LOTR isn’t the only movie that shows symbolic Catholicism in its movies and I would like to show how Star Wars has some of it and ask others to contribute as well.
The main figure in Star Wars is without a doubt Anakin Skywalker / Darth Vader. Through him one can see the dangers of pride and anger and fear. However his redemption at the end of the movies beautifully displays hope for all of us that no matter what evil people may do they can always turn back.
Star Wars could be applicable to Catholicism but I don’t think George Lucas really had that in mind when he wrote the screenplay. Don’t get me wrong the story does have some good elements but I think it had more overlaying themes of good vs. evil and mythological story typical telling. Lord of the Rings, the book at least, directly was influenced by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Catholicism. I suggest if you haven’t read it and only seen the movie to read the book. It is better than the movie:)
The most obvious, for me, is the Jedi order itself: it reminds me of early Christian mysticism. Plus, the Jedi seems like monks, and with a vow of celibacy to boot. Of course, as noted, this probably isn’t what Lucas had in mind, though I think the influence from Christianity from that aspect can’t be ignored.
I also enjoy the Star Wars movies but I think the idea of the Force is too impersonal to be God. And the fact that it has a Dark side sounds like a kind of Gnostic Dualism, a good god and evil god of equal power vying for power.
He had a lack of trust and faith in himself and others. The lack of trust and faith destroyed him in EP III because he had to control it change (the dream–which was really not straight forward) instead of “carrying his cross.”
One of my good friends is the ultimate Star Wars authority (at least in my book). I’ve sent him a link to this post and am hoping that he can provide some insight into this topic.
His character of choice is the Emperor (you should see his collection…its truely a sight to behold. Actually, you can see it on youtube. Go to youtube and on the search function, type in “Emperor Palpatine collection.”)
I think the Star War movies (in a very basic sense) tell the story of the classic and very epic battle between good and evil. The films express our deepest desire as humans; to rise up against all odds in order to overcome the most powerful forces of evil. We travel with the characters across worlds and galaxies in their honest attempt to save all that they hold dear and true in the world: sometimes that which is right (in the case of Luke and the order of Jedi, and sometimes that which is misguided (in the case of Vader and his thirst for ultimate dominion and power).
I think that the Star Wars movies have some Catholic values - specially the original trilogy - for example: the resistance to the desire of power (in the Episode V) and the compassion for the enemies and the love for the family (both values are shown in Luke’s desire of save his father) at Episode VI. All the 3 original movies are heart-touching!
I read at some sites that the word-changing that you refered (and which is at the episode 3) is a critic to George W. Bush. Read this review, which is at the Catholic News Service site: catholicnews.com/data/movies/05mv551.htm
My big problem is comparing “The Force” with God or The Holy Spirit. In the Star Wars world, Yoda describes the force: “Life creates it, makes it grow, it’s energy surrounds us, binds us, unites us…luminous beings are we.”
I had a BIG problem with that line because it was so uncharacteristic of a Jedi to say. If you ever listen to Yoda in “Return of the Jedi”, HE deals with absolutes. I am paraphrasing here, but I remember when Yoda was dying, he said “Once you start down the dark path, **forever will it dominate your destiny.” **How is that not absolutism? Also, in “Attack of the Clones”, when Anakin was admiring Chancelor Palpatine, Obi Wan said to him that “Politicians are not to be trusted.” How is that not absolutism? If we were to have Obi-Wan logic, Jesus Christ would be sith because he despises the “lukewarm”.
Speaking about the Jedi dying and then disappearing (as ObiWan and Yoda did) Here is something that I pulled from Star Wars which didn’t come to me until I saw the Rosary in the Holy Land series on EWTN with Fr. Pacwa (sp). He did the meditiation on Mary’s Assumption from Mary’s (the mother of Jesus) Tomb. I thought that was odd, because in all the artwork, it looks as if Mary just started flying into heaven and she did not look dead at all. According to one account, Mary died, was placed in a tomb, and then her body was taken into heaven. When I heard this, I immediately thought of Yoda and how he faded away.
The Holy Jedi are rewarded by the force by having their earthly bodies fade with them! I am such a geek!
If you listen to Lucas’s commentary on the scene where Mace Windu gets his hand cut off, He says the reason why the Jedi act with absolution. They are not at all diffrent from the Sith at all, they say they are but they’re not, with the important exception of one thing… True Jedi are selflessly absolute, they always put the safety of others before themselves, that is what drives their thirst for the light side of the force and the thing that defines their theological position on the Light side of the force… this is a quality shown only by Obi-Wan, Yoda, Luke and at the end of ROTJ Darth Vader, when he is shown absolute mercy and absolute selflessness by Luke who will not yield to selfishness and saves his father by leading by example(“You already have, my son, you already have”).
Falling to the dark side, is really falling to the side of Selfish absolution(The needs of self) rather than Self-less absolution(the needs of others).
The whole point of ROTJ when you see ROTS, should be that you will understand Obi-Wan is wrong in ROTS and right in ROTJ when he says he taught anakin incorrectly…
in the end if you do not stand on the selfless side of the Jedi, you are on the Dark Side.
Even Han Solo and Lando Calrissian take the journey to selfless heroism on the Light Side in these films…