#MovieFailMondays: Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (or, How Movies Can Teach You About Logical Fallacies and Help You Ace the LSAT)

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Blog-MFM-EpisodeIIEach week, we analyze a movie that illustrates a logical fallacy you’ll find on the LSAT. Who said Netflix can’t help you study? 🎥📖

A new millennium. A new Star Wars film. What could go wrong?

In short, so many things.

2002 saw release of Episode II: Attack of the Clones. First fallacy – why start with Episode II? When the first Star Wars was released and later renamed Episode IV, it promised a prequel trilogy that would one day thrill moviegoers. But then Episode II was released, and people were just confused – where’s Episode I? I mean, it’s not like a terrible Star Wars movie was released in ’99 that I’ve since erased from my memory, right?

The movie starts ten years after some intergalactic trade dispute which is never shown (NEVER SHOWN) and doesn’t really make much sense. And the movie only goes downhill from there.

Internet, I tried to rewatch the film in its entirety for this article. I really did. But I didn’t quite make it through. Here are some logical flaws committed in the film and by the characters up to the point where I angrily smashed my Blu-Ray player with a plastic lightsaber in frustration.

  1. There’s an assassination attempt on Padme’s life made with a droid filled with bugs, for some reason. It doesn’t make sense to me, either – I’d ask for my money back. As soon as the plan is thwarted, both Jedi protectors abandon Padme to fly on a droid back to what they assume will be the assassin. If I’m the assassin? I program the most damning piece of evidence any prosecutor will have (the attempted murder weapon) to fly someplace no one will ever find it, while sitting nearby in case the plan fails. Jedi’s on the run? Now’s the time to take out Padme.

In chasing the droid, the Jedis committed a classic exclusivity flaw – this is an assassination attempt, therefore it’s the only possible assassination attempt. When you treat one possibility as if it’s the only one, you’re in trouble.

  1. Count Dooku (a name that strikes fear into your heart, right?) is dismissed as a potential villain by the Jedi because he used to be a Jedi Master.

Wait, what? He was a member of your order, and then left because his faith in it was shook? Therefore he can’t be a villain? That’s some bad reasoning there, Yoda.

You’ve committed two flaws. First is a temporal one – just because someone used to be “good” doesn’t mean they’ll continue to be so. Even if Dooku was good during his time as a Jedi, people change. Second is equating Jedi with being good – surely there have been some bad seeds over the years, right? You even warn your students about falling to the Dark Side of the Force – a legitimate fear in the series, not a scary bedtime story told to children to get them to practice their Jedi mind tricks. Equating “Jedi” with “good” will probably lead you to some problems. Like, I don’t know, when a promising young  Jedi that you’ve previously had qualms about suddenly goes rogue…

  1. Here’s something that probably should have raised more eyebrows – the Clone Army is being raised to fight against the Separatist drone army. The droid army is recently built. The Clone Army was started 10 years ago.

Good thing the clones were commissioned before the threat existed!

This is a classic case of causal thinking overriding people’s logic. We all know that the cause can’t happen before the effect. However, if there’s a plausible story to be told, it’s easy for us to forget that. It makes sense – the peaceful Republic would obviously grow an army only to fight a threat, not as a proactive defense mechanism. So since it makes sense the Clone Army was commissioned to fight the Separatist Droid Army, we go along with it.

So did the Jedi. Big mistake.

Clones 3 GIF

At this point, my brain could take no more. Tune in next week to see how far I can get into Revenge of the Sith🎥📖


matt-shinnersMatt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a science degree from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!

 

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