Monday, May 04, 2015

Giving in to the Dark Side (you know you would)

The more I think about the mythology of Star Wars the most unrealistic aspect of The Force is that any Jedi could keep from turning to the Dark Side. Look at what Vader does in Episode IV (better known as Star Wars, the first movie from 1977, subtitled "A New Hope") when an Imperial officer dismisses the importance of The Force: He uses telekinesis to lift and choke the man (and clearly could have killed the officer) with nothing more than a gesture.

If most of us had that power in our daily lives, how would everyone we encountered who pissed us off not find themselves hoisted by invisible hands and struggling for breath?

Obviously the tale told in Episodes I through III (as Anakin Skywalker transforms into Darth Vader) show the appeal of the Dark Side to underscore how impressive the Jedi are to stay on the good side of The Force, but how can we empathize with these better-than-thou types?

Had Anakin been portrayed by superior actors in the prequels it's possible we would have more actively rooted for him to turn. In any case, as whiny as Anakin tended to be, I look at the badass we see in Episode IV, not taking any shit from anybody, and think Palpatine did him a tremendous favor by harnessing his power toward the less noble end.

Viewed as the ascendancy of Vader rather than the decline of Anakin, those three movies might suck less. But make no mistake: Any of us in whom The Force was strong would be lucky to be able to harness that into being the most feared figure in the galaxy; more likely we'd just turn into a bored version of the Bill Mumy kid in that Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life."

And don't get me started on if we had light sabers...

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