Hey it has been a long time since I posted a rant. Some of you know how I like to write. I have to get this off my chest!
Lets face it, since the hostile take over of the internet and the social media blitz across the globe, one thing that is constant, is the arguments about how bad the Star Wars films really are.
Main points I hear and read all of the time are as follows:
bad special affects
George Lucas Constantly changing the movies
Let me break it down this way. Go get yourself a cup of coffee before you start reading this, because you are in for a long haul!
Mind you, I am trying to write this from a rational non fan boy perspective to give validity to the argument at hand. So bad acting? Yes absolutely! George is not know for being a good director. He simply tries to tell a story, and is not the slightest bit concerned about the performances. It is evident in the 4 Star Wars films he did direct. Irvin Kirsher did Empire...and that one had some decent acting and character development without sacrificing story. Save for Hayden, Hammil, and Lloyd, I think the rest of the crew did the best with what they had to work with. These are movies where the performances and dialogue are there only to move plot points...not much to work with here. However there is no excuse for Jar Jar what so ever. None of us will know what was up with that bit.
Silly Script? Well I have had this argument for quite some time. One fellow on facebook recently said that this is just "The Hero's Journey" all over again. This comment kind of annoys me. Lucas has been up front since day one that these films were inspired by the likes of King Arthur, and Kurosawa. Hey! Know what other movies were direct copies of Kurosawa? Westerns such as The Magnificent Seven, was The Seven Samurai, and A Fist Full of Dollars was Yujimbo, AND the gangster film "Last Man Standing" was ALSO based on Yujimbo! Also... Forbidden Planet from 1956 us based on Shakespear's "Tempest". Also arguably the 1951 film "The African Queen" is pretty similar to The Empire Strikes Back. In The African Queen, Humphrey Bogart takes a missionary up the river while being chased by the Germans during WW1 in a beat up boat. Remind you of a certain princess trying to escape the imperials in a beat up freighter? Tell me the pod race scene from The Phantom Menace is not suppose to echo a familiar chariot race from the movie "Ben-Hur". Almost as identical, and almost as long! See! This stuff has been going on for decades! And the biggest joke is that this "mulit cultural modern day myth" is picked apart so badly simply astounds me!
Silly Characters? Some of them...yes! Characters from The Phantom Menace such as Jar Jar, Boss Nass, and Watto really drive me nuts! They are just too silly...too stupid, and at times....kind of socially offensive in ways if you think about it. The core characters however represent heroes and villains that have shown up in stories throughout generations. Before The Phantom Menace came out...I read an article where they explained the appearance of Darth Maul. Without direct quotes....Lucas studied several cultures throughout the world. One thing that was consistent through out all cultures from generations present, and generations past, was the appearance of the color red, and horns. This is why Darth Maul looks like he does. The red face...the tattoos represent war and death in primal cultures. From the time you see him first on screen...no trouble telling he is the bad guy...he is clearly not hear to sell you magazines!
Bad Special affects? Really? Well this is a double edged sword. Back in 1977Lucas employed a team of geeks to produce effects that had never been seen on film...so at least he cared about that. The result was a company formed in 1975 as industrial light and magic. So folks....he basically invented the stuff you see on screen these days. The accolades are endless...look them up yourself! This is an award winning company that still exists well beyond and past Star Wars. I will argue that some of the stuff in the Special Addition looked pretty goofy, but it was a work in progress. And lets face it...movies more recent than that had worse special effects and still did ok. I don't agree with this argument. Though I do have a personal beef with that whole Han Solo shooting greedo scene. This is where I agree with the haters...seriously...wtf? However, most people loose site of the fact that at the time in 1997, Lucas was celebrating a 20 year anniversary, AND trying to get you excited about Star Wars again...and for most parts it worked. Everybody wanted to see the new scenes...at the time!
Now with that last argument in hand...yes...some of these changes are pretty derpy by today's standards. However....I think one thing that even Lucas lost sight of, is that what might of worked in 1997, AND the early 80's does not always translate to the new audience. Since the mid to late 90s we have been deconditioned by the over saturation of CGI, and those stories that were once golden to us...just seem silly now that we are older...right? Let's face it...we had got used to the characters that we loved...Han, Chewie, Luke..Leia...now they are all gone. Having to introduce new characters to us old timers was pointless. It was doomed to fail! Ewan McGregor is a fantastic actor...so is Liam Neeson. They did not have a chance walking in the shadows of Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Of course the likes of Boss Nass, Jar Jar and Watto did not help. Also Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen playing different versions of Darth Vader did not help either. We got accustomed to Vader just being a horrible villain. Nobody wanted to see him as a regular kid from the projects with some talents using the force! Better yet a slave!
In conclusion...and not to get TOO off subject here, but JJ Abrams has been handed the helm of Star Wars now.... Arguably the most successful Star Trek films being The Wrath of Kahn, First Contact, and Into Darkness have all drawn influences from Moby Dick, as well as the pacing and action of Star Wars! See where I am going with this?
On film we want a fast pacing story with a lot of focus on the action, and adding traditional archetypes for the characters that populate this universe is what the public truly wants! You want deep meanings in this universe, you check out the expanded universe and read the books. I feel Abrams is doomed, but he does have his pulse on story, and action elements...we will see the results when we see them.
I guess my main gripe about all of this, is that you can only deconstruct Star Wars so much until it is no longer Star Wars, but some other form of science fiction. It is kind of like criticizing the color green for not being brown. Ask your rivals exactly what they would change about Star Wars, I guarantee they will make it into a form of Science fiction that does not fit into the Star Wars universe. This works ok, for the expanded universe books, but for the films...anything less than fast pacing, high action and fast storytelling is moot point!
May The Force Be With You Always!