07/11/2005: "Finally saw Star Wars Episode III"
OK, I finally saw the last of the Star Wars movies. I went in not knowing what to think. Most had thought it was good, but I was concerned there was an overly low set of expectations after the first two. Also, Hayden Christiansen (or however you spell it, I'm not giving him the respect of looking it up) did a poor job acting again, according to most accounts. They said that didn't hamper the movie too much but for me his bad acting was a primary enjoyment killer for the first two. Yet amongst all of that I couldn't ignore that so many people said it was good. So, as I said, I wasn't sure what to think.
After the first half hour I thought to myself, "Geez, this is going to suck. It's just as bad as the last two!" But then it got into the plot and I was very impressed. First of all, I can actually see why Hayden Christiansen was chosen for this role now that I've seen him play the evil guy. He was actually pretty good at that. In the end I think he has the same acting problem (although to a FAR greater magnitude) that Samuel L. Jackson had as a Jedi. Mr. Jackson can only be one type of character, the type that he played in Pulp Fiction. He doesn't know how to play a calm, rational individual. He can only be a B.A.M.F.. When he tries to be calm and composed, it just comes off flat. Same thing for Mr. Christiansen although he seems to be only able to play diobolically evil immature vilans. He seems to be pretty good at that.
Anyway, that's not what I wanted to write about.
I think this movie actually was the best of the six, in one regard: It had the best story. By story I don't mean script or plot or acting or dialogue or anything else but story. As far as story telling goes, it was an epic. Better than Episode V. It is VERY difficult to have a believable identifiable story of a good character becoming an evil character. I challenged my brother to think of another movie that did it effectively. He only came up with one real example: The Godfather movies. I agree with him that those movies did a better job than Lucus did but I think it proves my point. It's an exceedingly difficult task and a movie that does it well (which of course requires more than just the story) is going to be lauded as an excellent one, just like the Godfather movies.
So what does it take to turn your back on all you pledge your alliegance to? Something that runs deeper than one's alliegances. In the case of Anakin Skywalker it was his love (lust?) for his wife. Particularly the fear of her death. It was something that a person could understand why it would trouble him.
Which brings me to my final point: Priests. (Hey, this is a blog about the Catholic Faith, what else do you expect?) I had heard a person do some comparison of the movie to the Catholic Faith and he was WAY off in the weeds somewhere trying to make everyone symbolize some aspect of the Church, so let me be clear that I do not think Lucas was making any point about the Catholic Church in the movie but the themes that he touched on relate to a currently discussed issue in the Church: Priestly celibacy.
Many talk about priests who abandon thier celebate obligations in a way that suggest that it is unfair to ask that of them. They suggest that it creates a false conflict between their priestly life and thier sexual desires. But when we look at what happened to Anakin Skywalker we see that it had nothing to do with the fact that he was asked to be celebate. Had he respected his vow, he would not have had the temptation that eventually turned him to evil.
In the end, this is what priestly celebacy is trying to avoid: temptations and split alliegances. There are valid arguments as to why avoiding these things aren't necessary and those arguments have merit. That's for a different discussion. My point in this post is to say that Episode III gives a very compelling argument as to why avoiding temptation and split alliegances is a potentially if not consistently important goal for priests.
I believe we must keep this in our mind when discussing whether now is the time to end priestly celebacy and allow married men into the priesthood.