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Jul 6, 2014

I heard a theory that the Star Wars movies are inversely as good as the number of times a lightsaber is ignited. Is this true?

behind the scenes empire luke vader duel

From a certain point of view, it may be true that the more lightsabers in a Star Wars movie, the worse it is but the actual numbers suggest other wise in terms of their being an inverse relationship between sabers being drawn and film quality.

Kit Bashed has done the hard work for us all and counted up the number of times a light saber is drawn or ignited in the movies and compared this to ratings of the 6 movies against a range of reputable ratings websites. Let's hope he got his numbers correct...

Asked a rabid reader*: "What did Kit Bashed find? Is it true? I think he found it's true cos the prequels sucked and there were heaps of lightsaber fights in the Prequels!"

Woah, now slow down there hater, first let's be clear what an inverse relationship means. We can say that an inverse relationship is one where an increase in the value of one number results in a decrease in the value of the other number.

So the theory we are exploring is does increasing the number of times a light saber is turned on or drawn in a Star Wars movie decrease how good the movie is? We can use 'good' as a rating by the rating numbers determined by the review sites selected by Kit Bashed (Metacritic, IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes).

Now let's check out the numbers of on screen ignitions (so when we see Vader waiting for Kenobi in A New Hope, his saber is already drawn and doesn't count).

EpisodeIgnitionsMetaCriticRotten TomatoesIMDbAverage
IV391938891
V378978888
VI552798472
I1851576558
II2553676762
III3568807775

So if you took a casual look you might see that the numbers of saber ignitions grew for the prequels and the ratings are lower than the original trilogy received, that's an inverse relationship right? 

Before we start burning effigies of George Lucas in the street, let's turn these numbers into a graph:

theory about quality of Star Wars films and light sabers


That's a really pretty graph. But what the womp rat am I looking at? You are not looking at a truly inverse relationship. Look at how the number of ignitions increases for the prequel films and that the average review numbers ALSO increase. That is arguably a direct relationship. 

Note too that the original trilogies did not have an increase in ignitions at the same rate, indeed they stayed fairly static, yet the average scores declined - indeed Revenge of the Sith is rated HIGHER than Return of the Jedi (Meta Critic appear to hate Jedi...).

What can we conclude?

So given this, it's not fair to say that the the Star Wars movies are inversely as good as the number of times a light saber is drawn in each movie.  I do however suggest that JJ Abrams's The Force Awakens will need at least another 20 saber gnitions more than Revenge of the Sith.... if he is to continue the trend set with The Phantom Menace...

* Reader does not exist.

2 comments:

  1. ESB has six: 1) wampa cave, 2) AT-AT, 3) Dagobah cave (2), 4) Luke/Vader in Cloud City (2). The author of video that Kit used admits he missed a lot from the OT...

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    1. Oh, fair call in deed. I'll hunt out the original graph and up date it. Thanks for checking in.

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