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Friday, September 10, 2010

Jar Jar Binks: Scourge of the Star Wars Universe

I told you I was going to do it. In Horror Beyond Imagination, I wrote about my three year old being introduced to the saga of Star Wars by watching the original trilogy. I went on ad nauseum about my love of Return of the Jedi and how Palpatine’s failure might have been a huge plot hole. Brain cells and hours of productivity were lost in that post. But now, I’m back with another geek filled Star Wars related post sure to make your eyes bleed or at least have you reaching for a drink in your local cantina.

Jar Jar Binks. The name strikes fear and loathing in the most diehard of Star Wars fan. Why? For the 35+ crowd it was evidence to the madness of King George (Lucas) in that he sold out to the kiddie crowd. Critics cited that Jar Jar was a racial stereotype of Caribbean or Southern minstrel archetype. To me, he was just a bit annoying. His speech was a poor attempt on capturing the magic of Yoda’s dyslexic dialogue and the physical humor, while somewhat funny did not add to the story. In fact, throughout the entire prequel trilogy the physical and sight gag humor fell flat for me, even with R2-D2 and C-3PO. The subtly of the humor between R2 and 3PO perfectly complemented the action and drama of the original trilogy while the "played for laughs" robot head switch in Attack of the Clones was just dumb, in my opinion. In fact, among Episode’s I-III I was only able to find one line that truly made me laugh. That was Obi-Wan’s declaration that they were “Smart than this” after being captured by Dooku in the opening scenes of Revenge of the Sith.

Now naysayers will… um… nay say that Jar Jar was no different than the cute and cuddly Ewoks of Jedi. I say a pox upon you for that. The Ewoks, as teddy bearish as they were, were warriors. Jar Jar Buster Keaton-ed his way into victory on the battle field while the Ewoks used strategic war tactics. Ewoks were never played strictly for comedy while Jar Jar functioned as a clown or comical escape. You never felt that Jar Jar could actually be in danger or killed while Ewoks blew up left and right during the Battle on Endor.

But all this is prologue for the true evil of Jar Jar Binks. Let’s set the stage.

It’s the beginning of The Phantom Menace and a mysterious Sith is pulling the strings of several puppets which leads to war. Palpatine, as Sidious, has manipulated the Trade Federation into blockading and invading Naboo. He is doing this in order to force the Galactic Senate to fight back, allowing him a shot at becoming supreme chancellor and then ultimately, Emperor. To that end, you could say that he has orchestrated every single move of the characters in the films, including, as it is speculated, the birth of Anakin Skywalker. That means he has created a Jedi that will eventually become his apprentice by moving the characters of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan around a chess board in order to arrive on Tatooine with Padme, thus bringing Anakin to Coruscant and pushing him towards Padme years later in order to use her as leverage in bid to seduce Anakin to the dark side.

Now, for all of this to happen you have to have Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon arrive on Naboo and make it to Theed to rescue Amidala. If Jar Jar would have not been so clumsy or, better yet, not in the film, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon would not have gone to Otoh Gunga to meet Boss Nass. One could argue that they could have eventually made it to Theed on their own, rescued Amidala and continued Palpatine’s game but it’s possible that by then, Amidala could have been killed, already signed the treaty, or have been in a position that would have made rescue impossible. In any case, Jar Jar puts the Jedi on a path with destiny. His intervention sets the wheels in motion for Padme and Anakin to meet which causes Darth Vader to be “born.”

“Ok, hold up!” You might say, “You’re telling me that without Jar Jar Binks, there would be no Clone Wars or Emperor Palpatine.” In short, yes. “Why?” I’m so glad you asked. You see, Jar Jar might have been a catalyst for the Jedi’s mission to rescue Amidala which in turn positions Palpatine to assume chancellorship in the Senate after Amidala calls for a no confidence vote of Chancellor Valorum. That is true. And I am willing to assume that even without Jar Jar’s involvement the Jedi could have reached Theed, rescued Amidala, crashed on Tatooine, and brought Anakin along. However, Jar Jar assumes duties within the Senate as a Representative to the Senator of Naboo and calls for emergency powers to be given to the Supreme Chancellor in order to combat the Trade Federation and the Separatists. Had Jar Jar not been involved and allowed to carry such weight the Clone Army would not have been used to fight the droid armies on Genosia and Order 66 would not have been utilized to assassinate the Jedi. Once again, Jar Jar sets the wheels in motion for Palpatine to continue his plan and causes the destruction of the Republic, the Jedi Council, the Jedi, and nearly everyone else.

Thankfully, he was hardly seen at all in Revenge of the Sith and appeared in a small part of the film including Padme’s funeral. According to some EU information he was moved to a secure location by the Emperor and then later was back on Coruscant during the end celebration of the various worlds overjoyed at the news of their liberation from the Empire.

There you have it. Jar Jar Binks is the reason for everything bad that happened in the Star Wars movies. He is the real Phantom Menace because he was a CGI character and not actually on screen as an actor. OK, that was stretching it a bit but you have to admit, if Jar Jar was not included the films and the events within them might have turned out better. But wait, there is another…

Stay tuned.

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