would take Jedi training to achieve. I don’t know precisely what I thought the testing would be, but this isn’t it. No matter, it’s time to talk about our feelings. The Jedi want to know how Anakin feels and eventually drag it out of the kid that he misses his mother. Hey council! You don’t need Jedi powers to know that assholes.

Here’s a good idea though, it’s time to start Anakin down to the path to the Dark Side right away. Discovering that he misses his mother, Yoda proceeds to piss at Anakin with what I’m sure George felt were lines that would evoke classic Yoda wisdom like “Do or do not, there is no try” or “Size matters not”. Sadly this bit of wisdom is really tenuous. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” Really? I can come up with dozens of scenarios where that line of logic just doesn’t work. It’s George’s clumsy attempt at foreshadowing. Good work George, give yourself a cookie.

Jar-jar has his most effective scene in the film now, talking to the queen. It’s almost not bad. But it’s short lived as Palpatine comes busting in with the news that he has been nominated as Chancellor. The queen is unmoved; she’s decided that the Republic is total balls and that she’s outtie. She informs the gang she’s heading back to Naboo and tells Palps that she really hopes he’ll turn things around, cue foreboding music.

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan are at the Jedi council to learn Anakin’s results and, guess what! “he will not be trained… He’s too old!” Oh George why? How I wish George had sat down with a notepad and watched the OT before he started writing the prequels and while he was writing the prequels and after he was finished each draft of his prequels. All this could have been avoided. Qui-Gon with his usual defiance tries to take Anakin as his Padawan (god I hate that word) learner. The council breaks out the rule of 2, which is the hokiest and most nonsensical Jedi rule ever. It almost makes sense for the Sith, but even there it’s clumsy and poorly handled. And why have the Jedi adopted a Sith rule anyway?

Obi-Wan jumps in, letting everyone know how ready he is to face the trials, shades of Luke with his “I’m ready” speech to Yoda, followed by a poorly performed rehash of Yoda’s retort “Our own counsel we will keep on who is ready”. It just feels clumsy, marble mouthed. I understand trying to wink at the OT, but it fails here. Besides, now is not the time for this apparently, The queen is going back to Naboo and the Council want’s Obi and Qui-Gon to go with her as this may draw out the queens attacker, and this is the clue they need to solve the mystery of the Sith. What? That’s not a clue. That’s catching the fucking guy! That’s like saying “Catching the murderer is the clue we need to capture the murderer.” George is just not a writer.

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~ by Pagz on June 30, 2008.

2 Responses to “Continuity? George doesn’t play that game”

  1. If they indeed managed to “draw out the Queen’s attacker,” and it did turn out to be a Sith, then that would go a long way towards “unraveling the mystery of the Sith,” which of course means a lot more than just capturing an assassin. The real mystery is how the Sith have managed to survive so long, where they might be hiding, and (more importantly) who they are, and even when they do manage to draw out (and defeat) Darth Maul, they’re no closer to answering that mystery… so here, at least, the dialogue makes sense.

    Of course, even reasonably straight-forward dialogue can sound badly-written when it’s delivered as badly as Sam Jackson does as Mace Windbag…!

  2. True enough. It just sounded so lame, since at this point in the film the Jedi have made no suggestion that they know there are 2 Sith Lords, so capturing the one Sith Lord sounds like it would reasonably tie up the whole thing. Anyway, it’s a poor piece of dialogue poorly delivered. Clunky.

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