Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars- The Force Awakens: Parallels and the Real "Bad Guys"

All over the world, hundreds of millions stayed up till early morning on a Thursday to see this film. I just happened to watch it in Sofia, Bulgaria. I found it doubly interesting to see a highly anticipated Star Wars movie in a foreign country. Why? The first Star Wars came out in 1977, during the Cold War, which surely had some impact on its plot line, characterizations, symbols and motifs. Now it’s 2015. Not only do meanings change depending on context and, thus, the audience reaction varies, but it reveals how influential Hollywood movies are as disseminators of culture, politics, and pervasive thought on a global scale.  Ultimately, watching Star Wars in an international setting brought up some questions that might not pop up on American soil. (Spoiler Alert: If you do not want to know what happens in The Force Awakens and/or are sensitive to American political criticism, do not read any further). Here goes nothing:

 1. If art imitates life, then who represents the power of the First Order/Empire in real life? Though the First Order--when stormtroopers are assembled in rows-- clearly resembles Hitler's Nazi Germany, the contemporary parallels might be more disturbing. Certainly there are only a few countries that have the military might to raze rebel enclaves with superior air assaults and firepower like the First Order does in the The Force Awakens. Tops on that list of drone attackers and air strikers in the real world: The United States of America. 

2.     Finn, the rogue storm trooper, defects from the First Order/Empire/Dark Side and joins the resistance. He is viewed as a traitor by the storm trooping “bad guys” but a hero to the “good guys”—the resistance. Finn gives them valuable inside information. Can anyone say Edward Snowden? Perspective is everything.

3.     The First Order has the most powerful weapon of mass destruction in the galaxy. It can destroy whole planets and they actually use it. The only analog in the real world is nuclear weaponry. The United States has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, has tested them the most frequently, and is the only country to ever use one on another nation (Japan)...yet claims that other countries (some who don't even possess nuclear weapons) pose the biggest nuclear threats to the world. Hmmm.

4.     Princess Leia has gone from royalty to general in command. She has been in power for a while, aged fairly gracefully, but her voice is not pleasant to listen to anymore. She is a strong leader, but lacks personality. She had a man, the slick Han Solo, who most likely cheated on her and left her planet in shame. Parallel: Hillary Clinton.

5.     Kylo Ren—the son who was the next in line to inherit power in the galaxy but is haunted by his father’s legacy and ultimately fails. As a result, the almighty First Order was attacked at its core. Need I say… George W. Bush? Of course, G-dub didn’t murder his father. Both are alive and well, though the son did tend more to the Dark Side. And who knows how Jeb will fit into this. 

6.     Which leads us to Chewbacca… No big political statement here. It just seems that the Wookie had more confirmed kills in the Force Awakens than in all other episodes combined. His weapon is highlighted as an awe-inspiring machine (--a subtle nod to gun nuts, perhaps?). Especially notable was his Rambo-esque rampage in the moments after Han Solo’s death. Thus, Chewie is the new Rambo.

1 comment:

  1. As a Bulgarian, who watched the movie in Sofia, Bulgaria - nothing of this came to my mind :D I guess I am either too shallow :D or I am just so not interested in politics, that I don't search for deeper meaning in that direction. I hope the second :D