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Geek Week
By Ed Driscoll · May 16, 2005 04:19 PM · Hollywood, Interrupted

On Sunday night, James Lileks posted a beautiful--and beautifully geeky--remembrance of both Enterprise in general, and the Star Trek franchise as a whole, as Enterprise's last episode--the last first run Star Trek for the immediate future--aired over the weekend.

Meanwhile, another famous science fiction franchise is of course also (sorta kinda maybe perhaps) coming to an end this week.

Promising lots of additional Star Wars content this week, Will Collier of VodkaPundit has some thoughts on its creator's "oddball Marin politics" (as Collier puts it) and his own ability to overlook them:

Let me put it bluntly: I'm not much inclined to take Lucas's politics seriously either way. He's proven himself to be a pretty unsophisticated political thinker in the past, to say nothing of a raging hypocrite, as Jim Geraghty aptly pointed out a while back. I compare my reaction to alleged Bush-bashing in "Episode III" the same way I viewed the Wachowski Brothers' lame politicizing of the two "Matrix" sequels: the ideological musings of anybody dumb enough to take Cornell West seriously aren't worth getting worked up over.

Ditto for Lucas. Come Thursday (very early), I plan to snicker at the politics and enjoy the moviemaking instead. As Lileks said going into "Episode II," my requirements are simple: just don't suck.

So does it? The New York Daily News' Jami Bernard writes:
The fundamental, overarching "Star Wars" theme, established in 1977 and still going strong, is that when you are old enough to leave the farm and responsible enough to take the wheel, then and only then will you be allowed to drive fast.

In 1977, Luke chafed at the bit to be taken seriously, and in 2005, his father, Anakin, pouts about how everyone gets promoted to Jedi master except him. When Samuel L. Jackson's noble Mace Windu effectively tells Anakin to go to his room, you know the Dark Side is just a temper tantrum away.

This theme of wanting to be treated like a grownup, with its hints of displacing the father, is why kids love "Star Wars" while older audiences are cool to it. This also explains why "Sith" opens with yet another video-game-like space chase, in which Anakin's and Obi-Wan's driving skills help determine the outcome of the Clone Wars.

There's a lot riding on "Revenge of the Sith." Accordingly, it cloaks itself in operatic grandeur, which it doesn't really deserve until the extensive and effective ending. Even so, imagine how utterly moving this could have been if the stick-figure humans contained half the emotional heft of their computer-generated cousins.

I admit to a thrill of sick delight when the black Darth Vader mask at last descends upon the face of Anakin, sealing his fate and changing his breathing, bringing full circle something that began with far more offhand charm back in 1977.

It's a reminder that in the "Star Wars" saga, there are pockets of brilliance, surrounded by the yawning emptiness of space.

That last sentence in particular is spot-on. Of course, the same is very much true (in spades) of Star Trek. But between the movies and the episodes, we're talking something like 45,000 minutes of footage. In contrast, Star Wars has only about 720 minutes (not including of course the Star Wars Holiday Special!), and its batting average will only be above .500--if this movie, a la Lileks' riff, doesn't suck.



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