Discussion in 'Prequel Trilogy' started by lightsaver, Jan 19, 2005.
Come on. It's obvious.
It is? Because they used him less in subsequent films? Correlation does not equal cause, hence why Alexrd asked for a source--which I would also like to see before I decide that some filmmaker thought, "Well, I was planning to have Jar-Jar have just as much screen time in AOTC and ROTS as he had in TPM, but some of the fans didn't like him, so I'd better change the entire script so that he only appears for 8 minutes." To me that seems like a hell of a lot of trouble to go through simply because some people found Jar-Jar annoying.
Watto and Shmi were major (minor) characters in TPM, and they both have precisely one scene, each, in AOTC. Well, okay. Two for Shmi, if you count the sack. Relative to the amount of screen-time he had in TPM, Jar Jar appropriately has several scenes in AOTC. Watto and Shmi are completely absent from ROTS, and Jar Jar just puts in a cameo appearance, in essence. So, all the TPM stuff, from a certain POV, is cogently scaled back to relevant levels in the subsequent prequels. If you're going to argue that Jar Jar was/is a mistake, and one the film-makers realized as a mistake (BTW: film-makers? I thought George Lucas -- one man -- ran this ship?), you might as well be consistent and say that AOTC and ROTS, in their entirety, amount to Lucas repudiating TPM and compensating for oversight/error. But I wouldn't agree with that, either. Also, if you track with TPM's basic plot, then Jar Jar's role is largely defined in terms of his relationship with Qui-Gon, and since Qui-Gon dies at the end of TPM, Jar Jar is then without a "master" to "serve". He becomes a fifth wheel. Some things invariably change across the course of Star Wars. In fact, in a way, EVERYTHING changes, all the time (and also, paradoxically, remains exactly the same). Where are Padme's regal costumes in AOTC and ROTS? Don't give me those fancy corsets (give me Padme *in* the corsets, though... *cough...). I mean her fluffy, stuffy gowns from TPM. Where are they? Answer: Nowhere. Reason: She's no longer playing a queen. What about the stolid Obi-Wan of TPM? Why's he got a flippin' beard and mullet, and why's he cracking cheesy lines like, "Oh, not good!" in AOTC? Because he's OBI-WAN KENOBI, that's why. But he's not TPM-Obi-Wan. He's "on the move". Star Wars is showing progression. Rapid shifts in tone and temperament. Technically, there's a bigger gap between TPM and its adjacent film than any of the others, bar ROTS and ANH, which doesn't really count*, since that gap is a gap between trilogies. But inter-trilogy? The TPM and AOTC divide is very pronounced -- and deliberately so. I find all of this perfectly poetic, but, to each, their own.
*Actually, it does count, and rather proves my point, in elegant fashion. If things are so shuffled after the ten-year sabbatical between TPM and AOTC, what about two-ten-year sabbaticals, IN A ROW, between ROTS and ANH? Yeah, this has to be excluded, on some levels, because this gap is between trilogies, not just episodes, and because the other films (IV-VI) are locked in place (more or less), but still, it's there, it exists. Where are Yoda and the Emperor in ANH? Who's this Luke fella, again? Hello, Obi-Wan! You look different! Ben? Ben Kenobi?! Ah, Chewie! Wait... That dude was only in ROTS for, like, thirty seconds, right? Now he's playing chess with robots! God, these movies are weird.
I just re-watched TPM recently, and the real problem with Jar-Jar hit me:
the acting (or lack thereof). Ahmed Best's Jar Jar is a caricature, not a character.
Specifically, I had this realization during the jump from "Better dead here than dead in the core" to "Yegads! What-a meesa saying?" It's such an abrupt shift in character and tone, and completely unbelievable as an honest moment of realization. Even for Jar Jar, it's too over-the-top and demonstrative. He's "mugging", as theater folks say.
Also, note how the dialect is turned up to 11 for the "comical" outburst, a hallmark of racist caricatures. It's why so many people have noted that Jar Jar feels like a Stepin Fetchit sort of racist character, even if he doesn't necessarily correspond to a specific earthly culture or race.
Don't worry, you'll find another problem the next time you watch it.
And yeah, the entire Gungan race really is sort of meant to be ... that way. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon's little conversation about Jar-Jar is implicitly racist.
