What in the hell does Star Wars have to do with food? Let me explain.
It is too easy to mock these movies. The acting is so wooden and the writing stilted that it’s not much of a challenge to pick it apart. But there’s got to be more to it than that. There are poorly made movies that I still enjoy despite their flaws. For the longest time I couldn’t put my finger on what was truly wrong with Star Wars.
Then it hit me while I was watching Stake Land. (This is actually a pretty good movie, I don’t mean to damn it by including it with Star Wars.) There’s a scene, very brief with no dialogue, only the sound track playing, in which we see the characters sharing a meal. It cemented their bonds and filled me with warm fuzzy feelings despite it being a world over run by zombie-like vampires. IT FELT GOOD! That’s what’s missing from Star Wars.
I can only recall two scenes in any of the six movies where you see someone eat. Once in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke visits Yoda in his hut. Though hungry, the young Jedi cannot seem to stomach the bowl of whatever Yoda served. Not very encouraging. The other instance is in The Return of the Jedi when Leia shares a candy bar with an Ewok. Close, but not enough.
Thing is, a good scene with food is not hard to do. In the first episode of the greatest TV show ever, Firefly, you just know that fresh fruit is hard to come by, and there’s Kaylee with a dearly bought strawberry, clearly enjoying it. Again, a short scene, but it conveys so much. This is what’s missing from Star Wars: the sensuousness of food and how it can bind characters together in a meaningful, believable way. If you can see characters letting down their hair, talking frankly while emphasizing a point with a chicken leg, you can believe that they just might take down a galactic empire. A jug of an Italian red table wine with that couldn’t hurt.