Star Wars : A Rant
It was easier when I was seven.
That's how old I was when Star Wars came out. Back then, of course, it was just "Star Wars." None of that "Episode IV" crap. Just Star Wars. And it was kewl.
Seriously kewl. My grandfather had a big Stanley tape measure that I fastened to the sawed-off end of a broom handle and voila! I had a homemade lightsaber (with adjustable blade, both in standard AND metric!). Later my mom took pity on me and bought the lightsaber toy made by Kenner...which was a flashlight attached to a frosted plastic tube (You know, these kids have it easy these days with toy lightsabers which actually retract, but when *I* was a kid we didn't have that luxury!). Oh, the memories. And at one point I even had all the action figures. All twelve of them. You would then send in the proofs of purchase and seventy five cents and Kenner would send you a free display stand. Shortly thereafter, Kenner came out with another twelve and screwed me up for life.
So what was it about for me? It was about fantasy. It was about watching robots and spaceships and lasers going all over the place. It was about wondering what a Jawa looked like without the robe. It was wondering what was up with that Darth Vader guy. It was about making my mom watch that Christmas Special with me. It was about wishing I had a lightsaber. Star Wars showed a black/white world. It showed baddies who were indisputably bad. Their motives didn't matter at all. They were just bad. And it showed good guys who were good. Again, because they were just good. To a seven-year old (and to those much older) that's really all you needed.
Three years later I remember being totally bummed by Empire because it was such a downer (who would want to marry Darth Vader?!?). And three years after that I thought seeing Jabba was kind of kewl, and the new Death Star was OK, but...Ewoks?!? What, stormtroopers could slaughter Jawas but Ewoks were beyond their capabilities? If only the Jawas had hang gliders, everything would have been OK?
And that's when it left me. I was 13 when Return of the Jedi came out, and was in the process of graduating to more adult things. See, I never looked at the movies as anything other than a couple of hours of escapism. Frankly I was more impressed with Carrie Fisher as a slave girl than I was with the spaceships. But I still watched. And I still caught the "making of" specials on television. And that's when I finally realized that George Lucas may be a gifted man, but there's one thing that remains forever out of his reach...the art of bullshitting.
When Star Wars first came out, Lucas wasn't out there saying he had eight more films. He wasn't talking about a grand saga he had written. No, this was a standalone story. It was "Episode IV" because that was a device to make the Star Wars universe look like it had a lot of history behind it. It had throwaway events like the Clone Wars mentioned as if they happened a loooong time ago to create a sense of mystery and intrigue. It was only after the runaway success of the film that suddenly there was a larger story to be told. We had 20th Century Fox go to Lucas asking about a possible sequel, and like any good writer Lucas said yeah, I have lots of stuff, and the myth of eight more films came to life.
But it was lukewarm bullshit at best. If you have a big story to tell, why not start at the beginning? Well, because there WAS no "beginning." Star Wars (Episode IV) was it. Everything else was made up by Lucas on the fly and as he went along. Scads of continuity errors make this pretty evident. Lucas tried to "fix" those with numerous re-releases under various rationalizations (yeah, like Lucas didn't have the technology at the time to make Greedo shoot first. Whatever.), but the reality is the "clear vision of Lucas" for the flicks have always been mercurial, bending to the whims of the franchise owner.
And now we have "Episode III." Now we have Lucas out there changing his story AGAIN...that Star Wars wasn't about Luke Skywalker after all, but rather the redemption of Darth Vader. Funny that, because in his novelization George Lucas quite clearly described it as "From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker" and Darth Vader's portrayal was decidedly different than Lucas is now selling it. And if you want to channel your uber-geek, read the first drafts of the film, back when Darth Vader was "a tall, grim-looking general" hanging around the "evil Governor Hoedaack." None of the broad themes Lucas is now saying were always there were actually evident. So frankly, if Lucas had Vietnam on his mind when he wrote even that first draft, he isn't even bullshitting...he's delusional.
