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The Big Question: Are there too many movies featuring the Death Star?

The question as posed in the title of this entry was raised at The Federalist. What say you, Samizdata commentators?

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37 comments to The Big Question: Are there too many movies featuring the Death Star?

  • Laird

    Leaving aside the question as to why The Federalist is writing an editorial on movie plot lines, the author consistently conflates the issues of whether it makes logical sense for the Empire to be building Death Stars and whether it makes sense for the moviemakers to repeatedly use the same plot device. The two are not the same. I’ll leave the former to the military strategists.

    Given that a Death Star was used in both Episodes IV and VI, whether that made sense at the time is irrelevant; it’s done. But as to the newest movie, recall that Episode IV (the first of the bunch, for those unfamiliar with the canon) opens with the Death Star plans having been stolen and the need to get those plans to the rebel headquarters. The newest movie (a prequel) apparently depicts the means by which those plans were acquired. So in this case it’s not a different Death Star, it’s the same one. Thus the complaint makes no sense at all. It’s like complaining that the newest Star Trek movies have the starship Enterprise. Well, duh!

    The author also remarks that Episode V is “generally considered the best movie in the franchise”. I disagree; to me, that one was merely an eminently forgettable bridge between Episodes IV and VI, nothing more than a character development device. So overall I am vastly unimpressed with his opinions.

  • Mr Ed

    I saw the first Star Wars film in a cinema a long, long time age, all I can remember are some of the Starfighters whizzing around, a ‘weirdoes in a bar’ scene, R2-D2 and C3PO in a desert scene, Alec Guinness muttering, and perhaps holding a light sabre, and Darth Vader hissing and a woman with a daft hairdo, even for those times (i.e. it would have looked daft ‘on the street’).

    Forgive me, but I do not know the relevance of the Death Star to the film or anything else.

  • Thailover

    Answer: No.
    Why? Because only entertaining movies make money, so apparently “death star” movies are entertaining (to someone…not me).

    The question is like asking, ‘are there too many harry potter books’. Since people have voluntarily voted with their wallets to make J.K. Rowling a billionaire, I’m guessing no.

  • Russ in TX

    Every genre has a trope or two.

    In Star Wars, “Bad zen aka The Force” and “Death Star” are the tropes.

    “There can be no peace between the lion and its prey.”

    If some weirdo fascists in bad uniforms and plastic armor are out there…who cares, REALLY? Got plenty of those in Wisconsin. But when they can blow up your planet, the game changes dramatically. And when they can blow up multiple planets from far away, the stakes go a bit higher.

  • mike

    Not enough. I’m still waiting for a good one about her part in Benghazi.

  • QET

    I would like a movie specifically about the Death Star. Who designed it? How was its construction financed? Who was the general contractor, and how many subcontractors did it use? How many workers did it require? Were they unionized? How much were they paid? How many died on the job? How is it supplied with food and fresh water? How were the raw materials brought in? What sort of medical facilities does it have? Where did the medical staff receive their training? Does it have its own football league and stadium? Does it have day care facilities? I don’t recall seeing any children. Are there schools? What is the curriculum? Do they have Latin honors? That sort of thing.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    QET wins the thread. It has been quite amusing reading all the grumpiness on here. I love you all.

  • Alisa

    Hmm, I’m about as old as most here, and I have never seen a single SW movie. Do you still love me too, JP?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Johnathan, just for you I’ll add to the general grump, although with a bit of a grin lurking in the mandibular area. Mr. Harsanyi writes,

    “Princess Leia allowed General Tarkin to annihilate her home planet of Alderaan — billions of people lost — to protect a couple of robots in possession of Death Star blueprints.”

    Not so. She gave in, and then the Evil General Tarkin blew up Alderaan anyway. Moral: Never trust the Bad Guys.

    Although that particular plot device is nothing to make fun of, as the essential dilemma is faced in real wars all the time. (And the idea is positively threadbare in fiction, where it also faces the single cop or private eye or John Q. Citizen, I suppose, from time to time. By the way, docs also face it, in the issue of using antibiotics.)

    . . .

    And by the way, agree with Johnathan that QET gets to the nitty-gritty of the issues of prime importance. He or she does miss one crucial point, though: Are the Death Star’s hair-braiders properly licensed?

    * * *

    Call me anti-intellectual, but I loved Star Wars One: the original trilogy, that is. I thought the “prequel” was silly and also most unfortunately cast, although of course the FX were awesome.

  • Stonyground

    The newest movie isn’t a prequel. Episodes IV, V, & VI were made first. Episodes I, II & III were made next and were prequels to the first three. The latest movie is episode VII and is set after the other six. I’ve seen them all but I don’t take them too seriously, I see them as harmless fun.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh, Alisa, you poor child. You haven’t lived!

  • Alisa

    I know, Julie 🙁 Will you please adopt me and take me to the movies?

  • Julie near Chicago

    Alisa, you’re on! And we will stop for Pancakes on the way home. 😉 x2

  • ronwit

    VII proves that the real problem is that there haven’t been enough movies with Death Stars in them. If I, II and III had Death Stars maybe they would not so bad.

  • Laird

    Stonyground, you obviously didn’t read the article. He’s writing about SW VIII, not the one which came out a few months ago. This one will be out in December, and is very much a prequel (being slotted in between ## III and IV).

    Julie, I’m with you: I very much liked the original trilogy (the middle one least). The second trilogy of “prequels” wasn’t worth watching.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird! I knew we are soul-mates! (You can always tell real soul-mates. They squabble a lot. *g*)

  • Laird

    Julie, we can take Alisa to the movies together!

