Once upon a time there lived a shy, discerning young boy with an obsessive addiction to television to make up for the lack of friends. In 1967 he was awarded a scholarship at Warner Brothers for his short film THX 1138, where he met with up-and-coming director Francis Ford Coppola who took the retreating young Lucas under his wing, instilling in him the confidence to make the movies that he wanted to make – too Hell with the studio system. Oh the irony that despite being mentored by one of the master art-house pioneers of the decade, Lucas’ Star Wars only helped cement the blockbuster, death of art, ‘greed is good’ mentality of the movie making world, as studios desperately tried to reign-in the ego-mad directors running amuck with their wildly escalating budgets and Apocalypse Now release push-backs – affirming and justifying the need for the heads of Fox, Warner Bros et al to reassume control at the expense of ‘artistic vision’ after a decade of directors running the show. If not for George Lucas, and Stephen Spielberg deserves no fewer lashings for this, we’d all have a lot more District 9s and a lot less Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in our picture houses right now, all because by-the-numbers, epic in audio/visual scope (though not narrative) films with high child-merchandise capabilities were proved to be more profitable than say Super or Stranger than Fiction thanks to Star Wars and its ilk. Yes, thank you George for allowing studios to make more from mass profit toy sales with ZERO collectors value (all those ‘Power of the Force’ figures in your cupboard since the mid 90s: burn ‘em to save on heating bills) than on drawing in audiences with intelligent, provocative features that may actually make people think.
Not contented with destroying art in cinema for over 3 decades, and self-evidently holding little to no love of his own creation, pre-Ewok (Lucas admittedly went through Hell making Star Wars, which is why directing duties went to the excellent Irvin Kershner for the stand-alone brilliance that is Empire Strikes Back), Lucas has since gone on to repeatedly shun the original fans who got him to where he is today; the Prequels, the re-edits after re-edits, the shoddy rips of the originally presented Saga despite Lucas campaigning against filmmakers tampering with their films AND presenting viewers with the best possible quality of film – this man just does not give two shits about those who made him the one-man monopoly he is today. And as if this hasn’t been made clear enough since Return of the Jedi, here’s the ultimate proof: if not enough people shell out for the £9/$15 tickets to see Phantom Menace 3D then we won’t get to see any of the other films as they should be seen: on the big screen. That’s right, Lucas hasn’t got the message that Episode I is derided, despised trash, or he has realised and is using it as blackmail: “Hey Guys, you wanna see Empire right? Well then you better go see Episode I, II & III then”.
With Phantom Menace now threatening selected cinema screens once again, now ‘enhanced’ with post- edit 3D rendering to add migraines to the mix, and with the new year knocking at the floodgates of time, there is no better time to re-familiarise myself and readers with one of the most cash-sapping pieces of crap since Batman went Schumacher.
Part 1: I Sense a Disturbance in the Franchise….
Excitement brews and overspills my 10 year old self’s head as the title sequence screen rolls. “My God, Star Wars is back after years of waiting and months of publicity campaigns in every conceivable format, bombarding my senses from every possible medium. And now here I am. The dimming lights, the Lucas Arts logo, THE FREAKING THEME MUSIC!!! Fuuuuuck I could die happy. ‘It’s a time of civil unrest, trade issues between the Naboo and Neimoidian delegates have resulted in a embargo of goods by the Trade Unions who have blocked off the planet until the bureaucracy has been resolved…’ wait, what? I’m 10, not a fucking investment banker – how am I meant to follow this?! Moving on….ah–ha, ‘Jedi Knights dispatched to resolve the paperwork issues’ – not exactly riveting but it’s a start.” That was when my hope died eternal; a significant moment in my life that made me the man I am today – my Vader ‘Nooo~!’ moment if you will – that I felt should be shared with you all. The Jedi arrive at the wanna-be Death Stars that house the Neimoidian head honchos Nute Gunray and Rune Hacko, and are lead to the briefing room by a chirpy lesbian protocol droid. Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan brood over there not being something right about all this – gee, y’think they sent to Jedi’s to negotiate because they weren’t expecting a fight or the use of mind-raping psychic powers to strong-arm the Unionists into submission? All the same they sit there while TC-14 reports her findings.
TC-14: Based on nothing, I’m going to cry wolf and say I’m 100% certain the two delegates are Jedi Knights.
Nute Gunray: What!? You’re certain?
TC-14: I’m 95% certain.
Rune Hacko: …How certain?
Nute Gunray: Okay, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s just ring our mysterious benefactor and tell him we think the Jedi are undermining his work.
Palpatine Sidious Hologram: This better be worth it – trying to balance this hood precariously enough to disguise my eyes but leave the rest of my face on display takes forever.
Nute Gunray: We think we may have some Jedi onboard to discuss our illegal blockading.
