Regrettably we are being treated to another addition from the Star Wars universe. As you can tell I do not exactly have a high hopes that this addition will be any good…why because none of them have been any good. Okay, put the gun down and stop searching for my home address at least long enough to hear me out.
So let’s star out with episodes 1-3 because we can all agree that these three. I think we can all agree that if Disney ever decides to remake anything in this franchise it should be these three and announce this with a press conference that consists of the only the following statement: “We are remaking the prequel trilogy of Star Wars. Jar Jar will be in it. He will die in the first ten seconds. You’re welcome.” But those weren’t the only problems. Now I could go scene by scene of every horrible moment (Cinema Sins has) but aside from detailing every moment of Hayden’s ability to make Keannu Reeves looks like Lawrence Olivier, or going how mind numbingly stupid prophecy to “balance the force”* is, in reality it can be broken down into a few key categories:
- Terrible dialogue
- Terrible plot development
- Terrible character development
- An over reliance on special effects
- Terrible acting
- Themes so poorly developed they were laughable
We can all agree that this pretty much Lucas fault at all levels. The man is so inept he was able to get terrible performances out of great actors. He did not know up to write, direct or think. And we see this in almost all of Lucas’s work from Howard the Duck to Kingdom of the Crystal Skull…a complete disregard for any understanding of humor, human nature, character or even a bare bones understanding of how to do a movie.
And this is all a given.
But the original trilogy, episodes 4-6 aren’t that bad! I can already hear the protest…and that protest comes from people who saw Star Wars as children, almost without exception. Do you know what’s interesting about films from childhood they exist in a halo of greatness that any amount of reason can’t penetrate. I love terrible movies from my childhood like Monster Squad or Remo Williams… I have a friend who loves the bizarre acid trip that is Labyrinth. And so it is with Star Wars, only with less self reflection from the fans. It’s s fine movie for childhood and nostalgia, but as serious art it’s crap.
No it’s not the cry comes. Okay let’s look at all those things that made the the first three episodes so terrible.
- Terrible dialogue— “But I was going to Toche station to get some power converters.” “I’ve always known (except when kissing him)”
- Terrible plot development –Anakin the strongest Jedi in history can be three feet from his daughter no clue–a half galaxy away the emperor feels Luke.
- Terrible character development–Vader is evil through all three movies up to the point of suggesting turning Leia…but two minutes of seeing Luke in pain this child mass murder suddenly turns good…Convenient.
- An over reliance on special effects… Great sci-fi movies (Wrath of Khan, Dark City, Serenity) would be great just reading the script with all the special effects–maybe a little clunky but still good. Any Star Wars movie without the special effects would just be painful. (Go on read some of the scenes without the special effect see how bad they are.)
- And let’s not even talk about how disjointed the themes are.
It’s all there, maybe not to the same degree (primarily because Lucas didn’t write and/direct everything on his own), but all the flaws are still there. And these are major flaws.
Then of course there was a bright moment in Star Wars history in some of the novels of the extended universe. But it showed exactly the problems of the movies. Reading the Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy you see actual development of Luke, Leia, and Han have some actual development–new characters like Mara Jade were more developed in her first book than 90% of the characters in the movies. Scenes had to rely on human interaction and not cheap CGI explosions and thus were far more interesting…and so of course Disney choose to throw it all out.
And this is the problem. Because Star Wars is the reason we have bad movies. Everything we rightfully hate about the mindlessness of a Michael Bay or a Fast and Furious movie…the poor plot development, the explosions over character, the dialogue so forced it could have been written by an illiterate 2 years old. Guess what, that started with Star Wars and it continued because Star Wars was a success. Star Wars showed that by pandering to the absolute lowest common denominator you could make piles of money. And capitalism always goes where there is money. Yeah there were stupid films before Star Wars, but there were also films of quality that didn’t just go for the elitist crowd that no normal person would watch. But because of Star Wars’ drivel being the money maker we have slowly gone to place where there is only mindless brain candy (most of which we can’t even stomach anymore) and elitist pretentiousness that no one in their right mind would want. There is almost none of the quality for the masses anymore.
And J.J. Abrams is not the person to end this cycle. He is the idiot who turned the intellectual Star Trek into the more brainless Star Wars…I doubt he’ll be injecting intelligence into a galaxy far, far away.
*No I have to deal with this one. Did anyone in saying that line realize that balance suggests two sides of something being in harmony? Like Yin and Yang…in a universe where there are only extremes of absolute asceticism or completely evil hedonism, don’t talk to me about balance.