Why Star Wars Sucks

by J.D. Roth

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally they became heroes.” — Prologue, Star Wars novelization by George Lucas

Star Trek is about to go dormant, a decade after descending into gross suckage. I can’t help but hope that it hibernates for decades. It likely won’t. The Star Wars franchise once descended into dormancy after a disappointing third film; when it revived fifteen years later, things had become even worse. (Admittedly, the new Battlestar Galactica kicks ass, but that’s only because it’s a re-imagining of the original concept; if it had picked up where the old show left off, it wouldn’t have worked.)

But why does Star Wars suck now? What happened? Where did it go wrong?

I wrote this three years ago during my rant on the last film:

As we left the theater, Pam wondered aloud if George Lucas had even watched the first three films before making the last two. He seems to have forgotten what Star Wars was about. Or perhaps changed his mind.

Now that I’ve read the script and the graphic novel for the upcoming Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith, I’ve begun to think more on where the franchise failed.

The Role of Our Heroes
In the original Star Wars, Han and Luke and Leia were accidental heroes. They were small players on a big stage. The galaxy in which they lived was vast, and full of wonder.

Luke, for example, was a simple moisture farmer on a backwater planet. He had no future. His dreams of leaving to join “The Academy” were constantly dashed.

LUKE: It just isn’t fair. Oh, Biggs is right. I’m never gonna get out of here!
THREEPIO: Is there anything I might do to help?
LUKE: Well, not unless you can alter time, speed up the harvest, or teleport me off this rock!
THREEPIO: I don’t think so, sir. I’m only a droid and not very knowledgeable about such things. Not on this planet, anyways. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure which planet I’m on.
LUKE: Well, if there’s a bright center to the universe, you’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.
THREEPIO: I see, sir.

Now we’re asked to believe that all along Luke was some crown prince, destined for greatness. That Chewbacca and Yoda are pals. (Wait and see, wait and see.) Instead of being bit players in a galactic struggle — iconic everymen (and everywomen) — our heroes are actually larger-than-life bluebloods upon whom the fate of the galaxy has always rested.

Give me a break.

Focus Shift
The first film (or fourth, depending on how you count) focused on the periphery of this galactic struggle. The second film shifted more to the center, though it still felt as if our heroes were only small players. The third film, however, crossed the line: our heroes were in the thick of it, key to the galaxy’s freedom. And with the prequel trilogy, we’re no longer able to see the periphery at all. Lucas has forgotten about it. (Or discarded it.)

And with it, he’s forgotten about fun.

Would it be fun to watch a movie about the United States Senate debating trade sanctions? Of course not. Would it be fun to watch a movie about a Kennedy or a Bush kid coming to power? I don’t think so. Would it be fun to watch a movie about a poor kid who becomes a karate champion? You know it would. (“Wax on, wax off, Daniel-san!”)

Over the past twenty years, Lucas has gone from a young, creative artist to a wealthy movie mogul. His realm of experience has changed, and I think that shows in his filmmaking. If you skim early drafts of The Star Wars, which once included material from all of the films in the series, it’s clear that Lucas has shifted from the realm of the common to the realm of elite. What was once important to him, no longer is. He’s writing from his experience, and his experience is one of wealth and comfort.

Scale
In the prequels, Lucas has changed the scale of the films. The galaxy seems small. Our heroes play central, pivotal roles in the titanic (but nonsensical) political struggles.

One of the wonderful things about the original Star Wars universe was the diversity of life and civilization, the awesome scale of the story. The galaxy seemed vast. No wonder our heroes were small players; there were simply too many other people for them to be anything else. There were always new and bizarre aliens to discover, strange new worlds to explore. (To be fair, Lucas has continued to entertain with unique worlds; I loved the water world Kamino in Attack of the Clones.)

In the early years, the Star Wars story was continued in novelizations and comic books. Authors like Alan Dean Foster and Brian Daley seemed to grasp the fundamental concept of a vast universe. The comics most certainly got it. These supplementary texts effectively conveyed the sense of scale present in the first film.

The prequels, however, make the galaxy seem like a small and petty place.

Prettification
The original trilogy — or at least the first two-thirds of it — was dirty and gritty. That was part of its charm. The Millennium Falcon didn’t work. Luke’s garage was a mess (and whoa! so was the jawa’s sandcrawler). The base on the ice planet Hoth was in scattered disarray. Yoda was a slovenly housekeeper. The Death Star was mostly polish and chrome, but even it had a stinky trash compactor.

The space ships and the ground vehicles looked real. One got the feeling they might have been produced on a planet called Detroit, and that with time they’d gradually fallen apart. Many of the ships and vehicles we saw had outlived their warranties.

Compare that with the new trilogy. Everything is bright, shiny and new. Only Watto’s shop on Tattooine bares any sort of resemblance to the old messes we’re used to. (Oh — and the pods for the pod-race; they’re fairly junky.) All of the space ships we see are sparkly clean. Maybe that’s a cost of moving from models to computer animation.

The water world Kamino (to which Kenobi flies to learn about clone troopers) is fascinating, but I have to wonder: don’t things on this planet rust? Isn’t there seaweed of some sort? Or is everything just washed clean by the perpetual rain? And, on a larger scale, do all of the planets have oxygen-based atmospheres?

De-Mystification
In the original trilogy — especially the first film — The Force was a mysterious mystical mental power. It was a rare gift, difficult to harness.

The prequel trilogy has made a mockery of The Force. Does anyone say “May the Force be with you?” Of course not. George Lucas has forgotten about it. All he remembers is the Jedi mind trick, that Jedi can jump really very high, and that the Force can let bad Jedi shoot lightning out of their fingertips.

Yes, the Force was a silly quasi-religious structure. So what? It was fun. It doesn’t even exist in the prequel trilogy. It’s been replaced by midichlorians and magic.

QUI-GON : With your permission, my Master. I have encountered a vergence in the Force.
YODA : A vergence, you say?
MACE WINDU : Located around a person?
QUI-GON : A boy… his cells have the highest concentration of midi-chlorians I have seen in a life form. It is possible he was conceived by the midi-chlorians.
MACE WINDU : You’re referring to the prophesy of the one who will bring balance to the Force…you believe it’s this boy??
QUI-GON : I don’t presume…
YODA : But you do! Revealed your opinion is.
QUI-GON : I request the boy be tested.

I guarantee you, that scene would never have found its way into the first trilogy. (In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that if The Phantom Menace had been made first, there never would have been a sequel of any sort. The film would have bombed because of stuff like that.)

It may be that George Lucas has lost religion during the past twenty years. Maybe he’s an atheist now, and doesn’t want to encourage any sort of religious thought, and so has shifted the Force from “hocus-pocus religion” (as Han would call it) to a pseudo-scientific explanation. I’d rather have the hocus-pocus religion, and so would you.

Bad Acting
Natalie Portman is not a bad actress, but George Lucas’ direction sure makes her seem like one.

Ewan McGregor is not a bad actor, but George Lucas’ direction sure makes him seem like one.