"Whats this?" "A local."
Maybe it should bother people.
Why is it that Lucas deserves every last benefit of the doubt, but your fellow fans none? I don't snarkily dismiss every little thing you find RIGHT with the films as coming from a biased predisposition to liking them - would it hurt so much to show the same level of respect?
For what it's worth, I was actually rewatching it because I'd come up with the idea to try viewing Jar-Jar as the film's protagonist. Going off of Lucas's love of cross-trilogy "rhymes", it occurred to me that maybe Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan were TPM's R2 and Threepio, making Jar Jar TPM's closest analogue to Luke.
Now, the analogy doesn't quite hold up, but watching the film from Jar Jar's point of view actually worked quite well at first. He's very much the "average guy" getting swept up in the conflict brought to his home by galactic warriors.
It worked well right up until the scene mentioned in my previous post. I would have been more than happy to have it go on working, but Best's hammy performance ruined my enjoyment of the character.
I'm not judging you. Really. But I'm afraid that if you're sincerely going to give the movie a chance, you're going to have to get used to Best's hammy performance. And if one piece of dialogue fifteen minutes into the movie ruins your experience, you might have to give the movie a bit more of a chance than that.
But now that you mention it, I have a bit of insight for you. Ahmed Best isn't the one being hammy. It's Jar-Jar. He calls himself clumsy, but that's only a half-truth. He craves attention, and its too much for others to bear.
Even when he's in definite danger, in fact, ESPECIALLY when he's in danger, he acts out. He gets bigger and louder and more annoying. Think about the scene where he gets his hand stuck in Anakin's racer. It almost seems like a deliberate scheme to get people to pay attention to him. He's been warned, and yet he continues to put himself in harms way in hopes that someone might hold his hand. After Padme frees his hand, he gives his audience a thumbs up. The very same people who stood there watching him struggle. He never holds it against anyone that they've marginalized him, ignored him, insulted him, and sentences him to death. He's just that desperate to be liked.
Sounds painful. I wont ask where it hit you.
Its not really Ahmed Bests character, though, is it? Character assignation is a sticky thing, but if youre going to grant ownership to one person, I think it has to be Lucas (certainly, legally, but also creatively/intellectually -- which, in point of fact, is what the law actually recognizes; to some extent, at least).
That said, Ive always found Best to give a terrific performance; especially when one considers he was in that hot suit, flipping and flopping around (imagine, for a second, how difficult that must have been, and to still keep his energy up, in Tunisia). And then theres that EXQUISITE voice of his -- oh, wow! In fact, Bests "real" voice, so to speak (ha), has this amazingly rich, smooth, mellow quality to it. Jar Jar is in there, somewhere; and it has long amazed me how he was able to "extract" him, as it were. You can JUST hear that shrill, tenor quality ringing around the edges of his voice, waiting to snap free of those thoughtful, grounded tones like an elastic band stretched long. To me, that is the magic of cinema, and even moreso, the magic of animated characters, the more memorable of which have tended to have exaggerated vocal performances and voices, period.
Honestly, the Jar Jar character has been bashed and derided so much that it ALMOST sounds ridiculous to say this, but whats ridiculous about, it, really? So, here I go: Ahmed Best gives one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema. But hang on. How can I even worry about that sounding ridiculous when other Star Wars fans use similar superlatives about, say, Yoda, or TESB; or even the prequels, and Jar Jar, in a negative sense? No, they can have their opinion, and I can have mine. And there it is. Indeed, there WE are: one as hyperbolic as the other (no more, no less). To me, it is thrilling JUST HOW DISTINCTIVE Bests voice, in particular, really is (as Jar Jar, now, you understand?). There some Roger Rabbit in there, for sure. But there are other elements at work, too (and yes, if you want to read negative aspects there, I daresay you CAN find them). A very eclectic mix, churning away to make what is, arguably, the most memorable film character of the past twenty years.
