Sunday, September 28, 2008

already over

I was all worried about Episode 3 (which I put my foot down he will *not* watch before he is nine), but he didn't even make it halfway through Episode 2.

Moving on to the earlier movies, Episodes 4-6, I'm more worried about the sad roles that women have than about scariness. Quick, name a female character in 4-6 who is not Princess Leia. Hmm, yeah. I can't think of any either. Uncle Owen's wife, who is killed with her husband in the first half hour. Don't some of the Ewoks (the ones taking care of the baby Ewoks, unless I'm mistaken) wear sort of female-signifying clothing?

I think the part of Episode 4 that made the biggest impression on me as a 5 1/2-year-old was the garbage compactor, although Luke & Leia swinging across that abyss on a fishing line was a close second. I was older when I realized that it was really Luke swinging across, and he just sort of took Leia with him. At the time it didn't occur to me why there was only one woman character, and she was young and beautiful. I don't remember if I was disappointed in how she held her blaster as though she were scared of it, how she gritted her teeth and cringed while pulling the trigger. You could chalk it up to inexperience, but as I recall she was a pretty good shot, and wasn't Luke just as inexperienced? I don't remember him cringing.

Here's one that didn't occur to me until a few days ago: Han Solo calls Luke a kid all the time, but he makes no comments about Leia's youth. Of course, she is more worldly and sophisticated and seems older, but I don't think that's why. More likely it's because she is, in the immortal words of Alfie Doolittle, "old enough to be interesting to you gentlemen," and once a woman has reached that age, a man like Han Solo doesn't ask himself how old she is exactly.


kate said...

Drat-- I tried to leave a comment here a few days ago and got a "Blogger unavailable" message and lost it. Now I don't think I will be able to reconstruct it very well, but I'll try.

My inclination here is to not worry so much about the lack of strong female characters with the age your son is now-- just make sure to compensate if possible with books/films/etc that do show them (yeah, I know, like there's so much out there to choose from...) Maybe when he's older some discussion might be in order-- or if he wants you to play Star Wars with him (does he, ever?) you could make your female character a good role model.

I think the worst bit of sexism in the series comes in Epsiode 6, that horribel bikini Leia wears when she is chained to Jabba the Hut. Now that is demeaning! Plus, I am not at all happy with Amidala'a end in Episode 3-- it doesn't ring true to me. But then again, that whole romance doesn't ring true to me-- I think it's the actors who play Anakin so woodenly, but I just don't find it believeable that she would be fall in love with him. What's your take on it (I mean, on Episode 3)?

K said...

I watched Episode 4 a few weeks ago and saw that actually Luke does do some cringing when firing a blaster. Still.

K said...

Chained-Leia-in-a-bikini was probably the first pornified image lots of people of our generation ever saw.

I agree that Amidala was disappointing throughout Episode 3. Her death was pointless--didn't they have medicine good enough that a woman could survive a Caesarian, even with twins?

So I guess she died just because George Lucas didn't know what else to do with her once her breeding duties were fulfilled. I suppose it also meant that when Palpatine told Anakin than Anakin had killed Padme, it made his lie that much more believable because it had a grain of truth.

OTOH, I could totally see how Padme fell in love with him in Episode 2. That makes perfect sense to me. :-)