Even Hayden Christiansen isn’t that bad an actor, but it’s unbelievable that he was asked to carry this prequel trilogy on his shoulders. To make matters worse, George Lucas seems to have chosen to print the worst possible reading of his every line.

Marketing
Do I really need to go into this? Have you ever seen a larger marketing juggernaut? It makes me wonder if the this prequel trilogy is simply a six-hour long advertisement meant to get consumers to buy toys, tacos, and dark chocolate M&Ms.

The appearance of the first Ewok marked the end of Star Wars as we know it.

Nonsensical Political Struggles
Here’s a quiz:

1) What is the plot of The Phantom Menace?
2) What is the plot of Attack of the Clones?
3) Who are the good guys in each of these films? Who are the bad guys? Why?

The first question is moderately easy. The bad guys are the (gasp) Trade Federation. They’ve blockaded Naboo for some reason (do we ever know why? does it matter?).

(And let me rant about this for a moment: how stupid is it that the “blockade” is simply an equatorial band of ships? A band of ships that may even be in stationary orbit above the queen’s palace? Pretty damn stupid, I say. Even stupider is the fact that when our heroes try to escape the planet, they blast off right into the blockade instead of, say, heading toward the polar regions in order to elude the known enemy. Dumb.)

The second question, however: I defy you to answer the second question. (Harry Knowles once mounted a spirited, and earnest, attempt to do so, but only confused me more. He seemed to miss the irony that the plot actually needed explaining, and that it took him several hundred words to do so. Inadequately.)

Here’s a second quiz:

1) What is the plot of A New Hope?
2) What is the plot of The Empire Strikes Back?
3) What is the plot of Return of the Jedi?

Hmmm. Suddenly it seems obvious that the prequels lack a…

Loss of Wonder
The fundamental problem with the prequel trilogy is that they no longer impart a sense of wonder.

The first Star Wars films were filled with wonder: the aliens in the cantina, the lumbering Star Destroyers, the awesome power of the Death Star, the Imperial Walkers storming the base on the ice planet Hoth, the cloud city of Bespin, and even the speeder race across the forest moon of Endor.

The first two films amazed because they imparted a sense of wonder. Our heroes were small, but they’re actions took place on a vast an awesome stage.

Compare this to the eye-sore that is the climax of Attack of the Clones. Can you follow what’s happening? Of course not. Nobody can. It’s an orgasm of gratuitous digital effects. There are hundreds, or thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of objects on screen at once. There’s nothing to latch onto.

My heart broke for every dead X-Wing pilot in the first film. When Porkins flamed out, I cared. I cared because the battle was kept on a small scale, an identifiable scale. There’s no wonder involved in an all-out fight between a gajillion clone troopers and whoever it is they’re fighting. (I can’t even remember, which is a bad, bad sign.)

Another example: I want to be awed by the vast Asimovian city-world of Coruscant, but I can’t. It’s an ocean of skyscrapers and painful-to-watch aerial highways. It’s nothing but a cornucopia of digital effects. It doesn’t give me a sense of awe; it makes me depressed.

What Might Have Been
For several years, I have maintained (and I continue to maintain) that the ideal Star Wars episode one was actually Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It would be child’s play to retcon that film so that it occurred in the Star Wars mythos. It would fit perfectly.

But there are scores of other possibilities that would have worked well. Any half-way literate Star Wars fan could have constructed a better prequel trilogy than what Lucas has produced. My heart aches to consider what might have been.

Conclusion
Is there hope for Star Wars? I think there may be. But if a final trilogy is going to be made, it oughtn’t be done for many yeas. A decade maybe. Yes, I know George Lucas is old, but so what? The less he’s involved the better, in my opinion. I think it’s important that the stories come from his mind, that he provide the basis for the screenplay, but the best thing that could be done for the franchise now is for Lucas to take a back seat. Let others take the helm.

Despite all of these complaints, despite the fact the current state of Star Wars sucks, the fact remains that I will go see Revenge of the Sith in the theaters. My geek friends and I have discussed boycotting the film on principle, but ultimately I’m going to lose this moral battle. And maybe that’s the only thing that matters. (The one saving grace is this: my expectations for this film could not possibly be any lower; it’s as if it cannot help but exceed them.)

The kids I know have begun to love love Star Wars. Harrison and Emma, for example, have now seen the entire original trilogy. They love it. They play Star Wars all the time, exactly like we used to do. I hope they don’t see the prequel trilogy for many years. Let them enjoy this sense of wonder while they can.

Postscript
It’s still possible to produce Star Wars material that maintains the feeling of the original trilogy. It happens all the time. Books, comics, and video games all tap into this feeling now and again. For example, the game Jedi Outcast, which I obsessed over several years ago, did an outstanding job of putting the player in a galaxy that felt like the one from the original trilogy. It’s possible, but not from the mind of George Lucas.

Links
My memories as part of the Star Wars generation
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace script
78 Reasons to Hate Star Wars Episode One (as if you needed any more)
Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones script
64 Reasons to Hate Star Wars Episode Two (as if you needed any more)
My review of Attack of the Clones
Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith script (plot summary)

Comments


On 29 April 2005 (10:58 AM),
dowingba said:

Plot of Episode 2: Chancellor Palpatine, the Lord of the Sith, secretly builds a clone army and creates a war to secure his place as supreme emporer of the republic. Anakin marries Padme, starts to turn to the dark side.

What is so complicated about that?

And the one thing I love about ALL of the star wars films, is the “lived-in” feel of the universe. As you describe above, how things look worn and used. Same in the new trilogy as it is in the old. Not sure what you’re problem is, here. CG has nothing to do with the lack of used-ness of the ships and stuff, because there is no lack.

I’m really sorry to say, but you seem to be falling into that ever growing camp that (at least subconsciously) believes:

A) CG is evil.
B) New is evil.

The old Star Wars films are awesome. I’ve watched them a bazillion times. The new ones are different, and awesome. Many people complain that the ships’ styles are too different. Yeah, they are ships built during a time of peace (there hasn’t been a full scale war in THOUSANDS OF YEARS), built for looks, much like cars nowadays. In the old trilogy, we’re seeing ships and vehicles built for war, like jeeps and hummers nowadays. The Deathstar is a giant war machine.

I didn’t much like the new Yoda puppet in Ep1, but the CG Yoda in Ep2 (which was based on the Empire puppet) is perfect.

Lucas does know what he’s doing. He’s dedicated his entire life to these movies, trust me he hasn’t forgotten about the original trilogy. The whole point of the prequels is to better explain the original movies. It’s backstory, much like the appendices in any given Tolkien book.

Now, maybe someone like me, who loves reading the appendices in Tolkien books, is who these films are tailored toward. I don’t know. But I’m definitely a fan.

The acting, while not great, doesn’t bother me. The acting in the original trilogy was just as bad, in my opinion. There are some definite weak spots in the Ep2 script, though — near the beginning of the film, it seems way too rushed as they try to cough out as much plot build up as possible. The worst actor in any Star Wars film to date, though, is the black guy who plays Padme’s chief of security in Ep2. Man, that guy can barely even choke out his lines.

And the Luke being a “crown prince, destined for greatness” isn’t even a construct of the new trilogy; it was revealed during Empire, hailed by many as the greatest Star Wars film to date.

