I know people hate Jar Jar Binks. If it’s one thing practically everyone in the universe knows, it’s that practically everyone in the universe hates Jar Jar Binks.
He’s not my favorite character, by any means whatsoever, but I think it’s unfair that he’s been made the entire scapegoat of why “everyone” hates a movie they were going to hate from the word go for the same reason they were going to hate ROTJ no matter what — the delivery did not live up to the expectation. Should George Lucas have bought into the idiotic notion that Star Wars was a kids movie and therefore construct a film for 7-year-olds? No. He should have understood that his primary demographic was far closer to 27 than 7 and given us a buddy Jedi (in the buddy cop vein) of Anakin and Obi-Wan kicking ass and taking names.
But all of that aside, Jar Jar Binks is neither the worst nor the best character in the prequels, and certainly not the most embarrassing. Ahmed Best didn’t deserve what he got from the movie at all. And my favorite moment in Episode I (not to be confused with the funniest) also happens to be the first clip I ever saw.
I was 14 and I watched all the news religiously in order to hear reports on Episode I and see bits. And one morning (May 13, 1999), George Lucas was interviewed on NBC and they showed this clip from Episode I — Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Jar Jar meeting in the swamp on Naboo.
If they find us, they will crush us, grind us into tiny pieces, and blast us into oblivion.
Honestly I love this scene from the moment Qui-Gon snaps, “You almost got us killed! Are you brainless?” all the way up to where Jar Jar spins around, forcing Obi-Wan to duck his flying ears. I’ve been charmed by this scene since day one, and it never ceases to be funny.
Neither Obi-Wan nor Qui-Gon behave in a very appropriate manor for a couple of monks. They are short-tempered, demanding, and bully a stranger — clearly some kind of mentally handicapped young person — into taking them to his people’s hidden underwater city, knowing full well that he faces execution for doing so. It’s only after Qui-Gon’s conscience smites him that he asks about Jar Jar’s fate and, with much protest from Obi-Wan, brings him along to save his life. They take what they want until they get to the capital city. All of this actually falls in line very neatly with how Jedi are known to behave — ends justifying the means, absolute selfishness, etc. etc. — and even the two best Jedi the Order has ever known fall into that trap.
And, come on, Obi-Wan has to duck so Jar Jar’s ears don’t hit him! He has to duck! Ah, ha ha ha, I can’t get over that. He ducks! Oh, I love it. I have to go watch this movie. Bye.