Darth Sidious Hologram: This is of no concern. Dispose of them quietly while think of a way to cover our tracks to the Senate, then go on to do other acts of villainy like burning a bin full of kittens [ends call].
Nute Gunray: Done and done. Let’s just pretend everything is okay, blow up their ship as quietly as we can then gas the main room. In that order.
The Republic ship is blown up with enough force to make a deaf Pau’an on Utapau look around in consternation, alerting the Jedi that something is up – considering they’ve been sitting drinking NOT-POISONED tea, waiting for almost 20 minutes now you’d think they’d have twigged that sooner. The room fills with VISABLE HISSING GAS (silent killer my ass, they must have gone with the cheaper ‘Loud and Colourful’ option when selecting their lethal supply as it was the cheaper option), and the Jedi HOLD THEIR BREATH as security droids line up outside.
Droid Commander: Sir, should we lock the room for an hour then come back and shoot them for good measure?
Nute Gunray: They must be dead by now – it’s been almost 15 seconds. Open the doors and sweep away what’s left.
Droid Commander: Or you could blow out the window and suck their corpses into space, saving us ammo for the war your days away from initiating…
Nute Gunray: And leave it to chance they may survive the harsh vacuum of space, I think not. No, better to open the doors now and 100% guarantee victory.
Reluctantly the droids open the door and are instantly cut down by the slightly blue in the face Jedi. The combined might of 7 droids built to resemble Neimoidian skeletons clearly aren’t as up to the offensive capabilities Nute believed – after all, that anorexic thing at the end of [Rec.] proved to be quite formidable on its own without backup.
With the Jedi cutting through the bulk heads to pay their regards to their less than considerate hosts, only now do the Trade Unionists call out the Droidikas; mobile death platforms that are far more reliable and deadly AND SHIELDED than the bulimic battle droids, yet not sent with the original sweeper crew to ensure the Jedi were dead.
5 minutes earlier.
Rune Hacko: The origami droids are ready at the door sir. I’ll just call in some Droidikas for moral support.
Nute: Gunray: Nonsense – the flimsy, shield-less battle droids will easily take care of 2 Jedi. You saw how much trouble Luke had with one human storm trooper, so 6 whole droids will be overkill.
Rune Hacko: But sir, that and everything else in A New Hope hasn’t happened yet. The Jedi are all powerful masters of combat right now.
Nute Gunray: Oh right, the chronology…
The Jedi are cutting through the door, with the ever hippy Qui-Gon yelling “Sorry to bother you at home, but we really must talk about these trade negotiations…” through the door like the galaxy’s most persistently unflappable Jehovah Witness. With the risk of boring negotiation talks seeming like a terrible reality, the Trade Unionists are thrilled as the Droidikas roll in to view and start blasting the Jedi from behind their sensible force fields (again, why not send these guys into the room THEN fill it with gas for good measure?), as Qui-Gon continues to shout over the laser battle “IF YOU’LL NOTICE ON THE PAMPHLET I SENT OUT EARLIER, UNDER ARTICLE SECTION 4B OF THE WOOKIE VS TRANDOSHAN CASE OF 2351… ”.
Rune Hacko: My God he’s so boring. Make him stop. MAKE HIM STOP!
Realising they’re outgunned, the Jedi use their super force ability of super speed – evidently only usable once per lifetime as no other Jedi or Sith from this point (even Midichlorians get mentioned in Revenge of the Sith FFS) ever uses it again despite the obvious advantages. Taking refuge in the heart of the enemy fleet, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon decide to SPLIT UP, go down to Naboo, regroup, and then warn the capital about the invasion 2 hours into the siege, after the city has fallen to the Trade Federation. *Sigh* military strategists they be not, as splitting up then regrouping on a planet they have never visited with no idea where their respective ships will land is a fucking stupid idea. Never the less, they follow through with this insane plan. Good thing Obi-Wan has a sense of humour to see him through these troubling times.
To avoid being spotted, the Trade Federation forces land on the other side of the planet (the fuck!?) in order to do the honourable thing and march very slowly towards the enemy, thus giving amply time for them to prepare a defensive stratergy – only a coward would land his occupation fleet directly on top of the target. Qui-Gon then makes the biggest mistake of his life by rescuing one of the several racist stereotypes presented during the feature from a case of terminal crushing, when he doesn’t throw the duck-billed fucktard under the propulsion turbine of the nearest Multi Troop Transport. Bound by an obligation to prove Ewoks aren’t as toxic as one recalls (if only by comparison), Jar Jar Binks lays claims to the films’ comedic foil character by stalking the reunited Jedi and bumbling around like a drunken birthday clown – only without the tragic back-story of abuse. I know I speak for everyone when I say:
The forest is swarming with droids. Instead of overcoming this problem by hijacking the nearest tank and riding gun-hoe through the unsuspecting enemy ranks all the way to the city capital, the Jedi decide to follow Jar Jar to his underwater city – the one with all the human-despising toads with electric spears. Upon entering the city Jar Jar is instantly arrested for terrorism and GTA and the Jedi interned and placed on military trial, which should (but won’t) teach them to never follow Jar Jar’s advice EVER AGAIN. Like the wise pacifist they are, the Jedi brainwash the king of the Frog Man, Boss Blessed Nass, and threaten his people with genocide.
