STAR WARS

Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
UPDATE: Some interesting alternate visions of Episode VI that never happened:

 http://www.filmthreat.com/interviews/8/  

and later:

  http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/12/entertainment/la-et-gary-kurtz-20100812

Not sure I want to talk too much about it, but since I've been into the first three films my whole conscious life, from the time when the whole thing started, I've been stacking up a whole host of opinions on the subject from the very beginning.  Rather than type it large and write down every little detail, I'll lay out the basics of how I feel.

(I) The Extended Universe was initially interesting when it first started, "oh, before you were born," but I grew tired of it quickly. This was in the drought between Jedi and the Special Editions, and it was a welcome relief for my pent up Star Wars imagination to see the Zahn novels, and the continuous line of games. Dark Forces (the first one) and TIE Fighter were heavily played and much appreciated. But after a while, I began to realize that the interpretation of the movies' universe didn't extend very far outside the boundaries of what we'd already seen. Same characters, or same archetypes at least, over and over. Bounty hunters this, scoundrels that, Jedi Jedi Jedi. 

(II) Jedi were cool because they were rare and mysterious, and light saber battles were a culmination of rivalries between old space samurai, but then they became ubiquitous. The years go on, and the Jedi multiply like bunny rabbits. If you look at the franchise as starting with A New Hope, and look at it in real-life chronology, there are more light sabers than blades of grass, and they're all cut from the same crystal. If there are any other orders than dark or light, they're woefully underused and desperately needed. The Sith are uninteresting to me, because they're either there to fulfill a distasteful bad-boy fantasy (they don't even try to play the gray area angles, so I sort of ignore them) or they're there as unambiguously boring evil things to eat. And don't get me started on the Jedi Order. The movies, even, got into some subtleties that a lot of the Extended Universe doesn't bother with, which is sort of disturbing. More Distended Universe, really.

(III) When the special editions came out, I thought they were a promotional gimmick, there to revitalize the franchise and rekindle old flames (I didn't know the older versions would be discontinued). New toys came along for the ride, and I remember a contemporary in her 20's buying up a lot of the limited edition space ships in the lead-up to the films. The films themselves had some cool scenes, some really weird ones, ruined jokes, and some very pointless changes. In the end, I liked a lot of the fluff in A New Hope but came to resent some of the slap-dash add-ons and swarm of robots and CGI that added nothing except to make a little backwater burg look like the center of the universe, so much so that I found myself a bit bored by the time they were talking about rescuing the princess. Empire Strikes Back was largely un-messed with, but just about everything they did change just made it feel inferior to the original, even though I was super happy to see all the new, if over-used, Bespin graphics.  I LIKED a lot of the changes to Return of the Jedi, but that was because I wasn't a big fan of Jedi, so anything that maintained my interest helped, and I thought the ending montage was nice.


I don't hide that the prequels disappointed me, and no, I don't believe it was inevitable I would be disappointed. I had hints of that old feeling in the clone labs of Kamino, and in parts of Revenge of the Sith, but too much wasn't working.  I've seen enough re-edits to know something else was going on with the prequels.  I later played KOTOR 2, and felt that bloated feeling again; KOTOR 1 later reminded me that there, at the edges, were still new treasures to be found, but they were too few and far between.

Now we get a perpetual industry of Star Wars spinoffs, and a promised live action show (which, despite any cynicism you might perceive in this post, I'm interested in seeing just to see it). The Old Republic looms on the horizon, and I can't help but imagine playing it, for a little while at least. New generations learn about Star Wars, and I've heard they like it. I'd be interested in trading impressions some day with people who saw Episode I first, and I don't really consider any group superior or inferior to another, even though I'm happy with how my own experiences played out.


(IV) To me, the magic of Star Wars lay in what was only hinted at. There was only one cantina, and it was full of monsters with strange stories to tell, which we would fill in with our imaginations. Show, don't tell, as they say (unless you're making some excellent radio drama).

