A Tirade by Noah Antwiler
I'm back, and I've had it with Star Wars! Oh yeah, that's right. I've had a major problem with Star Wars for a while, but those prequels were the last straw-- so for those of you with a thick skin, stick around. For you fanboys who are just gonna get sore over me picking on your movie, just remember that Jolly Blackburn gets your hate mail and letter bombs, not me. I'm invincible, suckers!
This month's edition of the Spoony Movie Rant is about the most overrated Lucasfilm superstar to ever sell a lunchbox: Boba Fett and his idiot father, Jango "My Kids Named Me" Fett.
As the skies blacken, as the Star Wars geeks' begin to mass in the valleys and they brandish their plastic lightsabers, as the inquisition lights their torches, like sands in the hourglass, like dust in the wind, like every rose has its thorn, I can already sense the hell that's going to come down on me for picking on the oh-so-badass icon of bounty hunters that uttered a total of 3 lines in the original series. Boba Fett's always been one of those holy, untouchable characters. You don't tug on Drizz't Do'Urden's cape, you don't spit on Lord of the Rings, you don't pull the mask off of Ambassador Kosh and you don't mess around with Fett.
Why is that? He's always been big. No, not just big. The biggest. Even when I was a kid, I remember seeing Fett toys in the supermarket, and kids would beg for them! If any given nerd were to spontaneously project himself into a Star Wars fantasy, he'd probably dream himself in Slave 1, killing Jedi, growling out badass one-liners, and regularly nailing Mara Jade on the side. The guy reigns nearly uncontested on anyone's list of biggest badasses.
But why? Who exactly is Boba Fett? That enigmatic extra in the green Mandalorian armor. The man whose humble starts were an introduction in the Star Wars Christmas Special. Oh, I know, Boba is one bad mamajama. He's cool looking, he's stoic, he's a man of few words, and he's honest about what he wants: the benjamins. But I'll tell you what he isn't: a bounty hunter.
You remember in Empire when Vader is walking down the line of bounty hunters giving them their instructions on how to find Han Solo? Went a little something like this:
DV: "You are free to use any methods necessary, but I want them alive. NO DISINTEGRATIONS."
BF: *As you wish.*
Can you spot the problem with this line? He's supposed to be a bounty hunter, right? Well what kind of nimrod bounty hunter has to be reminded not to obliterate his mark into his component atoms? The point is to drag the dude back and collect the bounty, isn't it? As in, alive? That's traditionally what bounty hunters are expected to do. And this isn't just about Han Solo. Let's talk about any other bounty contract.
Example: Fett comes back from a job and visits Prince Xizor.
*I have come to collect the bounty on Skywalker, my prince.*
Excellent, bounty hunter. Bring him to me so that I might gloat over him."
*Well, uh, it's the funniest thing, Lord Xizor. He's uh, kinda dead."
YOU FOOL! *sigh* Then where is his body so I might gloat over that?"
*Ah! The body, yeah well um I disintegrated him. It's quicker that way and I don't have to drag him all the way back to the ship -- and well you didn't really specify .... so .... I gotta go, so if you could just put the money into my account ...*
You really think that's gonna fly? You can't even prove the dude is dead! If you hired Boba Fett to kill someone, he's really just a glorified assassin. If he's got a reputation for disintegrating people as Vader seems to imply, why would anyone hire him in the first place? He obviously sucks as a bounty hunter. It's a little like a pizza delivery man with a penchant for eating on the job. But despite his reputation for wantonly obliterating hapless victims, he actually does act appropriately when it comes to Solo's capture. He wants Solo alive to collect his bounty, so perhaps he's just been going through a rough phase in his career.
Of course, if you consider Return of the Jedi, you'll see Fett hanging around in the background of Jabba's palace. He doesn't seem to be a fan of the music (who is?), and I doubt he comes to the palace for its world famous Bloomin' Onions. Instead, he appears to be acting as a bodyguard for Jabba, making his exact profession even more mysterious. What is he now, a Bounty Hunter/Assassin/Bodyguard? If you think about it, he doesn't even really do a good job as a bodyguard, allowing the twi'lek slave girl almost a full 30 seconds of time to attempt Jabba's murder uncontested. Sure, Jabba handled himself all right and fed the disgruntled dancer to the rancor, but where was Fett? Off taking a smoke? Rinsing out his helmet? Why would he let any assassination attempt, however laughable, go without blasting her immediately into a steaming lump of ash?
The guy was a walk-on role, people, let's face it. Let's confront the lie that George Lucas had like 9 Star Wars movies written up at once; he just made Eps 4-6 first. He's always said this in the interviews and books that I've read, but I'd be willing to bet if you called his bluff he wouldn't have produced anything more than a few soiled Post-It Notes written in the aftermath of a 30-pack of Pete's Wicked Ale. There's no way you can tell me that Boba Fett, a minor character with about 3 lines in the movies, could have been the lynchpin in the plot that set into motion the entire intergalactic conflict known as...The Clone Wars. So you're telling me that Lucas, in his infinite wisdom, based his entire prequel series around Boba and Jango Fett. Characters he could never have possibly known at the time would be so mind-bogglingly popular.
