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Old 05-16-2005, 01:18 PM   #1
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Star Wars Episode 3: An Anti-Bush Film?

teeny, tiny spoilers below.

as a HUGE star wars fan who sobbed at the sheer awfulness of Eps. 1 & 2, i'm greatly relieved to hear that ROTS is supposed to be actually quite good.

i'm also thrilled that Lucas, who i had suspected of being brain dead, is able to nicely draw some political parallels with this film and what's going on in the United States:



Cannes premiere of `Star Wars' raises questions of U.S. imperialism





CANNES, France For some Europeans, George Lucas' latest "Star Wars" film is invoking comparisons to today's political climate.

Audiences viewing "Episode Three -- Revenge of the Sith" at the Cannes Film Festival are comparing the story of Anakin Skywalker's fall to the dark side and the rise of an emperor through warmongering to President Bush's war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq.

Among the lines they cite is when Anakin tells former mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi "If you're not with me, then you're my enemy." After the Nine-Eleven attacks, Bush said, "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists."

Lucas says he created the "Star Wars" story long before the Iraq war.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:21 PM   #2
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I think people see what they want to see.

Hey, you could even find some hidden meaning in Princess Leia's hairdo if you tried hard enough
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:26 PM   #3
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Lucas has had the stories in mind since the early 70s.....way before Iraq, Bush, or the war on terror.

The line, "you are either for us or against us" is a pretty standard movie line. To say it directly parralels Bush's statement is a stretch in my opinion.

I am certainly heartened by the fact that the film is well reviewed...(currently 83% positive at Rottentomatoes.com).
I was a massive Star Wars fan as a kid. Can't wait to see it with my dad and brother this Thursday!
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:29 PM   #4
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actually I heard Bush played Jar Jar Binks- they're equally unintelligible

maybe equally annoying too
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:29 PM   #5
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i suppose, then, what it really does is further the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, and between Bush and Nixon.

maybe Lucas is smarter than i thought ...
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:36 PM   #6
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Lucas smart? Have you heard that dialogue between Padme and Anakin? A third grader could write better stuff!
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Old 05-16-2005, 01:41 PM   #7
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Weird, I just read this on CNN before I saw your post. . .

Lucas on Iraq war, 'Star Wars'

CANNES, France (CNN) -- "Star Wars" director George Lucas says that although he wrote the original film during the Vietnam War, his six-part saga could apply to the war in Iraq.

''In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship,'' Lucas told a news conference at Cannes, where his final episode had its world premiere.

''The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we're doing in Iraq now are unbelievable.

''On the personal level it was how does a good person turn into a bad person, and part of the observation of that is that most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons,'' he added.

The final episode of "Star Wars" blasted into the Cannes film festival Sunday, stirring the greatest hype and excitement here yet, even if it's not in competition for the festival's top prize, the Golden Palm.

Cannes went out of its way to roll out the red carpet for "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," letting fans in costume meet and greet their screen idols before Sunday night's gala screening. Offshore on the Queen Mary 2, the festival gave a special trophy to Lucas.

"Sith" is an action-packed intergalactic morality play exposing the origins of the diabolical Darth Vader.

It shows a young Anakin Skywalker, played by Hayden Christensen, torn between following his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor), and the power-hungry Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) -- while hoping to save the life of his wife, Padme (Natalie Portman), who is pregnant with the future twin heroes Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.

The film is getting critical acclaim. Though it does have its moments of comic-book dialogue, the finale is an intense human drama. Variety magazine calls it the best "Star Wars" since ''The Empire Strikes Back.''

And so what if "Star Wars" isn't in the competition? It's expected to make more money than all the films vying for the Golden Palm combined.

"Star Wars" is using Cannes as the biggest global launch pad for movies. And the feeling is mutual. Cannes is using "Star Wars" as it tries to balance all its art films with high-wattage Hollywood.

Another film stirring excitement out of competition is Woody Allen's ''Match Point.'' This time he leaves his usual Manhattan venue for Britain, with a modern take on Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment," packed with Hitchcock suspense and a politically incorrect ending.