And this brings me onto something else; something I just mentioned in another thread, but will repeat here. Star Wars (to me, anyway) is syncretic. That is, Lucas has deliberately combined elements from a wide range of sources -- especially, visual/film sources -- into a new whole, creating vast ripples of meaning. In a way, the films function as a kind of cultural repository, or eidetic memory. And given how big an influence cartoon animation has had on cinema -- think, for example, of the work of Tex Avery; practically an institution of animation in himself (in a way, between "The Mask" and TPM, I think the 90s panned out better, in terms of popular films mining from the "Golden Age" of Warner Bros. toon stuff, than the Noughties have) -- it feels right, to me, that Star Wars should have a character like Jar Jar in its midst, who first appeared, to our mortal senses, at the end of the 20th Century (yes, THE century where America, in a way, redefined itself through cinema, including great swathes of animation), unconsciously mocking the stolid pretensions of the Jedi, and their puffed-up "control" of the Force, as he goes. Brilliant. In a way, when we dismiss Jar Jar, were also dismissing a history of animation. Were not saying its invalid as art and cant actually be "adult", with things to say and points to make, but, by declaring certain corners off-limits -- the Star Wars galaxy, for example -- were effectively saying the same thing. And, given (again, as I see it), the syncretic nature of Star Wars, which even begins with that brash "20th Century Fox" logo, Im n
My comments as of late are clipped due to the fact that I'm taking a backseat to other pro-saga posters. More than that, I'm becoming lazy, and I'm almost running out of new things to say about SW.
It's true, I respect Lucas and his films more than the people who gripe about them, much less the gripes themselves. I'll try to cut down on the snark, but I do intend to promote the appreciation of these films.
And JKH, if I didn't want you to be happy with these movies, I wouldn't be belittling your quibbles. You really want to enjoy these movies, and we've known that all along. Why else would you be here? So don't take it personally when I point out the traps you've set for yourself. There's really just no other way to explain it.
I sometimes take a back seat, Im often clipped, and Im always lazy(1).
But new things to say about SW? THERE ARE ALWAYS NEW THINGS TO SAY! JUST SOMEONE TRY AND STOP ME!!
There was actually more I intended to say about Jar Jar in my last post, but see (1).
Oh, alright, here it is:
I think I sort of said it before, in a slightly earlier post, but note how many times Jar Jar is pushed, prodded and abused by the other characters in the film:
- On Naboo, Qui-Gon initially tries to shoo Jar Jar off, then he calls him "brainless" (not stupid, mind, but brainless), while his apprentice gets in on the action...
- On Naboo, Obi-Wan denies Jar Jars personhood ("Whats this?"), then starts talking to him like a child, using an exaggerated threat of violence to coerce him into helping them.
- At Otoh Gunga, Jar Jar is prodded by an electric staff (tasered).
- At Otoh Gunga, Jar Jar is arrested and threatened with punishment; meanwhile...
- At Otoh Gunga, Obi-Wan wants to get rid of Jar Jar, urging his master that theyre short of time, so ditch the Gungan, why dont ya?
- In the queens ship, above the planet of Naboo, Jar Jar is shunted by Artoo right after warmly greeting Artoo and the other droids.
- On Tatooine, Jar Jar complains that the sun is "doin murder" to his skin. Everyone ignores him.
- On Tatooine, Jar Jar falls behind and steps in an unidentified sticky substance. Again, everyone ignores him.
- On Tatooine, Jar Jar is kicked in the crotch by a droid. Meanwhile, Anakin gives him dirty looks, like hes a lower lifeform.
- On Tatooine, Jar Jar helps himself to a snack, but is told it costs money. In trying to get rid of it, he spits it out, where it lands on or near Sebulba, who then grabs Jar Jar by the neck and pulls his fist back, about to punch Jar Jar in the face. Only Anakins intervention (more to get the attention of Qui-Gon) saves him from injury. Sebulba returns to his starting position and eats the discarded snack: a free snack, courtesy of Jar Jar.
- On Tatooine, Anakin gives Jar Jar a series of dirty looks at the dinner table (further to the dirty looks he gives him in the junkshop). Qui-Gon then grabs Jar Jars tongue, causing him embarrassment and pain, in a physically remonstrative act thats partially intended to civilize Jar Jar ("There is no civility, only politics"), and partially intended as a casual demonstration of Qui-Gons own skills (in other words, Qui-Gon makes an example of Jar Jar with violence).
