A Philosopher Reviews TPM

Joel forwarded a link to this fascinating and unapologetically positive review of TPM posted back in February, which I guess was originally written at the time the film came out.  The author is a philosopher, which means he has many interesting takes on the film and why some critics reacted to it the way they did.


26 Responses to “A Philosopher Reviews TPM”

  1. Nariel Says:

    This is a very interesting in-depth look at TPM. I particularly like the author’s reflections on fatherhood as the main theme in SW.

    BTW, I have noticed that the original version of the review posted at Friesian.com (linked at the beginning) is a bit longer and makes it clear that it was written as a rebuttal to other, more critical reviews of TPM at the time. It also has links to the reviews of AOTC and ROTS by the same author.

    • Samuel Coats Says:

      He wonders why Yoda couldn’t defeat Palpatine? Perhaps because it shows that the universe needs both darkness and the light? Because Palpatine did activated an alarm console? Seriously, the Internet post “The Chosen Post: The Prophecy’s Importance, Palpatine’s Plan To Escape It, & Why Mace Lost the Duel” explains that all.

      • joe Says:

        if yoda had defeated palpatine there wouldn’t be episodes 4 5 and 6

      • Nariel Says:

        Thanks, that is a great post! I wasn’t familiar with it before. It doesn’t really explain Yoda’s defeat in detail, though.

        As I understand it, Dr Ross argues that Yoda should be able to defeat Palpatine using the judo principle of turning the opponent’s attack against him, similarly to the way the Jedi deflect blaster bolts with their lightsabers. Indeed, Yoda is able to repel Palpatine’s Force lightning in this manner. But I suppose that principle can’t always be applied in a duel between Force users (or both opponents can use it and the one who is more skilled will still win).

      • Samuel Coats Says:

        Just to be clear: The chosen post shows that the Prequels are full of potential if you are willing to think and consider that Star Wars is more than just b movie action. Sidious is a far stronger Sith then Dooku, Yoda was able to beat the latter. In the Sidious/Yoda battle however both stand for the ultimate darkness and light. And the fact that Yoda and Sidious could not kill their enemy brings home a powerfull point: The Jedi had lost their way. The Prophecy says “Destroy the Sith”, since they have disturbed the balance in order to dethrone the force itsself. But you know what it never says? Destroy the dark side. Why? Becouse the universe needs both. Anakins destiny is to restore balance, not to whipe out everything but the light side. I would suspect that the force lightning is a representation of darkness. And it connects to its victim through the darkness inside that person. Through hate, anger or pain. You must let go of yourself and those things in order to defeat the lightning. But of course you need enough time to realize and execute that philosophy. Yoda is constantly under stress, unable to do that. Sidious knows that, that is why he keeps him bussy. Yet at the same time there is another underlying truth in the Prequels. If you’re looking for a comment “prose” kinda approach to them you should get the novelizations. The films are intended differently. As the great post “The Force Awakens vs. The Prequels, or: So this is how personal expression dies, to thunderous applause” says: “When you judge a piece of art, the criteria you’re supposed to use is how closely the artist achieved their goals. If you don’t like musicals, that’s fine. That doesn’t mean that all musicals are bad. They could be a very well done example of something that you don’t enjoy. There’s a fine line there many people struggle to understand, which is the difference between talking about the piece of art, and talking about yourself and your own tastes and emotions.

        George Lucas isn’t interested in traditional story structure. This should be obvious if you’ve seen THX or American Graffiti. In fact, he’s actively interested in subverting traditional story structure, and in completely non-narrative films. obviously, many Star Wars fans love them.

        The prequels are also of course criticized for their dialog. George Lucas doesn’t care about dialog. He has said this so many times in interviews over the years, I don’t even know where to start pointing to examples. He refers to dialog as a sound effect, and he’s said he prefers the French dubbed version of the films because it’s just a better sound, whether or not you know what the words mean. He’s pointed out with pride that children in foreign countries who don’t speak any English can watch Star Wars and understand it based on the visuals and the music.”

      • Nariel Says:

        I’m not arguing with you, except to say that I don’t think anyone here considers Star Wars to be just B-movie action 🙂 And I certainly don’t have any problems with George Lucas’s approach to moviemaking.

