2.02.2012

Star Wars Episode I in 3D and The "Imbecilic Conception"


There was no father. I carried him, I gave birth, I raised him. I can't explain what happened. Shmi Skywalker, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
So, with 3D somehow being all the rage again, apparently Star Wars Episode I is being re-released in 3D this spring. I'm debating whether to take my older two children to see it or not ... they love Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. Will seeing the prequels taint them? On the other hand, they're 5 and 4 so they will probably actually like the Gungans, "Annie", and the battle droids. They have books featuring these and like them. The podrace sequence will probably be fairly decent in 3D. But while I mull over that, another thing comes to mind re: Episode I ...

I'd have to say that for me, the worst innovation in the Star Wars "prequel" trilogy, was what I call the "Imbecilic Conception". That is, the whole miraculous birth of Anakin Skywalker to a virgin mother. I suppose he was supposed to have been concieved by "midi-chlorians", another ill-concieved notion that sterilised and de-mysticised The Force (I simply didn't like adding a hard sci-fi aspect to the all-time classic space fantasy chronicle).

As a Catholic, of course, I find it somewhat offensive, even, for Lucas to rip-off one of the greatest events in history, the Incarnation of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary to use in his story. Now, George Lucas has denied that he got the idea from Christianity, and was rather looking at pagan mythology (Rolling Stone interview, June 2005). That's why I say it's only "somewhat" offensive and I don't take it as an intentional attack or a belittling of Christianity, though in practice, I think it does, given the milieu into which the movie was delivered.

It's an especially annoying device because it was not necessary to the plot, and not consistent with the vision of the force that was suggested in Episodes IV-VI. I think it actually took away from the character of Anakin Skywalker because it makes him less human. He's unlike any other being, has no father, in fact. Jesus Christ has God as His father. Anakin Skywalker was fathered by microorganisms. It seems like he was trying too hard by half to make Anakin Skywalker "special". Instead of focussing on an interesting character, make him born of a virgin and viol·, you've got a great memorable character! Seems a rather weak gimmick to me. I think he could have made a much more compelling story if he'd not relied on such things.

I call it the "Imbecilic Conception" as a play on words. We Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception, which was actually the miraculous conception of Mary, not Jesus. The Immaculate Conception is so called because at that moment, the Blessed Virgin Mary was concieved without the stain of original sin so that she could be the pure vessel for God.

Actually, come to think of it, it was probably the "Inebriated Conception" but Miss Skywalker didn't remember the incident (too many Tatooine Sunburn shooters) and Mr. Lucas thought that would be too "edgy" so he reformulated it to make it more kid-friendly (like his transformation of the Wookies into Ewoks for Episode VI).

1 comment:

Sophia's Favorite said...

On the one hand, I kinda call BS on Lucas' "not based on Christianity" claim. On the other, the Aztec god Huitzilopochtli was born from a ball of quetzal feathers that fell on his mother. But a Western audience is only familiar with one person born that way, and it ain't the Left-Handed Hummingbird (that's what "huitzilopochtli" means).

And, whether one finds it quasi-blasphemous or not, there is the question of why, for the love of little apples, he chose to use that device. Anakin could've been a Child of Destiny without needing a weird conception, lots of cultures' heroes are perfectly normal right up until they start bustin' monster skulls. Besides which, the weird conception generally goes with other weird things. Huitzilopochtli, for instance, was born full-grown (he lept from his mother's belly after she was eviscerated by her jealous siblings, and killed them where they stood as he drew his first breath).

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