Why Does Everybody Hate
6-16-99 update: WOOHOOO! News straight from the lips of Jedi Master Lucas himself - we haven't seen the last of Jar Jar Binks! During the great "From Star Wars to Star Wars" ILM special on FOX, he said this: while Episode 2 will be more of a romance with fewer special effects shots, it'll still contain computer-generated characters, "and Jar Jar will probably be in it". So we can happily look forward to more Gungan adventures in 2002!
"Any intelligent fool can make
things bigger, more complex and more violent.
It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of
courage - to move in the opposite direction."
FYI: ==martiangirl== is Paula Jacqueline O'Keefe, a/k/a angelynx
and Dr. Hecatene.
new stuff on this site:
Anti-Jars Have Gone Too Far!
Read my rant about the hater site Kill Jar Jar Binks - The Official Jar Jar Binks Hate Club Website..
--AND on the same page - to make you feel better - a wonderful essay in praise of Jar Jar's existence by my fave film critic, Roger Ebert. =)
--i have completed my "Binks-centric" review of the TPM novelizations, and -whoa!- my very first ever TPM fanfic, Bedtime Story. it's a little Jar Jar and Amidala vignette i hope you'll like. (--a clean vignette, gutterbrains!=)--
also, there's a bunch of new pictures in the Gungan Gallery, along with the sound files people keep asking for!=) and i've finally completed work on the Gungan Defense Award -
feel free to nominate your site at email@example.com.
The Case for Jar Jar Binks
--even before the premiere of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace, reviewers were taking swipes at Lucasfilm's newest alien, the computer-generated Jar Jar Binks. the one review that called him "endearing" (TIME magazine, thank you very much) was much outweighed by jibes like "irritating", "annoying", "nuisance", "noxious", "insulting", and even "monstrosity"! and that's nothing compared to the lashing that poor Jar Jar has gotten from "fans" since the movie actually opened! practically every SW1:TPM review in the Internet Movie Database has something bad to say about him. and there's an Official 'Death to Jar Jar Binks' website, one called Jar Jar Must Die and even an Official Society for the Extermination of Jar Jar Binks.
so i, martiangirl, stand up in defense of this good-hearted and lovable amphibian to tell all the internet that i love Jar Jar Binks!-- yes i do! and i do not see what he's done to earn all this hostility! ok, so he's a klutz; what, didn't any of you haters ever trip over anything or get caught someplace you didn't belong? ok, so he's inclined to panic; name of the Force, cut him some slack, will you? if you'd been raised in a nice quiet jungle lake and never been asked to do anything more drastic than catch frogs, dodge monsters and try to stay out of trouble, do you think you'd be the picture of cool if you were suddenly yanked offworld, shot thru space, handed a position of command, and tossed into the middle of an interplanetary war? i am darn sure i wouldn't be! (right, we realize that the Gungans are a warlike race and every little Gungan probably gets battle training from tadpolehood on, but in-the-field experience is a different beast altogether, and there's no indication that such training includes any
(extended digression: and what's all this stuff about him being too light or comical a character for Star Wars, dragging down the dignity of the epic saga? did you guys all think the Ewoks were serious and dignified? Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2, and even Han Solo have all been used to add humor to the SW films. Master Lucas has made several comments on this mind-set, saying that some people seem to want SW to be like "The Terminator", dark and apocalyptic. someone posted angrily to my guestbook that his advice to Lucas was "MORE EVIL AND LESS JAR JAR". after hearing Lucas discuss JJ on the Fox TV ILM special, saying how the character expresses his own joy and sense of creative freedom at being able to create a fully digital actor, i feel safe in saying that neither of those sentiments agrees with George Lucas's ideas. and thankfully, he's the one calling the shots.)
--but back to the movie. consider, if you will, that in addition to being abruptly drafted into the job of helpful native guide and unofficial Gungan ambassador to the Republic, Jar Jar plays a central role in a scene that will affect the entire future history of his homeworld and even the galaxy: he speaks openly to Queen Amidala about his people and their army.