Furthermore, as each new film gets closer to the timeline of the original trilogy, they get more “Star Wars”ish, if you follow me. Ep2 was definitely much more reminiscent of the original trilogy than Ep1, and I’m very excited to see Ep3 (and I’ve been very careful not to see any spoilers…your links on this page not helping matters much…the dark side of the force is strong…)

On 29 April 2005 (11:27 AM),
jeremy said:

Harrison and Emma won’t be able to handle the most recent three movies for some time – the first three were a stretch. Believe it or not, I think the new computer effects make the newest movies way to hard-core for the kids.

On 29 April 2005 (11:58 AM),
Rich R said:

Well, I’m not a big fan of the last 2 movies, but I’m not 8-14 anymore. I have also been exposed to lots of special effects, vs. not having seen very many good ones when the original came out.

I heard that the IMAX version of ep2 was the one to watch. They had to cut 45 minutes out because IMAX film is hard to string up and can’t be longer than about 90 minutes. SO the entire love story got cut out. I may have actually liked the movie in that state.

As far as ep3 goes, I think I may like it best of the newest set– maybe even better than Jedi… because it lends it self to less fluffiness.

The point I have to really disagree with you on is marketing. Yes the machine for ep3 is a juggernaut, but Lucas was showing his prowess when he made ep4. He was the first director to keep all of the toy/ancillary marketing rights to his little film. The studio happily gave those rights to the young fool. And he had the last laugh. Was the marketing as sophisticated and as prevalent– no. But he was the start of making money from a movie outside of the box office.

On 29 April 2005 (12:54 PM),
dowingba said:

Also: Luke starts out as a young poor farmboy from the far outreaches of space who dreams of becoming a star pilot.

Anakin starts out as a young poor slave boy from the far outreaches of space (same planet as Luke) who dreams of becoming a star pilot.

On 29 April 2005 (03:16 PM),
Denise said:

You know – I read this whole post thinking my thoughts exactly but then I read dowingba’s comments and I can see the argument. Looking at it from a pre-war point of view makes it easier to swallow.

I still agree that I don’t like the CG, but mostly when dealing with actual characters in the movie. I loved Chewy – he was one of my favorite characters in the first three movies – but I despise Jar Jar Binks. I think he would have been much more believable if they would have made a real costume for him instead of just using the computer graphics.

On 29 April 2005 (04:16 PM),
Dave said:

Although I agree with JD on his overall disappointment with the state of the Star Wars mythos as it has progressed (and degraded), I do see some redeeming qualities to the arc as a whole. I also think that the series (original) is not without it’s warts and that JD would gloss over them in a wave of nostalgia.

I agree with JD’s disappointment with the Force becoming just a matter of midichlorian manipulation and losing the mystical nature that seems to pervade the first three movies. To salvage the difference between series (original) and series (followup), in the second (pre-Empire) films, the average person probably didn’t know that midichlorians formed the basis of Force-sensitivity and so to the average person it looked mystical. By series (original) the only people around who would have known about them would be Palpatine, Vader, Yoda and Ken-obi (so spelled b/c JD’s filters won’t let one write out “K” “E” “N” “O” “B” “I”). The former two aren’t going to advertise this, nor are the latter two going to let on that they know a whole lot about it for fear of being exterminated. Of course, it robs us, the viewers, of the mystical experience when we find out about it/them.

Second, I view the glossy and new, nearly devoid of wear, nature of the series (followup) films as being the cause of the Republic’s fall. Palpatine uses that sterility and complacence to topple the Republic and replace it with the Empire. Similarly, Lucas is using it to simultaneously provide us with what in many ways is a picture of an egalitarian utopia in order to show us just how poorly things go (for certain people) under the Empire and how much is lost in the fall of the Republic. Under the Empire things get much Darker (from the Death Star to Bespin to the Emperor’s quarters) and grittier for most of the common folk. In contrast, the Death Star is the epitome of sterility, both in form and function (excluding the trash compactor, which I’ll deal with in a moment).

Third, the series (original) is not without it’s gaping holes. Most critics thought that Mark Hamill’s acting (along with the majority of the rest of the cast except for Alec Guiness) was absolute crap and couldn’t believe that Lucas would cast such a neophyte in such a pivotal role. And who puts something as mundane (and worthless) as a trash compactor on a brand new space station that’s designed to vaporize planets? You’d think they’d come up with something better to do with trash than mash it once they figured out hyperspace travel. Worse, why bother to stick some kind of monster in the brand new space station’s trash compactor? How did it get there? Is this some kind of Sith garbage disposal technology, or merely a really old style trash compacting defense system?

What I’ve never understood is why, when Vader’s wandering around on that first ship (and every scene thereafter) in the original film, doesn’t he recognize a) the astro mech that was his buddy for years and which was used to help pilot his fighter, and b) the protocol droid that he built from scratch as a boy, was his companion for decades, and used to assist Padme (his wife)? Would it not tell even the casual observer that there was something fishy going on, or at least some connection to one’s former life and spouse when your former property ends up in the hands of your sworn enemy? Or better yet, wouldn’t both droids know that Anakin Skywalker = Darth Vader? You might think that they’d say something to someone (ie, Leia) at some point. Or, hmmmmmm, why wouldn’t Vader figure out that there are some Skywalker’s around and keep an eye on them? Oh, wait, his mother didn’t have any family, so apparently Luke went into the infant Jedi witness protection program but they decided to throw everyone off the scent by keeping the same last name as his father and making some poor dupes who just appear to be hapless moisture farmers when in fact they are really highly trained Alderaanian or Naboo-ese agents who are sworn to protect Luke from his heritage by raising him as a hapless moisture farmer keep him in squalor and absolute ignorance. Fortunately there’s a hermit nearby who dresses like a Jedi and has the same last name as Vader’s original master but because he’s changed his first name to Ben, no one can see that he’s really Superman.

Or whatever…

I find that the books that’ve been published in the Star Wars universe go a long way toward rectifying some of the flaws JD notes in the films and filling in many of the blanks. On the other hand, let’s face facts. Lucas didn’t have the whole story arc in mind when he wrote “Star Wars”, “The Empire Strikes Back” and “The Return of the Jedi”. The second set of films is a cobbled together set of ideas that’s designed to capitalize on the success of the first series of films. That, ultimately, is what handicaps the new films.

On 29 April 2005 (04:21 PM),
Jennifer said:

As I write this response Emma and Harrison are playing Star Wars. They have built and Imperial Walker out of k’nex. Han, Luke and Leia are actually characters from Harrison’s pirate set. Legos are used to create various ships. It doesn’t matter the toy, the play is always Star Wars.
Harrison’s favorite part of the trilogy is when Darth Vader saves Luke and returns to the good side. He also likes to act out Luke getting his arm cut off. Harrison has also learned how to play the theme music from Star Wars.
Emma’s favorite part is when Princess Leia gets chained to Jabba, because she says it is silly. Of course she also loves the ewoks.
I prefer to enjoy the fun of the original trilogy and ignore the new releases. I have to go now, an argument has ensued over the color of Leia’s eyes.

