PT Thinkin' 'Bout Jar Jar

Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by Cryogenic, Feb 3, 2013.

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  1. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    I know there have been a few threads on Jar Jar over the years -- and we're approaching the 14th anniversary of TPM (14th!) -- but I just wondered where everyone stands on Jar Jar at this point in time?

    Well, that's my first motive: wanting to gather thoughts. My second is similar. Has anyone, I wonder, got any fresh thoughts on Jar Jar, for good or ill? Insights, I mean.

    * * *

    One just came to me. Just a small thing, I guess, but when people say that Jar Jar wasn't all that instrumental in TPM (I'll leave AOTC out for now; but feel free to include it) -- or was even, indeed, outright useless -- he's normally defended in terms of uniting the Gungans and the Naboo; and less commonly, saving the behinds of Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan by spiriting them to Otoh Gunga out of immediate harm's way; rarely, he may be credited with guiding Qui-Gon and Anakin back to one another on Tatooine (never the twain shall meet -- unless you have Jar Jar in your story!).

    One other one I'm now going to openly muse upon is Jar Jar giving Qui-Gon his mojo back. This one is highly speculative, but if you watch the way Qui-Gon is when the movie opens, he's kind of stern and dismissive in the scenes aboard the TF cruiser, and pretty contemptuous of the Neimoidians, like he's done this kind of stuff a million times before (a common criticism of the movie being stuffy and too po-faced for its own good), and may have even grown out of touch with nature, having spent considerable time in one board room too many. Yet when Qui-Gon finally touches the surface of Naboo, he runs head long into this surprisingly-flexible Gungan, seconds after we see him fleeing for his life, apparently powerless to stop the thundering hordes behind him (lightsabers are no use in this moment: Qui-Gon is running with the animals who out-pace him -- a primal fight for survival). Already, a bit of a change is underway. And after first insulting Jar Jar and batting him away, Qui-Gon, I think, begins to soften. This is a quiet softening, granted, but there's definitely a change that this "Living Force" adept undergoes that I'm seeing. In this fashion, Jar Jar's subtle sprinkling of magic in Qui-Gon's soul, if you like, is like the fuel that makes this whole story "go".

    Again, just a small thing, really, but maybe a bit controversial. Without Jar Jar, it now seems, more than ever -- to me, anyway -- that this saga could not have taken the form it did; in many ways, there'd BE no saga. Qui-Gon had grown inflexible, aloof, and dissatisfied, having turned into a robed bureaucrat, a third arm of the deadlocked political state (we even see him sort of hankering to get to Naboo as he idly stairs out that big window with his padawan -- presaging those moments in II and III when Anakin looks through windows or off to the horizon). The real world was "out there": close at hand yet forever untouchable; jewels within jewels, kingdoms within kingdoms, always in sight but frustratingly out of reach. However, a dramatic turn of events forces Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan into retreat (a very unexpected turn of events for the both of them -- and again, foreshadowing, let's say, Yoda's humbling retreat from the Senate, after his duel with Sidious, the mastermind of this plot, and ultimate exile to the primordial swamps of Dagobah -- a "nature" planet wreathed in mystery -- years later). FINALLY, they're hitting the real world: nature versus the sci-fi abstraction of starships and diplomatic relations between races and intergalactic trade merchants. And no sooner are they in nature than they meet one of its gangliest embodiments: a "banished" creature of the land and water (not the "air" or the pitiless vacuum of space). A banished specimen so egregious to his OWN species that he, too, has been tossed out, condemned to roam amongst the birds and the beasts, and forage for his own food. It's like a spark goes off between Qui-Gon and Jar Jar: a spiritual bond; a simpatico.

    Jar Jar, then, sort of puts the spring back in this elder Jedi's step; and even Obi-Wan has warmed up to him in the next movie. We see there's no real stupidity or malice in Jar Jar: he is who he is, a being of simple tastes, free of enlarged self-interest or entrenched cynicism. In short, for all his eccentricities and foibles, he's someone that Qui-Gon can trust. And without this renewed sense of trust in nature/the Living Force, I put it to you that Qui-Gon may never have thought to do something as trivial yet outrageous as pinning so many hopes on a little slave boy, in a forgotten dust bowl of a world, isolated and poor, and where the Trade Federation had "no presence" (nor the Republic -- notice GL's ever-resonating poetry), in that galaxy far, far away...
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 3, 2013
  2. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    I don't care too much about Jar Jar for him to seriously affect my consumption and appreciation of Star Wars.
  3. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    Fair enough. And a healthy perspective, I think, if you happen to dislike him.