Obi-Wan: Once those droids are done up there they will come for you too.
Boss Nass: You mean our underwater world submerged in the depths of the planet could be at risk to a fleet of droids that have trouble enough walking on flat surfaces?
Qui-Gon: You and the Naboo live in symbiosis; what affects the one affects the other.
Boss Nass: Again, we live on the other side of the planet, UNDER WATER. It’s hardly a delicate ecosystem under threat here.
Qui-Gon This is getting us nowhere – *Jedi mind rape*
Boss Nass: [trance-like] If you go through the planet core you’ll get there in no time. Feel free to take my favourite car – and Jar Jar. Please God take Jar Jar!
Obi-Wan: Doesn’t ‘core’ imply that we have to go to the centre of the planet? How far away did the fucking Trade Federation land, for fuck sake!? Wait, what was that about Jar Jar?
With Jar Jar in tow, the pissed off Jedi begin their voyage into the centre of the planet, past the deepest [pun-tastic] most interesting characters in the entire film – these 3 fucking fish held me more spell bound than the entire menagerie of characters -, and eventually arriving at the capital city only 3 days after the invasion broke out. While the Jedi were having a dalliance with CGI pointlessness, the Trade Federation were getting their shit together and launching a successful occupation of Naboo. At no point do the Senate or Jedi Council consider it prudent to wonder what ever happened to their Jedi negotiation committee, even after a communication blackout and the fucking Naboo capital being invaded. Even being the space-hippies that they are, I doubt the cold blooded murder of two of their ranks would go unavenged, or unquestioned by the Jedi Council, and yet here we are. So sure is Nute Gunray in his victory, he goes to see Queen Armadillo in person
Droid Commander: How come you came straight here but we had to march half the planet through a swamp on legs designed to encourage rickets?
Nute Gunray: Ah, your highness. Gloat gloat gloat process her.
Droid Commander: Specifically?
Nute Gunray: Have a small, easily overcome team convoy them back and forward through the open to ambush streets, like a good fellow.
Droid Commander: Roger roger – you fucking idiot.
While parading the valuable hostages through the streets the Jedi take down the droids like they were made of papier-mâché and rescue the Queen, the best pilot this side of the Pod Racing circuit and her personal security (and her black butler, such is the Nazi-esque regime of this planet) from a fate possibly worse than death if we knew exactly what ‘processing’ entailed. Surrounded by the enemy on all sides and facing impossible odds, Qui-Gon formulates a plan: break into the hangar swarming with enemy soldiers, steal the most noticeable ship in the fleet (the shinier the better), and fly straight at the dreadnaught suspended around the planet. It’s so daring in it suicidalness that it can’t fail! Unable to do anything that doesn’t draw attention to their actions, the escapees engage the hangers droid security detail, who are guarding the captured pilots – IN THE FUCKING HANGER, not somewhere that isn’t filled with ships they could cause a lot of damage with if the prisoners somehow overcame the arthritic droids. With the coast clear it’s time to blow this joint and engage in Operation Suicide Run.
Captain Panaka: M’lady, might I suggest we take this small personnel shuttle with cloaking capabilities and shield generators? It’s the fastest ship in the fleet.
Queen Armadillo: You expect me to ride like some commoner?! There’s barely room for all my handmaidens and luggage! No, I want that one –>
Captain Panaka: M’lady, if I may be so bold; that thing is less subtle than a lit-up Christmas tree filled with howler monkeys atop a bonfire on 4th July.
Queen Armadillo: Of course, doesn’t it just scream ‘royalty’?
Obi-Wan: I think that’s his point. It’s a flying bull’s-eye.
Queen Armadillo: Maybe you’re right: I should appoint a new chief of staff. Jar Jar, I’m up grading your status one film early to ‘Royal Advisor’. Which ship do you think we should take?
The gigantic flying mirror with bells and whistles attached saunters visibly towards the enemy blockade, reflecting light in every direction from every single one of its’ hyper-shiny surfaces.
Neimoidian Commander: Ahhhhh, I’m blind! Whatever it is, shoot it down now!
Sunlight strikes the royal disco ball and focuses it into a beam of concentrated death, destroying one of the Federation command ships.
Neimoidian Commander: Holy shit! Open fire. Kill it! Kill it!
The entire ring of planet-blockading dreadnaughts simultaneously unleash a hell storm of fire upon the lone royal ship, but the effect of the light play off the hull is such that no one can really tell exactly where it is. Eventually a single enemy shot breaches the hull, which is rather ironically housing the shield generator.