On 29 April 2005 (09:42 PM),
dowingba said:

I assume the droids have had their memory erased at some point. I also assume that Episode 3 will explain when and why this happens. Also, when does Darth Vader see either of the droids when he’s in that ship? That’s right: never.

What we also don’t know: does Darth Vader know he has surviving children? From what I understand, he kills Padme when she’s pregnant, perhaps even when she’s in the early stages of pregnancy — so he might not even know she was pregnant in the first place. I don’t think he’s gonna spend much time combing the outer reaches of the galaxy for skywalkers, in that case. Not that he probably has much free time to do so anyway, as I assume the life of a Sith is much the same as the life of a Jedi, in that they generally just embark on various missions, without much vacation time.

I don’t think secrecy is why Leia’s name was changed…she was adopted by people named Organa. Luke was adopted by people named Skywalker, so his name remains Skywalker. I don’t know how many sextillions of lifeforms live in the galaxy, but I’m sure there are plenty of Skywalkers around — so even if Vader was looking around for Skywalkers, it might be hard to pinpoint who his son is, who he doesn’t even know, or care, exists. Also, I doubt Tatooine has much in the way of a registrar of names on hand, as there isn’t any government to speak of there. So unless Vader goes there and knocks on every door asking “is there a Skywalker here?”, while getting truthful answers out of each resident, even though he looks so menacing…

On 29 April 2005 (11:14 PM),
J.D. said:

I am so dedicated to you, the readers of foldedspace. How dedicated? I’m so dedicated that I spent my afternoon re-watching The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones.

Here’s a dirty little secret: although I complain about these two films, although I just wrote an entire weblog lambasting them, I still watch each of them a couple of times a year. I’ve probably seen The Phantom Menace ten times and Attack of the Clones at least half a dozen times.

Usually, I find it an exercise in sadism. Today it was kind of fun. Today, I took notes. Lots of them. I mean that I annotated the damn films down to the second in order to reply to some of dowingba’s points. In the end, however, I think that’d be counter-productive. Instead, I’ll reply with general impressions.

First off, I was surprised to find that this time I found the second film more enjoyable than the first. This has never been the case before. Today, though, Jar-Jar Binks grated just a little too much; the political intrigue was slower in the first film; and, perhaps worst of all, there were actually more plot holes in the first film.

What about the “lived in” feel of the universe? Dowingba’s right that the first film does share that with the original trilogy. I’d missed it before, but sure enough, it’s there: Watto’s junkyard, Anakin’s home, the various ships (except the Naboo flyers), and even the close-ups of the battle droids all exhibit signs of wear and tear.

(That’s not to say that I don’t have problems with the CGI, because I do. The large CGI armies in the final battle scene are painful to watch. I wish that those who work on CGI battle scenes would watch some actual footage of battle scenes staged with live actors, or, preferably read accounts and view drawings/photos/paintings of historical battles.)

However, Attack of the Clones is guilty as charged. Every set in the film is spotless. Nearly every ship is spit-and-polished. Remember how I complained about the structures on the water world Kamino not exhibiting any signs of rust of mildew, etc? It’s worse. Ken-obi and Jango Fett have a fire fight in which lightsabers, blasters, turbo lasers, rockets, and a jetpack all bombard a landing platform. Yet how much damage is visible? None. The platform is untouched. Bizarre! There are many similar examples. Attack of the Clones does not exhibit the same lived-in feel as the other Star Wars films: not the bars, not the ships, not the living quarters. (There are a couple of exceptions, particularly on Tattooine, but they simply serve to accentuate the problem.)

Re: CGI in general. I am guilty as charged. It’s not that I dislike new things — I don’t — but I do generally dislike CGI. It’s not that I dislike CGI out of spite, or for an arbitrary reason; it’s just that I feel that it’s often misused. Filmmakers seem unable to show restraint. There are many films that use CGI in a judicious fashion, and I’m quick to praise these. (Examples include Amelie, Spider-Man (and its sequel), and even the new Battlestar Galactica.) Too many films, though, follow the Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep path, or the Phantom Menace path, the path to the dark side, the path down which more is actually less.

Dowingba’s right about another thing: the CGI Yoda looks damn good (except during his lightsaber battle).

I still think the acting isn’t that great. I suspect this has to do with Lucas’ direction. However, after taking careful notes, and rewinding the bad scenes multiple times, it’s pretty clear that the script is the culprit. Some of the lines are just awful, no matter how they’re read.

Ultimately, some sense can be made of Episode Two’s plot. And, for the most part, dowingba has it nailed. The problem is, this whole muddled thing is very difficult to follow. As I say, I’ve watched the film a half dozen times. I’m a smart guy. I have a college degree. I read Proust for pleasure. I love the twisty passages found in a film like Rashomon. Still, I could only decipher Attack of the Clones when I took notes on the damn thing. Maybe I’m not as smart as I think I am. Maybe I’m an idiot. Or maybe we’re all confused because the plot, though present, is muddled and difficult to see.

The plot of the second film is not as simple as dowingba makes it out to be. It can be summarized thusly: for whatever reason (we’re never really sure), a group of star systems has begun to break away from the Republic. These “Separatists” are led by Count Dooku, is secretly Lord Tyranus, a dark lord of the Sith, and partner with Darth Sidious (aka the Chancellor). Tyranus has been employing Jango Fett to create an army of clones. This army, in development for ten years (since the end of episode one), is destined to be used by the Republic to fight the Separatists. (But wait! didn’t I just say Dooku led the Separatists? I did indeed.) The Separatists basically comprise various financial interests, groups with names like the Trade Federation, the Banking Guild, the Commerce Alliance, etc. Dooku — and, apparently, Jango — are helping them construct an army of battle droids. They’ve also begun to develop the battle station that we know will become the Death Star. Dooku/Tyranus is doing all this work behind the scenes while Sidious/Palpatine is manipulating the Senate and the Jedi council.

So, you see, a plot is present, it’s just rather complicated. Certainly more complicated than any of the other films in the series. Basically, Dooku/Tyranus and Sidious/Palpatine are leading the galaxy into Civil War for their own nefarious purposes.

I’m still not persuaded that the stories of the first two films (and what I know of the third) do a good job of setting up the original trilogy. In fact, they do a rather poor job. Yes they connect the dots, but they do it in a very clumsy way. They try to hard. They take the feeling of magic out of it for me.

Moving on: Dave, I’m well aware the original series has warts. Most of Return of the Jedi is one big wart. However, the problems with the first three films are smaller, to me. Also, I’m apt to be much more forgiving of these because I grew up with them. I love Buckaroo Banzai despite the fact it’s a bad film for this very reeason.

I think Dave has an interesting point regarding the clean/gritty dichotomy based on the descent into Empire.

Rich, I was actually going to mention the whole bit about Lucas negotiating for the marketing rights for the first film. I had it typed out under the marketing subhead, but then I edited it out for some reason. I should have left it in! 🙂

There you have it: Dowingba makes some good points, though I don’t agree with all of them. (Par for the course!)

Favorite part of Phantom Menace: uh, I’m thinking here — oh yeah! the pod race!

