Ok. This needs to be said. This is a battle with my own light and dark side of the force. Like most of my generation, I was raised on Star Wars. Leia, Han, Chewie, Luke, Obi-Wan, Yoda. Who can forget C3PO, R2, or the Ewoks. All seared into my child brain. The cantina and Jaba, Boba Fett and DARTH VADER!!! Every moment and fight sequence. The magic and wonder of the force, this amazing connection to ancient mythology and spirituality. Amazing special and visual effects that pushed filmmaking to a new level, and have stood the test of time to look good by today's standards. The original trilogy was and is arguably some of the best sci-fi films ever. We all loved them and they are not only part of our childhood, but part of our culture and identity. I was never a crazy fan, but thats the point of a cultural icon, everyone experiences it. I know that the characters and emotions portrayed led me to think of film and story telling differently. We all felt the love of Leia and Han, and the heartbreak of losing him to carbonite. The ultimate shock and betrayal of a father and the dark side. We always hoped for a completion of the story, even though more and more time passed.
At the turn of the century, the excitement was palpable when they were finally making the prequels, and no one could wait to buy tickets. Then it happened. Lucas shat on all of our hopes and memories. They were terrible. Not terrible for a movie in general, after all, they all packed some major star power. But terrible for Star Wars. It was NOT Star Wars.
There are so many reasons that we have collective amnesia about the whole trilo-stinking poo. They took the force, and boiled it down to "Midi-chloreans", bullshit lazy story telling that basically said you have tiny creatures who control you and "the force" is a virus. They scrapped the special/practical effects for digital effects that looked dated almost the moment they came out. Anakin had no arc whatsoever, and went from a sweet kid, to a whiny emo teenager/mass murderer. I did not give a shit about him, or his struggle with the light and the dark side. There was no struggle. He was a weak tit, who couldn't keep it in his pants. I feel bad for Natalie Portman, who had to act against that. There was zero chemistry between the two, and it was like watching the most awkward, creepy first date over and over again. We had to sit through what seemed like hours of boring political backstory which was muddled, unclear and slow. They killed off Darth Maul, Qui-Gon and SAMUEL L JACKSON, the only interesting characters!!! The Stormtroopers and their clone-y beginnings were glossed over and used as an excuse to showcase yet another new shiny digital alien race. And finally, Jar Jar. WTF.
At this point, I'm out. I know I have seen them all, but I have no emotional investment in any of them. Some of my friends have told me: "watch clone wars, it's actually really good". NO. That should not be a sad consolation prize to try to explain and fix the damage that was done. They should have done a better job telling the story in the movies, so I don't have to be convinced to watch a cartoon.
The prequels messed it up so much that I just gave up. I was so disappointed in what they had become, that wanted nothing to do with them, and I have had a bad taste in my mouth for years.
Cut to 2016. They are at it again. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Part one of the final trilogy to end the epic story. I put off seeing it, even though it was everywhere. Everyone I knew said it was great, said I should see it. Oh the hype, the merchandise! But I had been burned. Finally, I gave in. It couldn't possibly be worse than Clone Wars.
THIS is Star Wars. This is what the prequels failed so miserably at creating. It has everything that we have been missing and instills that feeling of nostalgia as well as wanting to know what happens next. The effects are there, they look right, they sound right. The creatures and aliens are there, like they look like they are physically THERE! It is great and really makes you think that the prequels happened in a different dimension. This is the true Star Wars universe. I loved it. It has the feeling and the soul of the originals, and so easily and quickly transports us right there into the next chapter of our beloved friends of the force.
I looked back over all of the movies, and something stood out to me. Lucas directed "A New Hope" (largely the least favorite of the originals-power converters anyone?). He also directed ALL THREE of the prequels. He did not direct the best of the originals, and now JJ Abrams has taken the helm and pulled it out of the shit soup created over a decade ago. Now, I know he literally created Star Wars, but I think we have learned he should NOT be anywhere near the director's chair.
I have also been incredibly surprised at how few spoilers there have been. I was able to watch it, months after it came out, and experience everything like new. I have new found faith in the force, and the Jedi have definitely returned.
May The Force Be With You.
This Blog serves as a place for my ramblings and commentary. I write about my process and sometimes verbally vomit. Enjoy