Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dear George Lucas, We need to talk about something called feminism.

Dear George Lucas,

I have taken issue with some of the female characters in your movies. As a concerned movie viewer, I feel the need to bring these issues to your attention.

First of all, I must say that Marion Ravenwood is an awesome character... in Raiders of the Lost Ark. She's not Abner's little girl anymore. She owns that bar and pretty much can drink anyone under the table. She's independent and strong minded as evidenced by her frequent yelling at Indiana Jones. In Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, well, she drives a truck. That's it. She drives a truck while Indiana and Mutt fight communists. Why must you take my childhood and punch it in the face? I wanted a kick ass Marion Ravenwood and you gave me a truck driver.

Now that doesn't change the fact that she was kick ass in Raiders so I'll give you a point for Marion Ravenwood. But that point is quickly taken away by Willie Scott in Temple of Doom. Stupid, shrieking Willie. You make me want to like her. Temple of Doom starts with her singing "Anything Goes" in Chinese. From there, she's completely helpless. Short Round is more useful. Let me repeat that again. Short Round, a young orphan, is more useful than a grown woman. She shrieks and cries over bugs and elephants and dirt and pretty much everything else she encounters. I'm not saying I would be much better, but I would definitely be better than that. So, for giving us Willie in Temple of Doom, you lose the point for giving us Marion Ravenwood. In fact, I'm taking away another point because I hate Willie that much.

I'm going to ignore the Nazi sympathizer in Last Crusade because she's pretty forgettable. As for the Communist in Crystal Skull, I'll give you a point for making a woman the main antagonist. Yay for equal opportunity villainy. Congratulations, your point total is now zero.

Let's talk Princess Leia. She was my childhood hero. She's still my hero. She's a bit like Marion or I guess Marion is a bit like her. Sure, they get kidnapped and held hostage but they ultimately help save the day. Leia strangled Jabba with the chain that he used to enslave her while wearing a gold bikini. That's talent. Leia is sarcastic, independent and a princess. That's pretty much what I wanted to be when I grew up. Heck, that's what I still want to be if it comes with a good health care plan. I love Princess Leia. I will give you a point for each movie in the original trilogy. Because I'm feeling generous, I'll also give you a point for the Star Wars Holiday Special, but I understand if you don't want it.

Leia's adopted mother must have been amazing because her biological mother was an absolute idiot. I was super excited for Phantom Menace and Queen Amidala. I bought the action figure before the movie came out. I had the Taco Bell collector's cup which I used instead of collecting. I did not dress up like Queen Amidala for Halloween that year but that's more because I'm lazy and have dressed up like a witch every year since I was 6 until this year when I dressed up as... wait for it... a Star Fleet officer. Yeah. I said it. Star Trek is the movie that broke my lazy streak, not Star Wars. Okay, let me air my grievances about Queen/Senator Padme Amidala Skywalker. This is where I believe most of your crimes against feminism lie.

Let me get this straight. Padme Amidala became queen when she was fourteen. Are there no child labor laws on Naboo? Furthermore, she was elected queen when she was fourteen? I can see two possible reasons that this would happen. 1. The only person who cast a vote in the election was Jar Jar Binks or 2. The position of queen is automatically filled by the winner of the Miss Teen Naboo pageant. I was eleven when I first saw Phantom Menace. I could not wait to be a teenager and have crazy adventures and become queen of some planet. I had very real expectations. You know what my greatest accomplishment was when I was fourteen? I graduated from 8th grade. No one gave me my own planet to rule. Which was probably a good thing since I was mostly concerned with boys and finding rides to the mall. Yeah. I was one of those girls. Maybe if I'd had better role models in movies...

I can excuse most of Phantom Menace because she was a stupid teenager. She's just stupid in Attack of the Clones. I guess Anakin and Padme are supposed to have this great love story. I know great love stories. I watch soap operas. I also know bad love stories. I watch soap operas. Anakin and Padme had a bad love story. He was a total creeper. She even says, "Don't look at me like that. It makes me uncomfortable." Was that supposed to be her way of saying, "Ours is a forbidden love so you can't look at me like that." Because what I heard was, "Ani, someone is trying to assassinate me but you're the one I would consider my stalker right now." And still, they frolic together in the fields of Naboo and go to Tatooine to find his mother. And really, Padme, really? You see how he reacts to his mothers death and you still love him? He tells you he slaughtered them all. Women. Children. None of this sets off an alarm to run far away? Okay, George Lucas, I understand that Padme comforting Anakin over his mother's death is suppose to bring them together. I understand that. But still it seems more like those women who fall in love with men on death row. Anakin has obvious rage issues and you know the drill: anger leads to hate etc. Clearly, marriage is the best solution. Does this story sound familiar? It should because this is how every Lifetime movie begins. Minus one point for that dysfunctional relationship. Minus another point because the dialogue in Lifetime movies is better than the dialogue in Attack of the Clones.

And finally, Revenge of the Sith. Best part of this movie hands down was Padme saying to evil Anakin after he killed the younglings, "You're breaking my heart, Ani." Hysterical. I can no longer hear about broken hearts without laughing. It is important to note that "Achy Breaky Heart" couldn't do this to me, but Revenge of the Sith did. Okay, we all knew that Padme was going to die somehow. I figured her death would send Anakin over the edge, but he was pretty far gone already. How's she going to die, I wondered. Will the Emperor kill her? Will Anakin? Obviously, she will have an awesome death. Um, wait... what? She loses the will to live or dies from a broken heart or whatever lame excuse you used? I mean why would Padme have a reason to live? Her husband is evil therefore she should die. It's not like she just bore twins or anything. Do you see how this steps all over feminism? She has no life without Anakin. Shakespeare tried this crap and I didn't buy it then. Minus a point for each child she basically orphaned by losing the will to live.

So you're back to zero points and so ends my rant. I need to look on the bright side. At least you had nothing to do with Sex and the City which repeatedly kicked feminism in the face with a stiletto. I give you half of a point for that. I just want better female characters in my favorite space opera. Is that too much to ask?


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