(V) As the movies progressed so did the mystery, and we learned more about the Force, but were left with more questions. You got to see the characters age, and become a family, something later science fiction epics learned from, adding humanity to characters instead of subtracting, making us relate to them. So when that music swelled, it wasn't trying to play on our sympathies because John Williams is a good composer, it reflected how we felt about the characters, it enhanced what was already there.

(VI) Nothing ends well; it's one of those secrets we try to keep from ourselves for as long as we can. Star Wars has ended several times for me over the course of my life, but I'll always be grateful for the worlds it helped create in my head, and the worlds it encouraged me to make on my own.
#1 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
UPDATE: Some interesting alternate visions of Episode VI that never happened:

 http://www.filmthreat.com/interviews/8/  

and later:

  http://articles.latimes.com/2010/aug/12/entertainment/la-et-gary-kurtz-20100812

Not sure I want to talk too much about it, but since I've been into the first three films my whole conscious life, from the time when the whole thing started, I've been stacking up a whole host of opinions on the subject from the very beginning.  Rather than type it large and write down every little detail, I'll lay out the basics of how I feel.

(I) The Extended Universe was initially interesting when it first started, "oh, before you were born," but I grew tired of it quickly. This was in the drought between Jedi and the Special Editions, and it was a welcome relief for my pent up Star Wars imagination to see the Zahn novels, and the continuous line of games. Dark Forces (the first one) and TIE Fighter were heavily played and much appreciated. But after a while, I began to realize that the interpretation of the movies' universe didn't extend very far outside the boundaries of what we'd already seen. Same characters, or same archetypes at least, over and over. Bounty hunters this, scoundrels that, Jedi Jedi Jedi. 

(II) Jedi were cool because they were rare and mysterious, and light saber battles were a culmination of rivalries between old space samurai, but then they became ubiquitous. The years go on, and the Jedi multiply like bunny rabbits. If you look at the franchise as starting with A New Hope, and look at it in real-life chronology, there are more light sabers than blades of grass, and they're all cut from the same crystal. If there are any other orders than dark or light, they're woefully underused and desperately needed. The Sith are uninteresting to me, because they're either there to fulfill a distasteful bad-boy fantasy (they don't even try to play the gray area angles, so I sort of ignore them) or they're there as unambiguously boring evil things to eat. And don't get me started on the Jedi Order. The movies, even, got into some subtleties that a lot of the Extended Universe doesn't bother with, which is sort of disturbing. More Distended Universe, really.

(III) When the special editions came out, I thought they were a promotional gimmick, there to revitalize the franchise and rekindle old flames (I didn't know the older versions would be discontinued). New toys came along for the ride, and I remember a contemporary in her 20's buying up a lot of the limited edition space ships in the lead-up to the films. The films themselves had some cool scenes, some really weird ones, ruined jokes, and some very pointless changes. In the end, I liked a lot of the fluff in A New Hope but came to resent some of the slap-dash add-ons and swarm of robots and CGI that added nothing except to make a little backwater burg look like the center of the universe, so much so that I found myself a bit bored by the time they were talking about rescuing the princess. Empire Strikes Back was largely un-messed with, but just about everything they did change just made it feel inferior to the original, even though I was super happy to see all the new, if over-used, Bespin graphics.  I LIKED a lot of the changes to Return of the Jedi, but that was because I wasn't a big fan of Jedi, so anything that maintained my interest helped, and I thought the ending montage was nice.


I don't hide that the prequels disappointed me, and no, I don't believe it was inevitable I would be disappointed. I had hints of that old feeling in the clone labs of Kamino, and in parts of Revenge of the Sith, but too much wasn't working.  I've seen enough re-edits to know something else was going on with the prequels.  I later played KOTOR 2, and felt that bloated feeling again; KOTOR 1 later reminded me that there, at the edges, were still new treasures to be found, but they were too few and far between.