Least favorite: Jar Jar Fucking Binks

Favorite part of Attack of the Clones: Ken-obi dives through Amidala’s window, catching the assassin droid thing

Least favorite: the painful, painful, painful love scenes (followed closely by Yoda with a lightsaber)

On 01 May 2005 (08:29 PM),
Paul said:

The 5/1/05 article about Star Wars.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/01/weekinreview/01fount.html?

On 02 May 2005 (08:44 PM),
Nendae said:

You rock. Star Wars is the WORST movie ever, i am glad you know that it sucks. And the only use for a Lightsaber is as Christmas lighting. Darth Vader has Asthma. Yoda is a green prune with a speech problem. Luke is a loser. Leia gets her hair done at “Cinnabon.” George Lucas is an idiotic moron. The answer to every question in star wars is the Force.
Why did that happen?
the Force
How did it happen?
the Force
Why does star wars suck?
the Force

On 03 May 2005 (11:19 AM),
Keith said:

Years ago I read a book called True Believer. This book is about how someone can put forth a dogma, a set of beliefs and then preach them to people in such a way as to totally suspend their ability to analyzethe truth. In other words, you tell the people a lie, and they believe it, and follow the teachings that accompany the lie. This is a simplified explanation, but it covers mass movements like Nazism and Communism and anti-Starwarsism.

Are the movies perfect? No, none of them are. There is poor acting in all 5. There are numerous mistakes in all 5. One complaint I’ve seen over and over is that the starships are clean…well if thats a flaw in the first 2 movies how about in episode 5 where the Falcon flies from Hoth to Bespin…without using the hyperdrive. How many thousands of years should that have taken?

And the complaint about how the story has shifted from people on the side to people in the center is silly. Obi Wan was a General who came to fame in the Clone Wars. Of course he was going to be a character in the center, and anyone involved with him would be too. Princess Leia was a Princess and a Senator…she was not an accidental heroine by any means.

I feel the poster has fallen into the True Believer school of thought that the SW movies suck. Are they perfect? No. Do they entertain? I think so. Lucas changed moviemaking, and continues to do things no other filmmaker does.

I could go on to comment on the other points the initial poster attacks the movies on. I think in the end it would be an attack on the intelligence of the poster…If he can’t even comprehend the subtle story Lucas is weaving or enjoy the storytelling, then I doubt any criticism of mine will sway him. If he hates Star Wars so much, I suggest not seeing Episode 3, and never doing anything at all related to the 6 works.

On 05 May 2005 (07:35 AM),
A.R.Yngve said:

All you diehard fans who feel a need to “defend” STAR WARS against criticism, please bear this in mind:

1. Lucasfilm Corp. has not paid you one red cent to do this costly PR work.

2. Lucasfilm Corp. does not owe you anything.

3. You do NOT own the STAR WARS franchise. Lucasfilm Corp. does.

4. Lucasfilm Corp. is owned by George Lucas, not by you.

5. George Lucas does not owe you anything.

6. You do not owe George Lucas anything.

Now, my opinion on the prequel films… I’ve worked many years in the IT industry and seen a LOT of computer graphics.

Computer graphics in film should NEVER DRAW ATTENTION to itself.

Because when it does, it ruins the experience. You simply stop caring, when you’re constantly reminded that you’re not watching physical objects.

CGI works best with subtle effects and enhancements – such as editing or background detail – or water and cloud effects which require lots of small, anonymous particles.

The ONE acting CGI character I’ve seen who really worked in a movie, was Andy Serkis’ Gollum in THE LORD OF THE RINGS. (Maybe Peter Jackson knows something about CGI that George Lucas doesn’t.)

And yeah, the plots of the prequel are convoluted and boring. I don’t need the prequels. I have the original trilogy, and that’s fine with me.

And as for the Ewoks… I LIKE the Ewoks! I think there are a lot of people who like the Ewoks, but are scared to admit it… because they think this “emasculates” them.

-A.R.Yngve
http://yngve.bravehost.com

On 07 May 2005 (09:35 PM),
Darth Joe said:

I read the article, and found that I agreed 100% 🙁 🙁 🙁
The prequels…..well….Sucked. “From a certain point of view.” OK, they weren’t good stories, but I like seeing how Anakin became my hero. I believe that is the 1 saving grace….the 1 thing everyone wants to see….unless George screws that up too….
I can forgive him IF he apologizez to the public for these blunders and uses the profits to correct the mistakes….basically rewrite the series. But after reading parts of the script for Revenge of the Sith, I think the Force has left him, and the midi-chlorians are cutting off circulation. Characters need to be rethought for who they are…scenes need to be reshot to make sense…Yoda needs to continue to have Intelligent, Wise things to say, not just Yoda-ish. Everyone remembers “Try not; do or do not; there is no try” How many people are going to quote “Around the survivors a parameter create”??
The Jedi and the Sith BOTH need to be mysterious… that is the way of things; the way of the force.
Mabe the Midi-Chlorians can be a RESULT of access to the force, as if they depend on it for survival rather than the source of the force.
Mabe someone should create Star Wars X.
But then, mabe we should let a terminal dog die.

On 08 May 2005 (07:48 PM),
John C. Welch said:

If they wanted to keep Luke hidden, they should have changed his name to match Owen and Beru’s last name…Lars

But they did the aunt & uncle thing, so that was at least sensible.

The problem is, Lucas backed his ass into a corner with 4-6, and he’s just not good enough to handle it without being lame.

there is one essential store arc in the first 6 films…Vader’s. If the films succeed or fail it’s on the strength of that. 4-6 created a damned good villain. I mean, he tortures Han in “Empire” because he CAN. Probably because he’s trying to sucker Luke to the city.

When Vader picks up the head of Threepio, there’s a long pause there that’s never explained until the first movie. That was great.

The 4-6 Vader/Anakin was Miltonian. The 1-3 Anakin/Vader is Spearsian. There’s just nothing in 1-3 that makes you give a rat’s ass about Anakin. He’s a whiner. Hell, when I read the book where Obi-Wan finally accepts that his former student’s a jackass, he just lays the beatdown on him, and I was almost cheering.

Then in the same book, when Palpatine finds him, you realize that Vader’s a Jedi Loser because he’s got no skin. What the hell? The Force comes from your soul, but you need hands? GAHHHHHHH!!!! WHY IS THAT EVEN IN THERE? When the force goes from “The thing that binds the universe” to “A side effect of bad water, and it’s not for crips” then it goes from cool to sucks.

But at the same time, i was crying over what Lucas had done to vader. He’s small now. He’s not the embodiment of tragedy and evil. He’s just a jock who Peaked in a pod race. I was crying because never again would I be able to watch 4-6 and be as impressed by Vader. that scene in 4, early on where he’s pointing his finger at Leia? I’ll always hear, “DON’T YOU SASS YOUR FATHER LITTLE GOIL”. When he tells Luke in 6 “Now his failure is complete” I’ll be hearing “1 PWN3D K3N0B1!!!”

Lucas took Vader and made him into less that what he was, and for that, I’ll never forgive him. I haven’t paid to see a star wars movie since “Jedi” was in the theatres. I have the original series on tape. I imagine I’ll dump it to DVD. It’s wonderful, warts and all.