The 20 films in competition are led by four American, three French and two Chinese entries. Screening Tuesday is ''Broken Flowers'' by U.S. director Jim Jarmusch. Starring Bill Murray, Sharon Stone and Jessica Lange, it's about a father searching for the son he never knew.

In competition for the first time is an Iraqi film, ''Kilometer Zero,'' a tragi-comedy on Iraqi-Kurd relations during the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. It's told from the perspective of a Kurdish man drafted to fight for Saddam Hussein's brutal regime.

It ends with what can be perceived as a slap at France and others who sat out the 2003 Iraq war -- after Saddam fell to the U.S.-led coalition, the main character and his wife, then in exile in Paris, scream out their apartment window, ''We're free! We're free!''
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Old 05-16-2005, 04:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
i suppose, then, what it really does is further the parallels between Iraq and Vietnam, and between Bush and Nixon.

maybe Lucas is smarter than i thought ...
Last time I checked Nixon didn't start the war, and Iraq was not fighting an anti-colonial war for decades before US involvement, and Iraq was not partitioned with seperate governments, and Vietnam did not have the stark ethno-religious divides, and Iraq does not have a system of Hamlets rather population centers, and the Insurgency in Iraq does not have support of a regular army or a superpower and Iraq does not have anywhere near the same casualties on any side.......................

It doesn't take a genius to make such a comparison and it takes a bit of reading to see why it is flawed.
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Old 05-16-2005, 04:43 PM   #9
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I had almost zero interest in seeing ROTS after being burned by the first two prequel movies, but all these positive reviews are getting me excited.

I'm not sure what to make of the supposed ties to what's going on in the world now. For one thing, the United States is still a long ways from becoming a dictatorship. Also, even though I don't like Bush, I wouldn't compare him to Darth Vadar. Karl Rove, on the other hand...

I read somewhere that at one point in the movie after the Imperial Senate votes to give sweeping powers to the Emperor, Padme says something like, "So this is how freedom dies - to thunderous applause." That does sound a lot like the Patriot Act, but then again, it's not exactly the first time in history that freedoms have been sacrificed in the name of security. I think Lucas is drawing on the past just as much as he is current events.
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Old 05-16-2005, 05:22 PM   #10
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The political connection drawn with Episode 3 is invented hype from Cannes.
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Old 05-16-2005, 06:48 PM   #11
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well, i don't think it's much of a stretch to see that the Empire is a worst-case scenario of the USA sometime in the future -- Lucas came of age in the 1960s and in Vietnam, so there's no question that such events influence his filmmaking. i've also heard, more than once, that the Ewoks were the finest cinematic tribute the Viet Cong ever got.

art isn't politics, and politics isn't art (i'm calling these films "art" for simplicity of the terms of an argument ... they're not terribly artistic, in cinematic terms, but it's necessary to make a distinction). art is always influenced by politics, and no, A_W, there's no way that Lucas is saying "the Empire is the USA and Vietnam is Iraq and that's what i'm saying in this movie." NO artist would ever do that -- you should never comment on what your work is supposed to mean because it ultimatley limits what it can be and because you're going to fail if you're trying to create a literal allegory.

that said, there are more than enough similarities between Iraq and Vietnam to make comparisons, however debatable, and it does seem to me, as a sort of filmmaker and currently working in television, that the inclusion of the line "you're either with me or against me" when spoken by Annakin, and scripted over the past 5 years (the story has been around since the 70s but the script, with dialogue, has not), is highly deliberate.

nothing you see on the screen appears by accident. no line is unintended, nothing is random. films are much, much more highly controlled than we give them credit for, and i don't think the average moviegoer "reads" a film particularly well. we read books well, but we aren't taught to "read" film and television in school the way that professionals are.

and while there's no quesiton that the political angle was played up from Cannes, that doesn't meant that it doesn't exist, that it wasn't intended by Lucas, and perhaps premiering the film in France was a deliberate move on the part of Lucas and his team.

