Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 1:59 pm Category: Commentary, Nerds, Star Wars
I’ve gotten quite a reaction from the very vocal anti-prequel minority about this review. Their wishes of death upon me have encouraged me further that this rebuttal is a great idea and I’m actually having quite a bit of fun writing it.
Seriously, there have been wishes for me to suffer a horrible, slow, painful death for loving these movies, which in the grand scheme of things seems like a ridiculously petty and obnoxiously immature thing to wish someone dead over, but these anti-prequel nuts are the Tea Baggers of Star Wars fans.
So to continue with the context: Red Letter Media produced a 70 minute “review” of The Phantom Menace. Tucked in behind the humour that I’m sure some people find funny, are some actual legitimate arguments about the story and characters, etc. of The Phantom Menace. This series of rebuttals explains why none of their complaints matter or make sense.
Click the links to read Part One and Part Two of my rebuttal. To watch the original review, click here.
To be honest, Part 3 was so dizzying I was actually confused for a minute and had to watch the first 4 minutes a few times. The story in Phantom Menace makes logical sense, but the reviewer turns things on their ear in a manner that completely confuses you for no reason other than to try to support the fallacy of his point.
Let’s try to start at the beginning here. The title of the film, The Phantom Menace, implies that there is someone behind the scenes pulling the strings who sees a bigger picture than we can. And he’s manipulating the audience every bit as much as he’s manipulating all the players. It seems that what the reviewer fails to realize is that Palpatine is not on the Trade Federation’s team, and is giving them every bit as much misinformation as Sidious as he is giving everyone as Palpatine.
He’s using them as a tool, which is why his actions might seem irrational to the plot, if one failed to realize that he was playing everyone. But Palpatine does his magic by setting wheels into motion and changes strategy when his current strategy isn’t working. The reviewer plays it as though Palpatine is acting inconsistently, but his plan went awry when the Jedi and Amidala actually MADE it to Coruscant. He spent the entire time trying to prevent that from happening, and when it did, he switched his game up and made it work out even better for himself. My guess as to why he wanted to sign the treaty? If this young, naive queen signs this treaty that makes the invasion “legal”, he can go to the Senate and say, “Our Queen was bullied into this and these Trade Federation guys even killed the Jedi our weak Chancellor sent.” At that point, he could have someone else make the motion and because he’s full of p iss and vinegar in the senate, he gets that strong sympathy vote. That seems logical to me.
Then the Red Letter Media guys take issue with the Trade Federation’s ham fisted attempts to kill the Jedi. Aside from the fact that these guys are merchants and have no experience fighting Jedi (and have an entire army to protect their interests, much like armoured guards you’d see at a bank or a weed dispensary), they go with a couple of different plans with little success. First we have the Dioxis gas. It’s a thick, poisonous gas that’s easy to see. The reviewers of Phantom Menace seem to think that an odorless, completely transparent gas would aid in the story, and I probably agree, but how boring would that look and sound on film? I can just see that having happened, and then the reviewer attacking it for having Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon spend 8 seconds of dialogue explaining that there’s an invisible poison gas in the room.
And then the reviewer begins to histrionically demand that Nute Gunray put the poison in the tea, but forgets to mention that the tea is served before the order to kill them. And they didn’t sense danger, they sensed fear. As soon as there was any ill-will toward them, they were tipped off to danger and I doubt they would have stopped to have a drink at that point.
Mr. Plinkett (which is what the reviewer seems to be called) then goes on to talk about the problem of them holding their breath, “as though they know the droids are just going to open the door.” Umm… They’re Jedi. They do know stuff like that.
Then, we’re left to question the motives of the Trade Federation and why they would get in league with Darth Sidious. The answer is easy, he offered them complete subjugation of planets like Naboo. It doesn’t matter that they were going to be betrayed by him at one point or another.
Next on the list is the question, “Why didn’t the Jedi just fight all the droids in the hangar bay, steal a ship, and get back to Coruscant?” And I think the answer is pretty clear. Firstly, they’re clearly outnumbered. No pair of Jedi could take out a thousand battle droids at once, it just couldn’t happen. Secondly, this is just one batch from one hangar of one of thirty or more battleships. Even if they were able to annihilate the droids in the hangar bay they found themselves in, it wouldn’t do anyone any good, because they’d still be left with the same problem. Their course of action made the most sense.
As far as the argument that Qui-Gon is a moron because he wanted them to stow away aboard separate ships, there are just as many reasons for it as good reasons Mr. Plinkett provides against it. For one: since they have no way of knowing where each individual landing craft is going, it gives them the best possible chance of at least one of them getting to the Naboo quickly. For two: It doubles their chances of success if one of them is discovered, the other can still make it. For three: it would allow them to sabotage a greater number of droids and artillery if they so chose.
Then Mr. Plinkett is offended that they follow Jar Jar to Otoh Gunga. It makes perfect sense. They have no idea where a city is of any sort, Jar Jar will lead them to the Gungan capital. Since the Naboo and the Gungans are inter-dependent of each other (whether they like to admit it or not), they would reasonably be expected to know how the Jedi could find the Naboo and warn them of the pending invasion if they make it in time. Obviously they didn’t, but they could at least rescue the Queen and get her into a position to save her people.
It’s all really reasonable to swallow. If you can suspend your disbelief enough to believe in the force and lightsabers, then you can suspend it long enough to get through the plot of Phantom Menace. If you can’t, then I truly pity you.
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Part 4 can be found here.