- On Tatooine, Jar Jar helps get Anakins podracer in working order. However, as hes working on one of the engines, Anakin warns Jar Jar not to get his hand caught in the energy binders, else "itll go numb for hours". It almost seems as if Anakin did some reverse psychology on Jar Jar, hoping he might secretly injure himself. Promptly, Jar Jar gets his tongue caught in the beam, then gets his hand trapped in the turbines to the engine he was just working on, after attempting to retrieve a tool that landed there as a result of his energy binder mishap.
- On Tatooine, it seems that Anakin is about to activate his pod engines, without a word of warning to Jar Jar, or on his behalf, before Padme intervenes and removes Jar Jars hand (not literally), since no-one else could be bothered. In the middle of all this, Threepio turns to Artoo and comments that Jar Jar is "a little odd" and "very odd, indeed" (the second of which is prompted by him repeating something that Artoo says to him, where Artoo appears to have assented to Threepio, and stressed the sentiment all the more).
- On Tatooine, Watto suddenly flies in front of Jar Jar and deliberately barges him out of the way.
- On Tatooine, a beast of burden farts in Jar Jars direction and then looks haughtily at him.
- On Tatooine, Obi-Wan derisively inquires after Qui-Gon, "Why do I get the feeling weve
I started writing a long-ass post continuing the esoteric back-and-forth here, but what it really comes down to here is that I don't believe the performance. In the "yegads" line in particular, I feel like I'm forced into watching the performer because the performance is too thin. I'd forgotten that thread you brought up, but it contains an exchanfe from Studio 60 that seems to apply here:
A:"When I asked for the butter at the read-though the line got a laugh, but at dress rehearsal it didn't. Why not?"
B:"Because you asked for the laugh."
A:"What'd I do at the read-through?"
B:"You asked for the butter."
Don't you think you're treating Jar Jar a bit too much like a real person here? He's a character, an element of a story, and as such doesn't exist independently of other story elements.
Part of what makes Jar Jar so annoying IS the fact that he stumbles along without even being acknowledged or having impact on the proceedings for much of the film. All he really does from the bongo to the Padme's chamber is make messes and annoy people. Obi-Wan is definitely a space-racist in TPM and that's something that hugely annoys me about the film (though I'm sure if I called it a "problem" you'd come back some rationalization of why Lucas was a genius to make our hero into such a bigot ), but every dirty look you cite from Anakin is in direct response to some thoughtless antic or other. If someone came into the place I work and started knocking things over - making a mess I'M going to have to clean up - I would give them dirty looks, too. It doesn't mean I think they're sub-human; it means I think they are capable of exerting more self-control than they are exerting at present.
The short version: "Good person" and "insufferable character" are not mutually exclusive.
I wonder at your suggestion that there's some simple way to start liking something one dislikes. Is there any film you don't like? If so, why do you not simply choose to like it?
That's pretty much how it goes. I CAN like any movie, and I usually do. I usually HATE country music, but sometimes I have to admit to myself, that deep down, somewhere, I must love it. So it goes for most other things I've chosen to hate. Being critical, in itself, can be a nasty habit.
Im here to put my points across as fully and as sincerely as I can; but not to browbeat.
So, thats fine, really.
Thats just it, though. The excerpt I posted indicates that Jar Jar is "asking for the laugh". He is unconsciously being the court jester for the amusement of his superiors, which, in this case, are young children, primarily, and those who are easily amused (which is all of us, at times). Older people are more likely to reject this more obvious exertion and buffoonery in favour of more subtle displays of humour and emotion; in short, Jar Jar endears himself to young viewers in moments like this, and generally leaves everyone else indifferent or annoyed. But thats not the whole character. He has many animated moments and many quieter ones. Also, within the child-like fabric of the film itself, Jar Jar fits, as an actual child-like character (his real age and degree of social and biological maturity are, to a large degree, unspecified or ambiguous), given to naked displays of fear and panic (this sets him apart from the other main characters of Star Wars; save, perhaps, for C-3PO -- who himself demeans Jar Jar (though, with a degree of ambivalence, and privately, to a robot buddy -- themselves, outcasts, really) in this installment).