But Jango Fett was even worse. You KNEW Lucas was trying every lame trick he could think of to somehow shoehorn an adult Boba Fett into Attack of the Clones, but the time frame problem was just insurmountable. There was no way it'd work unless Boba's around 50 years old in Empire. Enter Jango Fett, a duplicate character with a name twice as stupid. Jango is such a laughably stupid character not simply because his involvement in the Clone Wars is a plot hole you could drive a Death Star through-- he's laughable because he's such a dork. Now don't get all mad yet, here's an example.
He looks badass; I'll give him that much. Jango does have quite the impressive array of weaponry. A jetpack, a blaster pistol, a neato grappling-hook firing thingy, a flamethrower (that he doesn't seem to know how to use), and a bunch of cool missiles on his backpack he can't hit anything with. Undeniably, Jango is a master of ranged combat. He's a crack shot, I bet. You'd have to be quite the gunslinger to be a feared bounty hunter in a galaxy full of staggeringly weird beasties. Which is why in Attack of the Clones I can't help but giggle at his sudden plunge in IQ. You'd think his first choice of action when confronted with an army of lightsaber-wielding weirdos who are masters at melee combat would be to fly around and pick them off. Or something akin to that.
You know what he does. He whips that hand cannon right out and CHARGES BLINDLY INTO MELEE COMBAT!! YEAH!! with Jules-- I mean, Mace Windu, the BMF himself! What the hell is he thinking?? The very purpose of a GUN is that you shoot people before they can do something painful, like ... oh, I don't know .... jam a sword into you? See, guns are extraordinarily cool in those crazy times you don't feel like being bayoneted or decapitated. I don't know, I'm no soldier... But Jango, the most mobile man on the field, and the best shot, and the man with a weapon the Jedi can't block (flamethrower), is quite content to frolick around on foot to duke it out with the second-best swordsman in the universe. If you ask me, the dumbass got what he deserved.
"Oh look, there's lots of sword-wielding maniacs on the ground. CHAAAARRRGE!!! WHEE!"
I laugh my ass off at that part, but even more so when little Boba picks up his daddy's helmet. (Remarkably light for having a human head in the helmet-- and don't gimme that crap about seeing his head fly out; it ain't there.) Wouldn't that be funny if his head fell out in front of Boba? It'd slide out like a can of cranberry sauce. *thhhhwwww-thwup!* "AAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!" Oh man, that woulda been rich. Boba would've been scarred for life! Ha ha!
And you know in Clones when Jango is contracted to kill Padme? What kind of a wussy bounty hunter hires someone ELSE to do his work for him? He hires that lame changeling thing to kill her off. Again, this makes no sense to me-- I thought Jango was a bounty hunter. Killing senators is clearly the role of an assassin, and he's not even really filling that role! Seems to me all that Jango is, is a subcontractor of incompetent assistants, like the changeling sends that flying robot thing to Padme's place. There are all these neat lasers all over the floor that act as motion detectors, and we're awed by their CG coolness. So the robot gets into the room and releases those ooh-so-scary bugs into the room, and the plan is the bugs will poison Padme, and she'll die. Sounds pretty elegant. But why not just load a bunch of machine guns on the robot and have it spray the room down? Flood the room with cyanide gas? Or just be packed with explosives and level the whole floor? Padme's dead, problem solved. But their brilliant plan is to send a bunch of huge bugs inside, where there are two Jedi with super-senses sitting on the other side of the door, who are presumably on constant alert and can detect foreign life forms if they concentrate on them? Talk about inept. My plan would have worked
I admit, perhaps this little tirade was more of a sneak attack on the hapless Jango Fett, and thereby an attack primarily on the intensely stupid prequel movies. I think something inside all of us died the day George Lucas made Force-sensitivity akin to a venereal disease. Or maybe I'm still bitter that they're releasing a new Hellboy DVD, what, a month or two after the last one? I never thought the video aisle would make me so apprehensive. You can't even buy a movie anymore without the fear of next month bringing a new unrated director's cut with go-faster stripes and the alternate ending where you find out that Winona's not really a robot, and Connor's not really from the planet Zeist. Just wait for Revenge of the Sith and Return of the King to come out on DVD, only to find out that the complete collector's editions you have now are going to be replaced with a Super Mega Six-Pack that makes your current collection completely obsolete!
Actually, Lord of the Rings and Star Wars are perhaps the worst offenders on that score. The original LoTR movies were good, but can you really wait a month for the extended editions? Remember when the original Star Wars movies were put out on tape in a trilogy boxed set a week before the special editions were re-released in the theaters? And then those special editions were released in their own boxed set about a week later? Sure, it was just $20 for you, but even if one person in a thousand caved in and bought them all, that's a load of money!
Clever how the studios cash in, isn't it?