    * * *

    BTW, I should just indicate that I had some of these thoughts, just now, after discussing a Qui-Gon essay written by Paul McDonald -- and dating back to 2000 -- in the new "Star Wars Heresies" thread, promoting Paul's up-and-coming prequel book: http://boards.theforce.net/threads/the-star-wars-heresies.50009161/

    When it comes to these sorts of things, we're inevitably indebted to a chain of people, uttering a range of sentiments. Which is why this isn't intended to be a laudatory thread on Jar Jar. Pro and con opinions welcome: it's meant as a fresh "catch-all" (with some speculation by me, such is my way, to kick things off).
  4. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    i
    Again, I don't care about Jar Jar a ton, but I don't think he's that bad. He's ugly. So are half of the other characters. He's stupid. Well, other characters have sucky personalities too. And it is realistic that not everyone is totally badass and collected and cool like Qui-Gon.
  5. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    No. :)

    I've always thought he was quite the handsome lad. O:)

    He's not the most educated of characters, but he seems to have a pretty balanced personality; to me.

    I've long thought that Jar Jar would make an excellent counsellor. Just don't have him counselling anyone when in a submarine or operating heavy machinery. ;)

    Good point. In the space of about 15 mins, we go from the calmest, quietest character, to, well... the loudest.

    And I enjoy that contrast -- this, to me, being an epic galactic fable of wide-ranging personalities and interests; and colours, tones, textures, etc.

    Even then, there's something madcap about Jar Jar, but that just makes me love him more. [face_clown]

    There is also something sad and broken about him, too, however. This is clearer in cut dialogue: e.g., "Why mesa always da one?" and "Mesa wonder why da guds invent pain?"

    Perhaps those tidbits would have shifted the balance towards just a few more people liking Jar Jar, but we might never know.
    Last edited by Cryogenic, Feb 3, 2013
  6. thesevegetables Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2012
    star 4
    The galaxy is huge. I know people like Jar Jar in real life, and life on Earth is much less varied than in the GFFA.
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  7. Cryogenic Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2005
    star 4
    LOL! The GFFA must account for life on Earth -- and itself! YES!! :D

    The immensity of the GFFA wasn't really felt, in my opinion, till TPM, so that's another reason I find it cool to encounter Jar Jar at the beginning of the story, where everything is that much vaster and multi-hued.

    I don't know if I presently know anyone like Jar Jar (myself aside), but I've known a few mad ones. And there's a little bit of Jar Jar in all of us. :cool:
  8. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4
    I liked Jar Jar very much. Mind you, he could be irritating. Then again, a good number of the characters found him irritating, including his fellow Gungans.

    I'm rather perplexed about the hatred toward Jar Jar. To this day, I'm still wondering why so many fans have invested such a great deal of hatred toward a character that is basically a good-heartted, yet clumsy individual.


    Is it possible that is the reason so many fans dislike him so much? Do they fear that Jar Jar reminds them of some about themselves that make them feel insecure?
  9. CloneTrooperFox Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2013
    star 1
    All i ever hear from casual star war fans is jar jar was annoying and ruined the new episodes. I thought he was alright. He did not make me dislike the new episodes whatsoever. Attack of the clones is probably my favorite star wars movie out of the 6 movies. :)
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  10. PiettsHat Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 1, 2011
    star 4
    I enjoy Jar Jar for many of the reasons you outlined, @Cryogenic.

    One of the things I most appreciate about his character is that TPM does go out of its way to show that Jar Jar has value and helps others, despite his seeming uselessness. I think that, thematically, the film makes it a point to demonstrate the importance of not being dismissive of others as you may have to rely on them one day.

