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Monday, May 28, 2012

The Undoing of the Emperor's Plans

Posted by on Mon, May 28, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Luke Skywalker arrives at the palatial spaceship; he is handcuffed, he is led to the core of galactic power, he learns from the Emperor that everything is going as planned...

The rebel fleet is hyperdriving into a trap, the Death Star is online, the Imperial Stormtroopers have surrounded Han Solo's surprise—the Emperor Palpatine has planned everything. The plan appears to be perfect. Power over the future, and this is always the power to reproduce the state of power, requires total planning. But there is a flaw in the emperor's plan. It lacks a singularity—a point in "a function that is not well behaved, that can blow up to infinity, and that is in some sense unrepresentable" (David Harvey). For Wall Street's plans (profits forever), the absent singularity became a "black swan." For the Emperor's plans, the singularity turned out to be the Ewoks.


Comments (20) RSS

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Knat 1
How has it taken you over nine hours to finish a movie only 134 minutes in length? How high are you?
Posted by Knat on May 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM · Report this
Seriously Chucko, you're killing me. Your hipster douchetart drivel gives me serious gastrointestinal cramps.
Posted by capitolhillcowboy on May 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM · Report this
I love it.
Posted by BenY on May 28, 2012 at 8:40 PM · Report this
Greatest. Post. Ever.
Posted by firewalkwithme on May 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 5

I just finished doing a critical watching of "2001".

I'm pretty much convinced that Star Wars is 2001 for Dummies.

For example, when the PanAm ship pulls into the center bay of the wheeled space station...and they have people in these giant bays on all the walls.

How many times did Star Wars do that?

Also check out the command module of the Discovery spaceship. Anything Death Ballish about it? Yessir.

Ok, now thematically you might say that no, these cannot have anything to do with each other.

But what is the central theme of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Artificial and natural selection....evolution.

Ok so one tribe of apemen gets sand kicked in its face.
Then they get The Knowledge from the obelisk.
Then they posse up and kick that other groups ass.

Same in the space station.
The America scientist kicks the Russian scientists asses.
No you can't know what's on out base...we found it first.

What about HAL 9000?
The whole cruise to Jupiter is one bitter asskicking after another.
There was more petty gamesmanship than in an academic lounge.
And there was some bloody battering too.

2001 is a brutal movie.

The theme emerges...that which is superior, naturally asskicks that which is inferior.
It then moves on, to the next challenge round of asskicking.

There is no "working together to solve a problem" in 2001. And it's winner take all.
One ape grabs the bone and takes charge...and eats the meat.

One spaceman gets to go through the gate, his "pod" trailing a propellant like the flagella of a sperm. One man out of billions becomes the Star Child (who then, according to the book at least, promptly explodes all the nuclear weapons to clean house on the leftover inferior men).

Ok, so Star Wars. Same thing. Luke starts off as a punk with some skills. But he's had his ass kicked all his life (just like those apemen). What helps? Self-study? Books? No -- he need a deus ex machina to give him The Knowledge about how to fight in the rest of the galaxy. The Jedi are the Obelisk.

As in 2001 there is constant sparring for supremacy. Han Solo, Luke, Leia, Obi Wan, the droids, Vader. Everyone is looking to assert their superiority...their claim to rule.

Then Luke becomes the his Y-fighter. All the pilots are reduced down until one..only one can penetrate the Death Star -- the Egg.

It goes on and on....
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on May 28, 2012 at 8:56 PM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 6
Nobody knows where the mind of Charles will go... least of all himself. It's best to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Pot helps.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on May 28, 2012 at 8:59 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 7
rural folk to the rescue!
Posted by Max Solomon on May 28, 2012 at 9:03 PM · Report this
I think the Emperor's biggest 'black swan' was Vader's redemption/betrayal.
Posted by madcap on May 28, 2012 at 9:09 PM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 9
All I'm saying is, yeah, for sure. At seven, seven fifty a pound, I can live without Ewok. But if Safeway marks it down to $6.00/lb then you do the math, OK? Guess what's for dinner.

Frankly they can't be that sophisticated an animal if they're that easy (and cheap!) to hunt.
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on May 28, 2012 at 9:10 PM · Report this
@9 Try supplementing with either Soylent Brown or the new Green flavor.

Charles, the first step is to admit you have a furry problem.
Posted by Large Hardon Colluder on May 28, 2012 at 9:19 PM · Report this
DeaconBlues 11
I love that Charles likes Star Wars.
Posted by DeaconBlues on May 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM · Report this
LEE. 12

Troll harder, guy.
Posted by LEE. on May 28, 2012 at 10:24 PM · Report this
revolutionsperminute 13
This is fucking great Charles, keep it up
Posted by revolutionsperminute on May 28, 2012 at 11:14 PM · Report this
Your mom's a poorly behaved function.
Posted by K3 on May 28, 2012 at 11:19 PM · Report this

I'll give you a B-minus for effort; some of your arguments are compelling, but they don't hold together when one really examines the films in question.

