The Obi-Wan Kenobi limited series on Disney + keeps getting worse all the time, but the painfully intersectional villain, Reva, is the least of the show’s problems.
I’ve done my best to ignore all the ways in which Woke Disney-owned Lucasfilm is trying to drive viewers away from its own big-budget miniseries. By some estimates, Disney spent $ 20- $ 25 million dollars on each of the six, 45-minute episodes — a figure that doesn’t include the extravagant marketing costs.
And yet, as old-school Star Wars fans can tell you, the new management apparently doesn’t want its most valuable viewers around anymore.
Let’s dispense with the drummed-up controversy before I tell you what the show’s near-fatal flaw really is.
PJ Media’s own Jeff Reynolds smartly summed it up on Wednesday:
The actress playing Reva, Moses Ingram, has reportedly claimed she received vile, racist messages via Instagram regarding her performance. In response, the official Star Wars social media accounts put out messages denouncing critics of Ingram’s performance, stating racism has no place in the Star Wars universe.
In response to those messages, many fans clapped back, saying the Reva character was poorly written, woodenly acted by Ingram, and had ridiculous digital effects.
The effects are fine. But Ingram is wooden and her character is poorly written. Maybe she’s a good actress — I haven’t seen her in anything else. It’s probably the case that no one could do much with this villainous Mary Sue.
Most irritating of all is Disney’s insistence that if you point out these things, it’s because Ingram is black and you’re a racist.
Fine, but if the story is otherwise solid and I care about the hero, I’ll do my best to ignore the internet chatter so I can sit down and enjoy the good parts of a show.
About that: Halfway through, the good parts of Obi-Wan are getting fewer and further in between, and it’s the heroes who will annoy you the most.
There are some heartwarming moments between Kenobi and his young charge, 10-year-old Princess Leia of Alderaan, played without too many awkward child actor moments by Vivien Lyra Blair. But the rest of the time
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Leia’s specialty is doing exactly what she was told not to do, putting herself and others in danger, and never genuinely suffering from her bad decisions. Her father, Bail Organa — always nice to see Jimmy Smits in the role — excuses his reckless daughter instead of correcting her.
When Kenobi tells Leia to play mute to avoid blowing their cover, she instead immediately strikes up a conversation with a creature who turns out to be an Imperial sympathizer. Kenobi, even when both their lives are at stake, never musters enough energy to do much more than shrug and hop with Leia right on board the creature’s transport — emblazoned with the Empire’s logo.
There’s just no way this dangerously indulged brat grows up to be the steady and courageous Princess Leia (the late, lamented Carrie Fisher) we remember and love.
Perhaps the greatest flaw of the prequels was that audiences were never given a reason to believe that whiny little Anakin Skywalker could ever become the imposing Darth Vader. They’ve repeated that mistake in the new series.
Ewan McGregor’s take on Obi-Wan Kenobi, a character made both famous and indelible by Alec Guinness, was one of the few keepable things from the prequel movies. As this series goes on, it’s doing its best to undo McGregor’s work.
Without giving too much away, in the third episode Kenobi and Leia are found by Reva and her boss, Darth Vader. Kenobi and Vader had battled once before in Episode III, with Kenobi the victor and Vader missing various limbs and with all of his skin tissue on fire.
But for some unclear reason, now Kenobi turns coward when faced with his once-defeated foe. What should have been a thrilling fight came down to this: Kenobi tries to run, fights a little when forced to, runs again, fights a little more when forced to again, loses.
Kenobi is finally rescued by a rebellious female who enjoys the enviable superpower of being totally undetectable by a squad of Stormtroopers and Darth Vader (even with his Force abilities) by hiding partly behind a rock.
The Kenobi from the original Star Warsten years older and far more aged, showed more energy, conviction, and fighting spirit than the producers of Obi-Wan have allowed McGregor.
YouTuber The Critical Drinker pointed out that one reason modern movies suck is that these endless reboots are “destroying our heroes.” The reason, he surmises, is that the reboots are generally so poorly written — and the writers know this — that they have to tear down the old heroes to make the shabby new heroes look better by comparison.
It isn’t working.
It’s Carrie Fisher and Alec Guinness who are looking better and better the more I see of Obi-Wan Kenobi.