Cass Sunstein Strikes Again

Cedric found this interview with the author of “The World According To Star Wars” on Vox.com, where he mentions again the prequels.  He doesn’t seem so complimentary of TPM here (“cutesy?”) but otherwise gamely points out what he likes about them.

Michael found this piece he wrote for the Washington Post.  Again, laying cover fire but otherwise defends them from his political perspective (remember he did work for the Obama administration).

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8 Responses to “Cass Sunstein Strikes Again”

  1. lovelucas Says:

    Natural state of repose – makes one vulnerable? I can’t argue with that one. and never, ever have I ever considered nor read any comment by anyone else that reflects TPM as “cutesy” but other than that, an excellent read except he seems to assume that children are the only ones who really love the prequels. Really missed the target on that assumption. THIS I agree with: What many people found boring and maybe tendentious about the prequels — the politics — I found really interesting

    • Jim Raynor Says:

      Cass Sunstein gets it. I’m so glad to see someone coming out into the media to intelligently discuss all of the things we can draw from Lucas’s films. I don’t have a problem with him disliking some aspects of the Prequels. Fans can have all sorts of opinions. What matters to me is that he can express some of his dislikes in a civilized manner (unlike 99% of the loudmouths in fanboy media), while balancing things with praise and being supportive of George Lucas’s work as an artist.

      It’s funny how recent Marvel movies like The Winter Soldier and Civil War get praise for breaking with formula and portraying politics, but Star Wars fanboys decried the very notion of touching on politics in Star Wars.

      Marvel saved itself from a lot of fanboy crap with its rapid fire production schedule in this new era of media hype and openness from creators. Fanboys never had a chance to settle into a fixed, dogmatic idea of what a Marvel movie “should” be like, and the directors, writers, producers, and even actors were all over the internet to explain the nuances and relevance of their creative choices.

      In contrast, Star Wars was a small, contained saga of three movies for a prolonged period of time. It attracted an intense but rather shallow fandom who liked it for lifting their spirits when they were kids, but couldn’t articulate anything about what Star Wars is aside from surface elements like “used feel” or “practical effects.”

      So when The Phantom Menace had a brief scene in the Senate, which didn’t even focus on the dry specifics of the trade dispute (as many fanboys accuse it of) but rather on Padme’s desperation and helplessness in the face of Trade Federation lies and government indifference, the fanboys’ heads exploded. I’ve seen more than one fan saying that the scene just “feels WRONG.” Saying “politics” with disdain like it’s a dirty word and not something that is relevant to real life society and warfare. I used to roll my eyes at the mere mention of “politics,” when I was a know-nothing teenager.

      People in the geek media are generally grounded enough to discuss Marvel movies, or just about any other film, in a l relatively objective and analytical manner. Unfortunately, there is no such detachment for Star Wars. It’s all emotion and perceived indignities over how the newer movies didn’t give them the same warm feels as the originals did when they were 7 years old.

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        I do tend to think the Star Wars novels of the 1990s got at least some fans thinking the story ought to be “more serious” than TPM seemed right off, and that the “Patient Zero” of “basher-dom” was “broad, goofy comedy relief”… but these days I have to pretty much agree with what you said about how inarticulate “prequel denial” gets when trying to insist on what made the old movies so great they’ve had to stay so worked up for fifteen years. The problem is that the new management makes a great show of offering them just that, complete in itself…

      • jayoungr Says:

        Keith–wow, I never considered the role that the EU may have played in shaping audience expectations for TPM. You make a really good point.

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        I suppose we shouldn’t be too quick to assign blame, though. It’s certainly possible to suppose a great many of the people writing indignant movie-section columns in 1999 and finding reasons to condemn all of the aliens in TPM had never read any of the Star Wars novels… I’m probably influenced by having noticed arguments in the 1990s insisting none of the other novels then published lived up to Timothy Zahn’s lead-off trilogy, and I have to admit that as I noticed them I got to thinking I wasn’t quite sure those three novels themselves appealed to me as much as they did to others, in a way I couldn’t quite articulate… Maybe I’m influenced by having noticed someone complaining she drifted away from here when “the community bad-mouthed the EU,” and in any case the fans of the formerly canon novels might be ready to suppose we now have it better off than them.

  2. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Again, laying cover fire but otherwise defends them from his political perspective (remember he did work for the Obama administration).

    What did he do for President Obama?

    The Marvel films are a new entity . . . at least the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Star Wars, on the other hand, has been around for nearly four decades. I’m not surprised that the latter fans tend to be more dogmatic. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if the MCU eventually become like that.

  3. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    That, in a nutshell, is the story of the “Star Wars” prequels: the triumph of empire over democracy, facilitated by Anakin Skywalker and resulting in autocratic rule by Chancellor (later Emperor) Palpatine.

    Facilitated by Anakin Skywalker? Apparently, this guy forgot about the actions of Darth Maul, Count Dooku, the Galactic Senate, the Jedi Order, etc.

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