JAR JAR BINKS MUST DIE!
Who is Jar Jar Binks? Well, if you're asking this question then you've been spending the
past few years in a black hole, safely tucked away from all the hype and hysteria that is
the new Star Wars movie. Jar Jar is a character in
Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace.
What makes him unique is that he isn't some guy in a costume like
Chewbacca, for example, was in the previous Star Wars movies. Nope, Jar Jar is a
completely CGI (computer graphics) rendered character, seamlessly integrated into the rest
of the live action of The Phantom Menace. Think Roger Rabbit, but a real life
realistic one and you'll get the idea.
Or rather don't. Because while it would seem that Roger Rabbit could
make us laugh (like Jessica Rabbit once declared), Jar Jar, supposedly the comic relief in
Phantom does nothing of the sort it would seem. He is rather an annoying and
irritatingly cute and unfunny creature despised by many a
Wars fan. Think of audiences cheering whenever an Ewok bit the dust in Return of
the Jedi's climactic battle and you'll have an idea of what we're talking about.
The warning signs were there from the start: when the first Phantom
Menace teaser trailer came out, the few seconds he was on-screen immediately worked
on the nerves of older Star Wars fans. By the time he opened his mouth to deliver
only one line of dialogue in the full trailer, the newsgroups on the Internet were already
abuzz with pure hatred for him.
Even on printed page (i.e., the novelisation by Terry Brooks), he grated
on your nerves.
As one dismayed fan complained after reading the book: "I hate Jar
Jar. He is there for comic relief and has WAY too much story-time. He is integral to the
plot, though, and is in virtually every major scene, and he WON'T SHUT UP! He speaks in a
broken English that grates on you after a while just reading it. I can only imagine what
it will sound like in the movie for two frigging hours!"
Unbearable it would seem - because soon after the first preview
screenings of the film, the Internet was once again abuzz with negative reviews. The chief
sentiment was that fans have been waiting 16 long years since
of the Jedi to see the story of one Jar Jar Binks!
Things turned nastier when the accusations of racism and racial
stereotyping began being flung at Phantom Menace - hardly something new for the Star
Wars movies. The first Star Wars was after all criticized for not featuring
a single Black face. Also, the triumphant medal ceremony at the end seemed to echo similar
shots from Nazi propagandist Leni Rieftenstahl's Triumph of the Will. Getting a
"token Black" in the guise of Lando Calrissian (played by Billy Dee Williams)
for The Empire Strikes Back did little to waylay further
After all, as the Black militant in Kevin Smith's screamingly funny Chasing
Amy remarked of Return of the Jedi: "Turns out that the baddest Black
ass motherf***r in the universe is a whiny old White guy underneath the mask . . ."
Now comes the news that rapper Stormtroopa is laying
tracks for a song titled "Jar Jar Binks Must Die"!
Is hatred of this character going too far? As Lucasfilm said in defense
of the character: "Nothing in Star Wars was racially motivated. Star
Wars is a fantasy movie. I really do think to dissect this movie as if it had a
direct reference to the world today is absurd. It's a children's movie. Kids love [Jar
Jar]. He's so childish."
That may be so; but still expect several "Jihad Against Jar
Jar" and "Jar Jar Must Die" type web sites to spring up soon on the
After all, it seems that this character is even more hated than that
purple dinosaur . . .