Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ewoks -- cutesy or resourceful?

The Ewoks, which made an appearance in The Return of the Jedi back in 1983, still have a couple of active fansites on the internet. They also have plenty of detractors -- some folk think they ruined the original trilogy.

Jordan and I just watched the movie (because my poor guy is back in the hospital and that's what we do here at Children's, watch movies) at his insistence and I loved seeing it again, being a Star Wars fan and all.

But I am not sure what I think about the furry little critters. When I first saw the movie, I loved them. Later, I decided they were way too cutesy and wished they had been left out. Now, I guess I am somewhere in between.

The Ewoks are cutesy. They are presented almost as if they are children play-acting at being fierce warriors. That is how the other characters, most notably Leia and Han, react to them. Leia entices one with food, soothing it as one would a small boy, rather than considering it a threat. Han is just annoyed by them, even after they become friends with the rebels. Tolerant, but definitely annoyed. They do cling to him in ways that make that unsurprising. Again, it's childish.

On the other hand, Ewoks show themselves to be courageous and resourceful in the face of battle. A child playing dress-up will run in an intense situation. When my son goes larping he hides under the table when the fighting gets "too fast" and that's just foam swords. The Ewoks prove themselves intelligent and capable as they use their primitive technology to defeat the Emperor's forces.

But, one of them stops in the middle of the battle to pout over a friend who had just been kiled. They think C3PO is a god. And they look like teddy bears.

I don't know what George Lucas was thinking, but art is generally reflective of the culture in which it is produced, to some extent. When we think of other groups, especially those less technologically advanced, are we guilty of thinking of them as children? Do we take them seriously when they came to the international table? Do we respect their arts, there skills, there ways? Sometimes, sadly, the answer to these questions needs to be "no".

Ewoks are old news, but can their part, however we view them, help us consider our treatment of others? It is good to self-reflect as individuals and as communities or nations. How do we need to change?

Just something to think about.

Have a great day!

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