films are very interesting things -- as pieces of popular art, they exist in many dimensions beyond the two-dimensional pictures you see on the screen in your cineplex. there are lots of things going on, and the context of the film -- invented, hype, or unintentional -- is sometimes just as important as the film itself.

my opinion? not having seen the film, i imagine Lucas is drawing loose parallels to the USA of 2005 to the fall of the Republic and the rise of The Empire. probably similar to how The Force is rooted in Asian mysticism. the parallels are there, but at the end of the day they are devices to tell a story, and a good storyteller NEVER lets actualities get in the way of a good story.
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Old 05-16-2005, 07:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
The political connection drawn with Episode 3 is invented hype from Cannes.
It can't be that invented if Lucas himself is talking about it.
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:09 PM   #13
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Lucas is at Cannes to hype his film.
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:38 PM   #14
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Lucas is doing what he should: getting people talking.

this doesn't mean he is being disingenous. the two are not mutually exclusive. i feel it's a fairly safe bet to say that a San Francisco-based filmmaker who came of age in the 1960s doesn't like Bush very much.
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
well, i don't think it's much of a stretch to see that the Empire is a worst-case scenario of the USA sometime in the future -- Lucas came of age in the 1960s and in Vietnam, so there's no question that such events influence his filmmaking. i've also heard, more than once, that the Ewoks were the finest cinematic tribute the Viet Cong ever got.

art isn't politics, and politics isn't art (i'm calling these films "art" for simplicity of the terms of an argument ... they're not terribly artistic, in cinematic terms, but it's necessary to make a distinction). art is always influenced by politics, and no, A_W, there's no way that Lucas is saying "the Empire is the USA and Vietnam is Iraq and that's what i'm saying in this movie." NO artist would ever do that -- you should never comment on what your work is supposed to mean because it ultimatley limits what it can be and because you're going to fail if you're trying to create a literal allegory.

that said, there are more than enough similarities between Iraq and Vietnam to make comparisons, however debatable, and it does seem to me, as a sort of filmmaker and currently working in television, that the inclusion of the line "you're either with me or against me" when spoken by Annakin, and scripted over the past 5 years (the story has been around since the 70s but the script, with dialogue, has not), is highly deliberate.

nothing you see on the screen appears by accident. no line is unintended, nothing is random. films are much, much more highly controlled than we give them credit for, and i don't think the average moviegoer "reads" a film particularly well. we read books well, but we aren't taught to "read" film and television in school the way that professionals are.

and while there's no quesiton that the political angle was played up from Cannes, that doesn't meant that it doesn't exist, that it wasn't intended by Lucas, and perhaps premiering the film in France was a deliberate move on the part of Lucas and his team.

films are very interesting things -- as pieces of popular art, they exist in many dimensions beyond the two-dimensional pictures you see on the screen in your cineplex. there are lots of things going on, and the context of the film -- invented, hype, or unintentional -- is sometimes just as important as the film itself.

my opinion? not having seen the film, i imagine Lucas is drawing loose parallels to the USA of 2005 to the fall of the Republic and the rise of The Empire. probably similar to how The Force is rooted in Asian mysticism. the parallels are there, but at the end of the day they are devices to tell a story, and a good storyteller NEVER lets actualities get in the way of a good story.
Star Wars is not really a political series of movies, its more about one persons fall from grace and their redemption. The political back drop is there, but it was inspired by what happened to Rome 2,000 years ago, not Iraq today and certainly not Vietnam which was still going on when Lucas was writing the story. Many of Lucas's idea's for the film came to him when he was young, well before much of the turmoil of the 1960s.

The Ewoks were no tribute to the Viet Cong who were completely defeated years before the end of the Vietnam War, after which the regular North Vietnamese military carried on all the fighting. Lucas did want to show that advanced technology did not make one invincible though.

Of course, with art, people can make all kinds of comparisons and claims about what this song means and what this part of the movie really suggest. But Star Wars is filled with themes that are thousands of years old and that is the ground that Lucas used for much of the movies. A long time ago in a Galaxy Far Far Away..... indeed!
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