Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Muppet Madness Strikes This March

The great people behind The MuppetCast and ToughPigs are hosting a March Madness-style tournament with a Muppet twist. Beginning with sixteen match-ups, you can vote to help determine which character will advance in each round of the bracket. Head over to check out The Muppet Madness Tournament! and help your favorite Muppet cut down the net!

The Muppet Madness Tournament!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Luke Skywalker Wasn't Much Of A Jedi

Today marks the tenth anniversary of ArtoosNews.com. While it was around, R2N was my favorite STAR WARS collecting site, but it only lasted a few years (that's okay, though, because we have YodasNews.com now). In honor of its anniversary, here's a (slightly edited) copy of a post I authored on the site's forum back in 2002. Hope you're doing well, Travis!

"Luke's just not a farmer, Owen. He has too much of his father in him." - Beru Lars

Did he? Did he really have too much of his father in him? His father was an arrogant Jedi apprentice, and if anything, he was too confident in his abilities. The closest Luke ever came to being cocky, despite Han Solo's comments in A New Hope, was when he ran off to face Vader before completing his training. That was more stupidity than anything else. It was always, "I can't do this. I can't do that. It's impossible." Anakin seemed completely different. You never saw Luke jumping out of a speeder thousands of feet in the air! Anakin went out and did his thing. The kid was like nine years old, flying starfighters in space battles, podracing, and even building his own racer. He was a slave, but he kept a positive attitude. Luke is like twenty years old, and he thinks he has it bad working on his uncle's farm.

"But I was going into Toshi Station to pick up some power converters." - Luke Skywalker

You ever want to just smack someone? Why didn't Owen just backhand Luke and put him in his place? Ungrateful little desert hick, he should have been thankful that this farmer, to whom he wasn't even really related, had taken him into his home. But no, not Luke. He has to complain about everything. People say that Jar Jar is annoying, but Jar Jar can't touch Luke.

"I can't get involved. I've got work to do." - Luke Skywalker

The film could have easily been titled Star Whines with this guy. What did Obi-Wan even see in him? How did he peg this kid for Jedi material? After seeing cats like Mace Windu in action, not to mention young Obi-Wan and a younger Yoda, exactly what did he think this kid was capable of becoming? He never accomplished anything remotely close to what we have seen the Jedi do in the prequels. Leia seemed like a much better candidate. She was strong, independent, and fearless. Luke was a whiny, obnoxious pain in the ass.

"I warn you not to underestimate my powers." - Luke Skywalker

What powers? When Darth Maul is backing away from Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon, he uses the Force to lift some crate and smash it into the control panel to open a door. What does Luke do when Jabba drops him into the Rancor pit? He throws a skull at the control panel. Granted, it was a throw that would have made Dan Marino proud, but come on, man. Powers? Give me a break. It was just a nice toss.

"You want the impossible." - Luke Skywalker

After all the things to which Luke had been witness...

Ben teaching him the ways of the Force, using the Force to control the minds of the Stormtroopers, and guiding Luke when he himself used the Force to drop a bomb right up the gut of the first Death Star, all without the aid of a targeting computer... Why was lifting an X-Wing so impossible? You never see Anakin display that attitude. Anakin is the exact opposite, which is why I liked him better. Luke was always waiting to get kicked around, never really getting the whole Jedi thing down. Anakin would jump right into the thick of the shit without giving it a second thought. The only times you really see him hesitate are 1) when he's trying to decide if he's going to side with Palpatine or the Jedi and 2) when he has to slice up a bunch of little kids.

"With the blast shield down I can't even see. How am I supposed to fight?" - Luke Skywalker

Can you see Obi-Wan acting that way during his training? Qui-Gon? Mace? I can't even see Anakin acting like that. He grew up being able to, "see things before they happen," remember? He would have been all about fighting the remote without his vision. What about the Bear Clan? You think those little kids would have whined to Yoda? No way. They would have done what they were told. Luke just complained. All the time.

"Luke's crazy. He can't even take care of himself, much less rescue anybody." - Han Solo

Good thing Han Solo was around to take care of Luke, seeing as how the little punk was always trying to get himself killed. Being tracked down by Vader's ship is one thing, because we all know that Vader is an excellent pilot. In The Empire Strikes Back, however, Luke almost gets taken out by the STAR WARS equivalent of a polar bear. Luke can't use the Force to sense this big Wampa walking up behind him? Anakin and Obi-Wan were in deep conversation when they both sensed the little assassin slugs in the next room. Not only was Luke a punk, but he wasn't too sharp, either. So this Wampa grabs him and freezes him to the roof of his cave. Luke looks as if he is going to have an aneurysm just using the Force to grab his lightsaber. What a joke... He dies if Han doesn't show up to save him.

"An elegant weapon for a more civilized time. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire." - Obi-Wan Kenobi

Look at the way the Jedi conduct themselves in the Old Republic. Even Anakin, who began life as a slave and eventually becomes Darth Vader, is a sophisticated, talented young gentleman. Luke never displayed any of those qualities, but I was happy for Luke when he started to beat Vader down in Return Of The Jedi. He was winning, and he could have finished him, had he chosen to do so. But then the Emperor put Luke in his proper place: lying on his back, screaming like a bitch. Luke is a goner at this point, but once again, someone comes along to save this pathetic, sorry excuse for a Jedi. He just sliced off Vader's hand, so for all he knows, the Dark Lord of the Sith wants to watch him fry. But Anakin Skywalker found something he had lost, something he didn't even know still existed: his humanity. He sacrifices himself to save his son, and Luke Skywalker Forrest Gumps his way through another adventure.

Luke Skywalker: "So, what do you think of her, Han?"
Han Solo: "I'm tryin' not to, kid."
Luke Skywalker: "Good."
Han Solo: "Still, she's gotta lot of spirit. I don't know, whaddya think? You think a princess and a guy like me--"
Luke Skywalker: "No."

What the hell? How Force-sensitive could Luke have been? He was falling for his sister! He kissed his sister! If that doesn't leave a foul taste in your mouth, I don't know what will. All the whining, all the shortcomings, all the less-than-impressive Jedi skills, it could all be forgiven. You just don't make out with your sister, though.

No, Luke wasn't much of a Jedi. I know a lot of people don't much care for the prequels, but personally, I'm happy that George Lucas gave us a taste of what Jedi were supposed to be. I'm glad we got a sample of what Obi-Wan was talking about on Tatooine, when he was telling Luke about the Old Republic and the Jedi Knights protecting the galaxy. And I'm glad that Luke didn't have to be in those films.