rayhan

The Star Wars-themed LSE elections video that’s so bad, it’s good

WHEN I SEARCH my feelings, I really hate SU elections. They remind me of being pressured into designing posters for mates (my downstairs toilet has a wall documenting the KCL elections from 2012–2014) and campaigning for them by sending hundreds of messages on Facebook. I hate the vague promises, the self-aggrandising Facebook posts. You’re out of it for a little while and everyone gets delusions of grandeur.

In my book we should just have one leader, like a supreme chancellor or something, to make all the decisions.

But there’s one thing that strikes back for me. It’s the candidates who find a pun tenuously linked to their name and use that as the basis for their campaign. There’s someone at the University of Birmingham called Isabella Lenga who ran for an NUS position last year with a jenga-themed campaign. Hope Worsdale at Warwick this year obviously used “hope” as the entire basis for hers – a new hope, you might say. Sadly NUS welfare vice president Shelly Asquith has never embraced her now well-known and fully operational ‘VP Shelfare’ moniker.

The Star Wars-themed LSE elections video that’s so bad, it’s good
Opinion

The Star Wars-themed LSE elections video that’s so bad, it’s good

Rook

WHEN I SEARCH my feelings, I really hate SU elections. They remind me of being pressured into designing posters for mates (my downstairs toilet has a wall documenting the KCL elections from 2012–2014) and campaigning for them by sending hundreds of messages on Facebook. I hate the vague promises, the self-aggrandising Facebook posts. You’re out of it for a little while and everyone gets delusions of grandeur.

In my book we should just have one leader, like a supreme chancellor or something, to make all the decisions.

But there’s one thing that strikes back for me. It’s the candidates who find a pun tenuously linked to their name and use that as the basis for their campaign. There’s someone at the University of Birmingham called Isabella Lenga who ran for an NUS position last year with a jenga-themed campaign. Hope Worsdale at Warwick this year obviously used “hope” as the entire basis for hers – a new hope, you might say. Sadly NUS welfare vice president Shelly Asquith has never embraced her now well-known and fully operational ‘VP Shelfare’ moniker.

It’s unrelated. It’s weird. But amid the scum and villainy surrounding SU elections, it’s a welcome relief. These people don’t take themselves seriously and I like that. These people are our only hope amid the turgid world of uppity student hacks who would destroy anyone’s home planet for a society endorsement.

That’s why I was comforted by Rayhan Uddin’s campaign video in the LSESU elections, in which he becomes RayHan Solo and fights the ‘evil SU Forces.’ It’s absolutely terrible for wit and production value but never tell me the odds. This guy has realised the second part of his first name is the first name of a Star Wars character, made a video spoof and it got 5,000 views in a day. I have a bad feeling about this.

IT BEGINS with the classic opening crawl. ‘In a galaxy far, far away, LSESU is under attack. Dark Forces of fees, rents and bureaucracy are crippling the student experience. The jedi union is looking for a new leader’– hang on a minute, Mr Solo. ‘Jedi’ has a capital letter. It’s a religion, mate. I decided to overlook your earlier faux pas when you used ‘a galaxy far, far away’ in the crawl (static shot, please) but this is just one step too far, and the film hasn’t even started yet. ‘…and the Force is strong with RayHan Solo.’ That’s quite a jump, Solo. You’re giving too much away too soon. I can’t vote for you.

That’s no moon

The film begins on a cold terrace and a woman struggling to walk around for some reason, before shouting at the camera (breaking the fourth wall? Bold): “I’m sick of the SU Order!” We are left with so many questions. Why is she struggling to walk? Why does she appear to have trouble breathing? What’s wrong with the SU Order? The outdoor terrace she’s on doesn’t look all that bad, great for extra curricular activities like making spoof films. Most of these questions are never answered. However, if I were to intervene on behalf of the cinematographer, I would say they were going for the sequence in The Force Awakens in which Finn stumbles around in a desert.

