Star Wars and Philosophy

Star Wars And Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine (Popular Culture and Philosophy)As I was browsing through Borders on Saturday I ran across a book called Star Wars And Philosophy: More Powerful Than You Can Possibly Imagine. This book attempts to explain philosophy using the Star Wars movies as a metaphor.

I used to read a lot on philosophy – mostly Zen and Taoism. At one point in time, Kelsi bought me a book called The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D’oh! of Homer which I really enjoyed. I have also read The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet, which attempts to explain eastern philosophy through the Winnie the Pooh characters.

From the titles, one would think that I am just a moron that cannot relate to deep thoughts unless it is illustrated by some childhood cartoon character. However, these books are not for 6 year olds. They really go into quite a bit of depth, while making the concepts more accessible by relating them to characters and situations that are known by everyone. They take what usually is extremely dry reading and make it accessible.

This latest book is extremely interesting, with essays ranging from the discussion as to whether Yoda is a Zen Master or a great warrior, to a discussion over whether cloning is morally wrong, to the discussion of free will vs. predestination.

A sampling of the chapters include:

  • “You Cannot Escape Your Destiny” (Or Can You?): Freedom and Predestination in the Skywalker Family
  • Stoicism – Yoda, the Emperor, and the Force
  • Moral Abiguity in a Black and White Universe
  • The Far East of Star Wars
  • The Aspring Jedi’s Handbook of Virtue
  • Star Wars and the Problem of Evil
  • Send in the Clones: The Ethics of Future Wars
  • Star Wars and the Hegelian Struggle for Recognition
  • By Any Means Necessary: Tyranny, Democracy, Republic, and Empire

This book is a pretty interesting read. The book also makes you realize just how much thought went into the stories as you see the characters and concepts such as “The Force” related to eastern philosophy and ideas. If you see it at the store (or Amazon) and have a couple of days to kill, pick it up.

Star Wars – Revenge of the Sith

Star Wars - Episode III, Revenge of the SithWe went to see Star Wars – Revenge of the Sith yesterday afternoon and I have to agree with many of the reviews out there – this is the best Star Wars movie to date. George Lucas has definitely ended with a masterpiece.

The movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes long, but you are so involved you don’t notice it. This is the part of the story you have always wanted to see. What happened to the Jedi’s? How did the emperor come into power? How did he turn Anakin to the dark side? The answers to all of these questions are finally here.

Earlier in the week I had read Jason Kottke’s review of the movie. One of the things he mentioned was that as he walked out of the movie he felt sadness for Darth Vader — that Lucas had made him into a sympathetic character rather than the evil character you find in the first three movies. I wondered how that could be, but after seeing the movie I understood. It really is a tragic story.

I spent a lot of time once we left the theater thinking about this movie. What made it so good? Was it really that good of a story, or is it really that we’ve waited 28 years for the answers to many of the questions that the movie finally answers? Is it the story, or is it the closure we all get when we finally have the full background behind the first trilogy?

I think the answer is both. The story is great, but as I talked to the boys about it yesterday, one of the phrases that kept creeping into my mind was that the “circle was finally closed”. We finally have all of the answers about Darth Vader, Luke and Leia, and the Jedi Council. We finally know everything about the mythological world that Lucas introduced to us in 1977.

The story is complete and we finally, after 28 years, have closure.

Now, while the movie absolutely impressed me, the people around me did not. At a movie of this magnitude, I am still surprised at how rude people can be.

Here’s some advice for those going to the movies in the future:

  • When the previews start, SHUT UP. There are people who like watching them, no matter how irrelevant they are to you.
  • Stop talking when the MOVIE starts. We paid to watch the movie, not listen to you.
  • Figure out which order everyone is going to sit in before the lights go down. Better yet, figure it out before you sit down. Even better, figure it out in the car before you attend the show. It shouldn’t take three attempts to get everyone in the “right spot”. A seat is a seat and all you are doing is bothering the people around you.
  • If your chair squeaks, do not feel you have to demonstrate it to the people around you over and over again. This should be clue to you to sit still.
  • If you are really, really tired and feel you might fall asleep and you have a history of Darth Vader like snoring (your spouse should be able to clue you in on this), wait until you are more refreshed before you attend the film. We don’t want to hear you.

Aside from all of this, this really was the best movie I have seen in a long time. I highly recommend it and cannot wait until it comes out on DVD so that I can watch it again.

Related Articles:

Some links on Movie Etiquette:

Extreme Fan

I think I’m a pretty big fan of certain musicians and would definitely call myself a movie buff. But after this morning I’m not sure I can really use the word “fan” to describe my love of music or movies.

Reading slashdot this morning, there was an article about a guy who is waiting five months in line at the theater for Star Wars Episode III tickets. Even stranger, the guy is keeping a blog, apparently right from his place in line.

I do not think that I could like anything to the point where I would camp out for 139 days for tickets. If I can’t buy the CD on, or can’t buy the tickets somewhere like Ticketmaster or Fandango, chances are you won’t be getting me to listen to your music, see your concert, or watch your movie.

Then again, I might be an extreme. If the line is too long at McDonalds the first thought that comes to mind is “Maybe I’ll eat tomorrow …”.

Star Wars Trilogy DVD Release

Star Wars Trilogy (Widescreen Edition)We picked up the new Star Wars Trilogy (widescreen, of course) last night. I watched the bonus DVD and thought it was really cool. It contains the documentary “Empire of Dreams” which I skipped last night, but I am pretty sure it has been on TV and I’ve tried to watch it, but I go to bed early and it seems that every time it has been on I’ve wound up sleeping through it. I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing, but didn’t want to take the time last night because I wanted to watch at least one of the movies.

It also includes a few featurettes that were pretty cool. The featurettes include one on the characters of Star Wars, the making of the light saber, and the Legacy of Star Wars, in which they talk about the effect the movie had on film makers such as James Cameron, Ridley Scott and Peter Jackson.

Finally, after finishing the bonus CD stuff, sans the Empire of Dreams, we watched the first movie. This was the first time that I had seen Star Wars in its rerelease version, with all of the extra footage that they had added. I didn’t like the new scenes. They seemed completely out of place. The scene with Jabba the Hut and Han Solo kind of ruins the mystique of Jabba the Hut to me, since seeing him in Jedi was one of the highlights of the movie (you were always wondering who the hell Jabba was). I wish that they had thought of releasing the DVD with the choice to include these new scenes or to watch the movies as they had been originally released. The new additions just didn’t “feel right”, but would have been interesting if they were optional.

That said though, I am curious as to what else was added to the other two movies. Just because I didn’t like what they added to Episode IV doesn’t mean that I’m not curious about the other footage. That’s why the “option” to view them would have been nice.

Rerelease footage complaints aside though, I’m glad the the movies were finally released on DVD. Its been a long time coming and, quite frankly, should have been done years ago. I like the fact that I can pick up these movies and watch them whenever I feel like it.