Royal Pilot: They took out our shield generator. We’re a sitting duck without it!
Obi-Wan: Well if it was the first bloody thing to be taken out – with a single shot might I add – then a lot of fucking good it was doing us anyway.
Qui-Gon: We must raise the stakes in order for our escape to be all the more daring. Do we have anyone onboard we can sacrifice and martyr?
Obi-Wan: For God sake Liam Neeson, this isn’t Michael Collins. We should just keep going!
Queen Armadillo: Wait, we have a whole garage full of astromech droids taking up valuable wardrobe space – have them sent out and killed.
Captain Panaka: – ‘For the sake of our survival’, she means.
Queen Armadillo: No, kill the fuckers, see what I care. Padme, more Pop Tarts!
Like good little drones of an autocratic monarchy (apparently selected by committee rather than bloodline – Lucas boldly showing how little his knowledge on royal lineage stretches), the astromech droids are sent to their deaths to fix a shield generator that came with the redundant app. that attracts stray missiles. One by one they are destroyed (why are all the Federation ships aiming at the one, already totalled spot?) until only R2-D2 remains to repair the broken machine, now certain he’ll get soul credit for it and maybe be rewarded by becoming a benchmark character in the proceedings. With the shields repaired the royal lady-shave overcomes her crippling shyness and ploughs through the enemy barricade. No sooner have they bypassed the massive space stations armed to the gills with flying drones and Michael Bay levels of ordinance, the Federation give up their attack: “Uhhhhh nuuuuuu, ‘dey has escaped. We givez up 😦 ” – your bombad battle stations only have guns on the single side? Were they built to keep the Naboobians in but the planning committee never considered the possibility of incoming ships or those that bypassed the blockade being an issue? Plus, what if they had killed the Queen – she’s the only bargaining chip the Trade Federation have of any worth, and her murder would certainly raise some eyebrows at the senate, perhaps even sparking an intergalactic war they are still a film away from being prepared for. R2 is brought before the Queen who has been forced to prove she isn’t droidist by thanking him FOR DOING HIS FUCKING PURPOSE-BUILT JOB and apologising for the needless slaughter of his brothers and sisters (no wonder R2 becomes such a pushy ass from here on, after witnessing the carless massacre of his family). There are problems with the Hyperdrive, meaning they need either a replacement or a Luck Dragon in their immediate future.
Royal Pilot: We have so many planets to choose from: Richi, homeworld of the topless Xenas; Azazal, the paradise moon; Sinchell IX, planet of the beautiful nymphomaniacs with the galaxy’s most powerful Hyperdrives…
Qui-Gon: That one [pointing at the galaxy map]
Royal Pilot:…Tatooine? The barren desert shithole run by slug Mafioso’s, writhing with criminal scum, and technology that even the Amish would find antiquated? That’s where you want to take our shiny new star ship with royal hostage material to look for advanced, VERY specific engine parts?
Obi-Wan: I am so sick of bloody Tatooine.
Audience: We all are!
Qui-Gon: I bet you 50 quarks that no one will find us there.
Royal Pilot: 50 quarks?! Game on!
They head for the largest ball of certain death until someone can invent a moon that shoots planet annihilating lasers. Across the cosmos, Nute is being scolded by Lord Sidious for letting the Jedi escape twice in as many hours.
Darth Sidious: [to himself] This is the last time I hire offensive Japanese stereotypes…Right, you’ve forced me to build audiences hopes early – this is Darth Maul, don’t worry if you forget his name as he won’t be important at any point beyond this instalment of the saga, despite what the adverts, promo material and expanded universe may think. He will find your lost ship.
Darth Maul: It’s on Tatooine *the sound of Qui-Gon forking over 50 quarks can be heard*.
Part 2: Allegorical Jesus Children, Curtsy of Midichlorians
The royal cruiser lands on Tatooine, the twin suns reflecting off it so brightly many mistake it for a small sun crashing into the planet, and proceeds to use its cloaking ability (blinding anyone who looks at it) to remain as hidden as a gigantic silver vibrator in the desert can achieve.
Qui-Gon: Time to select the scavenge party. Let’s see…it’s a rough, mountainous, sandy, uphill, hostile terrain so we’ll need someone who’ll have no problem crossing it….R2, you’ll do. Next, we need to consider that we can’t draw too much attention to ourselves….Jar Jar, you’re in.
Jar Jar: MESSA?! YIPPEE!!! *falls over, disturbing a shelf of wind chimes as he goes*
Qui-Gon: Finally, this is a city of villainous scum; murderers, thieves, rapists – the lowest of the low, so we need someone who can handle themselves should the worst happen…How about you Padme, prettiest and weakest of all the handmaidens?
Captain Panaka: She’s the Queen too, if that helps add her value as a teamster.
Qui-Gon: And naturally I shall be team leader as I am the smartest, most capable negotiator in the galaxy.
