Star Wars

Stupidity: The Death Star comes equipped with a powerful tractor beam capable of capturing a ship the size and agility of the Millennium Falcon. Why don't they use it against the rebel fighters attacking them at the end of the film? Okay, Obi-Wan Kenobi turned it off earlier but I find it hard to believe that someone who has never before visited the largest, most complex space station in the Universe and who was previously unaware of its very existence can disable a fundamental security system but the people who designed, built and run the damn thing can't work out how to switch it back on.

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Suggested correction: A tractor beam has range, size of craft, and speed acquisition limitations. The reason the Millennium Falcon was caught so easily is that they expected a planet, Alderaan, coming out of hyper-space and were unaware of the Death Star's existence. The Beam's operators were able to lock on to the Falcon before they were aware something was wrong and start to dodge said lock on. The Falcon would not have been able to escape the docking bay without the tractor beam being able to lock back on to them. Hence the reason needed to power it down. Both the escape and powering down the tractor beam had to occur relatively at the same time so no one would realise the beam was down and able to power it back up before the Falcon was outside of the Beam's range. A tractor beam is capable of capturing a fighter but is a very difficult task to accomplish given the range and speed of the craft which makes trying to lock onto such fast moving targets extremely difficult. Also, it would be difficult due to the fact that craft like these tend to fly in packs, or close together, making locking on to a target complicating with craft bouncing and bobbing so close together. Another reason the empire would not likely bother to attempt tractor beaming fighters is that during dogfights, the craft are not just speeding and bobbing making a lock on difficult but they are just as likely to grab one of their own fighters in the process. Tractor beams are best used as they are during the opening of episode IV where Leia's flagship Tantive IV, a Correllian Corvette, is run down and captured by a star destroyer Devastator which used its tractor beams to capture and bring the Tantive IV into its docking bay. Tractor beams are not best used as weapons. As for how our esteemed elderly Jedi, Obi-Wan Kenobi, could find his way around... Well Jedi are know for their "mind tricks" and could have easily gotten someone he came across to tell him where he needed to go. Its also possible that while R2-D2 was finding the schematics and location of princess Leia he could have found, and should be looking for as well, the location of the power station needed and that given to Obi-Wan.

Creating a series of silly, Dieux ex Machina solutions to obvious plot holes does not resolve them. Obiwan did not read the plans stored in R2D2s database - he is as surprised as anyone to see the Death Star when they first stumble upon it, and saying that a wholly fictional piece of technology like a tractor beam has obvious technical limitations is absurd. So what if they grabbed one of their own fighters? The Death Star was either populated with idiots who are incapable of reading the output from their own consoles or they could simply have said "Fighters approaching! Use the tractor beam!" "Yes Sir. No, wait. Someone turned the tractor beam off." "Well, turn the bloody thing back on again!" "Yes Sir. Done. We have all these fighters locked in the tractor beam now, Sir." "Good stuff. Now blow the rebel moon up."

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