webmaster James O’Ehley bitches about the Star Wars movies. For the last
time, he promises . . .
My eight-year-old daughter has never seen any of the
Star Wars movies and only knows the
Clone Wars animated show on
Cartoon Network. She doesn’t have a clue who Luke Skywalker is except
that he might be related to Anakin Skywalker, nor Princess Leia, Han Solo
or any of the other characters featured in the original trilogy.
She is now old enough to rectify this sad state of
affairs, so I bought all six movies on the Region 5 DVDs newly released in
Russia and Eastern Europe (don’t ask) and we watched them spread out over
I saw the first Star
Wars movie - I can’t bring myself to call it A New Hope as Lucas
wants us to - back as a ten-year-old boy back in 1977 (I know: I gave my
age away there). The movie had a huge impact upon me and many others of my
generation, probably because there weren’t anything else like it around
back then . . . at all! After all, the era of the special effects summer
blockbuster was only beginning with Star Wars and Spielberg’s
Close Encounters of the Third Kind the same
Today’s kids are jaded by annual special effects
blockbusters shown on 3D screens in over-sized air-conditioned IMAX
theaters. Nothing can explain to them the sheer excitement of a ten-year
old boy watching that huge Imperial Star Destroyer crawl across the
screen, lasers a-blazing to John Williams’ thunderous score back in 1977.
(Most movie soundtracks in the 1970s sounded like porn movie music.
I became obsessed and so were many others of my
generation. For me – and many others - it meant a life-long fixation with
all things sci-fi.
However by the time Return of
the Jedi rolled round the truth was that I have fallen out of love
with Star Wars as soon as that first damned cuddly teddy bear
appeared onscreen. I had grown up, but the Star Wars movies
haven’t. I was too old for Star Wars, but the truth is that I and many
others from my generation hadn’t realized it. It was the beginning of a
decade-plus long whine . . .
When George Lucas re-released the so-called
“special edition” Star Wars
versions with altered scenes (Greedo fires first and misses at point blank
range! and so on) fans of my vintage went into paralytic overdrive – or is
that hyperdrive? “Lucas raped my childhood!” was the common refrain.
Things went from bad to worse with the release of the “new” trilogy. (I
put “new” in quotation marks because Phantom
Menace is already 12 years old and
Revenge of the Sith turns six this year – oh, where did the time go?)
"If George Lucas wants to digitally insert Richard Nixon's
talking anus on Dark Vader's head, then let him!"
These movies had none of the magic of the original
movies and were dull soulless special effects epics. But how could they
have the same impact as the original movies? We had grown older and the
SFX blockbuster had become everyday.
So when Lucas announced that he will be converting all
the Star Wars movies to 3D fan reaction was
largely negative. The news that the six movies will finally make it to Blu-Ray
in September of this year were largely greeted by indignant fans going,
“But will he be releasing the non-special edition versions of the movies
as they were originally screened in cinemas back the late 1970s and
Nope, he won’t, seems to be the answer.
Lucas has a new
vision for Star Wars. One which destroys one of
the biggest surprises in movie history – namely the revelation that Darth
Vader is actually Luke Skywalker’s daddy in
Empire Strikes Back – if you watch the movies in the order Lucas wants
you to instead of viewing Episodes 1, 2 and 3 as a
largely superfluous back-story to the original movies.
Throughout the long years we have whined endlessly about
how crap the new movies were and how Lucas shouldn’t screw with the
original flicks. But none of this really matters: my eight-year-old
daughter thinks the Ewoks are “adorable” and that Jar-Jar Binks is funny.
(She actually wound up liking the live action movies more than the
Clone Wars TV series.)
These are after
all movies for kids. It is unseemly when one thinks about it for grown-up
men to invest so much time and effort into what is essentially a movie
series for children . . .
So this is the last Star Wars rant I’ve allowed
myself. When the new Blu-Rays come out in September you won’t hear a
single word from me. (I’ll leave it to the other reviewers on this page to
bitch and moan instead . . .)
Yes, the Empire
Strikes Back is still the best movie of them all. It was a happy
accident thanks to author Leigh Brackett’s involvement and Harrison Ford
fumbling his “I love you” line until they settled on “I know.” John
Williams’ score is also pitch perfect: a mixture of Prokofiev and
Tchaikovsky at just the right moments in the movie.
it was the best Star Wars movie because it was “dark” but insisting
on Lucas making the rest of the Star Wars movies also dark was
selfish and cruel.
Just because we grew up doesn’t mean that the Star
Wars movies should grow up as well, which is why Phantom Menace
is more of a Star Wars movie than Attack
of the Clones (dull) and Revenge of the Sith (misjudged). Ask
your six-year-old: he or she will tell you.
Lucas was wrong to cave in on fan demands and make these
two movies darker. Phantom Menace despite
its flaws (that damned kid still can’t act!) is closer to spirit to
Star Wars and Return of the Jedi than either Attack of the
Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith are NOT close in
spirit to Empire Strikes Back because Empire was great and
they sucked. No human interest. Where’s Harrison Ford when you need him?
In the end we watched all of the movies, except for
Revenge of the Sith, which we think is a bit too dark for my daughter.
Something to do with Anakin Skywalker killing small children just isn’t
age appropriate if you ask me - desensitized teenagers may balk, but I’m
trying to be a responsible parent here.
Thanks to the Clone Wars TV series the franchise
now belongs to a much younger generation.
Older fans should stop whining
about it on the Internet and let Lucas do his thing. If he wants to
digitally insert Richard Nixon’s talking anus on Dark Vader’s head, then
let him! It doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things. (Actually
that’d be kinda interesting come to think of it.)
Hollywood is the opium of the internet masses and adults
are supposed to have more grown-up things to be concerned about: mortgage
payments, school fees, etc. etc. Read a book instead. Take the dog for a
walk. Listen to some music. Remind yourself that this is after all just
movies for kids . . .
Remember: you’ll always have those first three minutes
of Star Wars as a small boy and they can only take them away from
you if you let them . . .
PS: Rewatching the “new” trilogy I couldn’t help but
marvel at how dated the special effects that wowed us in Phantom Menace
looks today. Watching the action finales of Attack of the Clones and
Revenge of the Sith feels like watching someone playing a computer
game. Makes one long for the solidity of good old-fashioned model work. Is
Lucas going to update these effects as well now as he did with the