Royal Pilot: I’ll give you this slightly-used coat button for your lightsaber.
Qui-Gon: Deal! Ha, I’d have given him two lightsabers for it – the moron.
So the worst possible team for the occasion since the Mighty Ducks heads out into the seething underbelly of the galaxy’s criminal empire, leaving onboard the level-headed Obi-Wan and the trained personal combatant that is Captain Panaka. Finding the first open door he comes across, Qui-Gon proceeds to barter with the latest of the Lucas stereotypes – Watto the Jew; a big nosed, pot-bellied, greedy, money hoarding, degenerate slave owner, who’s religious connotations are made all the more definitive come Attack of the Clones with one simple addition: a Judenhut.
Watto convinces Qui-Gon that he is the only one with a Nubian Hyperdrive (oldest used-car salesman trick in the book you mook), and Qui-Gon goes to show how lax his grip on the Jedi code of honour is when he tries to buy it off him with money that has no value in this sector – sure, Qui-Gon is being taken for a ride by Watto but that’s his fault for believing Watto’s BS; he shouldn’t reciprocate by trying to essentially STEAL expensive goods by trying to brainwash the legitimate businessman into taking his worthless Republic Credits. Qui-Gon is meant to be a hero but his morality and ethics are more like Han Solo than Yoda here. Inside, Padme is being chatted up by a kid owned by Watto who’s a good few years away from his first pube (evidently it works seeing as she MARRIES HIM AND HAS HIS BABIES! How says paedophiles can’t be smokin’ hot?). Unable to justify going to his backup option of KILLING Watto and just taking the parts as Jedi Knight behaviour, Qui-Gon grumpily drags his quartet of disciples away to radio-report his findings.
Qui-Gon: We found the Hyperdrive.
Obi-Wan: That’s great. So we’ll be ready to leave in no time.
Qui-Gon: Not so simple; the vendor wouldn’t take Republic Credits.
Qui-Gon: I know right? I even tried mind-tricking him into taking them!
Obi-Wan: Overlooking your willingness to lie and steal from people trying to make an honest living, did you try another shop?
Qui-Gon: He said he had the only one on the entire planet.
Obi-Wan:…and you believed him.
Qui-Gon: He was pretty convincing. Well, a bit convincing. Actually, not at all. But I’m determined to go back and get that one – even if it costs everything to get it. I mean it; I’ll risk the entire ship and us being sold into slavery to save face.
As this is going on, Jar Jar attracts the attention of the meanest thug in the city with a personal grudge against Anakin, Sebulba, forcing the little boy to come to the rescue of a grown man, a queen, an 8’ tall lizard and a droid armed with a buzz-saw and taser from a 4-legged half-pint horse-corpse with the worlds’ worst case of ‘short-man syndrome’. Anakin brings his new friends over for dinner – sure, your mother won’t mind cooking for 3 extra mouths, she only earns a slaves’ wage after all. Dinner talk turns to the table-friendly topic of forced slavery and how the Skywalkers’ will be blown up Battle Royal neck-collar style if they try to leave Hutt Space. Anakin is pretty cocky for the legal property of a mechanic, and tells them that he’s entered in the upcoming Pod Race which he’ll win for shiz. While he’s off showing Padme and R2 that he build C3PO to help his mother do the housework (AHHHHH!!! RAGE. RAGE. RAGE. RAGE… and how would a protocol droid built for etiquette and correcting peoples’ grammar in 6 million languages be of any use as a domestic servant?), Qui-Gon is with Shmi ruining the Saga by other means: the introduction of Midichlorians to the Star Wars lexicon. Yes the boy has a ridiculously high count of the microscopic bastards running through his blood (when and how did Qui-Gon get a blood sample off the child?), making him a possible Jedi Jesus. And as if it weren’t stupid enough that a guy who‘s several birthdays away from living in a respirator suit the rest of his life has the power of a God, he also doesn’t have a dad – he was conceived immaculately by Midichlorians (either that or Shmi was raped by Palpatine or is a total slut). Wow, those few minutes pretty much shat all over everything that came before it in the original trilogy. Congratulations Lucas, that’s a pretty fucking impressive feat. Off in the desert Darth Maul has tracked the party to Tatooine and lies in wait.