Now we get a perpetual industry of Star Wars spinoffs, and a promised live action show (which, despite any cynicism you might perceive in this post, I'm interested in seeing just to see it). The Old Republic looms on the horizon, and I can't help but imagine playing it, for a little while at least. New generations learn about Star Wars, and I've heard they like it. I'd be interested in trading impressions some day with people who saw Episode I first, and I don't really consider any group superior or inferior to another, even though I'm happy with how my own experiences played out.


(IV) To me, the magic of Star Wars lay in what was only hinted at. There was only one cantina, and it was full of monsters with strange stories to tell, which we would fill in with our imaginations. Show, don't tell, as they say (unless you're making some excellent radio drama).

(V) As the movies progressed so did the mystery, and we learned more about the Force, but were left with more questions. You got to see the characters age, and become a family, something later science fiction epics learned from, adding humanity to characters instead of subtracting, making us relate to them. So when that music swelled, it wasn't trying to play on our sympathies because John Williams is a good composer, it reflected how we felt about the characters, it enhanced what was already there.

(VI) Nothing ends well; it's one of those secrets we try to keep from ourselves for as long as we can. Star Wars has ended several times for me over the course of my life, but I'll always be grateful for the worlds it helped create in my head, and the worlds it encouraged me to make on my own.
#2 Posted by Yanngc33 (4496 posts) -

I wish you had spent more time on the original trilogy because let's face it, that's what we remember Star Wars as. Good blog nonetheless :) love episode 5

#3 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -

I remember seeing Star Wars at the theater when I was twelve years old. It was amazing. Episode VI was released my senior year in high school, and I felt like it was a fitting end. Almost like an end to my childhood as I would join the Navy that August.

When the prequels came around, the magic was lost on me. And being more of a Star Trek fan than Star Wars anyway, I just found them okay. But the memories of being whisked away to a far flung galaxy a long time ago will never lose their importance to me. It made me realize how small we all are in the big picture. Galaxies never to be explored and untold stories lost in a moment of space and time.

#4 Posted by rmanthorp (4045 posts) -

I liked the prequels. NOT more the the original but some of the lore it created I truly enjoyed and regret none of it. 

Haters are welcome.

Moderator
#5 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11448 posts) -

May the 4th be with you. 

#6 Edited by Brendan (8021 posts) -

I can't get behind Star Wars much anymore because it very much revolves around fanservice for the original movies.  Ben Kenobi's old guy robe was for some reason what every jedi wore for 5000 years, a few planets in a supposedly huge galaxy keep getting used over and over again  (Oo Hoth again, remember Hoth?  In the movie!?!), and the aesthetic for the galaxy seemigly hasn't change in thousands of years from KOTOR to the extended fiction.  It's been decades of getting fanboys excited for seeing the same stuff they remember from the original trilogy, and it's pretty lame.     

#7 Posted by BonOrbitz (2243 posts) -
@Rufi91 said:
" I liked the prequels. NOT more the the original but some of the lore it created I truly enjoyed and regret none of it. Haters are welcome. "
Like everyone else I was super hyped, and ultimately disappointed, in Episode I. I didn't hate it or say Lucas "raped my childhood" or anything ridiculous like that. I even enjoyed Episode II (after getting expectations in check) and loved Episode III. I admit that they aren't as good as the originals, but could those movies ever have met our expectations? I think my enjoyment comes from the nostalgia factor and feeling like a kid again with all the Star Wars hoopla that permeated the public and media. I wanted to be entertained by three movies that took me back to the Star Wars universe (whether or not their "legit" or poorly written fan-fiction like some critics like to say) and I got that.
#8 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@Brendan:  My significant other and I roll our eyes every time we see Tatooine mentioned, or Banthas.  As if all the species of a planet that's supposedly at the ass-end of nowhere has made it into common parlance. Pretty much everything felt inbred in that way after a while; rather than building on the random weird vibe you got, they just sort of turned in on themselves like an oroboros. Once in a while is fine, but it began to feel like an unending fever dream after a while.
#9 Posted by Aronman789 (2694 posts) -

I never really found Star Wars to be all that good. Sure, it was cool, and some might even say revolutionary, but its been a while since they came out and there are better things out there now, which is why I don't understand why people get so pissed that I don't like Star Wars.


