Is the character of Jar-Jar-Binks really neccessary to the story?

Discussion in 'Attack of the Clones' started by Ob1-Ob2-Ob3, Feb 7, 2004.

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  1. Philip023 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2002
    star 3
    I agree Hudnall. Name me one corporate exec that doesn't put a positive spin on lower earnings. Or a politician who spins a poll number in a different way.
    Look at the moviemaker who spins his film in a way that suggests a reasoning behind an aspect of the film that is a disappointment - box office or otherwise.

    Lucas is a pro, a politician, an entertainer.

    I think his movies are good and the story he is telling is fundamentally sound. But to suggest, in any other sense, that Jar jar came out exactly as he wanted and was received by the public exactly as he predicted is nothing more than SPIN.

    People that liked TPM said that the movie would have been that much better without jar jar. People and/or critics that gave a positive review of the film said that the film could have been done without his inclusion. People saw it as a senseless pandering to kids or as an attempt to showcase CGI - which he probably succeeded.

    However, that doesn't take away from the fact that he spins like everyone else.

    Whatever Lucas' intentions were is irrelevant. He didn't pull it off. Its funny that the passion of fans on both sides of the aisle comment that they are the true fans. True fans say the embrace and, in reality, defend Jar Jar because it was willed by Lucas that jar jar be in the movie. Lucas can't be wrong, can he? Others say that he misstepped. Yet if all the focus is on one character in reviews, in polls, in fan sites with either a defense or criticism of one character, that tells you that there is something going on.

    Why would SW fans completely re-edit TPM with jar jar omitted? why spend all that time and perhaps money?

    Why must SW fans defend jar jar to the death? What are they trying to preserve with one character who really doesn't add anything substantive to either film?

    Fact is, fans try to preserve Lucas's diminished mystique (diminished because of these last two films). The other side, my side I guess, wants the same thing, but recognizes that, perhaps, the old man has forgotten the one principle in business and entertainment that will always translate to success:

    Give the people what they want!

    We don't want Jar Jar.......and we don't need him either!
  2. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    phillip023: Give the people what they want!
    />
    LUCAS: Well, I can't. The audience wants all different things. I definitely am not a guy who markets my ? that's market testing on my movies and says, oh, this is what the audience wants, so I'm going to give it to them. In the end, it really has to do more with storytelling than anything else./>/>
  3. Scott3eyez Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 4
    >>>>Why must SW fans defend jar jar to the death? What are they trying to preserve with one character who really doesn't add anything substantive to either film?

    Why must ex-Star Wars fans attack Jar Jar all the time? What are they trying to achieve by publicly airing their grievances?


    For me, Jar Jar proposing the vote over Bail, Padme or any other character has mythic value because of the symbolism of the frog. On one hand, there's the fact that the frog represents rebirth (presumably because of the whole spawn>tadpole>frog thing), and therefore it makes sense that he's tied into the "rebirth" of the Republic as an Empire, which happens at that moment.

    Then there's the saying about how if you drop a frog in a pan of boiling water it will jump out, but if you drop a frog in a pan of cold water and then boil it, the frog will sit there and boil to death. (Usually used as an example of how you can get societies to put up with anything so long as you don't make any drastic, sudden changes.) Well, the Senate is the pan full of boiling water, and Jar Jar is the frog that gets dropped in.

    Then there's the fact that Jar Jar has already been set up as a "short sighted" character with very little vision (eg. "better dead here than dead in the core") Instigating the vote in order to defend the democracy against the immediate, short term threat of the Seperatists droid army reinforces this theme that runs throughout the PT about having to balance ones focus between the present moment and the bigger picture.


    That's three reasons why no other character (apart from maybe another Gungan) could have done what Jar Jar did in AOTC and it still be the same story.
  4. Mos_Eisley Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2004
    star 3
    I think that Jar Jar has a role to play, it's just that I find his characterization annoying.
  5. Philip023 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 30, 2002
    star 3
    Why must ex-Star Wars fans attack Jar Jar all the time? What are they trying to achieve by publicly airing their grievances?

    Why? I think the more interesting question is: since we are fans, why are we going out of our way to debate the merits of a character who otherwise has none?

    I think you are reading way to much into the movie scott. Do u look for message in film? You know, what you just said, is so over my head with symbolism, irony, metaphor and juxtaposition, that I doubt anyone can gleen any of these from the film.

    Is this Lucas' vision? Well I cannot discount this possiblity but, if what Sw fans who like jar jar are saying is true, and that Jar jar is a funny character that appeals to kids, do you think a kid would understand the concept you just handed us?

    Let's say for a moment that this was Lucas's intent of the character. How would you gleen any of that from the film? Or do I have to read supplemental material, or Lucas'comments or something else?

