Reflections in Film: Fast 5

Fast and the Furious: Fast 5

Fast 5
Fast 5

History: I’ve been a fan of the Fast and Furious movies ever since the first one premiered ten years ago. The Fast and the Furious was a gritty street racing film about an undercover cop, Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker), who infiltrates the racing crew of Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) in an effort to bust a ring of 18-wheeler hijackers. The first film, on the surface, was no different than any other “undercover cop” movie. The underground street racing scene hadn’t really been featured before, and Fast and the Furious showed it in all its gleaming fiberglass and NOS enhanced glory. While the plot was simple and straightforward, the characters jumped off the screen. Diesel’s Toretto was the meathead jock, but he was also the tortured family man. Walker’s O’Conner was the conflicted cop, but he was also the man looking for a reason to fight. Both were antiheroes for different reasons and both grew through the quarter-mile drag races and incidental violence between street gangs. Fast and the Furious was a summer blockbuster with a bit of over-the-top action, but it also had soul.

The success of the first film was followed by a sequel, 2 Fast 2 Furious, which showcased the return of Paul Walker but not Vin Diesel. This movie tried hard to duplicate the first film, exhibiting fast slick cars, street racing, and underworld glitter, but it tried too hard. Without Diesel around to inject hard hitting emotion, the film floundered with more of a buddy cop/Miami Vice feel and didn’t grow the story or the characters. For all its NOS powered flash, it felt like an extended race scene that was deleted from the first film.

Despite the relative failure of the second film, the franchise continued with Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift which centred around a completely new cast and the new country of Japan. Dom Toretto cameos at the end, claiming to be a friend of one of the film’s protagonists, a car criminal named Han (Sung Kang) who is hiding out in his version of Mexico. Tokyo Drift‘s story was one of a son’s reunion with his father, and was a coming of age tale, and while it heavily featured underground street racing, it returned to the first film’s success of story powering the cars, albeit in drift races instead of the franchise’s traditional drag races.

The fourth film, which premiered in 2009, returned to both the original cast and setting. Fast & Furious also moved backwards in time from Tokyo Drift, showing Han at work in Dominic’s crew, while O’Conner worked in a special task force at the FBI that specialized in fighting crime centered around street racing. This story had cars and story in spades. Dominic was forced to confront the consequences of his crimes, which included the death of his girlfriend. At the same time, O’Conner’s struggles focused on which side of the law he really belonged. Both characters took separate, but parallel, paths to the same truth: that together they are stronger. The film ended with Toretto choosing to stand trial for his crimes. When the justice system worked against him, O’Conner broke him out of prison. By the end of the action, the two characters had moved through each other’s worlds and into a new synthesis. Again, the growth of the characters and the story made this film more about people than engines, and was the strongest outing yet for the series.

Hype: Honestly, I wondered how the franchise could stay fresh. Before going to the theater to see Fast 5, I watched the previous films (except Tokyo Drift), and tried to imagine how things could advance forwards. Most long running film series tend to duplicate themselves endlessly, relying on formula and fan base for success (such as Indiana Jones and James Bond), or are a continuation of a single general storyline (such as Star Wars and Star Trek). Even from the trailer, it seemed like the writers and makers of the F&F movies were intent on taking this new sequel, and future films, in a decidedly new direction. I had read that Fast 5 was going to take the main thrust of the movies from street racing to heists. That seemed like a stretch to me, as the major crime in the previous movies was either perpetuated by an uber evil bad guy, or was undertaken by a protagonist trying to grab a little extra, usually for understandable reasons. I had a hard time seeing the car crew/family as criminals in it for the crime. Finally, while street racing isn’t exactly boring if filmed dynamically, it was, ten years removed from the original, worn out as a plot device. I was unsure of its ability to keep an audience, or even myself, interested.

I was interested in strong character development and an evolution of the devices in a fast and furious car series that had proven in could do the former and was shaky in modifying the latter.

The Good: Fast 5 proved that evolution is possible. Honestly, I have never seen a film franchise so completely reinvent itself. It was as if established characters were lifted from an established premise and put into a completely different genre. In my mind, this was like James Bond being extracted from a spy film and being put into a sci-fi thriller with aliens. Such things shouldn’t work. Such things are never done. (I can think of one exception: Star Trek IV, the one with the whales, which was bookended with traditional Star Trek memes, but was a Star Trek film without a starship or outer space, taking place on pre-space flight Earth.)

