Star Wars - Part Two
Hi guys! Welcome back to my blog.
This one is a continuation of the last post, about Star Wars. This post contains a lot of spoilers to the movie Empire Strikes Back.
After watching Star Wars Episode One and being disappointed, I went on to watch Episode Two several years later at age 16. Maybe it’ll be better this time! I didn’t speak English back when I was 11, this time I’ll be able to understand everything. And I’ll finally join the shiny Star Wars Universe club that everyone seems to be a part of.
Sadly, Star Wars Episode Two was the very first movie that I gave up watching halfway through. I quickly found out that just because you speak English, doesn’t mean you’ll understand everything people say in a sci-fi movie. Or that you appreciate the parts you do understand. I was bored out of my skull, but I was determined. I was ready to love Star Wars like how my best friend loved Star Wars, like how every boy I had a crush on loved Star Wars. I was bordering on forcing my eyelids open with toothpicks to watch this thing. But I couldn’t win. It was the scene where Hayden Christensen professes his love for Natalie Portman that did me in: “My heart is beating…hoping that kiss will not become a scar”*. Nope. No. Nope nope nope. I got up and physically ejected the tape from the VCR.
My friend finally obtained the original episodes four, five, and six for me to watch.
I liked the characters, and for the first time, I was actually following the plot.
I was satisfied to have seen Han Solo, Luke, Leia and Yoda, and the animal-ish creatures and robots in all their glory. These are the ACTUAL heroes that all my classmates were obsessed with. I have finally seen them.
But I still felt vaguely sad that I’ll never quite have the same bond those who grew up in this culture share, that I didn’t understand it the same way that everyone else did.
It’s sort of like how every time I watch one of my dad’s Chinese period drama featuring Mao and his red army, I can kind of get into it, but can’t form any opinions that related to anyone. All I can say is “that’s real sad, they had to eat belts to stay alive”, or “I like his jacket, it’s a nice shade of green.” or “I wish it’s still acceptable to wear red stars on hats”. Meanwhile, my dad’s friends would come over and have deep connecting conversations about how this one scene reminds them of the time they stole a pig together from their neighbour 50 years ago.
(I’m aware it’s problematic to compare North America’s Star Wars themed youths with my dad’s Maoist cultural revolution themed one. One is based on fantasy and one is based on famines. This sounds mildly like a guilt-trip, “how dare you love Star Wars while the kids in China have nothing to eat?” It’s not. I get it, you didn’t grow up in China during that time, how could you understand? I didn’t either. Actually, the cultural revolution is exactly why Star Wars never made it to China.)
Fast-forward 16 years. I am a 32 year old adult. I want to think that I am somewhat integrated into this culture now. I taught English abroad for goodness’ sake!
I decided to re-watch Episode Four with my boyfriend. This time, ESL kid no more, speaking English fluently and armed with cultural integration form 21 years of living in Canada, I’ll FINALLY be able to appreciate this movie.
Minutes into the movie, I concluded that Luke is a sociopath. He is the real villain in Star Wars, not Darth Vader. He’s the villain because it is him that officially robbed me of any normal interpretation for this movie. Because of him, I’ll forever be an outcast in the world of Star Wars. Thanks, Luke Skywalker.
To the 32 year old Moo, Luke is the real villain because everyone seems to think he is the hero, yet he is a sociopath with no heart.
At least with Darth Vader, we know that he is a villain with a dark side. Luke’s bright side is supposed to be bigger than his dark side. But Luke didn’t even cry when his aunt and uncle died. When he took a car ride and came back, his uncle and aunt were skeletons. The ENTIRE TOWN was skeletons. Luke did not shed a single tear.
He meets Obi-Wan, and they spend one single day together, and then Obi-Wan dies, Luke cries a river. WHAT? His aunt must be rolling in her grave. “What did this guy with a beard do to deserve all of your feelings? Did we not raise you when you were a baby? Excuse me while I go lie down in my charred skeleton body next to the ashes that is your uncle.”
I have a lot of feelings about that. Hm. Maybe it’s because I’m 32. Not 7, 9, or 12.
I couldn’t fully take in the rest of that movie. This was such a jarring injustice. Luke Skywalker shouldn’t be going off to space to have adventures. Luke Skywalker should be going to therapy.
So that’s that. Despite my sheer determination to love Star Wars just like everyone else, I am still repelled by it. I was confused as a kid, bored as a teenager, and angry as an adult.
I know that Star Wars is a beloved phenomenon. No need to remind me. And you know what, despite 21 years of failure, I will continue to try to love it, or at least be at peace with it. Because it seems to show up as an ad every time I go to the movies, on every magazine, and every piece of fruit at the supermarket. One day, I will perhaps have the same experience of Star Wars as everyone else.
I hope you all have a good weekend! See you next time!
*found on imbd