Frankly, I think it would have been a whole lot more entertaining if they had focused on the politics of the story, rather than magic space knights.
#10 Posted by Brendan (8021 posts) -
@ahoodedfigure said:
" @Brendan:  My significant other and I roll our eyes every time we see Tatooine mentioned, or Banthas.  As if all the species of a planet that's supposedly at the ass-end of nowhere has made it into common parlance. Pretty much everything felt inbred in that way after a while; rather than building on the random weird vibe you got, they just sort of turned in on themselves like an oroboros. Once in a while is fine, but it began to feel like an unending fever dream after a while. "
Exactly my feeling.  For me, everything that was supposed to be part of something bigger than itself in the original movies has now been made into monuments unto themselves, and so now the original movies are cheapened by everything that has come since.  
#11 Posted by mnzy (2920 posts) -

I don't remember any Star Wars prequels. You must have that wrong.

#12 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@Yanngc33:  I was sorta suggesting that I didn't NEED to say much :) I figure if people love them, they have their own memories and there's no need for some random blogger to salute what they could already talk a lot about themselves. But man, when I was a little kid, seeing that deep space backdrop, those strange worlds, lived-in technology--  Back when I was barely able to construct sentences, the magic potential of cinema was taught to me in about two hours.

@Claude: Yeah, it was sort of needed, I think. Some people blame the original for helping to ruin the environment in Hollywood. I think there's some credence to that, since what I consider to be one of the coolest eras of cinema got overshadowed, but I'd rather have Star Wars than not, so I'm OK with any supposed damage done when that escape pod splashed into the deserts of L.A. :)

@MooseyMcMan:  I wonder if THAT'S why they made today Star Wars Day. My mind is blown :)
#13 Posted by Jothel (935 posts) -
@mnzy said:
" I don't remember any Star Wars prequels. You must have that wrong. "
#14 Edited by PenguinDust (12601 posts) -

I was in elementary school when the first movie came out so you can imagine how such a film filled a young boy's head with dreams of starships and laser battles.  My parents weren't too eager to take me to the movie, well, my father wasn't since all that "Buck Rodgers" stuff was kid stuff.  Of course, I was a kid at the time and he was more bark than bite.  We went to the theater and he enjoyed it well enough.  That Christmas I loaded up on Star Wars action figures and playsets.  I don't recall the mythical Christmas Special, but I did see the Muppets episode where Luke gargles Gershwin.  I had moved to another state before the release of Empire and was still adjusting to the new area.  I remember talking to my old friends about it on the phone.  That was probably the last conversation I had with them.  It was a little disturbing I can recall because one of them had died since I left a couple of months earlier.  Finally, Return (Revenge) of the Jedi was released the summer before I entered high school.  With that, you could say I had closed a chapter on my childhood and was moving into adulthood, tentatively.   

Before that final film in the original trilogy arrived, I remember sitting in the library of my junior high reading Alan Dean Foster Star Wars novels.  This was the precursor to what would become the Expanded universe.   I don't think it was until after high school that I bothered with reading anymore Star Wars books.  I did eventually start with the Rogue Squadron books because of my affection for Wedge Antilles.   I always like the idea that there was some other guy running through all these adventures who wasn't part of the central character group.  We he got his own series, I devoured it.  After that I read the Thrawn series and a few others.  In the mix, were a few Dark Horse comics, too. 