But Fast 5 worked, and worked extremely well. The brief glimpses of street racing were mere homages, or internal references. There was only one drag race, and it was played for humor, not as plot advancement. Each character stayed true to himself (or herself), and thus cars were involved, but only in the way that James Bond would involve his PP7 in a science fiction film: as a convenient way to shoot aliens. The film spent most of its time off the asphalt, and in the character’s lives. The first big chase scene was a chase on foot, and completely devoid of cars. The biggest, flashiest car featured in the film spent most of its screen time either being taken apart or put back together, not being driven at insane speeds through flashy nighttime streets. The characters didn’t really drive cars, or use cars to solve their problems. They used their non-automotive skill sets instead (talking, infiltrating, cracking, monitoring, etc). The big heist felt like something out of Ocean’s 11 or Kelly’s Heroes, involving cars only because they are convenient, and not really as a showcase for the cars themselves (which separates this film from the Italian Job, where Minis drive the plot).

Fast 5, of course, had fast cars and a car chase, but the film wasn’t really about cars. For the first time in ten years, it was blatantly obvious that the titular words were not descriptors for the cars, and never were: fast and furious are schemas through which to understand Dominic Toretto, Brian O’Conner, and their car enthusiastic team.

Finally, Fast 5 was able to connect all the major players from four previous and mostly unconnected films in way that made Ocean’s 11’s way of bringing together a huge cast seem like an amateur effort in collaboration. Fast 5 felt more organic, more real, than the Ocean’s films ever did.

The Ugly: Some of the action seemed implausible. That really is about my only complaint. View the trailer for the film and you will see Dom and Brian towing a safe through the streets of Rio de Janeiro with two Dodge Chargers. I am not sure I entirely buy that, but I allow it because, after all, Fast and the Furious is a summer action blockbuster. Despite the character growth and drama, this is not supposed to be a hyper realistic film in which everything matches the real world, so I don’t really care.

Also, I suppose that if you watch the Fast and the Furious only for the car bits, and tend to hate plot and character development, then you (probably) really won’t like this film.

The Personal: Over ten years and four films I had become invested in these characters. I wanted to know where they went next, and how they solved the problem of being highly wanted fugitives who themselves desperately wanted normal lives free of complications and the threat of 25 to life.

I’d also connected with O’Conner, adrift in a life I wasn’t entirely comfortable with. The trust and the love shown across such an incredibly diverse group of people who accept former traitors and cops is moving, and, it must be admitted, personally challenging. Fast 5 allowed me the time and space to project into that sort of dynamic and explore it for a couple of hours. For that, I find Fast and the Furious 5 to be a great film.

Final score: 4 out of 5 supercharged, NOS injected Dodge Chargers.

SWD: Get the Chancellor

I should mention, before I really get going here, that the novelization of Revenge of the Sith, written by Matthew Stover, is a valiant attempt to reconstruct Revenge of the Sith in such a way that things sort of make sense and are the logical result of humans being humans (in most cases: some of the characters are not human, obviously). Stover completely ignores some events in the movie, and totally reinterprets others, and, if given the choice, I would rather read the novel than watch the film because the novel is endurable and, dare I say, enjoyable. The reason why? Good writing.

The film, however, is full of bad writing, and so I begin…

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith (00.01.50-00.08.05)

As it is almost two minutes before there is any dialogue, I will take these moments of eye candy to wonder what the heck is happening. According to the opening crawl which just faded into the stars, General Grievous has “swept” into Coruscant and kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine. It is strongly suggested later that Palpatine orchestrated this entire event simply to have Anakin Skywalker recalled from the front lines so that he could kill Count Dooku and be ripe for the turning to the Dark Side.

While this sounds good in theory, there are simply too many places where such a cunning scheme could go wrong for the Chancellor. Security would have to be told not to fight back, ships would have to be rerouted, and the Jedi would have to be kept out of the loop and somehow out of the fighting. Put this in terms of WWII and England. If Sir Winston Churchill were actually in league with Adolf Hitler and wanted to orchestrate a plan in which an elite team of Nazi soldiers kidnapped him and tried to make it across the channel, I highly doubt he would succeed without his connection to Nazi Germany being discovered, given the intense security around Churchill and the British Army stationed around England for the purpose of repelling any invasion force.

