Star Wars… sigh…

Okay, so the new Star Wars movie is out… and I’m sick of hearing about it. It’s headline news on the BBC! What’s with that? It’s a film. The public broadcasting network of the UK is hyping a film for Disney! Gah!

So, I have this love/hate relationship with Star Wars. I was twelve when the first movie was released (which is called Star Wars, not Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, just for the record). It blew me away. I read the novelisation, I collected models and figures, and I stood in the huge line outside my local cinema (with my long-suffering mother) to see it. We scraped in: they had to close the doors as the theatre was full and we were about the last people in. I had never had to stand in a queue to get into a cinema before. I won’t say that my love of sci-fi came from Star Wars, because I had to go see it because I was already into the genre and this was really the only genre movie there was. It did start the modern Hollywood love affair with effects movies (I won’t say sci-fi, because there’s relatively little of that made these days).

But… The Empire Strikes Back was cool, but far too much of a middle movie. Return of the Jedi was overly repetitive, and while I didn’t hate the Ewoks I was starting to get irritated with the commercialism. I have never sat through all of the “first three episodes.” I just wasn’t interested, and I refused to give George Lucas any more of my money since he didn’t seem to care about anything else and he was trashing my childhood.

On top of that, my tastes changed. Star Wars is space opera and I was gravitating toward grittier stuff. When Alien came out I wasn’t allowed to go see it: too young, but I was in university when Aliens hit the cinemas. I saw Aliens three times in a week. (As an aside, that was fascinating. The jump-scare with the face-hugger in the tank made me jump, twice. The third time it was like I leaned forward as the entire audience went up and back around me. Surreal.) And I started seeing the flaws in my old love. The clichés started looking a bit too clichéd. I still think Star Wars stands up, even after all this time, but I don’t hold it quite as high on the list of great sci-fi movies as most fans do. I don’t even have a copy of it in my collection.

The Force Awakens is reawakening my interest. Or it was until the level of hype began to make me wish I lived on Mars (maybe Venus: it’s warm there this time of year). For one thing, it’s not Lucas. J. J. Abrams has a spotty career as far as my enjoyment of his work is concerned. I’m glad I never got into Lost. I liked Fringe until it got weird (I know that seems redundant, but it’s not). Super 8 was weak, but I’ve enjoyed the new Star Trek movies and I have high hopes that the new Star Wars may well be worth some attention. But, damn, it’s going to have to be something truly fantastic to live up to expectations.

What I hope (no, it’s not an entirely new hope) is that this is going to mark the start of a new burst of proper sci-fi films. Along with Guardians of the Galaxy (which is also a space opera and one I really enjoyed), The Force Awakens may be a sign that Hollywood is going to produce some quality sci-fi rather than relying on horror set in space and teen fantasy. If that’s the result of this… awesome!


8 responses to “Star Wars… sigh…

  1. I was always a Trekkie rather than a Star Wars fan. Never the less I lined up for the opening of Star Wars as well. And went to see it several times. I enjoyed Empire Strikes back and cringed at Return of the Jedi’s excesses even before George revised later versions. The Prequels were pretty good for me except for Phantom Menace.

    However J.J presents a problem for me. I liked Super 8 and was entertained by the 2009 Star trek but neither of the two JJ trek movies were Trek to me, regardless of the characters and spaceship. They were JJ’s interpretation of Trek. The big problem with JJ is that he is a very talented man with a talented team. But he is a Fan of the genre and just can’t help putting his stamp on each property he remakes to the detriment of it’s essence. It’s usually lost or at least diminished and becomes simply Product.

    I’ve long noticed the same thing when writers take on an existing franchise and write stories for it. Some have the ability to actually write with the “voices” of the characters in the original show and portray and even enhance their characters. Others write their stories with characters who act nothing like the originals from the show.

    • I guess it’s the difference between fan-fiction and professional. Alan Dean Foster is quite capable of writing his own stuff, and it’s pretty good (IMO) too, but he’s also responsible for some of the best novelisations of films. Joss Wheddon seems to be able to pick up other people’s characters and make them work.
      I think there’s an issue with ST in that it’s very nature is episodic exploration. It really works best on television, not cinema.

  2. Just saw Star Wars The Force Awakens yesterday (18 Dec 15) ~ every bit as good as the original 1977 Star Wars. The older characters were tough & gritty. The new characters have depth and purpose. The new villain is the definition of bad karma ~ he’s more evil than Darth Vader ever was. Consumed by hatred, he is. Forget the last 3 Star Wars films, this movie is the beginning of what they should have been.

  3. People get stupid about their passions.

    This is known. I am a rabid Star Wars fan, always have been, always will be. I own a Jedi costume and lightsaber. I read all of the books until they got too weird.

    I think that is part of the problem. MANY people seemed to think that the Expanded Universe of the books was what the movie would be, even though Disney and JJ Abrams repeatedly said it wasn’t. Those people had their theories and when the movie didn’t cater to them specifically., they went apeshit. This is a problem with fanatics of any kind, film fans are no different.

    Personally? I had 0 problems with the movie. It wasn’t perfect. Hell, ‘Empire Strikes Back’ (what is commonly called the best of the original trilogy) wasn’t perfect by a long shot! ‘A New Hope’ was nowhere NEAR perfect. It was shallow and there was little if any character development for most of the characters. Then you add new talent to old well known actors and it was horror according to many. Sound familiar?

    Yes, a lot was copied form ‘A New Hope’. Too much? Maybe.

    The phobias of some of the people watching it though… Seriously? Calling Daisy Ridley a ‘no talent hack’ because she has boobs? Calling John Boyega names because he isn’t the right COLOR? What IS this? 1960?

    Okay, it is not for everyone. ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ wasn’t for everyone.

    I enjoyed the movie. In the end, isn’t that the point? To go somewhere and be entertained? Not everyone is going to enjoy it, but I most certainly did. When I can scrape up the money again, I AM going to see it again.

    • I wasn’t aware that anyone didn’t like it. Then again, I’ve gotten to the point where I am actively avoiding anything to do with it.

      Good rant there, though. Well done.

  4. Force Awakens was definitely a much better Star Wars movie than the prequels. Actually saw it twice (first movie in more than a decade I’ve done that in theaters) because the first time was with a bunch of friends on super-crowded opening night and I wanted a less enthusiastic crowd so I could really watch the movie. I think the best part was that it FELT like a Star Wars movie again. Honestly though I find the idea that there will finally be spin-off movies in the SWU more exciting than the 7,8,9 progression (please, God, don’t let them fuck up Rogue One). Unfortunately,we’ve got a bit of a wait for any of that ^_^

  5. Ironically I thought it felt far less like a Star Wars movie than the prequels! It’s obviously a better movie in basically all respects except for the part where it was supposed to be set in the SW universe. I mean, obviously I’m a fan of SW so it colors my perceptions, but then again, they’re using the SW name, they billed it as a new SW movie and it wasn’t really, it was a SW reboot, which isn’t intrinsically awful but not what I (and I suspect a lot of other fans) wanted. I personally wanted a sequel to the original trilogy, or failing that, at least a movie that thought about what would have happened afterwards.

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