    The next question would be, why should I have to read this, because I know that I didn't get anything you said from the film and I doubt anyone else would without reading some annotated supplementary material.

    Why can't the film stand on its own?

    Do I haev to call up the Wachowski brothers to find out what the hell they meant by the ending of matrix revolutions? or must I call Peter jackson to ask what the symbolism of gollum is?

    Why must I have to read into something else to get what the hell jar jar is in the story for?

    Your whole argument is predicated on something that must be read or that Lucas said, IF he said it.

    Wasn't every senator short sighted? Wasn't Bail? And if he wasn't, why didn't he campaign against the motion? You're assuming all of this for Jar Jar's character, yet you can't assume that Bail was as short-sighted as jar jar.

    Given the fact that Jar jar seems to be the only capable person to have cast the motion, and the motion miraculously passes even though the senate is supposedly deadlocked, why did it pass so easily?

    To answer your question: I do not hate jar jar, rather I find his role to be completely unecessary to the story. Nothing in the film shows me that he is absolutely essential for the act.
  6. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    The film does stand up on it's own. On a surface level, Jar-Jar serves the plot in an obvious way.

    These other connections we make to all these other things not explicitly stated by the movie is just an added bonus for those of us who do want to learn about this sort of thing on our own.

    It's just further reason why Lucas would craft the story in the way he has.

    You keep saying, well Lucas could have just had Bail make the motion for emergency powers, but you are unaware of all the myriad of reasons why Lucas did it the way he did.

    It has to do with mythological storytelling more than anything else. It's what the entire SW saga has been based on from the very beginning, and if you ask me, it's what makes it as popular as it is.

    Jar-Jar's use speaks to our subconscious in ways that have been around since man first started telling stories. Like him or hate him, you can't help but be accutely aware of him, and most people have a strong reaction to him.

    Do you think that's just an accident?
  7. Scott3eyez Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 4
    >>>>I think you are reading way to much into the movie scott. Do u look for message in film? You know, what you just said, is so over my head with symbolism, irony, metaphor and juxtaposition, that I doubt anyone can gleen any of these from the film.

    Well, what can I say? I spend too much time watching and thinking about Star Wars!

    I don't remember reading any of those three points in any of Lucas' interviews though, and I don't own any of the annotated screenplays etc. relating to the PT.

    >>>>Is this Lucas' vision? Well I cannot discount this possiblity but, if what Sw fans who like jar jar are saying is true, and that Jar jar is a funny character that appeals to kids, do you think a kid would understand the concept you just handed us?

    Let me put it this way- I loved the OT when I was about 8-9; watched it every saturday morning on video before the TV started (in the days when England only had 4 channels, before 24 hour television.) But I didn't know what an Empire or a Rebel was, other than one was the goodies and the other was the baddies. It made no difference to my enjoyment of the films until I came back to Star Wars when I was about 15 and discovered that there was much more going on in the films than I'd known about before.

    So, do you think an 8-9 year old would understand the political implications of a story about an evil Empire and a band of Rebels?

    Or to put a different spin on the same point, when a child hears the story about the frog and the princess, do they have to pick up on the fact that frogs often represent metamorphosis in myths in order to understand/enjoy the story? Would the same story work the same way if it was, say, a rat that turned into a handsome prince when she kissed it instead of a frog?

    The whole point of Campbells work is that these things do make a difference, whether the story's audience is aware of it or not- that there is a common "language" to myths and legends that transcends the culture that they are told in, and levels of interpretations that work on a subconscious level, in a similar way to how some people believe you can read hidden meanings from the symbolism in peoples dreams.

    >>>>Let's say for a moment that this was Lucas's intent of the character. How would you gleen any of that from the film? Or do I have to read supplemental material, or Lucas'comments or something else?

    Well, what you get will probably be different from what I get, or from what the next person will get. We've all got different backgrounds, know different things, and look at the films in different ways. I think that the whole appeal of the mythological aspect of Star Wars comes from how different people see different things in the films.

    What I listed above was simply a couple of the reasons why the story would be different for me if a character other than Jar Jar did exactly the same thing, said the same lines etc.

    >>>>The next question would be, why should I have to read this, because I know that I didn't get anything you said from the film and I doubt anyone else would without reading some annotated supplementary material.

    Like I said, I haven't actually read any of the supplementary materials about AOTC (apart from flicking through them occasionally in bookshops- I just don't like spending my money on Lucasfilms merchandise because I have the same attitude as you- I don't believe that I should need to read a bunch of books, comics, annotated screenplays, interviews etc. to understand the story- although I do tend to read interviews where I find them. No doubt once the films are finished I'll start delving through the background materials though!)

