Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Creature Feature-Gungans

I know what your thinking. Yes, we are going to talk about THOSE Gungans. The ones from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. I also know that your cringing as your remember Jar Jar Binks, that tall annoying creature in the film that most geeks declare is one of the worst human endeavors in the history of ever. Before you exit your tab and see what new cat pics were posted on I Can Has Cheeseburgers, I want to say that I'm not really interested in Jar Jar. I want to talk about the Gungans in general, as a fictional race. See if there isn't anything worth salvaging out of Lucas's less popular trilogy.

So the reason why most people have issue with Gungans are because of the useless character Jar Jar. As a character he plays an awkward comic relief in the film, since R2D2 and C3PO's comedic team was all but missing here. Jar Jar unfortunately adds little to the story except to vaguely introduce the Gungans just so they can come in during the third act and add to the climax. Sadly most people identify the Gungans on this character, but this is like identifying black people based on Steve Urkel. The Gungans even say that they banished him essentially because he was so obnoxious, so he's hardly a good representation.
Okay, with that freak out of the way, let's look at the Gungans as a race. They're a relatively primitive race, apparently not capable of space travel, that live deep in the oceans of Naboo. They're amphibious, capable of breathing underwater, but they're underwater cities are filled with oxygen. Despite they're not being interested in space, they do possess an impressive amount of technology, including force fields capable of admitting people through but not water. They also have an impressive array of energy weapons in the form of exploding balls, which are used during the aforementioned climax of the film.
Culturally, little is revealed about them, except that they have a strong warrior tradition and at the beginning of the film have strong feelings against the space faring people of Naboo, believing that they feel superior to the Gungans. This hostility makes the Gungans reluctant to help the Jedi when they're first encountered. After a scene of Queen Amidala humbling herself before the Gungan leader, they seem to warm up to the Humans-But-Not-From-Earth Star Wars people.
The best piece of these people really is the big fight scene. Minus the Annoyance that Must Not Be Named, it's actually a pretty decent scene. It has the same underlying theme most of the classic Star Wars has. One large faceless entity, staffed entirely by identical clones trying to overpower all unique life in the galaxy. It's a losing fight, but the Gungans are still worth rooting for, even if you wish a stray shot would hit Jar Jar.
Overall, this race just got the short end of the stick. They were represented by an annoying comic relief slapstick character and premired in a film that most fans of the franchise considered to be the beginning of a slow and agonizing death. But set all that aside and what we see here is a pretty neat race, kinda weird, but ready to step up when needed and take on the challenges of a rough galaxy in their own way, without compromise, and without apologizing to anyone for it.

4 comments:

  1. The gungans are pretty interesting. It's too bad both that character and movie are lame. A gungan would be fun to play in the Star Wars RPG. I'd have a Gungan bounty hunter. Yeeaaah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the coolest idea I've heard all day! YES!

      Delete
  2. Pretty good. Thanks for sharing. I still hate Jar Jar and Episodes 1 2 and 3, but at least there's some good amongst the bad.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad you posted this! I completely forgot that even the Gungans hate Jar Jar! lol! That is so funny! Poor guy. Even his own people wished a stray shot would hit Jar Jar in the battle.

    ReplyDelete