The next day, Qui-Gon returns to Watto and bets everything – everything (ship, cash, crew, one slave boy’s freedom) – on one race because Anakin is cheerfully optimist he can win it, despite never having won something as simple and intrinsic as the right to freedom, let alone a race so fast it requires precognition to master it. If Anakin wins Watto must hand over the Hyperdrive and additionally one of the Skywalkers. Having gone 3 whole minutes without doing something underhanded (be it lying or destroying the franchise) Qui-Gon cheats in a fair game of chance to secure the rights to Anakin over Shmi should he win the race (stealing the Toydarian’s only friends and business partner as well as a mothers’ only child in a world of living misery – why is this guy allowed to be a Jedi?!). As nothing happens in the next 15 GORAN MINUTES apart from a CGI Pod Race suck-fest that plays like a prolonged trailer for Redline, we’ll skip it, suffice to say Anakin wins on his own merits – and he even gets to stick it to Sebulba in the process. Broken, bankrupt and down his best/only staff, Watto sadly honours (remember ‘honour’ Qui-Gon?) the deal and his word, leaving in borderline tears. Merry as a drunken fart, Qui-Gon skips with a grin over to the Skywalker house to rip a boy from his mother and drag him to the other side of space. Don’t feel sad Ani, you’ll see your mother again soon – predominantly in your nightmares as she’s raped by Tusken Raiders before she dies of her violation wounds in your arms, but see her nevertheless. Having miraculously made it this far with no-one in his team dead (only emotionally wounded and in jar Jars’ case beaten-up), Qui-Gon’s bad karma has been building up for this moment; as they reach the ship, Darth Maul attacks with the crew only just taking off in time for him to stand there reflecting on employing the element of surprise next time – maybe by standing menacingly behind some doors on the off-chance the Jedi will be on the other side….
Queen Armadillo: What is this disgusting creature?
Qui-Gon: A young slave boy we liberated.
Queen Armadillo: Ah yes, we have those on our planet too, except it’s mainly women and coloureds that make up the workforce *the handmaidens and Captain Panaka nod miserably*.
Obi-Wan: Dare I ask what the plan is from here?
Qui-Gon: Well, I’m going to set things in motion to put Darth Vader in a position where he can betray the Jedi Order from within and kill all the Younglings…
Queen Armadillo: – And I’m going to give Palpatine all the power in the Galaxy.
Obi-Wan: Might as well start growing my hermit beard for a life in hunted exile now then…
Ugh, Coruscant: home of the most boring aspects of the Prequel Trilogy. There is no escaping the boredom here so Jabba knows why a film aimed primarily at under-7s contains such a prolonged piece of mind-deadening tedium dealing with space politics, votes of no confidence and Jedi’s sitting around like a village Parish council rather than ass-kicking and swashbuckling. The current Galactic Senator is a bit of a pussy and won’t do anything to help the occupied Naboo without proof of the Trade Federation invasion – HELLO, THERE’S A FUCKING RING OF BATTLE STATIONS SURROUNDING NABOO, EACH FILLED WITH DROID KILLBOTS, AND THE PLANET’S CAPITAL IS CURRENTLY UNDER MARTIAL LAW BY THE NEIMOIDIANS, so what further proof of occupation is required: a written note from their mothers?! Agreeing with Palpatine that he would make a far better ruler/dictator, Queen Armadillo (at this point it is unclear is she is the real one or a dupe, meaning galactic policy change may be being implemented by a handmaiden) announces the Senate is to vote between the pussy Senator Valorm or the Space-Hitler Palpatine. Meanwhile the Jedi are reviewing Anakin’s potential.
Samuel Jackson: Nice, you passed every single one of our tests, motha’ fucka’.
Qui-Gon: So he can begin training 😀
Mace Jackson: Oh Hell no.
Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan: Ex-squeeze me?
Samuel Windu: He’s too old.
Qui-Gon: ‘Too old’? Yoda’s 900 years old!
Yoda: *waking up with a start* Did someone call me, muuuu? Are those darn kids skating on the side walk again? Where am I?
Obi-Wan: But-but his Midichlorian count is the height of Yoda’s. Does that count for nothing!? He was born because enough of the little buggers got together and formed life. LIFE! Does that count for nothing too?! HE’S HALF HUMAN, HALF LIVING FORCE!
Mace L. Windu refuses on the grounds that Anakin’s too old to be brainwashed into the Jedi covenant, as his life-time spent with healthy emotional outlets could interfere with his Jedi obligations (such as blackmail, bribery, cheating and so on if Qui-Gon is the A-typical model for Jedi ethics). Chastised, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon meet back with Queen Armadillo and her posse – returned from initiating the collapse of GALACTIC-WIDE democracy under the dictatorial fist of Senator ‘Mugabe’ Palpatine. They have done enough damage here, so time to initiate some more localised destruction and kill a load of Gungans (yay!) – but not Jar Jar (boo!).
