More on *Sith* and fascism

…get an eyeful of the décor. All of the interiors in Lucasworld are anthems to clean living, with molded furniture, the tranquillity of a morgue, and none of the clutter and quirkiness that signify the process known as existence. Illumination is provided not by daylight but by a dispiriting plastic sheen, as if Lucas were coating all private affairs—those tricky little threats to his near-fascistic rage for order—in a protective glaze. Only outside does he relax, and what he relaxes into is apocalypse. “Revenge of the Sith” is a zoo of rampant storyboards. Why show a pond when C.G.I. can deliver a lake that gleams to the far horizon? Why set a paltry house on fire when you can stage your final showdown on an entire planet that streams with ruddy, gulping lava? Whether the director is aware of John Martin, the Victorian painter who specialized in the cataclysmic, I cannot say, but he has certainly inherited that grand perversity, mobilized it in every frame of the film, and thus produced what I take to be unique: an art of flawless and irredeemable vulgarity. All movies bear a tint of it, in varying degrees, but it takes a vulgarian genius such as Lucas to create a landscape in which actions can carry vast importance but no discernible meaning, in which style is strangled at birth by design, and in which the intimate and the ironic, not the Sith, are the principal foes to be suppressed. It is a vision at once gargantuan and murderously limited…

The two best entries to this film, and to Star Wars in general, are Milton’s Paradise Lost and the popular fascist art of the Nazis and Soviets.  The portrayal of the Jedi shows that the fascist temptation is far stronger than Milton ever believed, which is saying something. 

Most of the other episodes also should be viewed with fascistic traditions in mind.  (Otherwise you may think of them as stupid and maudlin, esp. I and II.)  Is this deliberate, or rather picked up through Buck Rogers, Joseph Campbell, and other intermediate sources?  It doesn’t matter.  Lucas’s final message is supremely anti-fascistic, and at the end of "Return of the Jedi" he presents entertaining story-telling as his preferred alternative means of enthrallment (remember the ewoks reenacting the whole story?).  But of course only a director himself enthralled with the fascistic aesthetic could make such a convincingly anti-fascistic series of movies.  That is precisely what makes the whole thing interesting, and is what most critics miss.  At least Lane gets half the picture.


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