      • Samuel Coats Says:

        Oh, Nariel, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean you with the “b movie action” comment. I had just got through another debate with someone who dislikes the prequels and it’s pretty exhausting. No, I doubt that anybody willing to come to this side views the star wars Franchise as a dumb time killer. But it’s heartbreaking whenever you meet people who do. Everybody is allowed to like or dislike what they want. After all, one of the great things about Star Wars is that is has something for everybody. And yet… after the Prequels, after “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”, after novels like “Cloak of Deception”, “Darth Plagueis”, “New Jedi Order”… I just can’t feel like Episode 7 is a worthy, deep or even meaningful addition to the saga… I’m not even interested in Episode 8. I fear that Han Solo won’t be dead – or that they will find some dumb way to bring him back just so they can put him in the trailer and make more money from the Solo fans… But I hope that won’t happen. Perhaps I will buy the novelizations of the next two episodes (if I find them used somewhere), but I’m not eager to pay Disney for another “Rebels vs Empire” story. The old expanded universe allone included far to many novels that were just that.

      • Nariel Says:

        It’s OK 🙂 I just felt lumped in with the wrong crowd for a moment.
        I know what you mean. Personally, I feel that the real Star Wars saga has ended and I view Disney’s Star Wars as a different entity (sorry if that offends anyone).

  2. Keith Palmer Says:

    I went all the way to the original version, and did get the feeling I’d seen it before on getting to the author tut-tutting over Qui-Gon not being able to change his Republic credits. I try not to let that bother me by thinking of it as shorthand for the quiet crumbling of the Republic, but can also go a bit further by theorizing that to change the money into something usable would be picked up by the Trade Federation. Anyway, not everything in the piece seemed quite focused on Star Wars itself, but I’m willing to think that “prequel appreciation” brings into contact at least a few people who might otherwise contribute to the handwringing over “we only associate with people who agree with our own ideologies.”

    • Nariel Says:

      Good points. Indeed, some parts are only tangentially related to Star Wars and rather controversial (I admit I mostly skimmed over them), but I think the parts that are actually focused on SW are very interesting, even if I don’t completely agree with every statement.

  3. Natalie Says:

    Hey did you see that article on Cinemablend?

  4. Natalie Says:

    Just read what Mark said about Luke

    Luke has lost confidence in his ability to make good choices,” Hamill said. “It haunts him to the core. But he hasn’t gone to the dark side. This isn’t an evil version of him.”

    Argh this is really aggravating….

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yeah, that sounds like the guy we all know and love from the OT.

      • Natalie Says:

        I know right? I posted this on FB and got a bunch of responses, most of them from folks who disliked the prequels but said TFA and this news was even worse lol

        Now ok, I don’t expect Luke to be 100% right about everything or never feel any doubts… but why does he have to be such a loser… why can’t the heroes of my childhood catch a break after all they’ve already been though. Every SW trilogy has a couple of wise, old mentors… Except the ST (not counting Han Solo’s role here in TFA since he can’t train a Jedi). Why? What does Disney is trying to say here? That everything can be solved a comic-book like Mary Sue? That all you need to do it wish for something, no hard work required?

      • lazypadawan Says:

        I’m not really sure what they’re trying to say either. I wrote an unpublished piece about the nihilism at the heart of TFA largely due to what it does to the fates of our old favorites. We’ll see where TLJ takes things.

      • joe Says:

        could you maybe put it online? i’d love to read it

      • Natalie Says:

        I hate nihilism, it ruined traditional European culture, now all we have is fantasy books and movies but Disney is grabbing everything (the merger with 20th century fox).

        People loved Star Wars in 1977 because it had good guys to root for, prequels added ambiguity but were ultimately about moral choices, this is just bullshit wish fulfillment.

      • joe Says:

        there is no merger but that could change

  5. Natalie Says:

    I’ve also noticed Mark is kind of reserved about his role in the ST: he’s trying to be diplomatic, of course, but I don’t get a sense of excitement or approval from him. He’s also very defensive of GL, bless his heart.

    • Nariel Says:

      I also have the impression that he doesn’t really like how Luke’s character is developed in the ST, and that worries me a bit.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      When he said a few months ago his first reaction to the script was “I fundamentally disagree with everything in here” I thought, “Gee, that inspires confidence.”

      • Natalie Says:

        I watched bits and pieces from the SW celebration where he was talking about his role and KK went into the damage control mode.

  6. Natalie Says:

    Watching this at lunch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ayH9NPKH8g

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