Furthermore, the recall of Kenobi and Skywalker, and their entire battle group, apparently, would be like Churchill recalling a battle group from the South China Sea. Unanswerable questions would be asked and the gambit would fail. The plausibility of Palpatine’s actions here are very much in question, especially given that at this point he hasn’t yet tried to give orders to the Jedi Council, who seem to be running the war, and it is they who would have to recall Kenobi’s battle group. I wonder if his was the closest most convenient group to recall, especially since there should have been defenses in place already.

I suppose it could be argued that the Republic cruisers we see actually are the orbital defense group and that just Kenobi and Skywalker were recalled, in their Jedi starfighters, to infiltrate Grievous’ ship, but why? Mace Windu and at least one other Jedi Knight are already on Coruscant and available to fly up into the melee, so why recall anyone from outside the system? This entire chain of events makes no sense at all. But, it is what exists, so assuming the extremely unlikely, Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi finally quit their pointless acrobatics and are staring down the gullet of spacial chaos at Grievous’ ship.

I must say, apart from being slightly overwhelming, this space battle is very well done, from a technical point of view. It is many things that the comparable battle in Return of the Jedi was, with a few homages to the attack on the first Death Star thrown in (ie Kenobi being Red Leader, and the early X-wing like fighters). It is clear this sort of chaos and setup is what Lucas wished he could have achieved for Jedi because he recreates it so well, down to the Emperor being seated in a throne on a ship with the battle raging behind him and a duel of the fates being fought in front of him. I’ll say this for Lucas: he never stops trying to perfect his films that were, in his mind, incomplete due to rudimentary special effects. That single minded pursuit of perfection is a good trait, for the most part, and one I can respect.

Anyway, at this point Kenobi’s squadron is under attack and a few of their disposable clone pilots are being blown up. For some reason Anakin wants to “go help them out” (00.04.04). Kenobi has to remind him to do his job: rescue the Chancellor. I think this is thrown in here to emphasize the trouble Anakin has letting people in his life die, but it doesn’t work because 1) Anakin has been fighting a war for three years with troops he has come to think of as disposable and 2) given the way he thinks about Palpatine throughout the rest of the film, one would think the Chancellor would rate as slightly more important.

Also going on here is a little banter between Kenobi and Skywalker. it sounds a little forced and superficial, and no doubt was added because, after Attack of the Clones, some audience members had trouble believing that Anakin and Obi-Wan were in fact friends. I’ve got no trouble with the banter, per se, as it isn’t really any worse than any other horrible prequel dialogue, but I point it out as one more thing added to revise what has come before, which is a direct result of failing to plan and write well in the first place.

Anyway, there is some drama with some missiles and buzz droids, and for some reason one of the best star pilots in the galaxy thinks it is a good idea to fire on his master’s fighter and/or physically bump into it. Other than that, I like the idea of the buzz droids because someone was thinking about the infinite options available with an army of droids. Why shoot a normal missile when you can shoot a missile full of droids that create havoc?

Finally the Jedi manage to land in the main hanger bay, and while they chop up some useless droids, Artoo finds the Chancellor. The Jedi immediately sense Count Dooku (and somehow not the evil Darth Sidious) and rightly figure it is a trap and decide to go anyway. Artoo naturally wants in on the fun, but is told to “go back” because Anakin needs him to “stay with the ship” (00.08.00). Um, why? Are they really planning on leaving in one and a half starfighters with three men? Wouldn’t Artoo prove useful? I understand that practically the droid would get in the way of all the running and fighting and madcap elevator fun, but there had to be a better way of getting the droid out of the way, like having him be separated from Skywalker and Kenobi like he got separated from Luke on Cloud City, or something. And then Kenobi tosses him a communicator as if a droid of Artoo’s specs doesn’t have one built in. (How else does Skywalker talk to him while he is sitting in the starfighter wing?)

Anyway, the Jedi go to spring the trap, and Artoo goes to pout about being left out of the action.


SWD: Soap Wars or Who’s Your Baddy?

I am jumping into it with both feet, by which I mean that Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith does have its moments. Like Leia says, “Not many of them, but you do have them.” But, sadly, I also mean that Revenge of the Sith is bad, and not just bad, but atrocious. I begin, as always, with the opening crawl.

Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith (00.00.00-00.01.50)

The crawl of Revenge runs until one minute and fifty seconds into the movie. Rather than reference time codes as I normally do, I refer you to the page that includes the entire text and will reference line numbers, as if this were poetry (but horribly bad poetry).

“War!” it begins (1). I suppose that Lucas felt, perhaps rightly so, that Star Wars had become As the Star Turns, or All My Squabbling Delegates, or Jedi Of Our Lives, or whatever clever soap opera title one wants to adapt to accurately describe the degeneration of the saga. Star Wars had gone from a stirring space opera to a lethargic soap opera in space. There was no real war in the Phantom Menace, just a few battles. There was no real war in Attack of the Clones, just a pointless, unjustified attack on a backwater planet that was not part of the Republic. Lucas, rather deftly, actually, manages to skip almost the entire war that should have been what Star Wars: the Prequels was all about: The Clone Wars. The Clone wars were alluded to in A New Hope with mystery and weight and feeling, as if it were World War II and women married the men that came home because they came home and there wasn’t anyone else. Lucas, for whatever incomprehensible reason, allotted the Clone Wars to the dark gap between movies and is now giving it the kiddy treatment over on Cartoon Network (and doing a bad job of it). So I suppose that Lucas wanted to remind people that his saga was about a galaxy spanning war, after all.

The entirety of the first paragraph of the crawl reads like it was written by a five year old. Descriptions are cliche and the sentences are as simple as those one reads in kindergarten: “See Vader run. Vader runs fast. Evil is everywhere. The Republic is crumbling. There are heroes. Padme is sad.” It is dreadful. Each of the next paragraphs is a single sentence, so why is this one four sentences long? And, my beef is not just with the structure of paragraph one, it is with the content as well. Apparently the war is being run by the “ruthless Count Dooku” (2-3). All well and good, except that we haven’t seen him be particularly ruthless, more gentlemanly and only slightly evil. And, as far as that goes, he captured a whole 20 minutes of screen time in Attack of the Clones and will have even less in Revenge of the Sith. The next two sentences are contradictory: “There are heroes on both sides. Evil is everywhere.” (4-5). To whom is the “ruthless” Count Dooku a hero? The thousands of star systems that think the Republic is corrupt and just want to secede? I doubt they would condone his “ruthless” actions. The council of toadies that are his financial backers? In my experience those who are out only for profit and career advancement only make heroes of themselves or their bank accounts, not some “ruthless” political figurehead. And, evil, by definition, is not heroic. It is craven. It isn’t courageous, it isn’t bold, it slinks and it snarls, and nothing about that is heroic. This is non-sequitarian.

Finally, however, we move beyond the sort of general plot that Lucas has been stringing loosely together over the past half a movie, and into the direct set up for this movie, and we learn that a “fiendish droid leader, General Grievous” has kidnapped Chancellor Palpatine (7-8). Again, this does not fit at all with “heroes on both sides” as someone who is “fiendish” is not heroic.

Furthermore, who is this guy? Up until now, it has seemed that Count Dooku is running the war. He seemed to be the ringleader or kingpin in Clones, and this first paragraph has told us that the attacks which are crumbling the Republic are “by….Count Dooku”. I understand that Grievous could be the commander and Dooku could be the chief, but that has to be established and documented otherwise the audience becomes confused. In the Original Trilogy, we knew there was an Emperor who ruled the galaxy, and that Vader was his right hand man running the war. We didn’t get the Emperor for part of two movies and then suddenly get Vader for half a movie and be expected to make the jump. But, not to worry, because I actually do know why Grievous is suddenly introduced here when he, perhaps, should have been around since Episode One. The reason for Grievous is this: Lucas had a brilliant idea two movies too late. General Grievous is a direct analogue to Darth Vader (Lucas has said this several times in interviews, forgive me, as I don’t have references handy). Both are “more machine than man” and both are “twisted and evil” and both are “trained in…Jedi arts” and the list goes on. Lucas had a brilliant idea to foreshadow Vader with Grievous, but if that were the case, the main villain from the beginning should have been Grievous and he should have been a blend of Dooku and the General. A force wielding mostly machine Sith hunting down the Chosen One would have been fantastic, especially since we know the formula works, and when Darth Grievous dies unredeemed, it would give much more credence to Kenobi’s belief that Vader is unredeemable.

