Star Wars Identities

Han Solo encased in carbonite
Han Solo encased in carbonite

Today, Rosa, Lemin and I went to Montreal to see the Star Wars Identities exhibit at the Montréal Science Centre. I had seen a posting about the exhibit a few months ago and was interested in going. I was pleasantly surprised when Rosa suggested we should go.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, as the posters were not clear on what the exhibit was really about. I thought it was an Star Wars-related art show. Instead, it was an exhibit about the factors that contribute to making each of us unique – genetics, upbringing, culture, religion, schooling, friends, work, and so forth. The used the Star Wars universe to show how these different contributions shapes each of us. That was a little hokey, but I still was excited by the exhibit because of the displays.

The exhibit had dozens of original costumes, equipment, art work, models, story drafts and even full vehicles. The exhibit had the original C-3P0, R2-D2, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Darth Maul, and Darth Vader costumes. Darth Vader was my favorite because of his iconic status.

The exhibit also had Akankin’s pod racer, a few other vehicles and some of the smaller creatures and remote controlled robots. There was one of the
Yoda puppets, and the eyes of the Jabba the Hutt puppet – all that remained of the original.

Darth Vader
Darth Vader

I was glad to go. I really enjoyed the first three movies: Star Wars:A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and (less so) The Return of the Jedi. As with so many, I liked the characters and the simple but meaningful story. The simple special effects, costumes, models and matte painting compositing created a believable and interesting universe. It was run-down, not shiny and perfect like the Star Trek utopian future (and I’m a Star Trek fan too!).

But I have some real issues with the direction of the Star Wars franchise starting with the first prequel, The Phantom Menace. I think that many of the new plot lines broke the believability of the universe, at once introducing unnecessary supernatural elements (the virgin birth of Anakin Skywalker) and breaking the supernatural elements that existed before (explaining The Force in biological terms with midiclorians). The stories were muddled, the dialog was awful, and while I don’t hate Jar Jar Binks, I think the animation for the character was terrible.

For a really great breakdown on everything I found wrong with the three prequels, I would suggest the Plinkett video reviews from RedLetterMedia. They are long, and have some disturbing parts, but really get to the points I raise above, with supporting videos showing the issues with the movies.

PS: Han shot first!

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