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Another reason for more movies is to explain what the new Death Star is doing! Is it a planet? Is it ‘beaming’ its’ ray through hyperspace, and if that is so, how good is the aim?Do they aim for the planet, or its’ sun? The public wants to know!

  • RAD Warner

    QET
    It seems there is a film about the canteen…
    I’m not a big fan of Eddie Izzrd, who seems to be on the dark side politically, but this is quite funny…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5iEK-IEzw

  • Stonyground

    I stand corrected.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, what a great idea, I’m up for it! We can have popcorn during the movie, and then stop for pancakes after. Woo-HOO !!

  • Mr Ed

    I expect this OP to be reposted on May 4th.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Let’s wait until the UN declares that May the fourth is Star Wars day, okay, Mr. Ed?

  • TomJ

    Stonygrond, Laird: The film out in Dec will not be Star Wars: Episode VIII, but Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While it is arguably the 8th Star Wars film (if you discount Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor for being too Ewokcentric and The Clone Wars for being too CG and rubbish), referring to it as such will just confuse already confused matters further.

  • Alisa

    You two are on – but admit it, pancakes is what you are really after!

  • Greytop

    One thing that always bothered me about the Death Star was that it, being a small moon, it apparently had to orbit a larger body. I understand it was a convenient plot device that it was about to come ‘over the horizon’ and destroy the rebels so it was like a countdown clock on a bomb: would the heroic forces get to it in time? But, while my fading memory may be wrong, why did it have to be in line of sight of the rebels if it could just shoot the whole planet anyway? Or even, if another planet was in the way, just shoot that one away to get a clear shot at the enemy?

    If I am wrong about this I would be grateful to anyone who recalls the movie better than I do about the mechanics of this. Oh yes, and where was the propulsion system was to get it from star system to star system? If any, that is…

    But I like the question here by QET about whether it had a football league of its own. Latest result in is: Energy Generators 2, Equatorial Trough Maintenance 1

  • Laird

    TomJ, I was merely referring to it as SW VIII for convenience of reference, not because that is its actual title.

  • Rob Fisher

    Thank-you, RAD Warner. Now I need to clean my keyboard. Eddie Izzard’s stand-up comedy was pretty apolitical, as far as I remember.

  • Rational Plan

    No, No we need more Death Star movies, A big screen filled with multiple orbs of death spinning and firing in all directions.

    As to Mr Izzard, I know it makes me sound like some snob, but I prefer his earlier work. No seriously, his best standup videos are before he was famous in the US. His Dressed to Kill video in San Francisco was his breakout hit and is very good. His subsequent shows have still contained many gems but have succumbed too much in flights of fancy. He has since transitioned to acting and has done some good work.

    Alas in recent years he has fallen victim to po faced lefty campaigning. His tranvesticism seems to have become more political rather than a changeable whim like before. Usually though any campaign he has attached himself to has failed miserably on. I wish he’d go back to more standup or acting, as he has talent and has never been a political comic.

  • Laird

    Julie, you seem to have a fetish for pancakes. (Or are you merely quoting john Malkovich’s character in the last scene of the movie “Red”?).

    Anyway, do you think Alisa would qualify for this?

  • Alisa

    Thank you for reminding me, Laird – there indeed a movie god in movie heaven!

    (Oh, and the pancake fetish is mostly mine 😀 )

  • Stephen K

    “I would like a movie specifically about the Death Star. Who designed it? How was its construction financed? Who was the general contractor, and how many subcontractors did it use? How many workers did it require? Were they unionized? How much were they paid? How many died on the job? How is it supplied with food and fresh water? How were the raw materials brought in? What sort of medical facilities does it have? Where did the medical staff receive their training? Does it have its own football league and stadium? Does it have day care facilities? I don’t recall seeing any children. Are there schools? What is the curriculum? Do they have Latin honors? That sort of thing.”
    There isn’t a movie but there is a book, called, imaginatively, ‘Death Star’, by Michael Reaves & Steve Perry. It passes the time and has a few nice moments.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Laird, it’s because Alisa and I share a Pancakes Pash. And our first date (Mid was there as chaperone) involved xclnt excellent conversation while digesting the delectable delights.

    As for Red, it transpires that she and I and, from your comment, I suspect you too, simply cannot imagine any greater addition to the arts of the film, the biography, the exposé, the real-life history and sociology of espionage than this documentary and its sequel illustrating true difficulties in transitioning back from the Intel Elite to semi-normal society, or, putting it a bit differently, of coming in from the cold.

    Of course, one must remember to have one’s anti-laughing-gas pills close at hand during a viewing. It would be a shame to miss the best parts due to having filled up like a balloon with the stuff and risen into outer space just a bit too soon.

    I will go out on a limb and say that Alisa and I would not at all mind inviting him to join us … especially since, as you point, he too is in thrall of the Pancake. :>))!!

    On the other hand, would you be dreadfully disappointed if we passed on including Peter Stormare from our feast of pancakes and flow of soul? U-toob.etc/watch?v=MY5NspwaVgk

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Greytop, maybe the Death Star couldn’t handle Gas giants? Or needed time between blasts, so they decided to just do the moon with the rebels on.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Alisa, what are you complaining about? You get some new parents who will take you to the movies! If they like pancakes, they might share!

  • Paul Marks

    The local cinema is still pushing the Star Wars film – the last one, not the one out next.

    It is all bluring together.

  • Richard Thomas

    Moral: Never trust the Bad Guys.

    Julie, she didn’t. She lied.