    I can say that the symbolism of the frog as rebirth I think I picked up from "Hero of a Thousand Faces", the thing about frogs and boiling water I think came from a Robert Pirsig book (who, incidentally, I have never heard Lucas refer to, but I'm convinced that he's read them- there's too many similarities between Pirsig's "Quality" and Lucas' "Force" to be coincidence,
  8. Hudnall Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2004
    star 5
    No, I think it was done to please disgruntled TPM fans, anti JarJarites, and people with the mind of a very small child. :D
  9. Moog Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2003
    star 1
    Wow! This argument has been going on for ages... but without ever getting anywhere!!!

    Go-Mer-Tonic - I'm very impressed at your staying power. And I'm in total agreement with you. Good work!

    (Before I go on, I'd like to point out that I have used bold repeatedly for emphasis, and I hope this doesn't offend anybody, but I will remove it if it does.)

    Back in the early pages of this thread, the incredibly valid point was made that Jar Jar is a mirror for Anakin. This is the real reason why he is ESSENTIAL to the story. The details of why his character happens to be the best placed to do what he does in both his films (so far) is actually irrelevant.

    The most important point here is this: Star Wars is a story told in bold, expressive strokes. It is not an excercise in realism or naturalism. It is not a study of form, structure, or even technique. Therefore any plot-driving reasons for the things that any Star Wars characters do are secondary to the thematic reasons for those actions.

    To miss this point, I'm afraid to say, means that you don't understand Star Wars. And yes, it is as simple as that. And any number of quotes which apparently 'disprove' this point are most likely being taken out of context.

    (Just to clarify - this doesn't mean that there aren't reasons to make characters do certain things to service the plot, but anything major will never be at the expense of the symbolic or thematic reasons.)

    So, with this in mind, let's look at the character of Jar Jar.

    Firstly, he IS a mythological archetype - the fool - and this isn't up for debate. Why? Well, even if people don't think George Lucas did this intentionally (which I must say is extremely naive) that doesn't matter, because the study of mythology and stories shows that these characters find their way into stories anyway! Did the storytellers of old read Joseph Campbell? I don't think so! So the quest for a quote from GL to 'prove' that he used Jar Jar as an archetype on purpose is pointless, as it makes no difference either way!

    Yes, Jar Jar was put in for kids and for comic relief, but that is not his only purpose. GL says that the Star Wars films are for kids, but we all know it's not as simple as that, because we love them, and we find many layers of depth in them to consider and discuss - some of which were put in intentionally by GL, and some of which weren't, but the fact remains: all those things ARE in there!

    Anyway... the second thing to look at is the symmetry with Anakin's character, which I believe is the most important reason that Jar Jar exists. Anakin is mirrored to various degrees and in different ways by several characters, including C-3PO, Obi-Wan, and Luke (which should be obvious) - and Jar Jar, perhaps most of all. How? Here's how:

    Both characters started off in TPM as disenfranchised 'pathetic life-forms', but with good intentions. Obi-Wan cannot see the value in either of them, but Qui-Gon can see their potential. Both are very closely linked to Padme, and both provide her with a means to control her fate beyond that which Palpatine has designed for her. Later both characters are also thrust into the forefront of reponsibility and battle, and end up victorious, albeit through luck (ie the Force - "in my experience there's no such thing as luck").

    It is also important that these characters meet in TPM and bond, to an extent, over their shared situation. In AOTC we then see the characters reunited, but now their paths are less closely linked, and sometimes even a reflection of each other. Both have gained considerable social standing and responsibility. However, Jar Jar is unambitious but is somehow in a position to have the fate of the galaxy placed in his hands; Anakin, on the other hand, would LIKE the fate of the galaxy placed in his hands, but feels frustrated that he doesn't have that.

    As mentioned above, both Anakin and Jar Jar have a strong connection to Padme, and when she goes off with Anakin she unintentionally splits herself in two. Her emotional self is (
  10. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Excellent points. It's always nice to hear new angles on this meandering topic.

    It's one thing to contribute single paragraphs on a daily basis, but you seem to have come in, read most of the previous posts, and then succinctly answered almost all of the points raised here since the beginning.

    Good work. :)
  11. Moog Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2003
    star 1
    Cheers!!

    Actually I have spent a lot of time over the last few days reading every post in this thread... some I had to skim, but I didn't want to miss any important points...

    But this is an issue that is very misunderstood, and the assumption that all SW fans hate Jar Jar Binks annoys me, so I felt compelled to contribute!
  12. Scott3eyez Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 1, 2001
    star 4
    Impressive...
    Most impressive...
  13. DarthBud Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2003
    star 2
    No he's not. Anybody could have done what he did.

    TPM
    Qui Gonn and Obi Wan could've been captured by the Gungans took to Boss Nass, signal mind trick, he gives them a ship and directions to go to Theed. The Queen decides to ask the Gungans for help on her own.