The new series? It’s like everything else created for the sake of technology…dead by the time you get it.

john

On 17 May 2005 (08:52 PM),
[CLONE] 1147 said:

I agree with you completely about what you had said about recapturing that original feel that isn’t a product of whoring the CGI. I thought a movie version of Jedi Outcast would be wonderful if it stayed as true to the game as it did to the star wars universe. If you haven’t played the KOTORS yet, we highly recommend them. Didn’t think I’d like them since I was never really into star wars or RPGs, but if you have already played through them you’d know what I mean.

On 20 May 2005 (12:12 PM),
Davey said:

One small point that no-one seems to have picked up on about Luke’s adoption.

Luke was living with his (step) Uncle Owen (Lars) in his Granny’s(/step-Grandpa’s) house.

Uncle Owen features in EpII as the son of the guy who maries Anakin’s mum (dunno his name – was in a wheelchair… . ..without any wheels, so just a chair really).

So Anakin actually meets the guy who ends up looking after his son whilst looking for/finding his missing mother and then burries her body outside the house where Luke will spend his youth.

All in all, not the best hiding place. Probably a good job Vader was off killing some Jedi, then some rebels throttling English blokes in Nazi uniforms and blowing up some stuff (you know, planets and that).

Also I’m not even sure (from memory) how/when Vader figures out he has a son. The name’d probably twig it for him if he heard there was a Skywalker out there causing a bit of a stink for the empire. (I’m pretty sure it is in the original films but I’d appreciate a reminder!)

Cheers.
Davey.

On 20 May 2005 (12:15 PM),
Davey said:

One small point that no-one seems to have picked up on about Luke’s adoption.

Luke was living with his (step) Uncle Owen (Lars) in his Granny’s(/step-Grandpa’s) house.

Uncle Owen features in EpII as the son of the guy who maries Anakin’s mum (dunno his name – was in a wheelchair… . ..without any wheels, so just a chair really).

So Anakin actually meets the guy who ends up looking after his son whilst looking for/finding his missing mother and then burries her body outside the house where Luke will spend his youth.

All in all, not the best hiding place. Probably a good job Vader was off killing some Jedi, then some rebels throttling English blokes in Nazi uniforms and blowing up some stuff (you know, planets and that).

Also I’m not even sure (from memory) how/when Vader figures out he has a son. The name’d probably twig it for him if he heard there was a Skywalker out there causing a bit of a stink for the empire. (I’m pretty sure it is in the original films but I’d appreciate a reminder!)

Cheers.
Davey.

On 20 May 2005 (12:53 PM),
Davey said:

D’Oh! Sorry for the double post, the page froze during submission.

I agree about the feel of Jedi Outcast.
It was the a game in a series that went all the way back to Dark Forces, then Jedi Knight, Jedi Outcast and then Jedi Academy.

Dark Forces was great! All the levels were well designed, it played well, it definately had the original Star Wars feel (minus the Lightsabers – more Rebel Aliance than Jedi Council), though the graphics are v.dated, but not without a good deal of atmosphere.
At the time the story seemed a bit detached from the Films by the end. Not to give too much away in case anyone likes retro-gaming, it seems pretty well tied in now, with the fighting droidy stuff in the prequels and the Fett’s depply rooted Imperial connections.

Jedi Knight again had great levels, more weapons, Lightsabers, great (though pretty dumb) enemies and the force. there was a pre-destiny theme which was ffamiliar from the films. Jedi Outcast brought better gameplay letting you control the Lightsabre, properly – (like “Severence”(only RPG game I could ever get into) but better), though the level design fell down a bit for me. The last one was pretty similar to Outcast though.

Anyway, relevance?
I rekon these games held true to the feel of the original films – far more so than EpI/II though I’m holding out hope that EpIII will fulfill its purpose – stepping the void.

On 20 May 2005 (08:43 PM),
Sai said:

You know I think you’ve made some really great points. I may have been introduced to Star Wars via VHS tapes by my parents, seeing I was only born the year Return of the Jedi came out, but I still had sense enough to know the new Star Wars feels nothing like the old Star Wars. So far all I’ve been able to describe it as is “it doesn’t have the same ambience”.

But what you’ve said makes alot of sense. How this vast galaxy seems a whole heck of alot smaller in the new Star Wars. How everyone is suddenly so important. I didn’t really relate to the characters in the new movies, I can barely remember most of their names. I can remember who Luke is. Who Obi-wan is. Who Yoda is. Who Leia and Han and Lando and Jabba the Hut are. But it took me a while to even connect the fact that Queen Amidala’s name is Padme. Maybe I was just too distracted by the poor acting, poor plot contruct and Unnesessary CGI, but I could barely follow episodes 1 and 2 at all. As for 3, I think I’ll wait to rent it at Blockbuster some rainy day.

And really, I don’t like to knock CGI that much, I’ve come to appreciate what computers can do for art and film over the years, but I have noticed far too much emphasis/reliance on them. There does seem to be far too much of an air of “hey look it this!” and “check out our nifty graphics!” and “look how we can make this alien blink almost realistically!” in the new films. It’s really annoying. And having grown up with the rapid development of video games and even Dinsey integrating computers into films this stuff tends to wear on me pretty quickly.

Though I have to admit when I was younger and the Star Wars Special Edition came to thearters it left me giddy. But even then a few extra aliens in a scene didn’t change the plot.

Unfortuneately, the prequels COULD have been really great. They really could have been a Star Wars for a new generation, for my generation, but apparently George Lucas has grossly understimated what appeals to my generation in an almost insulting manner.

On 20 May 2005 (08:45 PM),
J.D. said:

I should note that I just saw Revenge of the Sith. I didn’t hate it nearly as much as I hated the first two prequels. In fact, I kind of liked it. My thoughts are here.

On 22 May 2005 (07:49 PM),
D said:

Just saw Episode III. Truthfully, it’s the biggest sci-fi disaster since Episode II. A real eye-sore, it hardly classifies as a “movie” in my book. Lucas has no story to tell–only poorly concieved computer effects to play with in his Imperial Light & Magic studio.

George Lucas should be grounded from his computer.

On 23 May 2005 (05:00 PM),
TBRWolf70 said:

I have to say I agree with all of the postings on this site….although I have some disagreements with some of the things said. I seen 3 on opening night and I have to say Lucas messed up again. I don’t know exactly what George was thinking when he made these (last or first depends on how you look at it), 3 films. Episode 3 was filled with a lot of non direction. The film seemed to me to be jumping around a lot. I read the book before the movie came out and there is a lot in the book that is not brought out in the movie. The only quality that even remotely saves this film is the fact that they somewhat show the conversion of Darth Vader. I do believe that the movie went way to fast with anakins conversion to vader and that it didn’t really say why he so easily converted. The CGI in this film was way to much and almost ruined the film. I have been a star wars fan from the begining and loved the first three. I lived star wars as a child and now that these last three came out I am almost shamed to be called a star wars fan. I don’t know what made lucas think that humor had a place in the films but I think that was a BIG mistake. Jar Jar totally ruined a film for me that I had been waiting to see for years. When Lucas stated that he was waiting for computers to get to the point so that he could do with the films what he needed I didn’t know he couldn’t wait to totally destroy the flavor and style of the films the way he did. I could continue to rant about this for hours but I will spare you unlike lucas did to us. I think lucas fell out of love with the movies or just got tired of making them and just wanted to get the story told so that his fans would leave him alone. At least this is how I feel. There is a rumor that Lucas’ son is going to do 7-9, I hope this is true and I hope he goes back to the original style of the movies and does not ruin them like his father did.

Thank you for your time,
TBRWolf70

On 25 May 2005 (09:38 PM),
Cepo said:

if we just pretend they’re a whole different set of movies, then perhaps after George Lucas is dead someone will remake the prequels. 😛

On 25 May 2005 (09:55 PM),
D said:

I’d love to see special editions of all three prequels that introduce real characters on real sets delivering real dialogue with lucid action scenes and coherent plotlines.

On 26 May 2005 (09:13 AM),
DAKMOR said:

Firts,I must point out that I did not read any books,scripts,or commentaries on any of the Star Wars films. Second,I must say that I enjoyed them,although most of this stuff you guys are saying does change it a lot. Third, I do beleive that Lucas never really understood what he was writing. I bet that if he could redo the “original” series,he’s would have two actors in the whole thing. The guy playing Luke,and the guy playing Obi-wan. The rest,CGI.

Lucas’ idea of Star Wars and ours are too very different things. Think,LOTR and and old robin hood movie. Lucas is LOTR,and ours is robin hood. that big of a difference.

His marketing license is really what made him keep making the dang movies. Without absolute millions coming in from toys,this fat cat(not from washignton hough) is just out to get money!

On 27 May 2005 (07:18 AM),
Shinzon said:

I agree with this great article. I loved Episode III BUT I cant love it entirely like the first one (episode IV). I fell asleep in episodes I and II because they were too long, but I liked it cause it had all of those space ship and army fights.

But yes, there is soemthing akward in the prequels. I had no problem with Luke working his way to becoem a Jedi. But in Anakins case, I just didint buy it, it was too aristocratic, I mean after all Anakin is the center of the galaxy in the prequles, that would fit with george Lucas becoming a multimillonaire praised and worshiped, probably went to his head and reflected it. I just didnt buy the whol “anakin is the god of the galaxy” thing, its unreal and imposible, life never works that way to such an extreme. Trule Lucas head is too big so he reflected it on Anakin.

A New Hope is better.

On 10 June 2005 (10:41 PM),
Clayton said:

Wonderful article on all levels. I’m only writing to say ‘Eureka’ in regards to your comments on the relationship of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon to Star Wars. I have never met anyone else who thought the same and here you are expounding upon what i’ve always thought as well! The only thing I can recommend to someone so apparently in the know is that you read Milton’s Paradise Lost for the true story of Vader that LucAss never told us becuase he has been so busy wacking off with CGI (And since he is just merely a hack in the first place)

Peace.

On 14 June 2005 (09:10 AM),
Jack Sargent said:

In short, Episode II is a terrible movie. The acting, special effects and dialogue are not only poor, but un-engaging. The action sequences are tedious and un-involving, and the love scenes are laughable. This film has no redeeming features. It is worse than Episode I!
The worst scene has to be the one in the droid factory (it looks and feels like something from a video game).
George Lucas and Jonathan Hales’ screenplay for this film is appalling too.

On 19 June 2005 (06:57 PM),
I want George Lucas’ head on a platter said:

While I agree with most everything said on this site, I feel that most people missed a really important complaint and it is one of the reasons I really feel ripped off by the first trilogy. For one, in a universe that’s so vast and interesting, there is wayyyyy to much coincidence going on. It’s like the whole story is based on a few influential families. Such coincidences not only make the universe seem immeasurably small, but also takes the great library of Star Wars literature and throws it in the garbage. This brings me to my second point. While George Lucas may not owe his fans anything, he certainly owes the people that worked hard explaining the technology and filling the plot-holes in the original series. One small example of this is the astromech droid Obi-Wan has for his ship in EpisodeII. He refers to the droid as ‘R4’, which isn’t that big of a deal until you go and buy the book on droids which explains that the first part of an astromech’s serial isn’t different for every astromech (like people’s first names) but explains the type of model the astromech is i.e. there are several thousands of R2’s but only one that’s called R2-D2. According to the book (which George recieved a paycheck for) the R4 model is one of the newer models that does look similar to an R2 unit, but has a clear dome. Some people may think this nitt-picky, but since George Lucas did recieve a paycheck for that book, he could at least crack a copy open before he took his big dump on the universe that so many other more talented authors were able to keep to a timeline that takes everyone’s work into consideration and builds off a world that has become so much more diverse than anything George Lucas could have done himself.

Sorry, got a little long-winded there. The real reason I even posted here is this question: On the May 8th post of John C. Welsh posted that there is a scene in one of the movies (he doesn’t say which) where Vader picks up threepio’s head and there is a long pause or some such. Could anyone tell me in what version of what movie this scene is in? I’ve seen all the movies multiple times and I can never even remember Vader sharing a scene with either of the droids. And one more point, just because they never shared a scene doesn’t give the excuse for having them in episodes 1-3 (just one of those huge galactic coincidences that helps ruin episodes one-three).

On 19 June 2005 (06:58 PM),
I want George Lucas’ head on a platter said:

While I agree with most everything said on this site, I feel that most people missed a really important complaint and it is one of the reasons I really feel ripped off by the first trilogy. For one, in a universe that’s so vast and interesting, there is wayyyyy to much coincidence going on. It’s like the whole story is based on a few influential families. Such coincidences not only make the universe seem immeasurably small, but also takes the great library of Star Wars literature and throws it in the garbage. This brings me to my second point. While George Lucas may not owe his fans anything, he certainly owes the people that worked hard explaining the technology and filling the plot-holes in the original series. One small example of this is the astromech droid Obi-Wan has for his ship in EpisodeII. He refers to the droid as ‘R4’, which isn’t that big of a deal until you go and buy the book on droids which explains that the first part of an astromech’s serial isn’t different for every astromech (like people’s first names) but explains the type of model the astromech is i.e. there are several thousands of R2’s but only one that’s called R2-D2. According to the book (which George recieved a paycheck for) the R4 model is one of the newer models that does look similar to an R2 unit, but has a clear dome. Some people may think this nitt-picky, but since George Lucas did recieve a paycheck for that book, he could at least crack a copy open before he took his big dump on the universe that so many other more talented authors were able to keep to a timeline that takes everyone’s work into consideration and builds off a world that has become so much more diverse than anything George Lucas could have done himself.

Sorry, got a little long-winded there. The real reason I even posted here is this question: On the May 8th post of John C. Welsh posted that there is a scene in one of the movies (he doesn’t say which) where Vader picks up threepio’s head and there is a long pause or some such. Could anyone tell me in what version of what movie this scene is in? I’ve seen all the movies multiple times and I can never even remember Vader sharing a scene with either of the droids. And one more point, just because they never shared a scene doesn’t give the excuse for having them in episodes 1-3 (just one of those huge galactic coincidences that helps ruin episodes one-three).