Look. I like the first movie, and I'm OK with the second one (The rest of them? Well.....). But let's not lose sight of the appeal of the franchise. It's popular because it's simple. It's a clear presentation of universal themes. It's good vs. evil. This whole business of Darth Vader suddenly being Luke's father was nothing more than a soap opera moment, with a brother/sister followup in the third movie. But even with that, I still like the flick. So why is there this sudden insistence by the Left to claim it as some kind of morality play? I can (mostly) ignore Lucas' inconsistent ramblings because I think he's just trying to sell the flick. If saying it has an anti-American bent will get more butts in French seats, then he'll say it. If saying there's a larger story surrounding the first movies will create intrigue and buzz, Lucas will say it. Lucas has long been proving that his god is the dollar (Exhibit A: Darth Vader Cheezits). But I do kind of resent the Left trying to claim this franchise as their own. It's like they're trying to rob the memories from that seven-year-old kid playing with a tape measure and a broom handle.
Posted by John Tant at May 20, 2005 07:08 AM
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|# May 20th, 2005 8:47 AM james0504|
|I can't understand why people like you in the media can't just sit back and let this guy, Lucas, tell his story. Is it because he's the most successful artist in the history of the world? Is it because he was able to break free of the corporate strong hold? George Lucas is a genius. |
|# May 20th, 2005 10:57 AM james|
|i didn't much like star wars when i was a kid, and i don't much like it now. of course, i was never able to see any of the movies in the theater, b/c my parents couldn't afford it, and i never had any of the toys for the same reason. i remember being really really jealous of the other kids for having the toys. i used to pretend that i had seen the movies just to "fit in." when i finally did see them on videotape or tv or whatever medium it was, i was like "what? that's it? that's retarded."
for instance, i specifically remember thinking, upon seeing the at-at walker, "what? how in the hell does THAT make any sense?!"
and i am a science fiction fan - i love star trek, esp TOS, and spent my high school years reading authors like l ron hubbard and william gibson. anyone else read the whole mission earth decaology? i ripped through that in like 2 weeks.
but i just never thought star wars was any good.
i still haven't seen "the new ones," and i probably never will. i will, however, probably snap up a few of those cheeze-its when they go on closeout in a month or 2.
|# May 20th, 2005 11:05 AM kris|
|I haven't seen any of the "new" Star Wars movies either. As I'm sure I've mentioned here before, I cried and whined when my Dad took us to the first Star Wars because I didn't want to go to any more war movies (I was brought up on a steady diet of Victory at Sea, The Bridge Too Far, The Battle of the Bulge, etc.) I know I fell asleep the first few times I saw it.
As a kid, the day after Christmas was fun because I'd get to find out what Star Wars toys all the neighbor kids got.
In short, the Star Wars movies aren't that good. The memories associated with them are good.
|# May 20th, 2005 6:48 PM bingobill|
|I loved Star Wars as a kid, I was nine and my little brother was five the original opened in 1977.
We had all the action figures from the movie and even got a Darth Vader case to hold them in. He would spend hours arranging the figures in exiting tableus while I attempted to mimic the voice of Vader and other characters.
When he passed on at the age of twelve I became the sole owner of the case.
The innocence of those years are still the best part of being a little kid. I hope my son has all the joy, and none of the pain when one day he looks back on the movies that excited him as a little boy.
|# May 21st, 2005 6:51 AM elf242|
i was the same age as you when i saw star wars. and a year later, in a fan/sf magazine? i remember that george was talking about the fight between obi wan and anakin (that's where i first heard dv's real name). and how he was severly burned in a lava pit. to an 8 year old star wars freak, this was amazing!
so, just wanted to let you know that he did have this all planned from the beginning.
and yes, you're right. lucas is a jerk and a schmuck who can't write his way out of a paper bag. hopefully now that star wars is done, he'll do something different. no star wars, no indiana jones, but just good human interest films like thx-1138 or american graffiti...
please george, get off your ass and make good movies again, and stop leaning on the star wars crutch, really.
you know what i'd like to see again?
the original 35mm cut of star wars that i saw as a 7 year old. god, i wish someone had a original "non-orthodoxy" print of the film, rather than lucas constantly revising the damn film.
movies are a document of their times, and lucas keeps screwing with my memories....
