Considering the ubiquity of Star Wars criticism on the internet today, I didn’t have any plans to write about it as one of the first features on this blog. Though I’m not one for nostalgia, Star Wars is something I like, and certainly holds an important place for me from my childhood. I still really like the first two films, KOTOR, and I’ll probably go to the cinema to see the new movie a few days after it’s released. However, I used to love it all.
When I saw Attack of the Clones, I was 15. Even back then, filled with a misguided and completely ignorant sense of defining-myself-through-fandom-of-thing; something really bothered me. It was probably the first time I became cognizant of dumbness in the things I’d been enjoying.
I actually went and saw Attack of the Clones three or four times at the cinema when it was released, despite not enjoying it the first time. I was desperately hoping it would get better if I watched it again…
Read on to find out if it did!
I think it got worse.
Overall, I just think that it’s a boring movie, but back then I never would have admitted that.
So here’s that something I noticed:
In Star Wars Episode One: The Case of the Phantom Menace, Natalie Portman plays two characters: Queen Amidala, and Padme.
At the end of the film comes the *shocking twist* that Padme is actually Queen Amidala.
Queen Amidala, posing as Padme, as portrayed by Natalie Portman – and apparently with Keira Knightley somewhere in the mix too – explains that the other girl dressed as the Queen is, “my decoy”. There’s a couple issues with this “””plan”””:
1. Before Queen Amidala was elected (their planet is referred to as being a democratic system, and part of the larger Galactic Republic), she probably wasn’t wearing heavy make-up during the democratic circus. I don’t know, maybe she was. We never saw that. She didn’t wear it as a Senator though, so I’m guessing it’s just a Queen-thing. Either way, while the election season was in full swing, it’s probably a fair assumption that Amidala’s un-made-up visage would have been plastered all over the media, and definitely on the tabloid space-glossies, Space-Women’s Day, Space-Facebook, etc. Did she think that would-be-assailants wouldn’t recognise her, while she stood right next to the other woman wearing the Queen’s outfit, in the brilliant disguise of… herself? Furthermore…
2. In her hand-maiden “””disguise”””, everyone just calls her Padme. This is dumb as Padme is evidently her real name. We know this because in Episode Two: Clonvelutions, her character’s name is Padme Amidala. And she’s a Senator.
I’m sure that when Barack Obama, or whoever, has their Presidential decoy shaking hands with voters, visiting the unpopular states, and bangin’ the undesirable secretaries; he probably has the sense to use an alias while he’s lying low. Also, he doesn’t obviously stand right behind his decoy, with others greeting him; “hi Barack!”, “How’s it going Barack?”, and “Barack, clean this droid!”. Don’t take my word for it though, as I’m not an expert on US politics.
So how did this happen? Who made the decision to combine the decoy name and the Queen’s name into one? I guess they just did it because the producers thought changing either name would have confused the general movie-going audience, and possibly the film’s creators. If she was suddenly Sarah Amidala, or Padme Smith – whoa, hang on – who!?!
George: But… her name’s Padme.
Rick: but that was her name when she was in disguise. It’s not her actual name, she needs a real first name!
George: But… her name’s Padme.
Rick: George, it’s been two hours. We’re just going around in circles.
So change the name Amidala? Maybe the name Amidala is ceremonial, and given to elected Kings and Queens of Portmandia when they’re elected. Just like Popes. Maybe she gets to keep her Queen/Pope name once her leadership term is up and she needs to transition into the glamorous life of a celibate Senator.
If that’s the case, they should have mentioned it. Maybe in the scene where Ob’iwan and Anakin are reintroduced to her after all those years of great adventure and friendship we hear so much about:
Padme: Hello again, my name is Senator Padme Amidala. I’m a senator.
Ob’iwan: Padme? Wasn’t she that girl who was just killed in that bomb-blast on the landing pad?
Padme: No, that was Shmadme. I’m Padme, and have been all along! Don’t you remember from when I revealed it the last time we met!?
Anakin: Hi Padme, remember me? Oh hey, what’s your real family name? I need it for my.. *creepy look*… research.
Padme: My name was Padme Smith before I became Pope Padme Amidala. Um, what are you going to research…
Ob’iwan: Hang on… you used your ACTUAL name, Padme, before? That was unbelievably fucking stupid!! As your new security guard, I’m telling you – you need to cut that shit out!
Maybe she was thinking no one would suspect the ol’ switcheroo? Hiding in plain-sight? Well – not even hiding, really. Therefore, maybe the poor pre-adolescent kids pushed into political-career hot-housing by their deadbeat parents have a death wish? That raises the question then of what happens to the poor kids that aren’t even elected? Do they just become handmaidens/decoys? Set on a life-course to become servants, or blown up on landing pads? I don’t remember seeing any child senators running around on Coruscant, and the Queen’s adviser was an old man with a goatee. Sad stuff.
A final thought – Amidala sounds a bit like Mandela. The Episode One DVD Making-of-Documentary shows George writing the draft for Episode One in 1994. I can imagine George in-front of the TV, hard at work with his pad and pen, with the news showing a newly elected President Nelson Mandela: “hmm.. Mandela… Landela… Aledala… Amidala…. Queen Amidala… yeah, that’ll do!” You clever man, George!
I can’t criticise though. I got the name for this blog from a random blog-name generator.