Friday, August 9, 2013

Reflections on Qui-Gon and the Nerf Herder

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . playing peekaboo with Anna

And another thing . . .

. . . to help time pass for everyone the last three days, I've let the big kids choose a movie to watch each morning.  The first day, Joy asked to watch Star Wars: Episode 2 (you know - the one where Padme dresses up in a different gorgeous dress for each scene, and gazes into brooding young Annikan's eyes telling him he MUST NOT LOVE HER).  I told her I was going to be stressed enough trying to potty train a toddler, without having a [CGI-dependent, no heart, pale shadow of the original awesome trilogy] movie I don't like playing in the background.

Joy opted to watch Return of the Jedi instead.  The next day, Daniel asked to watch it again, and I confess I didn't mind.  A third viewing in a single week might have been pushing it, though, so I'm grateful to report that Joy chose The Empire Strikes Back today.  As we watched these two films, I was repeatedly struck by how much better they are than the newer trilogy.

A professor of mine once postulated that the biggest problem with the new trilogy is that there is no equivalent of Han Solo in it.  I think he has a pretty strong point.  Ironically, Han Solo has the same flaws Yoda disapproves of in Luke (impatience, recklessness), but somehow the things that are aggravating in Luke are charming in Han.  He's an unabashed scoundrel, and though (like Leia) I wouldn't want to admit to his face that I like him, I can't help it.  He's just plain fun.

It helps that he has a sense of humor, something no one in the new trilogy really has.  They all take themselves and their epic roles too seriously.  They are so busy being characters (the Mentor, the Ill-Fated Sweetheart, the Moody Guy Whose Selfish Hubris Will Lead Him to Betray Everyone) that they are never actually people who connect with you or with each other.  

Sure, the main characters in the older trilogy are archetypes,  too, but they're also very human.  They hug.  They argue.  They tease.  They call each other names ("Nerf herder!" "Calm down, Your Worshipfulness").  They choke Lando and shout at him right after he saves their lives because they're so fuming mad that he betrayed their friend.  You don't get any of that human emotion from the flat, newer characters.  They never feel like friends or sweethearts; they feel like plot devices.  The only one I was every really attached to was Qui-Gon Jinn, and they killed him off in the first movie.  Such a pity.

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