    AOTC
    Amidala asks Joe/Jill Schmoe to take over her duties.
    Some other senator calls for emergency powers. Personnaly I'd like it if Lucas had Mon Mothma or Bail Organa call for it, then later they could realised they helped create the Empire in a round about way. That could be why they start the Rebel Alliance.
  14. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Unless this "Joe/Jill Schmoe" was just like Jar-Jar, it wouldn't have worked the same way.
  15. DarthBud Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 16, 2003
    star 2
    It could have been anyone. All the movie needed was someone to stand there and tell Amidala "OK, I'll do my best." Jar Jar wasn't a must have character for that scene.
  16. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
  17. Hudnall Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 23, 2004
    star 5
    Moog - I'm a TPM Jar Jar fan. Big time. He's one of my favorite characters in that movie, and I'm also an avid Joseph Campbell study. His role, as the Fool (which is a Tarot reference and I actually read them) was already fulfilled in TPM. His role, mythologically, was already complete when TPM ended and no longer adds weight to the Saga.

    and her political self is given to Jar Jar.

    Again, it would be more appropriate for that 'political' self to be given to Bail, Leia's adopted father.

    As Leia is the political twin. Leia carries Padme's role in the OT, and for the Saga, and she is the one who ultimately is passed the political self.

    It is much more fitting for that political hand-off to Bail to have occurred in AOTC, and carries a greater emphasis to the Saga. True, he wasn't developed yet, but I have to ask if he should have been given his role to the Galactic struggle.

    This is an argument based on meaning. If Bail had made the motion, Leia's actions in the OT would then symbolically represent a 'redemption' of her adopted father's mistake in the PT.

    So, no, you don't have to explain that. I understand. And IMHO, Bail would have made for a much more interesting Saga.
  18. Mos_Eisley Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 23, 2004
    star 3
    Bail would have made for a much more interesting Saga.

    I agree. Bail should have been introduced in TPM and developed from there.



  19. kittenmommy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2001
    star 3
    Lucas: There's a group of fans who don't like comic sidekicks. They wanna see The Terminator, they wanna see a different kind of movie. But this isn't that movie. That same group of fans absolutely hated R2 and 3PO in the first film; in the second film they hated Yoda, he was not a well-like character - "We can't understand what he's talking about, he's green, he's a muppet." In the third film, they hated the Ewoks, couldn't stand the cute little sidekick creatures - "We don't like it. It makes it beyond a children's film." They can't stand it that there is this aspect to these movies, but comic sidekick characters have been in every single movie.

    Excuse me... but... Yoda is a "comic sidekick"? Since when?? Maybe it's the lateness of the hour, but I'm just not getting that one. :confused:

    When did Yoda ever act like even half of the idiot Jar Jar is?? Name one instance, I dare you!

    By the way, I'm a huge Jar Jar hater, but I loved him in AOTC - he proved what a useless idiot he is by (as someone else put it) handing the Republic to Palpatine on a platter! The Empire and all of the evil they do can directly be traced back to that bumbling moron of a Gungan - perfect!

    And therefore, without this idiot, there wouldn't have been any OT, would there? So he is absolutely vital to the films! :p

    Please forgive me if this post is not entirely coherent - no, I'm not drunk, I'm realllllly sleepy and it's time for bed! I-)

  20. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    "That same group of fans absolutely hated R2 and 3PO in the first film;"

    WRONG!

    "in the second film they hated Yoda, he was not a well-like character - "We can't understand what he's talking about, he's green, he's a muppet.""

    WRONG!!

    "In the third film, they hated the Ewoks, couldn't stand the cute little sidekick creatures - "We don't like it. It makes it beyond a children's film.""

    RIGHT!!! but not because "It makes it beyond a children's film". what does that even mean?

    Lucas clearly doesnt understand his own films.
  21. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    He's not making these things up.
  22. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    gee, that has about as much meaning as me saying "yes he is"

  23. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    The fact that some people have dispariaged every episode in the SW saga is not a matter of opinion.

    It happened.

    For each and every one of them.
  24. DrEvazan Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 19, 2002
    star 4
    what I'm saying is, Lucas doesnt understand the criticism... he seems to think the same people who don't like Jar Jar, didnt like R2, 3PO, Yoda and the Ewoks. I think he is completely wrong about that. His statements don't apply to me nor anyone I know.

    It is my experience that people dislike Jar Jar (and the comedy of the PT in general) for the very reason that it is of a lower mentality and clumsier execution than the comedy and sidekicks of the PT.

    Lucas seems to think people who dont like Jar Jar are "sidekick haters" or they dont like comic relief... and that is one of the many areas where he clearly just doesnt get it.
  25. Go-Mer-Tonic Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 22, 1999
    star 6
    Well, I don't think he means it's the exact same people who dislike the comedic sidekicks. Just that there is always a group who dislike them.
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