    In particular, I do like that Jar Jar is the one to initiate power transfer to Palpatine as well. To me, it demonstrates how naive optimism and dangerous ignorance often make the formation of Empires possible. People don't overwhelmingly join such organizations because they're evil, utterly conscience-less machines of pure self-interest, but because they are blinded and misdirected by fear or conformity.
  11. Sistros Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2010
    star 6
    eh, not too fussed either way,

    I think what annoys me about him is that he tagged along on Tatooine for no reason what so ever other than to provide laughs

    his purposes lay on Naboo, not Tattooine
  12. Alexrd Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 7, 2009
    star 5
    No reason? I can see at least two: Jar Jar was Qui-Gon's responsibility; and as an alien he would help the group blend in on Mos Espa;
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  13. Sistros Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2010
    star 6
    1) exactly, and even Qui-Gon knows he is clumsy, letting him loose on a dangerous planet with no law and order wasn't exctly wise was it? and do you really think those on board the ship would be that petty to say "I'm not looking after him, he's YOUR responsibility" I hardly think so.

    2) lots of humans on Tatooine, they didn't need Jar Jar to blend in.
    Last edited by Sistros, Feb 4, 2013
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  14. Darth Chiznuk Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2012
    star 5
    I love the Jar Jar character. To me he shows that everyone even outcasts have value and shouldn't be overlooked. I think that is an important aspect of the saga and it is shown again in a similar situation when Luke at first disregards Yoda.
  15. Blur Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 1999
    star 4
    I may be one of the few fans out there who have liked Jar Jar since first seeing TPM back in '99, and have never understood the hate/vitriol against the character. Not only did I find Gungan alien design interesting, I saw Jar Jar as a fool/clown who was basically taking the place of R2 & C3PO as the comic relief in what was otherwise a very serious, disturbing film, i.e. the beginnings of DV & The Empire, the horrific Darth Maul & evil Palpatine/Sideous, etc. I found his scenes genuinely funny.

    Unfortunately, since '99, hate/criticism of EPI centered on Jar Jar & his antics, etc. I believe all of this backlash was why Jar Jar's role in EPII was much more serious & dramatic.
  16. Samnz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    I agree with both of you.
    Additionally, I think both TPM and AOTC highlight the importance and the responsibility of the alleged "more intelligent" one. Queen Amidala ultimately recognizes Jar Jar's value and that leads both of them and their respective people to a better situation. Chancellor Palpatine, on the other hand, abuses Jar Jar's naivety which leads the galaxy to a dark place.
    I think there is a clear contrast. People lile Jar Jar aren't the problem. The problem are those who egoistically take advantage of their "limited intelligence" and abuse their dangerous credulity.
    Last edited by Samnz, Feb 5, 2013
  17. Placeholder Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 30, 2013
    star 4
    Jar Jar is one of the worst characters in movie history. I find nothing about him to be appealing in any way.
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  18. fett 4 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jan 2, 2000
    star 4
    A terrible character that has not aged well (nor in effects either) and was a perfect example of the view that Lucas was surrounded by yes men who would not tell him he is wrong.
  19. The Supreme Chancellor Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 4
    Did your dog die or something?
  20. Samnz Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2012
    star 2
    Not to mention that Jar Jar's character was considerably changed after Lucas received feedback when he showed his film friends a rough cut of the movie in the May of 1998 and that Jar Jar was later the third most famous character (http://www.gallup.com/poll/3757/public-gives-latest-star-wars-installment-positive-rave-reviews.aspx) of the film when TPM was first released...but some people just want to make up their own "truth".
    Last edited by Samnz, Feb 5, 2013
  21. KilroyMcFadden Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2012
    star 3
    ...because when I think of disturbing movies, I immediately think of Se7en, Clockwork Orange, Memento, and The Phantom Menace. lol.

    Kidding. Jar Jar wasn't a counterpoint anything that was disturbing. He was in TPM to give GL an excuse to put poop and fart jokes in his movie. Nothing more.
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  22. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I didn't like him, but he didn't make me completely disillusioned towards everything.
  23. ezekiel22x Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 4
    Not really. With burp jokes in Return of the Jedi and a poop-stepping moment in Willow Lucasfilm already had a precedent for bodily humor in their fantasy adventure films.
  24. DRush76 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2008
    star 4

    Reading this makes me again wonder about the fan reaction to Jar-Jar. I find it really extreme for a character that is basically supporting comic relief. Very extreme.
  25. Sistros Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2010
    star 6
    again I must stress I don't hate Jar Jar, I don't want his head on a platter like some fans,

    and to be fair I'm not the one who's made an extreme example of Jar Jar hatred, so picking on my post isn't exactly fair,

    the opening poster wanted genuine answers to what people think of Jar Jar

    I just didn't think taking him to look around Tatooine was a good idea with the rep that it has

    if you find that "extreme"

    i'm not the one with any issues
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