Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace
Originally, the idea was so very simple: Luke (Mark Hamill) used"the Force" to learn to believe in himself and the superiority of natural intuition over technology. The release date of "Star Wars," 1977, marked the end of a war era when the U.S. had attempted to defeat Communists in Vietnam with superior technology and failed. Luke represented American myth reborn as the guerrilla fighter battling for a just cause. Now, Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) talks about "the Force" like he's giving a speech on personal improvement on "Oprah." I started hoping the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) would use "the Force" to stick his light saber up Qui-Gon's ass.
As far as I'm concerned, "the Force" now refers to this film's marketing campaign and little else. It's certainly not the philosophy it once was to George Lucas, who's populated the film with so many computer-created characters it's hard to tell whether you're watching a movie or a "Toys-R-Us" commercial. In "The Return of the Jedi" this was known as "The Muppet Effect," which spawned many a joke (Q: How many Ewoks can you get in an industrial-sized blender? A: Dear God, I'd love to find out.)
The most prominent of these characters in "Phantom Menace" is Jar Jar Binks, which, as far as I could figure out, is what you get by mutating Roger Rabbit and Pauley Shore. He's part of a race of creatures that live underwater on Naboo, which is where the story takes place. His leader is this fat, spitting, computer-created thing. There are a couple scenes of them talking to each other and trying to make out what they're saying is like listening to a debate between Roberto Benigni and Jackie Chan on helium and without the benefit of translation.
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