Why I Hate Jar Jar Binks
At the end of the 20th century, fanboys and girls were hopeful to see a fresh start to the Star Wars saga. It was Episode I, and we heard that it would be Darth Vader’s story. How good was it to go back to the galaxy far, far away and to see the sci-fi saga we loved? I was excited back then and a new batch of Star Wars merchandise filled my birthday wish list. I had goosebumps when the theme music played again in the theatre.
Okay, to be fair, it was a good movie. It offered a detailed look at the early life of the future mass murderer. How interesting was it to see the feared Darth Vader start out as an innocent dreamer? But I felt that the movie wasted a lot of potential. Compared to the fun bunch of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and their faithful wookie and droids, the overly serious Jedi appeared like cardboard. And yes, Jake Lloyd was just a kid, but we can’t blame the fans for saying he didn’t portray Anakin Skywalker well. And then there was this reptilian-amphibian thing that ruined the show as a whole.
If they were attempting to make it more child-friendly, they could have done so without the annoying Jar Jar Binks. At first I had no idea why I didn’t like the creature so much. The Star Wars saga has a lot of good humour, but I just wanted to grab a lightsaber and slice Jar Jar each time he appeared on screen.
Who is Jar Jar Binks?
I will be quick on this one, as trying to recall the creature gives me seizure. According to my sources, George Lucas based him off of Goofy and he is a Gungan, a race of tribal amphibians. He appeared in the scene where the Jedi Qui-Gon Jinn rescued him from a Federation transport. He then befriended the young Anakin and leads his fellow Gungans in defeating the Trade Federation.
Hmm, Darth Vader had a goofball friend. Very interesting! Could this explain why he joined the dark side?
He Is a Reptilian/Amphibian Thingy
This is the first reason I found him repulsive. They could have portrayed him as being cute and fluffy, or something warm-blooded. Cartoons and anime are good references for kid-friendly characters. Did they even learn anything from Disney or Pokemon? What were they thinking when they based him on an amphibian and reptile hybrid?
Every time I look at Jar Jar, a love child between a Jurassic Park raptor and a toad comes to my mind. I hate anything reptilian and I don’t like frogs! To make things worse, they colored him orange, giving him a more prehistoric look. I’m telling you, something that resembles an amphibious dinosaur doesn't really count as cute.
Ugly Character Design
They could have at least redeemed the character by giving him a cuter face.
We have a lot of creature muppets from Sesame Street and kids loved them despite being labelled as monsters. The wookie Chewbaca is another example. With a large hairy frame, he presents a menacing sight to behold. But kudos to the designers by giving him a gentle face. In the case of Jar Jar, a leathery, elongated face with yellow bulging eyes is not something you can label as cute. A large mouth, flared nostrils, and long froggy tongue don’t count as endearing either, it's more grotesque! I once heard a kid saying he looks more monstrous than friendly.
The Prehistoric Features Don't Suit the Goofiness
To be frank, watching a leathery, orange amphibian with bulging eyes do comedy is awkward to watch. It really doesn’t fit! Could you imagine taking a velociraptor from Jurassic Park and making it play Mr. Bean? Those alien features that belong in a sci-fi horror movie are not meant for a cartoonish role! What's worse, they even made Jar Jar do serious stuff, like leading the Gungan army.
Episode I was a hotbed for racist allegations. The corrupt Neimodians have East Asian accents. The trader Watto was interpreted as a Jewish stereotype. The Gungan people seem to represent a primitive African tribe and their leader was buffoonish chief. Jar Jar sounds like a Jamaican Creole whenever he speaks. Making a dim-witted alien with African and Jamaican characteristics follow around white heroes was not a wise idea.
My ears bleed when I hear Jar Jar’s drawl. The sound of his voice made me think of an angle grinder or an old trumpet. The addition of some mumbling and made up words made his speech hard to understand. In fact, I never got what he meant most of the time. I have to refer to his body language to get what he said. This is particularly bad since this made me watch more of his corny humour.
The Corny and Cartoonish Acts
And speaking of humour, this is where Jar Jar failed the most. Part of the success of the Star Wars series came from its many lighthearted scenes. I always thought that our beloved droids, R2-D2 and C3P0, were the antithesis of the more violent and destructive movie robots. They were less like warriors and more like a humorous foil to the heroes who did the fighting. Even formidable characters like Chewbaca are not shy of showing their funny side, with great success to the audience.
The thing here is that their humour is simple and unpredictable, something Jar Jar lacks. His so-called humour is displayed through old-fashioned slapstick that went obsolete years ago. There is nothing new with him, just overused and predictable gags. The attempts at making the gags cartoonish only made things worse. Buster Keaton would be ashamed to see this embarrassment.
As A Whole...
The orange creature represents every flaw of The Phantom Menace. No one is sure why he ended up there, maybe it was an attempt to connect with younger audiences. I felt that in later entries, the Gungans should be wiped out and Jar Jar must not appear for everyone’s sake. Even better, no one must come up with another Jar Jar Binks in any future installments if they want to make the franchise stay afloat. It’s a good thing that we never saw much of him after Episode 1. I’m still itching to see his bones in the desert in later movies.