But, because Lucas did not bother to stop and think anything through or work with more than one draft, he thought of Grievous two movies too late, quickly inserted him into the thick of things and killed him too quickly for anyone to really get it. This is an argument I have been making since Phantom Menace and Darth Maul: too many guys who are not really that bad. The Original Trilogy had exactly one: Vader. It was always and only Darth Vader. He fired first, he strangled second, he dismembered third, he trapped fourth, he taunted fifth, and he never ever showed any hint of goodness until the very end. Darth Maul said nothing, but was a bad ass animal. Darth Tyrannus/ Count Dooku seemed like a good, misguided gentleman and wasn’t particularly scary or bad ass. Greivous is so over the top and cliche that he is boring. There is no one to care enough about to hate as a villain, and a space opera, heck, even a soap opera, needs an obviously evil villain. You know, the guy who is trying to kill the kids who don’t actually belong to their parents but are actually twins, and are actually the heroes’ twins who everyone thought was dead but who has been alive all this time and is really the bad guy himself! *gasp* Or something. Point is: clear villain.

Lastly, the film begins with a “desperate mission to rescue the captive chancellor” (16-17) and, in addition to the massive star fleet, the Republic sends exactly “two Jedi Knights” on this desperate mission (15). And, we learn later, they apparently had to recall Kenobi and Skywalker from the Outer Rim. What?? What about Mace Windu and Yoda and the (it looks like hundreds of) Jedi right there on the planet from which Palpatine is being kidnapped?

Sure, the mission is desperate, but only because the Jedi are total morons.


the Comebacker

the batter snapped his bat
and up the middle cracked
a hit. the ball screamed
towards the pitcher,
who, still reeling from his writhing,
spun, and weaved, and ducked
and in the end, kissed the dust.
the second baseman stabbed
out with leathered glove
and snagged the wayward missile
and casually tossed the ball
to the first baseman for the final out.
the pitcher crawled up the mound
and stood still dazed.
on one half of his face his beard grew still
but the other gleamed, shaved clean,
clean save for a mark, angry and red,
red like the smacked back end
of a baseball’s stitching.

(inspired by a play during the Cleveland Indians at Anaheim Angels game on 11 April 2011, with Mitch Talbot pitching and Mark Trumbo at the bat in the bottom of the 4th inning. Trumbo was out 1-4-3 on the play.)

mouse grass*

I woke up this morning,
stumbled into the mirror,
noticed that while I slept
someone had stole my beard.

the fiend clipped off my mustache,
weed-wacked my goatee,
left me with an empty face
and a soul patch.

how nice: a soul patch.
parsed out: a patch
for my naked, hairless soul;
a sarcastic bandaid.

or, perhaps, a patch,
like in a patchwork quilt,
a key piece, or ingredient
in the restoration of a soul.

a soul stripped bare by rules
and admonitions:
that a tiny little mustache,
like Hitler, was ok.

but, below the lip, just south
of the twisted smile,
evil lived and festered
corrupting the souls of men.

as if the hair of the face
could have any bearing
on the content of the soul!
eyes are mirrors, not beards.

beards are tangled tendrils,
fibers and split ends of thought
hanging reflectively from chins and lips
suggestive of nothing: ponderous.

waiting simply to be stroked or combed;
waiting to yield the detritus harbored there;
given up only after careful trimming
and loving application of the scythe.

all the sage, wise ones wore beards.
the longer to stroke – the deeper their safe
of their knowledge and thought.
how ludicrous would they be, clean?

shavin’ is a ritual, undertaken with care.
my mustache is more than a fashion accessory
beneath my angry eyes;
it is a prize, hoarded with care

against the thoughtless fools who would give leave
to grow a bit of twirly mischievousness
against the tide of full on evil
beneath the teeth, pure and sparkly white.

but then, as I blink away the bleariness,
I remember that I cut away my metaphor
and swept up the bits and pieces
in an effort to break free of foolish chains.

*mouse grass, or more properly, maus gras, is a pidgin phrase from Papua New Guinea meaning facial hair

Star Wars Deconstructed: Revenge of the Sith

After a two month hiatus, during which I pondered the meaning of life and the worth of continuing this blog series, Star Wars: Deconstructed is back!

