“Star Wars” is awesome, for many reasons. One is that it blends strong, tried-and-true fantasy elements into a sci-fi lite package. Another reason is because it helped pave the way for modern special effects. And, third, it’s a fantastic movie.
But one thing I’ve never thought too much about was the famous trash compactor scene. You know, the one where Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Chewbacca and Princess Leia send out an S.O.S. to R2D2 and C-3PO when the four of them get caught in the Death Star’s garbage compactor (known as Garbage Compactor 3263827 to us nerds). Check it out to re-familiarize yourself with it, then read on:
I’ve seen the movie dozens upon dozens of time, but never thought of the things blogger Joshua Tyree mentioned in a recent post that points out all the things wrong with the Death Star’s trash compactor. He treats his post as somewhat of a thesis, and begins it with this statement:
I maintain that the trash compactor onboard the Death Star in Star Wars is implausible, unworkable, and moreover, inefficient.
This definitely piqued my interest. I’m quite fond of over-analyzing things that don’t warrant such treatment, so I continued reading. And what Tyree had to say makes perfect sense. His criticisms are worth thinking about.
The Death Star clearly has a garbage-disposal problem. Given its size and massive personnel, the amount of waste it generates — discarded food, broken equipment, excrement, and the like — boggles the imagination. That said, I just cannot fathom how an organization as ruthless and efficiently-run as the Empire would have signed off on such a dangerous, unsanitary, and shoddy garbage-disposal system as the one depicted in the movie.
He then goes on to list nine points to back up the above statement. Highlights include:
4. Why does the trash compactor only compact trash sideways? Once ejected into space, wouldn’t the flattened, living-room-sized, and extremely solid panes of trash that result from such a primitive, unidirectional trash compactor pose serious hazards for Empire starships in the vicinity?
9. If the Empire insists on ejecting trash into space, why do they bother compacting it? Space is infinite, is it not? In such an environment, it hardly matters what size the trash is. In fact, a persuasive argument can be made that it’s actually better for the trash to take up more space, so that it appears on radar systems as something for Empire ships to avoid. Compacted trash creates smaller chunks of harder trash that would undoubtedly cause serious damage to Empire starships. And needless to say, damage to starships would, in turn, create yet more hassles and headaches for the Empire.
It’s a fun thing to think about. To me, anyway. I’m sure “Star Wars” nerds around the world would have fun with arguing these points as well.
Over the past couple years, Red Letter Media has created lengthy video reviews dissecting the prequel films in the “Star Wars” series. Fans and non-fans alike took to them like moths to a flame, and they continue to discuss the reviews’ validness or absurdities. One fan vehemently defended “Episode I: The Phantom Menace,” to the point where he wrote a 108-page rebuttal to Red Letter Media’s review of the movie. Unfortunately, the download file link no longer works since it was hosted on Megaupload and Megupload was shut down earlier this year.
I don’t think the same feudal attention given to Red Letter Media will be given to Tyree’s post; not in the slightest. But Tryee is funny and articulate in his reasons, so give the entire entry a read.