Friday, August 22, 2008

Jedi Jailbait?

Yes, I sat through Star Wars: The Clone Wars and around 10 minutes in, I knew that I was not, in any way, a part of its target audience. It simply never aspired to that universal appeal that just about all of Pixar’s computer-generated films seem to have. But as a children’s cartoon meant to sell action figures, it’s probably not as bad as most critics are making it out to be. I grew up with the toy-centric Masters of the Universe, G.I. Joe, ThunderCats, The Real Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I’m obviously not offended by crass commercialism.

But I did find it disturbing when I came across an Associated Press (AP) piece that dissected the seemingly harmless teacher-student relationship between Anakin Skywalker and his plucky Padawan learner, Ahsoka Tano.

"Ahsoka Tano — who easily out-toughs even Princess Leia in her prime — is smart, sassy and skilled with a lightsaber," writes Josh L. Dickey of the AP. "And despite that she's merely a teen 'toon, Ahsoka kicks up more chemistry in a few scenes with the animated Vader-in-waiting than the real-life Natalie Portman could muster over three whole films.” He's referring, of course, to Anakin's secret bride and mother to Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, Padmé Amidala.

Dickey concedes that there’s nothing blatantly sexual or even romantic about this relationship, but goes on to speculate that the theatrical pilot for the Cartoon Network television series hints at possible sparks in future episodes.

Now, I’m surely not the first to admit that Star Wars is one of the most unsexy geek properties around, and any guy who can pick up a girl while wearing a “Han Shot First” t-shirt deserves more medals than Michael Phelps. But creating sexual controversy centered around the relationship between a twenty-something Anakin Skywalker and a half-naked underage alien girl just kind of gives me the creeps.

It’s bad enough that the series is portraying a soon-to-be mass murderer as a war hero, but do we need to make him a pervert as well?

When Star Wars becomes To Catch a Predator, that’s when I hang up my (plastic) lightsaber.

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