First of all, the reason one sees such a visually stylistic similarity between 2001 and Star Wars is due in great measure to the relationship between Douglass Trumbull, one of the four Visual Effects Supervisors on the former film, and his protege, John Dykstra, who took on the same duties in the latter film, having previously assisted his mentor in creating visual effects for Silent Running in 1972. So, it's a very simple matter to make a direct connection between the two films in that regard, which has less to do with imitation (and truly, practically every S-F film in the post 2001 period has utilized that particular effect, which was itself used repeatedly by Kubrick in the film. Also, it should be noted that this effect was not particularly new, even in 1967; as such "insertion shots" can be traced as far back as 1927 to Lang's Metropolis, which used a somewhat similar technique, known as the Schufftan Process, to insert live actors into miniature backgrounds and modeled exteriors.

Furthermore, while evolution is certainly a central thematic element of 2001, your chain of logic falls apart at the end, in that, while HAL may have indeed exacted a "bloody battering" (albeit, one that is completely bloodless, and more chilling in its effect by being so), ultimately, it is the computer's "inferior", a human being who emerges victorious, in an equally brutal, bloodless fashion. In this sense, the "evolution from ape-like proto-human, to homo sapiens, to artificial intelligence, to Star Child has in fact been thrown off-track. Given your chain of progression, it should have been HAL that went through the Star Gate to receive the ultimate knowledge of the builders of the monolith, not his evolutionary "predecessor". But, Kubrick, despite his seeming misanthropy, clearly was not indicating a preference for machine intelligence being superior to human intelligence. After all, the "final" phase of evolution shown in the film, is not a mechanical one, but is, instead, unambiguously biological in nature.

And while I understand the reference to Bowman's pod "trailing a propellant like flagella of sperm" in the final moments of the "ultimate trip sequence", the shot is simply another in a long series utilizing the ink-in-oil technique from which many of these images were created, and its resemblance to an EVA pod at this point in the film is purely coincidental.

It's good that you've read the novelization in addition to viewing the film, as obviously there are some significant differences between the two. However, you somewhat misinterpret the book's finale, in which Clarke clearly refers to the Star Child detonating only the orbiting nuclear devices, and not "all of them" (by which one must conclude you mean both those in orbit AND earthbound). I refer you specifically to the penultimate paragraph of the novel:

"A thousand miles below he became aware that a slumbering cargo of death had awoken, and was stirring sluggishly in its orbit. The feeble energies it contained were no possible menace to him; but he preferred a cleaner sky. He put forth his will, and the circling weapons flowered in a silent detonation that brought a brief, false dawn to half the sleeping globe."

Finally, your suggestion that, because both 2001 and Star Wars deal with themes of supremacy and power, that somehow Lucas stole directly from the former, is, well, rather questionable. Such themes are predominant in practically ALL dramatic literature, going back to Gilgamesh. It's akin to positing that, because "The Merchant of Venice" and "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie" both have court room scenes, that the latter clearly borrowed from the former. It's sloppy logic and shows, at best, a very superficial understanding of the material.
Posted by COMTE on May 28, 2012 at 11:29 PM · Report this
reverend dr dj riz 16
what gets me is the beginning of each film. a 'long time ago in a galaxy far far away.... wars..'
it makes me deeply sad that this shit is old and universal.
Posted by reverend dr dj riz on May 28, 2012 at 11:36 PM · Report this
prompt 17
These posts are why I think that Charles isn't a person, but rather a running joke by the stranger staff.
Posted by prompt on May 29, 2012 at 1:11 AM · Report this
The Max 18
It wasn't the Ewoks who turned the tide in the overall battle and thus the war. If the Ewoks had remained neutral, Leia, Han, and Chewie would have been captured. The Rebel Fleet would have lost capital ships, but Admiral Akbar was a genius. No military genius commits to battle without a Foxtrot plan. If the Ewoks hadn't been a factor, the Rebels would have jumped away and the Emperor still would have died at the hands of his Creature.
Posted by The Max on May 29, 2012 at 8:05 AM · Report this
prompt 19
@18 Interdictor ships with Gravity well projectors.

Posted by prompt on May 29, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Cato the Younger Younger 20
I'd have liked it better had Luke decided to go to the Dark Side, the Rebel Alliance was destroyed and that fucking stupid moon of Endor was blasted from the stars with those fucking stupid teddy bear creatures.
Posted by Cato the Younger Younger on May 29, 2012 at 2:54 PM · Report this

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