Concerns over the new ‘Stars Wars’ movie

By Jim Russell
Empire Press Correspondent

Alex Clark, my 12-year-old lunch buddy friend and I watched “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He said, “It was good, but it seemed like they used a lot of clips from old ‘Star Wars’ movies. That’s what my brother said, and he was right.”

Their comments matched my surprise the movie didn’t include current technology. In the first scene, the new spherical droid BB-8 hustled back from a roll in the forest to warn about an attack instead of using a voice-activated mobile phone.

The evil enemy, called First Order, had a massive air base without moving walkways. Surveillance cameras didn’t direct clone troopers to heroes walking in hallways or climbing walls in plain view.

Those are quibbles. The arc of the story is resistance fighters imbued by a good force and supported by the New Republic using violence to overthrow the violent evil First Order. I cheered on the resistance fighters just as I did in the first movie in 1977.

The trouble is, I’ve lost faith in our foreign policy of supporting resistance fighters since the U.S. and our allies lost the Vietnam War in 1975. Optimistically, the united Vietnam is thriving and welcoming U.S. tourists.

Coincidently since 1977, NATO and allied forces have stubbornly supported resistance fighters to topple dark side regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, among others. Allies declared military victories and drew down military forces. But do we see peace? Am I the only one appalled by the tragic lives of people living in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq?

Are we going to be bombarded by “Star Wars” sequels until fighters ultimately triumph? Will there be a sequel of the rebuilding? Will our nation increase support for violent resistance fighters in dozens of existing despotically-ruled nations?

Throughout this movie, the heroes believe recruiting Jedi Luke Skywalker and delivering his customized light saber weapon is their only hope of reigniting the unifying power of the force. When they piece together the cryptic map to Skywalker’s hiding place, I saw a luminescent cross in the middle of the path. Was the message implying our heroes had to trample over the cross to deliver it, or that it was the Christian way to empower the force?

Was I mistaken about the cross? I didn’t find references to it in Internet blogs. But I saw it, the symbol of Jesus’ non-violence. Non-violence was the force Gandhi used to win freedom from England in contrast to the U.S. Continental Army’s defeat of the British Army. Nelson Mandela used non-violence to overthrow apartheid in South Africa. Non-violence works.

Alex listened to me raise these questions. He said resistance fighters and people on both sides of wars always believe they’re the good guys. He warned me that when people have a fun experience, they shouldn’t use logic on it. It’ll take away the fun.

When I read him a draft of this article, he admitted he’d seen me enjoying the tense fight scenes. The more I thought about his sardonic answer, the more disappointed I was about my enjoyment of the movie.

The new “Star Wars” excited me, but I’m afraid it glorifies violence to achieve peace. That approach isn’t working for our nation. Am I alone with this feeling? Is my fear unreasonable?