viernes, 18 de diciembre de 2015

Unlike George Lucas's Star Wars, The Force Awakens also sucks at anthropology

By Victor Hernández

Bear with me because the next few paragraphs may seem like they're unrelated to the title of this post, but trust me; they are related. And yes, I will be showing why The Force Awakens sucks at using anthropology and, as a result, made its plot suck even more.

Before George Lucas switched majors in college to Film, he was an Anthropology major. You can tell he knows about athropology because his films make sense from a sociological standpoint.

THX-1138, his first science fiction movie, for example, introduced the concept of the "used future". Lucas designed some of the sets in his futuristic movie to look old and used. His rationale was simple: all societies have been living there for a while and, therefore, their objects usually look old and used.

So unlike most sci-fi movies, where everything is sparkling clean, George Lucas decided to make his sci-fi movies look old, used and rusty. This is a visual style that is even more evident in the first 6 Star Wars movies. And that's because of George Lucas's understanding of anthropology.

American Graffitti, George Lucas's second movie, was based on the concept that cruising was (and I'm quoting Lucas here) "a unique American mating ritual." In other words, if anthropologists were to take a look at the late 1950s and early 1960s teeange culture in the United States, they would probably notice that, yes, teenage males used cruising as a way to find girlfriends.

Then we get to Star Wars and George Lucas used his knowledge of anthropology to build entire cultures with economic activities, social classes, etc.

In fact, the original draft of Star Wars had the Wookies helping defeat the Empire because he wanted to make a parallel to the Vietnam war, in which a non-technologically advanced culture defeated a technologically advanced culture. As the script changed, and Chewbacca showed the Wookies were actually technologically advanced, Lucas made the Ewoks take the place of the primitive culture.

Even the prequel trilogy shows a deep understanding of anthropology and history, as George Lucas showed how the Empire was built and the political machinations that led to its creation.

I'm saying this because there's something that nobody has said about a huge gaping plothole in The Force Awakens: the idea that in The Force Awakens, people seem to think that Luke Skywalker and the Jedi were just "a legend" and they weren't even sure if he actyally existed.

Which is absolutely preposterous.

Lets apply a little bit of anthropology here:

In all conflicts throughout history in all cultures, the winners rewrite history to fit their particular agendas.

Every new government turns their participants into heroes and founding fathers. This is true for the United States, Mexico, Cuba, France, China, Russia, Spain, anciente Rome, etc. You name it.

The new goverments name or re-name streets, make statues and monuments, write books, make propaganda, and in general establish who was the good guy and who was the bad guy. But they all turn their participants into heroes so people can see the new government as the moral embodyment of those heroes.

In Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine becomes Emperor and claims the Jedi were the bad guys. This is the typical way in which new regimes try to justify their claim to power.

In other words, the new Empire rewrote history to fit its own agenda and justify its claim to power.

In Return of the Jedi the Rebel Alliance destroys the Empire and, according to The Force Awakens, creates a new Republic.

If that was the case, the new Republic must have changed the history books, turned the members of the Rebel Alliance into heroes, and used this rewriting of history as the phylosophical support for their claim to power.

As a result, all history books in the Republic should have mentioned inequivocally that Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, the Jedi, etc, were the heroes of their revolution.

Why? Because that's how societies work. And because, thanks to George Lucas's understanding of anthropology, that's how the Star Wars galaxy works. We saw it already in Episode 3 with Palpatine rewriting history in order to justify his claim to power.

But in The Force Awakens it turns out Luke Skywalker is just an unverified legend. Only Han Solo is described as a "war hero".

Parenthesis: Han Solo is described as a war hero by Finn, a former stormtrooper. So even in the First Order they knew about the heroes of the Rebellion. Why was it then that Luke Skywalker, the Force and the Jedi were mere "legends" that nobody knew if they were true or not, as in the case of Rey?

To make my point clear, imagine for a second that you are an American citizen in 2015 and, say, Thomas Jefferson is considered an unverified legend and we really don't know if he existed or not.

It would be preposterous, of course.

In fact, in some cultures, like Mexico, people believe that made up historical figures actually existed and were integral part of its history as a nation. Example: there's a story in Mexico of an man called El Pípila who supposedly helped defeat the Spanish in a battle durig the war of independence by using a large stone slab on his back as a shield to delfect gunfire, get close to the entrance of a Spanish fortress and burn a door so the rebels could enter and take it.

Guess what? The guy never existed. But elementary school children in Mexico learned about him for decades thinking he was real.

So nobody could reasonably expect that the guy who blew up the first Death Star, defeated Darth Vader, and helped defeat the Emperor, was only a rumor. The new government by the Rebel Alliance must have made him a hero AND the data from the Empire must have shown his existance if we consider Darth Vader sent probe droids to all the galaxy looking for him.

So the whole "there were stories" and unverified legend treatment of Luke Skywalker, the Force and the Jedi in The Force Awakens is simply impossible. Anthropologically it makes no sense at all.

Last but not least, the idea that the Republic is financing a "Resistance" to fight what's left of the Empire is ridiculous. Doesn't the Republic have its own army? They had stormtroopers all over the galaxy and they could've built another clone army. Why do they need to finance some underground "Resistance" to chase after what's left of the Empire.

In fact, why do they even call it "Resistance"? A true resistance happens when there's a large foe. The underground railroad in the Civil War, for example. Pockets of fighters against the Nazis in occupied Europe. Underground gerrillas in Latinamerica against dictatorships. That's a resistance. But why call "Resistance" to a what is clearly military operatives from the Republic?

Parenthesis: Technically, if the First Order is what's left of the Empire, and therefore the lesser of the sides in the conflict, the First Order is the actual resistance to the new Republic.

Finally, what the hell is wrong with the new Republic? They are clearly allowing Han Solo to conduct illegal smugling and fraud. Couldn't they give him a pension as a reward for his services to the Republic so he could retire? What kind of government is this new Republic that neglects its war heroes so badly they have to rely on crime to get by?

I could go on, but I think this proves my point; removing George Lucas from the new Star Wars movies was a mistake. Not wanting to use his stories for the new trilogy was wrong. The result is a movie that has no plot, rips off the orginal trilogy, but removes the anthropological elemens that made Star Wars easy to relate to.

Yet another way in which The Force Awakens SUCKS.

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