Part 3: The Death of a Pop-Culture Icon (and no, it isn’t Jar Jar Binks)
Night time Coruscant; Darth Obviously Palpatine and Darth Maul gloat that their grand plan is coming together like a couple of porn stars reaching orgasm, and that soon they will have revenge against the Jedi – revenge for what is NEVER explained at ANY point in either trilogy, but they want it so they’ll damn-well have it thankyouverymuch. Muhahahahaha! Oh Maul, if only you knew…
The small crew of protagonists return to Naboo. If you’re wondering how they slipped past the blockade without alerting the Trade Federation to their presence whatsoever, go back to the earlier ‘escape scene’ section and read it over and over until you simply don’t care anymore. If you’re that desperate for answers, then go with my opinion that the Neimoidians were foolish enough to get in bed with a hologram of pure evil and build space ships with weapons on the one side only, so clearly allowing THE enemy shuttle/ultimate bargaining chip to bypass them a second time doesn’t come as a surprise. They land in the same forest the Federation initially touched down at – you know, the one ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FUCKING PLANET TO THE CAPITAL CITY THEY WANT TO GET TO, which sounds retarded enough to have been one of Qui-Gon’s plans. Jar Jar goes in search of his Gungan brethren to discover that Otta Gunga has been invaded by the non-aquatic droids (the fuck!?) and his people have fled to the sacred land – ‘land’ being the operative word here, as it’s actually on land. Why would a species of aquatic frogmen have a shrine deep in the heart of the forest? Regardless, Jar Jar does a hat-trick by dragging human outsiders to the holy land (defiling it with their human stink and presence undoubtedly) so the defilers can beg their swamp-dwelling inferiors to lay down their lives so the superior humans can have their ubber-modern city back…wow, just…wow. Padme reveals herself to be the real Queen, as if it makes a difference to ANYTHING/as if anyone cares, and Boss Nass is so struck with confusion at this needless plot twist he agrees to send his people to die on the battlefield, provided Jar Jar is among them – so he at least retained the baser cognitive functions despite the brain haemorrhage. Ah but Jar Jar is promoted to general (THE FUCK!?) so maybe he wants the Gungans’ to fail so that the droids will then return victorious to the city and kill all the snooty humans.
Inside the fallen capital, the Neimoidians and the pint-sized Darth Maul discuss the Gungan army mobilisation. Rather than noticing this as an obvious diversion to draw attention away from the impending siege, Darth Sidious orders that the majority of the ground force be sent to deal with the resistance movement whose main weapons consist of sticks and a shield generating dinosaur – hardly offensively threatening. The Gungans’ are dispatched to the battle field to die in the biggest genocide this side of the Wookie fall to the post-Empire Trandoshian hunting season, so that a handful of rebels (not a single non-human among them!) can free their pilots and launch a space assault while the Queen retakes her thrown with an army of two. A scuffle breaks out in the hanger, leading to Anakin being stored ‘safely’ in a Nubian Starfighter (countdown to convenience in 10…9…8…) while the pilots head for the space blockade to take out the SOUL station controlling the ENTIRE DROID ARMY – eggs in one basket? Neimoidians don’t lay eggs [according to wookiepedia.org] so didn’t feel the metaphor applied to them. The Jedi open a door to find Darth Maul standing behind it in readiness.
Darth Maul: *panting* I…I had to…stand behind every door in this palace…but it was totally worth it to see *gasp* the look on your faces…
The Jedi leap into battle despite a) having never seen a Sith in real life, b) not checking that he isn’t just back-up sent by the council, c) not asking him any questions about his intentions, and d) did they not see he has a duel-blade lightsaber?!!? ‘Dat shitz like the double rainbow of the Star Wars universe.
– Or it was before every fucking person in the expanded universe caught onto the fad and milked it harder than an obsessive compulsive milks a cow. In his keenness to be the most despicable individual in the film (get in line kid, then throw a fucking rock), Anakin activates the ‘auto pilot’ button right next to the ‘get me the fuck out’ switch and he and R2 are dragged in to the cosmic cluster-fuck raging in orbit. Using his keen [not-space worthy] skills as a Pod Race pilot, Anakin is naturally able to instantly master the complex controls and kick more droid exhaust ports than the combined efforts of the trained fighter pilots. So while a kid is showing professional grown men how to do their jobs, and the peace-seeking Jedi are double-teaming a guy without even asking his name, the Gungans are being slaughtered in Hiroshima numbers so that Padme can reclaim her expensive stately home. Jar Jar manages to become a war hero in his destruction of more Federation property in his cowardice than the entire Gungan defensive (waiting for robots to starve to death inside a giant force field does not count as an offensive military manoeuvre).
The duel of the fates rages on as the Jedi and Sith work their way deeper into the citadel power core…in the room right next to the easily accessible hanger bay (pure laziness on the Nubian architects’ part). Darth Maul is always one step ahead if the blood thirsty pacifists, the damn sexy beast that he is.
He drop kicks Obi-Wan over a ledge and draws Qui-Gon into a trap. Well, I say ‘trap’ when really it’s Maul stuck in a room with the only exit blocked by Jedi and lasers. Obi-Wan hops up and returns to the melee but is cut off from Qui-Gon by a wall of lasers – and if any of you can tell me the point of these intermittent laser walls then please leave it in the comment box below so finally the answer to this mystery can be publicly aired. The Sith and Jedi sit patiently as they wait for the walls to part once more.
