Star Wars And Tactical Stupidity

Bryan Preston, former editor at PJ Media, took to Facebook this morning to deliver this Mystery Science Theater-style 3000 pin-popping to Star Wars on the eve of all of you rushing out to see The Force Awakens tomorrow…

Now that we’re on the eve of Star Wars VII, I need to get something very important off my chest.

It’s not about the stormtrooper armor. Everyone knows that that’s useless space junk. It doesn’t stop anything, and no stormtrooper can shoot straight anyway. The most dangerous place in the galaxy is standing next to any stormtrooper who’s trying to qualify with his blaster.

The problem concerns the tactical stupidity of the galaxy’s energy weapons. In the SW universe you have a gigantic-scale civilization in which it’s possible to travel halfway across the galaxy while a guy lays grievously injured next to a lake of lava — and reach him in time to save him and turn him into a cybernetic killing machine. But for some reason, this technologically advanced civilization, which includes numerous species on an untold number of planets, has settled on using brightly colored, loudly zapping and pewpewing weapons as all of their weapons of choice. With no countermeasures, anywhere, ever.

Think about this from a tactical point of view. What are you doing the second you fire a loud, brightly colored laser bolt at your enemy? If you’re a stormtrooper, you’re signing your own death sentence, because your enemy who already knows that you couldn’t hit the broadside of a star destroyer on your best day now knows exactly where you are both by sight and sound. You’ve given your enemy two ways to trace your location and wipe you out.

And let’s talk about the Jedi and the Sith. In both sides of the Force, we have these superhuman ninja commando wizards who can mess with your mind and even choke you through a video feed. Now, you’d think such warriors would prize stealth among their most useful tactics. But what do both sides do instead?

They walk around with eye-bleeding laser swords that make a very loud SLASH when you turn them on, and persist with a very loud HUM while you’re carrying them around.

There goes your stealth, ninja…

The Star Wars movies are great fun, but he’s right – you have to suspend disbelief a bit when it comes to the logistics and science and common sense associated with them.

Though to be fair, the worst example of this which comes to mind was Starship Troopers, an otherwise fairly entertaining flick starring Casper Van Diem and Denise Richards involving interplanetary combat with menacing insects from another galaxy. It’s a war movie, and in it the human casualties mount like nothing you can imagine – because a human society advanced enough to transport soldiers to an intergalactic invasion delivers them to a hostile alien planet – armed with rifles. And lots, and LOTS, of them die.

Someday they’ll make science fiction movies where everything actually makes sense. To the credit of the Star Trek franchise, its creator Gene Roddenberry was visionary enough to conceptualize a lot of the gadgetry and equipment a society advanced enough for intergalactic travel would have on hand. Star Trek struggles with believability at times, but it’s a little smarter story than Star Wars is.

But hey – it’s a movie. You’re supposed to suspend your disbelief if you can.



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