While these shameless Real Life Star Wars Confessions might be destroying any street cred we have been so careful to disdain here at Fakiegrind, the following piece does not conatin any spoilers for the new film. So you can read on, just don't get caught in the act!
Last night while watching Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones on television, I was impressed again by the flat dialogue, particularly evident in the love scenes between Padme and Anakin. I was actually doing some entertainment multi-tasking, listening to a radio show at the same time as the movie was going, so I had turned off the sound on the tv and was watching the movie with captions. It was while thus engaged that I realized the secret to Lukas' creative vision. To fully appreciate his odd approach to acting and dialogue in the Star Wars films, you have to pretend that the characters are speaking their lines in Japanese.
The Hidden Fortress
I've only seen a few films by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa, but Lukas is said to have been heavily influenced by his work, particularly the 1958 film, The Hidden Fortress. This last movie is full of samurai warriors, swordfights, and horse chases, and features a stern princess reminiscent of Padme or Leia from the Star Wars films. If one imagines the characters of the Star Wars movies, particularly the Jedi, speaking Japanese like the characters from the old Samurai films, the strange emotional detachment of the actors suddenly becomes endearing, even fitting. I believe that Lukas must have been aiming for some sort of Oriental aesthetic in his films, though I am not familiar enough with the genres that influenced him to go into specifics. But any serious Star Wars enthusiast should search out The Hidden Fortress and give it a watch. You will find the depiction of feudal Japanese society strikingly familiar to a certain galaxy far, far away.