Anakin is shot down and spirals into the heart of the droid control ship. After some random button-bashing he launches the ship’s payload right into the unprotected generator, located apparently only several hundred yards of the hangar wing of the station, such as luck would have it. Because having the precocious little shit burnt to a crisp and become Vader as a pre-teen would be too cool (disturbing/justified/ too much to fit in with just a fraction of the run time remaining), Anakin escapes the exploding deathball of flame in the nick of time. The flames suggest the hangar bay is oxygenated, despite the doors to it being left open to the vacuum of space and the droids manning it requiring no air whatsoever, but I think this was intentional to make audiences baffle at this lack of scientific application rather than the more perplexing decision to put the haemophiliac power core in the hanger bay to begin with – then again, these are the same Neimoidian designers who decided to put all the weapons on the single side of the ship…
In the middle of rounding up the defeated Gungans for concentration camp reassignment (or maybe ‘processing’), the droids shut down as THE ONE SHIP IN CONTROL OF THE ENTIRE ARMY has been destroyed by a kid who has only ever won a single Pod Race. The Gungans celebrate their victory by-proxy; “Hurray, and a 1/5 of the population survived so there is a fractional hope for our species to procreate and survive”*
*far from it, once the Empire came into effect they made the not-tactical but certainly practical measure of eradicating the Gungans from the face of the universe.
Padme takes Nute Gunray and Rune Hacko hostage and Naboo returns to Naboobian control. Meanwhile in the depths of the hanger bay, Maul and Qui-Gon have reengaged in battle. Obi-Wan wanted to be a part of things but not enough for him to use that Jedi super run from the beginning of the film, implying he feels horn-headed, demon-tattoo-faced sword wielders are less of a threat to his safety than a Droidika. He is once again trapped behind a laser grid as Qui-Gon is tricked into looking at his shoelaces, only to realise that he wears loafers and has been fooled all too late, allowing Maul to spear him with his throbbing phallic lightsaber – Sith-rape win! Pissed that he’s now lumbered with Anakin, Obi-Wan howls in despair and launches into a hate-filled head-on fight (doesn’t hate lead to suffering? Could have sworn someone from the Muppets mentioned it earlier…). Maul gains the upper hand at the mournful loss of his duel-blade lightsaber into a regular boring glowing space laser sword *yawn*, throwing Obi-Wan over the ledge (a ledge to what? What does this bottomless pit function as other than a tomb?!) but Obi-Wan outsmarts him by using the old Jedi-Jump trick we’ve all seen a dozen times before – Maul, however is in the unfortunate position of coming into the sage from the wrong direction, and for entering the Saga from chronological order he is punished with a divorce from his legs, both halves tumbling into the pit from where even the ‘creative’ mind of Lucas can’t find a way to resurrect him, much to the bitterness of EVERYBODY who assumed the character hyped out the arse during promotion would have more than 3 lines and 5 mins screen time! Naturally we assumed that Maul, being dead and all, was invulnerable to the Lucas touch of toxic shock syndrome. Well as we know there is no such thing as dignity in death in the Star Wars franchise, hence:
Obi-Wan: It’s done Master: the guy we took as given to be the lost enemy of the Jedi for undisclosed reasons is dead. Now look, about the Anakin thing…
Qui-Gon: Anakin…you must train the boy…
Obi-Wan: Yeah, see that’s what I want to talk to you about. I don’t think…
Qui-Gon: He will bring order to the force…like how the non-military restrictions placed on post-WWII Germany ironically allowed it to profit by not wasting money on warfare, and thus become unaffected by the global economic debt…He is this generations Hitler…he must bring peace through genocide…
Obi-Wan: But he’s a shit!
Qui-Gon: Burry me in Ireland, lad. Euuuughhhhh…..
Venting his frustrations, Obi-Wan has Qui-Gon burnt under the guise of a public funeral. Samuel Mace L. Windu Jackson and Yoda loudly discuss all things Sith in front of Palpatine, not even trying to be subtle about appearing as a Sith Lord in his black mourning cloak. The next day Yoda informs Obi-Wan that he will carry on the training of emotionally unstable Anakin if he wants the promotion to Jedi Knight (didn’t the title scroll at the beginning say “Jedi Knights” were dispatched for the negotiations? Did he loose his status as result of all the poor jokes he’s been making throughout the film?). To commemorate the sacrifice of all those thousands of Gungans and all the Naboobians ‘processed’, as well as the inevitable collapse of democracy now that Palpatine has his claws in the thrown of ultimate power, the few remaining life forms on Naboo party. Yes, celebrate you hapless fucks; sing and dance for this travesty of a film. Dance like you’re the fucking villagers from The Wicker Man while we roast alive inside for your ignorance. Dance. Dance. Dance.
The End – the fuck it is, not by a long shot