Reason #1,721

17Apr12

I realized yet another reason why the Original “Star Wars” Trilogy is superior to the prequels: everyone’s smarter. Case in point: in “Star Wars,” the Falcon makes its daring getaway from the Death Star, fighting through four tie-fighters.  It’s a tough battle, but they do it and manage to plot their course for the rebel base.

Which is just what the Empire wanted. Cut to: The Death Star, where Vader and Tarkin discuss how they’ve planted a homing beacon on the Falcon. Pretty smart.

But not quite as smart as Princess Leia who, in the next scene, tells Han that the tie-fighter battle was easy because the Empire is tracking them to find the location of the Rebel base.

Smart on top of smart.  You can build up the smart points here because whether the Empire tracks the Falcon secretly or out in the open is irrelevant to their plan.  They just want to find the Rebel base so they can destroy it.  If they do that on their tiptoes or with a giant floating planet, they don’t care. And the fact that Leia knows they’re tracking them is also interesting, because it keeps the tension going. She actually says the words, “It’s not over yet,” because deep down she knows that even if the Rebels managed to escape from this impending attack, there are going to be many, many more.  There are other instances (deactivating the hyperdrive on the Falcon in “Empire” off the top of my head), but that one sticks out as something that would never happen in the prequels.

Compare this to Episode II, where Anakin — whipping boy of idiocy — steps into trap after trap. He takes Amidala — the woman he’s supposed to be guarding — to Tatooine to save his mother (what have you been doing all these years, Anakin?), then helps her go to Count Dooku and gets them all trapped. Obi-Wan doesn’t come off as much smarter either. He stares at a giant army that nobody ordered and just stares at it.  Then later he’s relieved the clone army showed up when they did.

By far the dumbest thing anyone has ever said in any “Star Wars” movie ever* actually comes in the best prequel, Episode III.  Mace Windu, upon hearing some news about something (I can’t remember) says, “I sense a plot to destroy the Jedi Knights.”

Uh-huh.  And then what?  You wanna do something about it?

Nah. Let’s just carry on and look a little more sternly at things.

Play it smart. Make all your characters smart. When a story has to rely on a character being dumb or ignorant or foolish in order to work, then you’re asking a lot of your audience.

*Today.

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