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The Masked Man Reviews the Star Wars Movies
The Masked Man Reviews the Star Wars Movies
The Lone Ranger
Published by The Lone Ranger
01-07-2007
Default The Return of the Jedi: Military Incompetence


Military Incompetence:
One thought that occurred to me upon watching The Return of the Jedi was this: “At last! movie bad guys who can learn from their mistakes!” (Well, to a limited extent, anyway.) How many times have we seen some variation of this in movies and television shows?
Bad Guy: “My fiendish plan/device will utterly destroy all opposition! It cannot fail!”
Good Guy: “Actually, that would indeed be true except that it has this one glaringly obvious flaw, which I will now exploit to destroy it.” [Does so.]
Bad Guy: “Oh fudge. I’ll never try that again. Well, back to the drawing board.”
Why is it that movie villains almost never seem to think of the obvious thing to do in these situations, which is: correct the flaw in your foolproof scheme and try again? The original Death Star had a huge flaw that the Rebels were able to exploit. The Emperor, unlike 99% of movie villains, was apparently capable of recognizing that it might be a good idea to correct that flaw and then try again. Good for him! (One presumes, anyway, that had the Death Star v2.0 been completed, many of the original’s design flaws would have been corrected.)

No offense to Lando, but surely the Rebels had more experienced flight leaders available. Even if he had Han’s support, why would they choose Lando – whom they hardly knew – over well-known and experienced pilots like Wedge Antilles to lead the attack on the Death Star?

Why would the leaders of the Rebel Alliance allow Leia to go on the potentially dangerous mission to destroy the shield generator on the Forest Moon? Leia was an important political leader in the Rebel Alliance, and it hardly seems likely that she’d be allowed to go off on a risky assignment like that. It was irresponsible of her to volunteer in the first place. For that matter, Luke was the last surviving Jedi (discounting Vader), and an important symbol to the Rebel Alliance; it doesn’t seem likely that they’d want him to go on such a mission either.

As Luke and his companions approached the Forest Moon in their stolen shuttle, Vader, aboard the Executor, detected Luke’s presence. Why did he then allow them to land on the Forest Moon, where they might actually succeed in their mission to destroy the shield generator? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to wait until they were well within tractor beam range (they were practically skimming the Executor’s hull – how much closer did they need to be?), snare the shuttle with a tractor beam, and drag it into the landing bay? That way, Vader would have succeeded in his goal of capturing Luke. He would also have gotten Leia as a nice bonus, plus Han Solo. (Leia was a prominent leader in the Rebel Alliance and probably high on the Empire’s “Wanted” list; sooner or later they’d have figured out that she was Luke’s sister. Presumably, Han was a wanted criminal in Imperial Space too.) All of this without endangering the shield generator.

“Soon I’ll be dead, and you along with me,” Luke smugly told the Emperor. Was it really such a good idea to warn your enemy of an imminent attack?

Presumably, the designers of the Death Star v2.0 were going to get around to correcting the design flaws of the original Death Star. If that was the case, considering that the Emperor manipulated the Rebels into attacking at a time of his choosing, you’d think the Imperials would have been better-prepared for the attack. Putting the shield around the Death Star was a good start, but surely any competent designer would have taken steps to ensure that the new DS couldn’t be destroyed in the same way that the original was! So, why were there shafts extending from the surface all the way to the reactor core that were large enough for fighters and even the Millennium Falcon to fly through? That there were lots of twists and turns in these shafts was apparently in response to the Rebels’ destruction of the original by firing torpedoes down a shaft that led straight to the reactor core. So, the Imperials were at least capable of learning from their mistakes – to a limited extent, anyway. Especially since they expected the new Death Star to come under attack before it was completed, you’d expect the builders to have put baffle plates in the shafts, to ensure neither fighters nor torpedoes could penetrate into the Death Star’s interior.

Why did the Imperial ships have exposed bridges that could be taken out relatively easily, killing the command crew in the process and causing the ship to spin out of control? You’d think the command centers would be deep in the bowels of the ship, where they’d be immune to direct enemy fire and kamikaze A-wing pilots!

Why couldn’t the Rebel capital ships evade the Death Star’s superlaser? The thing apparently has to be pointed right at its target in order to hit it. How fast could something the size of the Death Star turn in order to track an evading enemy ship?

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