“I have a bad feeling about this”

Since you asked so nicely, this is basically my first thought, every day, and then all day long. Wake up: I have a bad feeling about this. Get up and faceplant into floor: I have a bad feeling about this. Look out window: I have a bad feeling about all this snow. Check on bikes on balcony: I have a bad feeling about thi…. oh, motherfucker, the covers have come off again?! Venture out into snow: I’d have a bad feeling about this if I could still feel my toes.

Hm? Oh, you wanna know what movie this is from? Um. It’s Mean Girls, duh! Get the hell out!

Seriously, though, it’s Star Wars. They say it in every Star Wars movie ever made and even in the Clone Wars series. It’s the running gag of the galaxy.

Anyway, can we talk about Star Wars? Not the fact that I keep misspelling these two simple words on a frequent basis (the dyslexia is strong with this one), but just how much I love the old trilogy (or rather, the old old trilogy, because we’ll be getting a new new one soon) even though I also kinda don’t?

I mean, Leia. Leia is just not getting the fanbase love she deserves. Look at this chick, twenty years old, member of the Galactic senate, diplomat, steals the Death Star blueprints, loads them onto R2D2, sends the little robot off in an escape pod just seconds after her ship gets taken over by – dun dun DUN – the bad guys, one of them being her dad. And she actually shoots at them. And then gets sassy with all of them. This princess doesn’t fuck around.

I also really like her relationship with Han. That’s the kind of romance I can watch, two people engaged in a snarky death match until the guy stops being a dick and the commencing make-out session gets interrupted by a clueless robot. And then the girl disguises herself as a bounty hunter and goes to rescue her boy. It’s just so sweet. And then in the end when he gets all jealous because he thinks she’s in love with Luke when really she just found out she’s his sister? Does he make a scene? Does he hint that he’ll drop the rebellion like a hot potato because he might not ‘get the girl’? Nope. He keeps right on, to the end. And only when things have calmed down does he talk to her about it, all calm-like, saying he won’t make a fuss or be in her way if she wants to be with Luke instead. And then the look of absolute relief when she tells him Luke’s her brother! Han’s cute (for a scruff-looking nerf-herder), can we get more Hans in here? I’m missing drama-free men in film.

Even though they’re very on-the-nose archetypes, all characters in the old movies are surprisingly well-rounded. Like, you look at our dynamic trio and you’re willing to believe that this is how people actually are. They’re more than just stock characters and the movies take some real time between all the fight scenes to develop them further. This is something I missed in the prequels, which was more on the CGI and merchandising side of things. Who are those people? What’s their motivation? Do we ever get to know them? Not really, they had to make an entire animated series to get to that, because weird CGI mounts, unbelievable and unbelievably clichéd Forbidden Love Romance sub-plot, and Commander Grievous grievances were apparently more important.

From a feminist perspective, Leia is a dream come true in 1977. She is the driving force behind the entire movie trilogy. Everything starts with her. She’s the spy, not one of the guys. She steals the plans, not one of the guys. She loads them into R2D2 and tells him (it? I feel weird about gendering robots, especially so clearly unsexed ones, am I the only one?) to go find Kenobi, a quest that gets Luke, our supposed Chosen One Hero, as well as Han The Love Interest And His Sidekick involved in the first place. In Return of the Jedi, Yoda even says that should Luke fail, there would be “another [hope]”, which, since both Skywalker children were considered a threat by the Emperor (as told by Obi Wan) is pretty clearly Leia. (Yes, I know there’s some geeks out there who think this is a set-up to Episode VII, but please, tell me how that’s possible if not even the prequels were in the works at that time.)

Also from a feminist perspective, Leia is a bit of a nightmare, too, at least in New Hope, because while she is a senator, a diplomat, a spy, determined in her mission, strong-willed enough not to rat out the rebels under mindprobe, and a bunch of other awesome stuff, she also lets the men in the movie do everything else. She can’t do much of anything about the Empire except gathering information, but the old crock Kenobi can for some reason. She can’t escape the Death Star, that’s what her half-wit brother (come on, he is acting a bit stupid all throughout A New Hope), the walking carpet and the loud-mouthed smuggler are for, and they only succeed because that was Tarkin’s evil plan all along. Granted, she does use a gun when you hand her one and tries to save her rescuers via garbage chute (where, interestingly, they then all have to be saved by cute comic relief robots).

And later in the movies she rescues Han, only to end up in that infamous outfit. I’m going to call it the Hutt killer outfit, just to remind people that Leia strangled Jabba with her own chain. Hutts are pretty hard to kill. Just a quick reminder.

Given the circumstances of the 1970s, the women’s movement, women characters in film of the time, and all that, she’s a great character. Forty years later though, you’d think they could have taken it farther. Her character develops splendidly in the Star Wars books and comics, at one point even she even learns how to use the force herself. And in light of this, it’s really such a disappointment to meet her mom in the prequels, because Amidala is not even really there. She’s basically a walking wardrobe and an incubator, with little to know discernible characteristics besides crying. Aright, there is one fight scene where all she does is get her shirt ripped to a crop top, aaaand that’s it, really, what else does she do in the three movies? She’s all right in the Clone Wars series, where she actually has some sort of personality. Then again, in the series even Anakin has suddenly developed into an actual character, not just the Fallen Chosen One stereotype, which has been overused since Paradise Lost.

All of this has me reeeeaally unenthusiastic for the upcoming trilogy. You might even say I have a bad feeling about it. If they’re following the Star Wars formula of “only one woman with a speaking role per movie” my only hope rests on whoever they have cooked up (my guess is it’s Han and Leia’s daughter). But let’s not get our hopes up. Okay, okay, I’ll shelve the puns for now, but I’ll have you know they usually bring all the nerds to the yard.

Here’s to hoping (Ha! Okay, that was the last one, I swear.) the movies won’t be as bad as that ridiculous trailer with the absolutely absurd lightsaber, but knowing George Who Sold His Soul To Mammon And The Mouse it will probably be the train wreck of the galaxy. Ah, well. Do we at least get spaceships and cute robots? Cute robots make everything better.

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