Hes a container of and for ideas. In part, it is peoples reactions to ideas that shape the world as we know it. Thus, when people react negatively to Jar Jar, in the ways that they generally have (and, it seems, still do), I do become a little perturbed. Only a little, mind you. I also find the whole thing kind of hilarious. The way I personally understand Star Wars is, really, as a black comedy. Lots of horrible and nasty things are said and done, on scales big and small. But, ultimately, its all in the name of spectacle. Many bizarre things happen, because the characters and situations themselves are pretty bizarre: its a big soup of silliness. Nonetheless, I find it very telling that people have some of the attitudes they do. This is nothing against you personally. The character doesnt click for you. Thats fine. But with a lot of fans over the years, its gone a little past that; at least, in terms of how theyve chosen to express their feelings. Again, telling. Again, perturbing. Yet funny. Or... peculiar. No, scratch that one, too. How would Spock say it? Fascinating.
Im here to put my points across as fully and as sincerely as I can; but not to browbeat.
So, thats fine, really.
Looks like I got off on the wrong foot right at the top here. My "long-ass post" comment was meant only to refer to my abandoned composition; please don't think it was in reference to your prolific tendencies. You're able to compose these monster posts coherently, whereas I tend to have trouble maintaining focus beyond a certain length when writing on these boards. I'm sorry if I gave the wrong impression.
Thats just it, though. The excerpt I posted indicates that Jar Jar is "asking for the laugh".
JAR JAR asking for the laugh would be another matter entirely. What I'm saying is that what I see in that scene is Best (with the aid of ILM animators) asking for the laugh. It's not Jar Jar who is annoying me - in this moment, the character ceases to exist - but the performer(s) behind the mask.
Whats the wink in aid of?
It was SUPPOSED to convey the lighthearted nature of the preceding acknowledgement of our very different viewpoints. As you both explained and demonstrated in your response, going into an analysis thinking "the creator is a genius" "the work is a work of genius", of course you're going to be hard-pressed to consider any element of the work to be a problem. That doesn't mean you're being less reasonable or fair-minded than me, it just means we're coming from two very different places.
The idea that you will always have a justification for any "problem" I identify doesn't mean I'm right and you're wrong. It may mean that you will excuse anything, even a legitimate problem. It may mean there ARE no legitimate problems with the films. Or maybe it means that much of this is subjective and I'll always be on my "Lucas isn't a genius" side and you on yours.
Side note - the individual I addressed is absolutely a troll, continually posting excessively curt and vague responses that amount to "You're wrong because X" without the slightest elucidation or hint as to what X may be or what particular element of X has any bearing on the discussion. Not to mention a tone of snide condescension that makes my worst efforts seem as self-effacing as poor Jar Jar.
Moreover, some of his reactions -- like those cited for the dinner table scene -- are NOT when Jar Jar is knocking something over or making a mess.
Personally, I think you're being a little unfair to the not-Jar-Jar folks here. Should Anakin and Qui-Gon be a little more understanding of Jar Jar's foreign ways? Maybe. But by the same token, Jar Jar has been invited into Anakin's home, and should make every bit the effort (arguably more) to be polite according to the customs of the host. He clearly realizes the impropriety of the tongue-lashing - otherwise he wouldn't bother with excuse me. That he does it a second time is willful rudeness, and wholly deserving of Qui-Gon's reprimand. As for Anakin, he brought these strangers into his home, surprising his mother just before dinner (a dinner for five prepared on slave wages meant for two, by the way), and one of them starts acting like this at the table. It's understandable that he would be embarrassed and upset.
Jar Jar admits early on that he is clumsy, yet he makes little effort to keep out of situations where this would cause a problem. When they enter Watto's shop, he starts to play with a piece of equipment and Qui-Gon stops him: "Don't touch anything," likely preventing Jar Jar from breaking said equipment. How does Jar Jar respond to this save? With a rude tongue-waving gesture and an immediate move to play with more junk - which ends in a big mess. Why WOULDN'T Anakin wrinkle his nose at such behavior?
In other words: If he's going to act like a child, he should expect to be treated as one.
"Good post" and "insufferably long post" are not mutually exclusive. Er, right?
Well, I for one think they are. But yours was the FORMER.
Ah, well! Now I AM laughing!
That comment was meant seriously. Originally, it was just the one line. Then I thought I should add another to clarify my own behaviour. But then, I thought a THIRD LINE (talk about overdoing it!) was needed to clarify the second, which was only there to clarify the first!
OBI-WAN: In the name of...!
