The Chicago Reader goes for the political angle on Star Wars

Surprise, surprise… The Chicago Reader‘s J.R. Jones, in the tradition of that paper’s preoccupation with political readings of film, sees Revenge of the Sith as an attack on the White House.

And so, of course, he really likes it.

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  • Adam Walter

    Just be sure and find out when we can expect the 2nd Firefly movie.

  • BethR


    Looking forward to reading all about it.

  • Wasp Jerky

    Well, Lucas seems to buy into it, at least to a degree. From a recent Toronto Sun interview:

    “I didn’t think it was going to get quite this close,” he said of the parallels between the Nixon era and the current Bush presidency, which has been sacrificing freedoms in the interests of national security. “It is just one of those re-occurring things. I hope this doesn’t come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is … The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we are doing now in Iraq are unbelievable.”

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Huh, not only are the White House references in the review a distraction, but they are also a fairly pointless one, since not much is made of them. The political commentary, while bookending the review, is actually fairly shallow. J.R. Jones never even mentions the fact that Lucas has long said — at least since the 1983 documentary From Star Wars to Jedi — that the Star Wars franchise was inspired by the defeat of America’s military by the technologically inferior Viet Cong. The parallels between America’s defeat in the jungles of Vietnam and the Empire’s defeat in the forests of Endor (which were originally supposed to be the forests of the Wookiee homeworld) are almost too obvious.

    And as I point out in my own review, Lucas — possibly without realizing it — also includes elements in the film which argue against the John Kerrys or Michael Moores of the world as much as the George W. Bushes. I refer specifically to the scene where Anakin tells Mace Windu not to unilaterally execute “regime change” over Palpatine, but to allow him to stand trial even though it appears the courts and other such institutions have long been corrupted by the tyrant in question.

    To Lucas’s chagrin, President Reagan craftily exploited the serie’s popularity, referring to the Soviet Union as the Evil Empire and to his Strategic Defense Initiative as the Star Wars program. (Lucas sued the government to prohibit it from using his title, but he lost.)

    Um, was it really Reagan who called SDI this? My memory, fragmented as it is, tells me that it was the media that dubbed SDI “Star Wars”. But maybe it was one of those situations where a White House press agent quipped something that the reporters picked up.

  • jasdye

    I’m not sure of twb’s point on this one. Was Theodore Roosevelt president when he said these words? Was he governor of New York? Was there something specifically that President T. Roosevelt was referring to in mentioning this “German game”? Like a card game or a board game? Was he referring to the stockpiling of allies in Europe that would eventually powder keg into WWI?

    It’s a great quote. It just needs some context for me.

    Also, the real reason I wanted to comment here, The Chicago Reader politicizes nearly every blessed thing. J.R., however, if I recollect actually had some things to say about the film as an experience, and it’s nothing I haven’t read before. If Rosenbaum reviewed that film, however, I can guarantee that polemics would be of the utmost.

    Not that I dislike either of them. They write great essays on films either popular or extreeemely difficult to find.

    According to Lucas, it is an attack on the White House, or at least what he sees as their over-reaching political plays consistent with other forms of fascism.

  • tWB

    “He who is not with us, absolutely and without reserve of any kind, is against us, and should be treated as an alien enemy. Our bitter experience should teach us for a generation … to crush under our heel every movement that smacks of the smallest degree of playing the German game.” (Teddy Roosevelt)