June 30, 2008

Exposing Myself

My first draft of this blog was about how George Lucas is a fantastic movie killer. I was listing his recent disasters but the only movies he's been involved with over the past 25 years are Indiana Jones and Star Wars. I think it's safe to say that Star Wars "belongs" to Lucas, while Indy really "belongs" to Harrison Ford, and, between the original 1977 Star Wars and 1999's Phantom Menace, he did ZERO directing. So I won't look at ALL the movies he's destroyed (and he DID destroy the new Indiana Jones movie) I'll just focus on his deliberate and unending dismantling of the Star Wars universe. So, for those of you who don't know me, I am officially exposing myself as a Star Wars geek.

*note: the lengths to which I will go to prove my unparalleled geekiness should no longer be in question*

I don't need to explain how cool the original Star Wars trilogy is and I don't know how to measure its effect on pop-culture or 2 generations of wide-eyed adolescents, other than to say it was immense. Needless to say, the bar was set pretty high by the original movies. What's interesting is that after the first movie in 1977, Lucas didn't direct again until 1999; he co-wrote and was executive producer, but Irvin Kershner directed Empire Strikes Back (widely considered the best of the 6 movies) and Richard Marquand directed Return of the Jedi. Lucas has said that he doesn't like directing, and, after the lastest 3 movies, I don't like him directing either. His reliance on special effects and cheesy or complicated plots (see: Ep. 1. the trade federation's blockade of Naboo as a strategy for...I don't even remember, but it was important) is especially madening. Without all the cool explosions and CGI, he had to focus the story on the characters (imagine that!) I can imagine how hard it is to act out EVERY scene in front of a green screen. Also, the stories in the first TWO movies are really really bad, when they aren't 100% confusing. Episode III wasn't bad, it is easily the best of the new movies, but still falls WAY short of where the original movies are.

One of my biggest complaints is the use of American slang and, even more so, the use of aspects of American government in the new movies. In episode II, particularly, characters talk about amending constitutions, term limits, democracy, and really, the whole prequel trilogy relies on a body of senators. The closest thing to that we got in the original movies was basically a board room full of military bad-asses. Speaking of which, Empire Strikes Back made us really fear Vader, like, for REAL. But there's no enemy in all of these movies that is really eevieel, like the fru-its of the dev-eel. Darth Maul was pretty cool, but they killed him off too soon.

Granted, some of the shots in the originals seem a bit dated (i.e., stop motion AT-ATs and a disorienting space battle at the end of A New Hope) but to go back and change SO MUCH, it's really frustrating. There are whole characters added! It's like the movie I remember as a kid doesn't even exist anymore. I grew up with these movies, they were my whole life until I was about 15 years old! So I guess it's telling that I don't even OWN the new movies. What's sad, though, is that the unaltered original movies are in Lucas' vault and won't be released on DVD. This total waste of potential awesomeness is similar to The Matrix: Revolutions, every Shamalyasdf4^&Fefjjjsdfjlan movie since the Sixth Sense, and Godfather III.

I guess I'll have to live with a slightly flawed original trilogy and try to conjure up images of playing with my Star Wars toys with my brother and cousins and forget that these new movies were ever made.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

This has been the most enjoyable rant I've ever read. Your use of evidence to support your claims is particularly unusual yet incredibly refreshing - like you've actually had this rant in your head for a while, formulating and correcting, drafting and perfecting. It's...well, it's beautiful. As are you. -Nate

--------------- ---------------