WASHINGTON, December 17, 2017: Four decades separate that young, innocent and idealistic Tatooine moisture-farm boy – who told an imprisoned Princes Leia, “My name is Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you” – from today’s jaded, sulking, island-dwelling recluse. But in “The Last Jedi” – the just-released current installment of the “Star Wars” saga – it seems that Old Luke (Mark Hamill) has joined ranks with the dark, troubled and psychologically damaged anti-heroes that have been rolling off Hollywood’s busy assembly line in recent years.
Harvey Weinstein’s Hollywood.
On a Planet Hollywood not all that far, far away
Yes, those same Hollywood bottom-dwellers you wouldn’t want your daughters to share an elevator with are busy today creating the morally ambiguous 21st century archetypes that your kids share darkened theaters with in 2017.
While Americans are distracted by the latest breaking political, entertainment and news industry sex scandal, we forget that Hollywood, Washington and the news centers in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles continue to produce, 24/7, the toxic drivel that trivializes the once crystal-clear, unambiguous demarcation between good and evil.
Luke Skywalker: The infection of the anti-hero
Back in 2011, long before many overpaid NFL athletes refused to stand during the playing of America’s National anthem, DC Comics’ greatest superhero, Superman, boldly renounced his American citizenship in issue #900 of Action Comics.
It seems the Man of Steel had grown “tired” that the world was perceiving his epic battles against Lex Luthor, Brainiac, and General Zod as the “instruments of U.S. policy.”
“Truth, Justice and the American Way – it’s not enough anymore,” says DC’s muscle-bound milksop.
The 1977 edition of Luke Skywalker was clearly on the side of good as he embarked on a mission to destroy evil. But in 2017, this now-veteran Jedi knight tosses his light saber into the kitchen utility drawer as he morphs into a world-weary moral relativist. As he tells his budding Jedi apprentice Rey (Daisy Ridley):
“Now that they’re extinct, the Jedi are romanticized, deified. If you strip away the myth and look at their deeds, the legacy of the Jedi is failure, hypocrisy, hubris… At the height of their powers, they allowed dark cities to rise, create the Empire and wipe them out. It was a Jedi Master who was responsible for the training and creation of Darth Vader.”
And so, the legendary hero Luke Skywalker now hides on a lonely island. Luke has become a hermit, a bitter anti-hero wishing only to avoid confronting the First Order, those bothersome skull-crushers of the Empire’s reincarnation.
The moral relativism of “The Last Jedi”
But wait. Maybe Old Luke Skywalker is not off-base. After all, when you think about it, aren’t the folks that make up the First Order and Rebel Alliance all the same: individuals capable of both good and evil simply trying to eke out a living for themselves and their families?
While we’re at it, shouldn’t we try to be a little more inclusive by declaring “the Dark Side of the Force” – that sinister theology embraced by both Darth Vader and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) – by redefining it as a “religion of peace”?
As we ponder this theological transformation, we should keep in mind that the Star Wars franchise was purchased a few years back from its originator, George Lucas, at great cost – $4 billion – by the Disney Corporation.
Once upon a time, in a Galaxy far, far away, Uncle Walt’s Mouse Empire was America’s premier producer of wholesome family entertainment. The Disney of today, however, has grown into a corporate entertainment behemoth. In the process, it’s also abandoned the original family-oriented mission that once made it great.
In many ways, today’s Disney has become just another cog in in the amoral, “progressive” Hollywood media machine that propagandizes moral relativism through its films. Films like “The Last Jedi.”
In his widely-admired book “A Hero with a Thousand Faces,” Joseph Campbell wrote:
“The hero is the man of self-achieved submission. But submission to what? That precisely is the riddle that today we have to ask ourselves and that it is everywhere the primary virtue and historic deed of the hero to have solved.”
That heroic quest is a transcendent journey far greater than the individual or his prurient appetites.
Just like the false and weak idols of today’s popular culture, Old Luke Skywalker has to get over himself and out of his own way before he is of any use to anyone. The problem with “The Last Jedi” is that the movie-going audience must wait more than an hour before this agonizingly jumbled, confusing addition to the original space opera franchise manages its transformation into an actual, heroic Star Wars film.
The critics seem to love this approach. Significantly, however, many moviegoers and Star Wars fans do not.