--- think over this scene for a second. for all we know, the rulers of Naboo have never dealt with the Gungans before; when Amidala first sees him she says "you're a Gungan, aren't you?" in just about the same way that you or i might speak to an Australian aborigine or a Kalahari bushman. she knows these odd secretive creatures live on her world, but has never actually met one. (in her volume of the Episode 1 Journal set, she marvels at Jar Jar's childlike gentleness, saying that her people think of the Gungans as barbarians.) now she's in big trouble, unarmed Naboo is under siege, and she needs an ally in the worst way. Jar Jar finds her as she looks out over the city, worrying and trying to plan, and they have a conversation.
anyone who thinks Jar Jar's stupid has completely ignored this scene. here's young Amidala, the Naboo Queen, his hereditary enemy. he asks sympathetically if she's thinking that her people will die. he understands that that's bad for the Gungans too, and then he tells her something she didn't know: that they're warriors with a trained army, who won't go down without a fight. you can almost see the light go on over Amidala's head. here's an ally she'd never guessed existed, who might be persuaded to fight for the planet they share.
now if you think Jar Jar is dumb, then you probably think the silly frog just did some empty-headed boasting and smart Amidala used it to rope the Gungans into a war. --(and you also haven't read the book version, in which the first thing he does when he meets Amidala at that window is to wonder out loud why the gods ever created pain. pretty profound question.)
--i don't think so. i think he had already decided that the Naboo must not be so bad, and guessed what he could do to help them. Amidala has been friendly to him, he sees she's worried, and he assures her that the Gungans will give any invading army their very best shot. he doesn't have the authority to directly offer her their help, but by telling her this he makes it possible for her to enlist them, without overtly doing so. this shows subtlety and smarts as well as good character judgment; such a hint would be wasted on a more timid or tradition-bound ruler, but it's green-for-go to brave and decisive Amidala.
-- ok, sure, it's just as possible that he's only thinking of their defending themselves rather than fighting on behalf of the Naboo, but even so, he tells her. knowing there's an army ready to defend her planet must encourage her no matter what its exact allegiance is, and if he intended nothing else, he must have intended to raise her spirits and give her some hope. out of the honest goodness of his heart, he counters generations of prejudice and suspicion (after all, the Gungans are supposed to hate the Naboo), and tries instead to help.
his gesture inspires the Queen to do something that apparently no Naboo leader had ever done - overcome her own people's prejudices and misunderstandings to open diplomatic relations and a military allegiance with the Gungans. (Jar Jar had said that maybe the Gungans' military readiness was the reason the Naboo didn't like them; i think his intent was to say that was no good reason, that the Gungans - although tough! - were no threat to the Naboo, and I think she got the message.) True, she does the actual negotiating: but she would never even have been there if that conversation in Coruscant hadn't happened.
--and who ends up as emissary and go-between at this historic summit meeting?
a meeting that ends up saving Naboo from invasion and kicking the Trade Federation's
tyrannical butt back to square one?
goofy, clumsy, Jedi-smooching, kicked-out-of-Otoh-Gunga Jar Jar Binks, that's who!
is this not a hero? a name that will be written in his homeworld's history?
you bet your bongo it is....
so we submit that this torrent of hatred is unfair and ill-observed, and that in the future of the Star Wars universe the name of Jar Jar Binks will be remembered with great honor.
and we think it should start right here.
Yousa goen on to more Gungan stuff dis way!
...go back to Area 77 main page.
...go on to more Jar Jar Binks stuff!
...go on to lots of Jar Jar photos!
...wanna read my review of the TPM novelizations?
..how about my very first piece of TPM fan-fiction?
(Be kind to it, please...=)
Obligatory Copyright Notice:
Jar Jar Binks and all STAR WARS characters
are owned and (c) Lucasfilm Ltd.
Their use on this site has not been
authorized by Lucasfilm
and the opinions expressed here are solely those of the author.
Honest, I won't hurt 'em, I'm just borrowing 'em for a bit...