We see RayHan in the next scene, walking down a spiral staircase with Chewbacca, or a woman dressed in a bear onesie. And the subtitles spell it ‘Chewy’. This is wrong. The wookiee Chewbacca’s nickname is spelt Chewie. It’s on Wookiepedia. In this scene, we see RayHan telling Chewie he’s got the experience to be ‘Gen Sec’. For viewers unfamiliar with the workings of LSESU, this title is so alien you might as well have said you have the experience to be Max Rebo.

You could have introduced the role of General-Secretary in the crawl. If The Phantom Menace taught us anything, it’s that bureaucratic political struggles make for a great intro. RayHan then lists his previous roles in SU societies and I switch off because it’s as boring as a lecture on midi-chlorians.

The next scene shows some sort of Jedi Council but here it’s called Jedis Anonymous, which is kind of confusing at first, because why would you not want to be a Jedi? Also, you’re drawing on the most boring parts of the prequels here, RayHan. No one cares about the Jedi Council except if you can cut to Samuel L Jackson’s face. And they’re inexplicably holding kind of floppy lightsabers even though they’re not fighting. They talk about what’s been affecting them, like the threat of being deported because international fees are too high, the government’s PREVENT policy, the Disability and Wellbeing Office not giving a student her ISSA (it isn’t explained what one of those is) and halls rents being too high. One Jedi says: “Yes! The Dark Forces aren’t just an LSE problem, it’s national!” I think you missed a trick here. The viewer loses their suspension of disbelief as soon as she says these problems are national. People don’t watch Star Wars because they want to think about national problems, but rather galactic ones throughout the outer rim. You need to be more ambitious here, RayHan, and think of what Darth Theresa May is doing to the entire galaxy. Points for using George Osborne’s middle name though.

Cut to Vader, who I think is supposed to represent the Home Secretary. “Fees and rents are going to remain high,” she says, “as long as the Dark Force has anything to say about it!” Who’s writing this rubbish, George Lucas?

Our hero, RayHan, visits MahMo-Da for some advice. It’s at this point I begin to think RayHan has conflated Han Solo with Luke Skywalker in order to present himself as a young Jedi-to-be. But alas, there’s no escaping the fact that the second part of his first name is the same as the first name of Han Solo. We’ll let this slide. RayHan lists some more policies and my eyes glaze over like I’m watching a pod race.

My attention comes back when I see some students sitting around on beanbags with lightsabers – again, you’re not supposed to have your lightsaber out if you’re not fighting, guys. It’s probably a dreadful waste of energy (and that’ll attract the divestment crowd) and obviously it’s really dangerous. This scene gives us the plot device on which the whole campaign video depends, although it doesn’t make that much sense. They must’ve hidden the plot in the escape pod. Lena Skywalker comes in, gets her lightsaber out (I give up) and tells the group that RayHan has become the leader of the Rebellion. It’s unclear what he did to become the Rebellion’s leader, but the tension in the scene is so high, we don’t care about sloppy writing any more.

The next scene is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen in an SU election campaign video. It involves a man dressed in what looks like gold foil – C3POllie – and a woman dressed in regular clothes – R2DTooba – being told by RayHan he’s going to lead the Rebellion against the Dark Side. C3POllie responds in the way you’d expect him to, saying: “You can’t possibly do this! It’s too dangerous! This is madness!” while R2DTooba, making no effort to sound at all like R2D2, says: “He can do it, he can totally do it.” Good effort.

Things escalate pretty quickly from here. What looks like the woman from the first scene is seen running up the spiral stairs, as RayHan tells Chewbacca and Princess Layla “this is something I have to do on my own.” It’s in this scene that we hear the immortal line: “The SU must awaken.” Layla tells him: “I’ll vote for you.” RayHan replies: “I know.” Chewie makes another indistinguishable noise. A solitary tear falls from my eye and edges its way down my cheek.

For all intents and purposes, the film ends there, because it cuts to Rayhan Uddin telling you why you should vote for him. He hasn’t got my vote, mostly because I never went to LSE, but also because I wasn’t convinced by his attempt at movie-making. Also because he’s a member of the Rebel Alliance, and a traitor. It won’t change the galaxy, but let’s face it. No reward is worth this.

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