Ah, okay. Im not sure how much room Best was given to improvise; and certainly, I couldnt tell you anything about his performance, in terms of improv, on a line-by-line basis. So, it could well have been Lucas directing him to voice it like that. On the other, even if Best was improvising there, he was improvising based on his own intuition of what Lucas wanted, and Lucas could have made him do it differently if hed really wanted to. In short, then, I appreciate what youre saying, but your objection to it -- from my point of view -- does not compel me to revise my earlier take on it; in short, it fits what I wrote (again, to me). It *is* an over-egged line, I think, and one I enjoy, for the reasons given. So, we share the same basic perception, but have a different regard for it. I would just like to add, in light of what you just wrote, however, that theres something else that makes it sound peculiar/false: Jar Jar is, in essence, talking to himself. It has an odd, fourth-wall-breaking quality to it for that reason, since characters rarely do that in SW (in fact, interestingly, now that I think back, I remember you also objecting to Threepios line, "Its such a drag", not only for the wording, but also because Threepio almost seems to be saying it to thin air -- if this wasnt you, I apologize!).
Well, thats perfectly equitable. Exactly. Maybe I over-reacted there? That said, it is a stylistic conceit of yours, and it generally comes off as sarcastic. Maybe I need to re-tune my humour meter for future encounters? Frankly, youre a good guy, and I dont like arguing anymore. I hate to sound like a shill, but the "films, not fans" rule is a very decent rule, by and large, and I think it keeps a certain focus to discussions that is totally alien to other Star Wars discussions at other boards (well, prequel discussions, anyway). And beyond that, arguing with people gets tiring. Im closing in on thirty now (28 at present) -- and I want a (relatively) quiet life! Oh, Ill be needing my pipe and slippers by 40, at this rate, guaranteed!
I would just like to add, in light of what you just wrote, however, that theres something else that makes it sound peculiar/false: Jar Jar is, in essence, talking to himself. It has an odd, fourth-wall-breaking quality to it for that reason, since characters rarely do that in SW (in fact, interestingly, now that I think back, I remember you also objecting to Threepios line, "Its such a drag", not only for the wording, but also because Threepio almost seems to be saying it to thin air -- if this wasnt you, I apologize!).
It may have been, I'm not sure. But I have definitely railed against that line for the out-of-character lingual idiom.
If Jar Jar clearly broke the fourth wall, I think it would salvage the moment. It would be a weird anomaly within the Saga, but it would be the CHARACTER breaking through the fourth wall, instead of the actor (/animators/editor/director - you're right that a lot more people have control over a given performance on film than on stage) breaking through the character.
To be honest, I can think of very few examples of actors (rather than characters) breaking the fourth wall, let alone good ones. Even the common gag of "Let's check the script" (or in the case of Spaceballs, the videotape), which would most seem to lend itself to revealing the actors behind the characters, tends to have the characters pull out scripts - as if they are playing themselves in a movie that's also what's really going on in their lives.
Yeah. It may have you been your comment and THEN someone else said that extra thing, if not you. I seem to recall countering at the time with the observation that Threepio can be regarded as talking to Artoo; but the line is kind of executed in a fashion that suggests hes just sounding off outloud, as IF talking to the audience. Star Wars needs soliloquies! More soliloquies!
Ah! This is a major difference between us, then: at any and all points with Jar Jar, I never sense the actor; I always feel the character. Then again, its not as "smooth" a performance, I dont think (nor is it intended to be), as say, Gollum in LOTR (Im back to talking about performance in terms of scripting, animation, voice acting, etc., now -- i.e., Im talking about the characters as a collective expression; Im not chiefly talking about Ahmed Best or Andy Serkis). Gollum chats to himself a lot in LOTR, but it feels more natural, I think, because he is haunted by this streak of madness, and he really needs the company (all those years in the wilderness; one might reasonably infer that Gollum needed to fill a void -- AND he has something of a "split personality", anyway). That latter point might explain Jar Jars aside, actually: like the Gollum of the LOTR books, Jar Jar was banished from his society, so he probably took to talking to himself (plus, hes an exclamatory individual). Yet, I guess, youre STILL saying the voice work there is too much, so what Im saying is relatively academic. I dunno. I think its a cool moment and really adds to Jar Jars character. Whats more, it *is* like someone has implanted the words there, and I like that. Before Jar Jar admonishes himself (that, in itself, is an interesting facet, to me), he says, in faux-mystic style, "Better dead here dan dead in da core!" Its like Jar Jar catches a glimpse of profundity coming from his own lips -- philosophically: is it better to be dead in a given situation than dead deep down inside? -- and then screeches in horror, and literally asks himself, "What am I saying?" Its like someone else took over Jar Jars body and made him voice a truth so deep he recoils from it; from the sound of himself being wise. And, in the more immediate sense, its Jar Jar saying, "Quick! Follow those Jedi before they leave!" Theres that FEAR in Jar Jar. Its a funny gag by Lucas; and well-delivered by Best (in my estimation).
