I'm a native of Dublin, and a graduate of Trinity College, so when Obi-Wan Kenobi steps into the Jedi Library / Archives, I see something very familiar. Lucas denies the similarity, but place the Jedi Library next to Trinity’s Long Room, and the theft is undeniable. In place of the Irish oak are metallic blue panels, and the leather-bound volumes have been substituted with some kind of Jedi Kindles with broken batteries (the books glow). But the architecture and furnishings display a remarkable likeness, down to the marble busts, where Yoda replaces Jonathan Swift.
For centuries, barrel-vaulted libraries and early modern storehouses of knowledge were synonymous, and in the Long Room the design reached its apogee. All six Star Wars films are deeply nostalgic, and play upon this ubiquity. Smirke’s British Museum Reading Room dome, the other great library matrix, was a triumph of Victorian industry with a nod to Roman grandeur. It wouldn't be nearly so appropriate for an on-screen brotherhood who end up fighting a losing battle against an empire.
|Attack of the cloned library|
The three Star Wars prequels lack the charm and narrative pace of their predecessors. The pyrotechnic space-battles are entertaining, but the characters are ciphers, the acting wooden, the direction heavy and the writing awful. The librarian as killer spinster is an apt metaphor for the entire film. Lucas' clichés were once charming; now they fall flat.
Director: George Lucas
Written by George Lucas, Jonathan Hales
Cinematography: David Tattersall
Editing: Ben Burtt
Cast includes Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Frank Oz, Ian McDiarmid