take care all
|# May 23rd, 2005 9:32 PM macheteman|
|Lucas DID have a story behind the story. I can vivdly remember my Father buying the Star Wars theme music on Reel-to-Reel tape back in the late 70's, and the box included an inset sheet that descibed all nine sagas. the problem I saw with Lucas' current trilogy is that the technology made him lazy. No longer was he going "on location" for something he can do in the studio and a computer. It looked mildly fabricated, however the story was believeable, if not all that well developed. I lost myself in the movie, and that's all the rest of you should've done. Lucas is still the best of the sci-fi producer bunch by far. It was a wonderfully sad movie, and the character to which Lucas made the focus on was SIDIOUS, not Vader. Evil won in this movie, and that's how it was supposed to end. |
|# May 28th, 2005 3:34 PM kulgan|
|Dude i do feel bad for ppl who cant enjoy the movie because ppl are making some comparisons between episode 3 and some real life political events...Is a great movie nothing more to say about it.
There is even some conservatives sites that are calling for boycott of episode 3. pFFF absolutely pathetic, hey if you dont want to see it, k fine by me, is not like george lucas will care.
I dont think the left wing or anybody can claim this movie to be theirs, they cant because it deals with universal issues, redemption, how ambition and thirst of power can corrupt even good persons and those are not limited to a certain political faction or even to a single country.
And you know the turn of the democratic based republic into an empire little by little is not the only thing about this movie, you have light saber fights, anakin turning into the darkside(thats the best part i think), battle scenes, yoda , and the best of all no jar-jar binks.
To the OP john, i dont think the original series was ever a simple tale about a young man adventures and good vs evil. maybe you saw it like that because you were a little kid when you saw it, but what it would be for the original series if darth vader wasnt luke's father?, if darth vader didnt try to turn luke to the dark side? or if at the end lord vader didnt kill the emperor to save luke?, you have your unoriginal hollywood flick where heros fight evil dudes and at the end save the day, no redemption no drama, no thanks.
Go see the movie with an open mind, despite what everybody says then if you dont like to hear democrats saying this means this or that, say to them, dude is only a movie at least Until we can move objects with our minds and until they invent light sabers.
|# June 7th, 2005 3:52 PM thedeadsurvive|
|All through cinematic history there has been war movies, and consequentally war satire movies. For example of a war movie, with brave battle heroes: That one that my man Mel Gibson made, OH! The Alamo, etcetera. Now for satires: Catch-22, Full Metal Jacket, Apocalypse Now, Three Kings etcetra. These are satires, they make a scathing political comment on a present real-life warf, waged injusticly (so these films suggest, which I agree with) by the American government. They can do this, because they wave their first amendment banners swinging above their collective heads. You know "land of the free," if it weren't for that first "humdinger" of an amendment people woudn't be allowed to make judgements on our leaders descissions so bluntly, in a popular media. Does the goverment like this, NO. Does the government like the fact that our new president that now runs the country recieved just over half the votes, goddammit no. In response the government steps in, and respond the only way they can to these "liberals," who somehow made enough money from working a part time job to make a movie showcasing reputable actors, the government, in the same\similiar form of media, grabs people by their conscience. They take you by the "you-should-know-betters, think of your 'faith'," not to mention the, oh what do you call them "'what-of your-sense-of-morality'-eses nowadays, hmm." The government more than has an eye on the media (I mean come on, it should be common knowledge by now that FOX news is bought-out, with every other one in toe), and as much so, if not more, on Entertainment, i.e. Hollywood. That huge "descency act" with censorship on the radio (ex. Howard Stern), which was only after it infected our telivision shows (ex.pg-14), our tv shows, in our omniscent government's mind, attempted to present a too "liberal" image of the average viewer. This, being the liberal bias. The same with movies, the government will pick strategically what movies they will manipulate, popular movies are thrown most of the bate. Some movies that come out, like Star Wars you almost hear them say they'll watch this one, oh yes, and they'll connect with the 'good guys,' and the democratic government being threatened by an obvoius 'evil.'" I mean come on, it's called the fucking "dark side." Jedis = marines. Heroes man. In the case of Star Wars III, yeah, it's totaly and completley propaganda with killer special effects. |