Well, some comedic performances, by definition, almost, are very fourth-wall-breaking, I think. Performances like Jack Nicholson playing The Joker or Jim Carr
I think I agree with JKH here; Jar Jar would have been a lot more likable if it weren't for a handful of excessively over the top moments.
I actually quite like his more subtle stuff, like "steady... steady!". I actually LOLed at that. More of that, and less of the "piercing" moments, would have gone a long way.
Each time I rewatch TPM, can't bring myself to find him other than over the top and too much clown-like.
Altough I don't hate him, he's a sympathetic character, really think, like a lot of people I guess, that Lucas and his pals have really gone too far.
Besides, he's not properly realistic in the footage (movements, texture, photo-realism).
Surely, this is another element that makes Padme's appeal to Anakin, in AOTC, more ironic (i.e., "better")?
"We live in a real world. Come back to it!"
Could have been worse...
Just can't forget the way I reacted when first seeing TPM : "No, no...He's not believable with real actors".
I do think for instance Watto looks somewhat more real and photo-realistic in the movie (although he's all blue...).
I think the general consensus is that Watto looks more "real and photo-realistic" on the whole.
Part of that could be because he's less inherently cartoony in his body language and behaviour.
Another reason, perhaps, is that Watto tends to be seen in more subdued locales (chiefly, the junk shop, and the hangar).
Conversely, Jar Jar is (sometimes, but not always) wild and erratic -- Star Wars' answer to "The Mask", from a certain point of view -- and he appears in very bright surroundings a whole bunch of times (surprise, surprise, to me, he looks more "real", if you like, in Palpatine's apartment before Amidala leaves Coruscant, where he is both subdued in temperament and shown in more sombre lighting).
Plus, fans -- especially, it seems, those opposed to TPM, in general -- just plain like Watto better, I think. Watto is someone with a slightly acerbic sense of humour and a worldly-wise quality that satisfies a certain aesthetic hankering in fans. They like jaded characters with a dark past; Watto seems to fit both containers in his own way. Yes, he's cartoony, but in a more adult, grounded way. And then there's Yoda. Almost the exact cartoon opposite of Jar Jar.
Poor Jar Jar is out there on his own. No-one much likes him; those of a more hardcore disposition, anyway. Neither in the film or outside of it. He is made to stand out and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Even his maker seemed to poke fun at him after TPM, cheekily calling Episode II "Jar Jar's Big Adventure" before the real title was settled on and announced; likewise, Jar Jar is subsequently taken advantage of, and made to look like the classic village idiot -- only, in this tale, the village is an entire galaxy -- by the saga's arch villain, opening the door for the Empire good and proper. Yes, in this sense, and others, Jar Jar strikes me as the most "mythical" of all the PT characters, and one of the most tragic and memorable screen characters of recent times.
What is this I hear? Not a trace of Binks in the TPM 3D trailer?
My Lucas/Yahweh comparison has now reached its inevitable conclusion, whereupon the Father forsakes his artless child, who suffers torment and death at the hands of the cynical power-players and depraved masses.
"The sun doin' murder to meesa skin!" I know Jar Jar, I know. But you will see resurrection.
Which reminds me...
I'd been meaning to broach this in a Jar Jar thread. Hopefully, those of a sensitive disposition will have the good taste to put their offence aside and appreciate at least a passing connection -->
Y'see? There WAS an inspiration for Jar Jar! Those crying foul on behalf of (non-offended) Rastafarians everywhere have been barking up the wrong tree -- and how!
Here's to the "blasphemers" of the world, like Salman Rushdie, Martin Kippenberger and George Lucas -- an odd grouping, but stranger combinations have surely been had -- for their provocative, enduring polemics.