After I finished deconstructing the Phantom Menace, I was actually excited and energized to continue into Attack of the Clones, but I found that about halfway through Clones I became overwhelmed by the sheer amount of bad writing, thoughtlessness, poor planning, and half-hearted work that had become Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy. The more I thought about the films and tried to comprehend the bizarre characters, strange plots, and haphazard story elements the more I just could not find a coherent line of reasoning or a reason to continue. I was forced to come to the decision that no one had really cared enough about the story to actually make sure that it was a decent one, much less a good one.

If George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, could not be bothered to imagine a good story, I wondered what exactly it was I thought I was doing when I was deconstructing his films. Was I wasting my time? Was I wasting effort on something that was/is irrelevant? Perhaps.

But then I took a miniature vacation while my wife was sent away on a business trip. It was a very early flight, and the airport was mostly deserted. I walked right up to the ticket counter and began the usual handing over of my ID so that my reservation could be called up, and hefting my bag onto the scale so that it could be tagged for the flight. The woman who was assisting me was probably in her mid thirties (about 10 years older than me) and I really didn’t pay much attention to her. I’ve flown many times in my life, and the process is so routine that I can go through it pretty much on auto-pilot (no pun intended). Anyway, I had to pay for my checked bag, and I pulled out my wallet and handed over my Mastercard, which has a picture of Darth Vader on it. (This fact really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, and actually this was my first credit card which I applied for through….also not surprising.)

Over the years that I have used this card, it is either ignored, or I get a “hey, cool card!” but this time the woman behind the counter glanced at my card, then at me, then said “I just let my son see that movie for the first time last night. I thought he was finally old enough, so I showed him the original Star Wars. My husband and I had a hard time deciding whether we should show him the old ones or the new ones first.” Just like that, without preamble or introductory remarks. So, me being me, while she finished the transaction on the computer, printed out boarding passes, and tagged my bag, I engaged in a brief conversation with her about why it was a good decision to start with the Original Trilogy and why it was an even better decision to think seriously about ignoring the Prequel Trilogy completely. The airport was still empty, and I had enough lead time before my flight, that I actually stood at the check-in counter for a few more minutes rounding out the discussion. She had as much to say to me as I had to say to her, and in those few minutes, I realized why this blog series was so important:


Shakespeare’s plays, the Bible, and the earliest stories told by man are not really about the characters, the plot, or the story lines. The stories are about connections. They are about one human connecting with another human, and about how and why both react to that connection as they do. This is true: it is impossible to encounter another human being without having some reaction. Even willful ignorance of someone is a reaction. Therefore, in understanding and deconstructing exactly how the connections in Star Wars are or are not flawed is another step in honing the ability to understand the connections of every day, real life. Literature has always been a lens through which writers and readers understand the world around them. In the 21st century, film and television is our literature, just as books, and campfire stories were once the dominant “literature” of their eras (not that oral stories or written stories are passe, just not so dominant).

And, by having an understanding of something as hugely popular as Star Wars, I have an immediate connection point to other people, and a way to meaningfully interact with them, even if it is through a picture on a credit card and a ten minute conversation about children and Star Wars and a minor discussion over “correct viewing order”.

As is often the case, the people who helm the check in counter are usually the same people who take your boarding pass, and in my case, the very same same woman was also a flight attendant on my flight. I knew her, however superficially, and when I saw her later at the gate, and later still on the plane, we were able to share a smile, and a connection. That was important to me, and I would like to imagine that it was important to her as well. I was happier that morning and had a smoother flight than I think I would have ordinarily. Extrapolating to a larger scale, I know that that was an important connection, irregardless of the minuteness of it, because humans are social animals, and we live and grow through the connections we have with other people. Even a small interaction can produce positive feelings of confidence, belonging, and success, and those feelings can go a long way towards how a day, or a life, turns out, at least mentally and emotionally.

With that in mind, I continue my deconstruction of Star Wars, not only to analyze them as literature on an intellectual level, but also to evaluate them as tools with which to understand the connections around me, and to evaluate them as schemas through which to view the world (or not, depending on how badly Star Wars is or is not written). I hope that as you read these blog entries, perhaps some of what I write can enrich you, even if it is just a tiny bit, like a brief conversation at a check-in counter.

Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith (00.00.00)