16 September 2011

Friday Double: (8) With thunderous applause

The Star Wars prequels are collectively so bad, I hesitate to call descriptions of any of their scenes "spoilers," but this post contains some.  It's worth the trouble to finally introduce John Williams, the best American orchestral composer of the late 20th Century, to my Friday Double feature.  He is to the prequels as the great Walter Payton was to the Chicago Bears 30 years ago:  it's not the former's fault that the latter sucked so hard.

So this is how liberty dies:  with thunderous applause. -- Senator Amidala
The crowd reactions at the two latest Republican presidential debates brought this line to my mind.  It's rather terrifying to realize that large crowds of Americans are now openly cheering RIck Perry's love of the death penalty, or the thought of leaving the poor to die for simple lack of money.  People like that have always existed, but now they've lost even the decency to keep their vile sentiments to themselves.

So, yeah, Amidala's lament, probably the single most famous line from the three Star Wars prequels, has crossed my mind recently.  In Chapter III: Revenge of the Sith, Chancellor Palpatine, having just defeated an attempt by the Jedi to arrest him for treason, is using the incident as an excuse to appoint himself as Emperor.  The Senators cheer, prompting Amidala to complain to her few remaining allies.  Of course, the Emperor has neglected to tell his adoring Senate of his other recent creation -- Darth Vader, who, as the following track plays in the background, has just committed one heinous crime and is now working on a second.  [Amidala's line comes at about the 1:50 mark.]

It isn't that there's anything inherently wrong with "thunderous applause."  A reaction like that is entirely appropriate, for example, after everybody's favorite benchwarmer ends a victorious game with, well, as much emphasis as possible.  The first couple of minutes of this Jerry Goldsmith joint make a lot more sense if you watch the actual final scene.  To skip that preamble, skip to about the 2:10 mark.

Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!

No comments: