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May 2002 — Monthly Archive

Battles in Star Wars II Dissected

USS Clueless: This isn’t a Clone War, it’s a Clown War.

How good would the Jedi be at defending themselves against cluster bombs? If you forget the gee-whiz CGI and analyze the abilities of the weapons themselves, the infantry turn out to be using weapons with approximately the same capabilities as the American M1 Garand, the standard infantry rifle used by the US Army in World War II. Their aircraft are approximately equivalent to Korean war fighters armed with medium caliber cannon.

Nobody in that galaxy a long time ago and far away seems to have invented bombs or missiles! (We’ve seen them used once; to attack the first Death Star.) Their aircraft strafe; the weapons on their walkers are little better. Their infantry use human-wave tactics. The US military of 2002 would make short work of them. If one of their aircraft tried to take on ours, it’d take an AMRAAM up the snoot long before reaching gunnery range. Apache gunships would destroy their walkers. Then heavy bombers would slaughter their men on the ground with area-effect weapons. How good would the Jedi be at defending themselves against an FAE with�a light saber?

And the clones, the clones; why did the bad guys even bother with them? It’s not like there’s ever been any difficulty coming up with cannon fodder.

I guess the answer Lucas would have to that is: he never intended to make something along the lines of a realistic war movie. The real malaise is a little deeper, I think. See the opening sequences of Gladiator and LOTR:FOTR, the Mahabharata telesoap telecast on Indian networks, Attack of the Clones… all show epic battles, but the basic setting is the same: battlefields full of jostling soldiers, blood and mayhem all around.

On the other hand, the rules of war have changed. The last major war fought that way would be WWII, with a si