Like everyone, I was excited by the new of more Star Wars and was curious to see what the prequels had.  When I saw it the first time, I had very mixed feelings.  I wanted to like it but there was so much wrong with it at the same time.  At the top of the list was child actor Jake Lloyd with Jar Jar Binks right behind.  The second prequel was slightly better because the second half was mostly fighting and anytime they were fighting they weren't talking.  The final film followed some difficult changes in my life.  I had lost everything in a natural disaster the summer earlier and the woman who raised me died that spring.  On the other hand, having to make new adjustments also brought new people into my circle and that was a positive.  I talked with friend for an hour or two after the final film was over.  We were relatively pleased that the series didn't end as badly as it began.  I believe we were satisfied that it didn't completely suck.  

I've since seen the three newer movies again a couple of times and the first is almost unwatchable in its entirety.  Just as I thought in 2002, Attack of the Clones is half atrocious and half tolerable.  The films do get better over the course of their development which is a positive.  I can only see them as I saw the franchise evolve.  Mixed in there are a lot of the boyhood conversations I had with friends as we tried to imagine what the "Clone Wars" were really like and what was Yoda doing before the swamp.  Hmm, in all our postulations we never figured on midichlorians or young Darth Vader being just a douche. 

#15 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12004 posts) -

I've started to realize that I don't think Star Wars is that cool anymore. It might be me being embittered by realizing that the prequels were all kind of bad, or it might be me realizing that 90% of the expanded universe is bad (I've never read the Timothy Zahn novels, but I have a feeling I wouldn't especially want to know what kind of madness occurs within), as at some point they all go up their own ass in terms of not understanding what made Star Wars interesting and just turning it into the weirdest B grade sci fi you could think of. In the end, I blame the internet for that, more than anything else. And George Lucas, obviously.

However, as a license for Video Games, Star Wars is alright. KotOR, for whatever problems I have with it now, was a pretty amazing game for me at that period in my life. Battlefront 2 as well. Then again, my first Star Wars game was Shadows of the Empire, so maybe I shouldn't be praising it too much. There have been plenty of bad Star Wars games to compliment the good ones.

Online
#16 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@ArbitraryWater:  That stuff I mention to Brendan, that consistent regurgitation, wore me down. I still...  you know, must have been 6 years ago, when I was over at a friend of mine's house, he just randomly popped in a VHS cassette of Episode IV and I just decided "fuck it, I'll watch it." I'd already watched the thing I don't know how many times over the years, but it had been a while, so I followed through. Some parts I sorta nodded through but at the end, the Death Star battle, it still gets me involved.  After all this time, knowing the timing of everything, I still love that part like it was new.

I get hints of that wonder once in a while, but so many things merely reference it, rather than trying to make some new wonder within the Star Wars universe, so it's one of the few franchises that I used to be interested in that causes reflexive cynicism in me now.
#17 Posted by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -
@PenguinDust said:

You just said a blogful.

 " I was in elementary school when the first movie came out so you can imagine how such a film filled a young boy's head with dreams of starships and laser battles.  My parents weren't too eager to take me to the movie, well, my father wasn't since all that "Buck Rodgers" stuff was kid stuff.  Of course, I was a kid at the time and he was more bark than bite.  We went to the theater and he enjoyed it well enough.  That Christmas I loaded up on Star Wars action figures and playsets.  I don't recall the mythical Christmas Special, but I did see the Muppets episode where Luke gargles Gershwin.  I had moved to another state before the release of Empire and was still adjusting to the new area.  I remember talking to my old friends about it on the phone.  That was probably the last conversation I had with them.  It was a little disturbing I can recall because one of them had died since I left a couple of months earlier.  Finally, Return (Revenge) of the Jedi was released the summer before I entered high school.  With that, you could say I had closed a chapter on my childhood and was moving into adulthood, tentatively.  

I remember the Holiday Special. I remembered it so well in fact, that years later, when I was watching Episode IV again, I could have sworn there was an alien that poured a drink directly into his head in the Cantina scene but could never find it, and I vaguely remembered seeing what the Wookie homeworld looked like even though it sure wasn't shown in the films. Had to revisit the mostly painful Special (although I really like the cartoon) for the revelations.