On 20 June 2005 (06:22 AM),
dowingba said:

“I want George Lucas’ head on a platter”,

In Episode 4, Luke and his uncle buy a weird looking red astromech droid that looks nothing like R2-D2 from the jawas, but soon afterwards it malfunctions and smoke begins emitting from it. “Uncle Owen, this R2 unit has a bad motivator!” says Luke.

On 25 June 2005 (10:11 PM),
Jeff said:

New Jedi Order, New Jedi Order, New Jedi Order, New Jedi Order!

In case you’re wondering what I’m ranting about … it’s the 13-or-so book series that ended a couple years ago that truly reminded me how much I love the Star Wars saga. Yes, the prequels have been a dissapointment … which is why I have immersed myself in the Expanded Universe and all but ignored everything before “A New Hope”. Yes, I’m a huge Star Wars fan and definitly a Star Wars geek … but the books really are where it’s at now.

On 01 July 2005 (11:43 AM),
jd said:

you must be the most stupidest peices of s**t on the planet, how can you not like star wars are you lot stupid.

On 08 August 2005 (04:01 AM),
Chris Laughlin said:

Thank you so much! This is a fantastic analysis of why the new Star Wars movies suck so badly that they make baby Jesus cry. Damnit I hate these new movies!

Chris

On 14 August 2005 (12:42 AM),
Stinky said:

“I’d rather have the hocus-pocus religion, and so would you.”

-good one

On 24 August 2005 (08:41 PM),
JT said:

Thank you so much. I thought I was the only one to think this movie series was suckville.

On 28 August 2005 (09:42 PM),
alien said:

Phantom menace, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith� ALL SUCK. Not because they have �Computer Graphics� or that their �New�. No,� simply because they SUCK AS FILMS! They suck because Lucas could not sell them as workable ideas 30 years ago and as a consequence started the series at EPISODE 4. I mean why would you start at episode 4 why? What�s the logic? Yes the prequels have a story on which they are based but what most people fail to observe is that the films lack the most obvious thing that all good movies have. DRAMA! How do you support a film that is carelessly littered with inane details and has absolutely no emotional draw to the characters?

But don�t blame Lucas I�m sure he wanted to make the prequels into epic films but what has happened is that industry is not the same anymore. The talent pool around him is not the same either. The Seventies and Eighties had incredible designers like Syd Mead who did the set and vehicle designs for the early films and Blade Runner. Now you basiclly have groups of CG jocks that incestuously copy each other and compete for recognition among the studios.

What�s also sad is that when you become rich and powerful and the people that work for you are dying for your approval it does not foster a healthy environment for creativity or new ideas. I think Lucas should never have revisited his old ideas because they were just not good enough to make the cut. I suppose when you are close to being a Billionaire and the public looks at you with envy or as a living god then this must encourage you to believe that even the ideas that you abandoned 30 years ago were secret gems yet to be discovered.

People should recognize that many incredibly talented people collaborated with Lucas to make Star Wars what it became. If you read Star Wars as just a script�. God almighty�. that could have easily become an incredibly bad seventies Sci-fi flick. Yet that�s not happened, Star Wars became the most significant SCI-FI film of the Twentieth Century! HELLO!!! Does this register with those arguing about Astromech droids! Can you grasp the magnitude of what Star Wars was and what it has now become? Probably not�Honestly if you were not alive to see Star Wars during the 70�s and 80�s you just don�t get it and you never will understand the magic of that time. I grew up on a farm and as a kid when I saw that Star Destroyer rumble overhead I sat with my mouth gaping wide in disbelief�.As �JD� so poetically pointed out�.. It was truly a time of wonder.

So let�s talk about supposedly hating the �New� and hating CG? . . What�s that about? As an original Stat Wars fan I resent this remark because it is a sweeping generalization and a polite way to call someone �old�� Yet the question in my mind is why prequel fans love these movies when they appear to be so heavily vested towards children and not adults? Honestly it�s a real drag for anyone with any taste or capacity for good film to sit through these so called movies.

To be blunt, many Star Wars fans would have slept outside theatres just to see any film related to the Star Wars Legend. Really, . . . I mean it. Lucas could have taken a shit on a plate, pointed a camera at it and released it as “The Phantom Menace” and maybe some people would have gone to see it twice. So my question is? If you are George Lucas and you can do anything…..I mean anything….Money is not an issue, selling the movie is not an issue and getting creative talent to work with you is not an issue ….Then why not make a film for Adults? Why not keep the aura of the original films and do something innovative and epic�If the Star Wars movies were better films they would have easily overtaken the success of Titanic in earnings?

I think most original Star Wars Fans have remained SCI-FI fans and I personally loved A.I., Minority Report, and The Incredibles. How much more CG do you want me to like? The Incredibles was all CG but it had effects and characters that were highly memorable. As for ep1, ep2 and ep3 � No one will remember these effects because they sucked at delivering an idea and that�s because the prequels have no tangible feeling or idea to deliver� �NOTHING�� just a list of detailed inane Star Wars babble. The original Star Wars films always blew us away when we saw the effects! To this day, I still get goose bumps when I watch the rebel soldier look through his binoculars to see those gigantic Imperial Walkers lumbering towards them on the ice planet Hoth. This �effects shot� created drama, because you felt sympathy for those poor souls who faced certain death defending themselves against such terrible machines of war.

Nobody wants to watch a two hour Star Wars trivial pursuit with convoluted land battles between CG cartoon characters? Didn�t Lucas see Braveheart? . . . What if the battles in that film were hundreds of instances of 3D Scotsmen fighting the 3d English army, all with a predictable randomness? How boring would that be?

How about the �New�? When I saw the Lord of the Rings in the theatre that scene with the Balrog blew me away! What an incredible effect, the flames, the textures, the heat distorting the air as it roared and lastly the haunting chants and music of the Balrog. That is cinema, that is genius and sadly it did not come from the Skywalker Ranch and for my friend that loves the appendices of books don�t confuse Tolkien with Lucas they are not equals� not even close.

I think many Star Wars fans are living in denial. Most of them can�t admit that the prequels failed at the most basic level as films and what�s even worse is that these films denigrated the original Star Wars Myth. They can�t come to terms with this simply because �this is it��like it or not there will be no alternative to this cinematic suck fest in triplicate.
Yet I think the future holds even darker things for Star Wars fans�As Hollywood has been consistently reinventing old movies because they just can�t take a chance on any new ideas. Soon the time will come when they recreate episodes 4, 5 and 6 to match the crappiness of the prequels.

Maybe they will get Vin Diesal to play Han Solo? God Help us……

On 06 September 2005 (10:35 AM),
Devil’s Advocate said:

On 19 June 2005 (06:58 PM), I want George Lucas’ head on a platter said:

“It’s like the whole story is based on a few influential families.”

Ever heard of the Kennedys? Or the Bushs?

On 01 October 2005 (07:35 PM),
Jake said:

i completely disagree with you 🙁

Updated: 29 April 2005

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