Yeah, the Muppet Show guest shot was great. Watching episodes now I'm surprised they're only 30 minutes long. Time really does stretch when you're little.

I moved right before Revenge/Return, so I don't even think I saw it until it came out on VHS. It was my least favorite, but it's grown on me, especially the conflict between Luke and Darth. It was a long time coming, and I remember debating with neighborhood kids before we moved what would happen in the latest episode. To my surprise, some of the kids I talked to were right.

I guess I was lucky that I didn't really experience the death of someone I knew until years later, all I had to worry about then was the anxieties of moving and whether or not Han Solo would break free.
 

 Before that final film in the original trilogy arrived, I remember sitting in the library of my junior high reading Alan Dean Foster Star Wars novels.  This was the precursor to what would become the Expanded universe.   I don't think it was until after high school that I bothered with reading anymore Star Wars books.  I did eventually start with the Rogue Squadron books because of my affection for Wedge Antilles.   I always like the idea that there was some other guy running through all these adventures who wasn't part of the central character group.  We he got his own series, I devoured it.  After that I read the Thrawn series and a few others.  In the mix, were a few Dark Horse comics, too.

If there was any expanded universe thing that I think I might have liked, it would have been Rogue Squadron. Something about folks without special powers (at least, as far as I know). I did collect a few comics myself, but I remember actually being a bit annoyed that nothing seemed to change in 10,000 years, until I realized much later that the reason everything repeats wasn't just because they were giving Lucas some breathing room, they were also using it as an excuse to retell the Star Wars stories from scratch, as they try to do in the Old Republic games.


 Like everyone, I was excited by the new of more Star Wars and was curious to see what the prequels had.  When I saw it the first time, I had very mixed feelings.  I wanted to like it but there was so much wrong with it at the same time.  At the top of the list was child actor Jake Lloyd with Jar Jar Binks right behind.  The second prequel was slightly better because the second half was mostly fighting and anytime they were fighting they weren't talking.  The final film followed some difficult changes in my life.  I had lost everything in a natural disaster the summer earlier and the woman who raised me died that spring.  On the other hand, having to make new adjustments also brought new people into my circle and that was a positive.  I talked with friend for an hour or two after the final film was over.  We were relatively pleased that the series didn't end as badly as it began.  I believe we were satisfied that it didn't completely suck. 


My reaction to the third movie was similar. Saw it with my significant other and we both found we enjoyed it a lot more, and were moved a bit by it, even though the movie itself didn't necessarily deserve the emotions it brought out. I think we were feeling a weird closure and connection with episode IV by the end, despite all the wrong notes it played.

The Kamino scenes in Attack of the Clones I really liked, pretty much the whole Obi Wan subplot was fun for me, even though he sorta just stumbles through his investigations. Was a mystery, and had shades of the utopian menace of Cloud City.

I'm not as down on old Jake Lloyd as others. While watching I pretty much forgave the cheese because he was a little kid and didn't know any better, but Binks was another story. Hell, I even laughed a few of Binks' blunders, but all together it was just too much, too often, and it had me begging for someone more dignified.

It's rough to say it, but deaths can bring about indirect personal changes, some of them positive, as I found out much later on.

I've since seen the three newer movies again a couple of times and the first is almost unwatchable in its entirety.  Just as I thought in 2002, Attack of the Clones is half atrocious and half tolerable.  The films do get better over the course of their development which is a positive.  I can only see them as I saw the franchise evolve.  Mixed in there are a lot of the boyhood conversations I had with friends as we tried to imagine what the "Clone Wars" were really like and what was Yoda doing before the swamp.  Hmm, in all our postulations we never figured on midichlorians or young Darth Vader being just a douche.  "

Yeah, I remember those Clone Wars discussions too. The side stories left untold were so much cooler :)

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