Saturday, December 19, 2015

Star Wars: The Future Awaits

As I’ve noted before, the 1st and 2nd slots in my sci-fi fandom belongs to Doctor Who and Star Trek respectively. But I’m not above being super psyched for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The power, the promise and the potential of the original Star Wars and it’s follow up, The Empire Strikes Back, resonate with me deeply. Star Wars ramped sci-fi towards the dizzying heights of childhood dreams while at the same time being rooted in drama and character development that comes from a respect for the material. There had been science fiction movies that looked cool but were too grown up for their own good. (2001: A Space Odyssey). There had been science fiction movies that were filled with kid appeal adventure but were weighted down with poor effects and substandard acting.

Star Wars was the first science fiction movie to be for kids and adults at the same time.

Sadly the power, promise and potential of Star Wars began to fray a bit around the edges with Return of the Jedi. Basically it’s Star Wars all over again (Oh look. Another Death Star) without the joys and thrills of the first film. Yes, Jedi had something that the original film didn’t have: cute and cuddly Ewoks. But that’s hardly a rallying point for defenders of Return of the Jedi. 

All that was good about Star Wars got kicked to the curb with The Phantom Menace. There were some good things about this movie. For example, Darth Maul, he was sort of scary, right? And then there was….there was….

Sorry, I got nothing.

The Phantom Menace is about some damn thing to do with a trade agreement with Liam Neeson (fighting boredom) and Ewan McGregor (as a young Obiwan Kenobi, really trying hard to pretend he cares) as two Jedi Knights tasked with delivering a queen somewhere. Jar Jar Binks make his debut because everyone around George Lucas was too scared to tell him that Jar Jar Binks was the biggest f**king mistake ever made in movies, never mind in Star Wars, all movies. And that includes DW Griffith’s racist s**t back in the 1920s.

And at the core of this, for lack of a better word, “story” is a boy, a mere child, Li’l Anakin Skywalker who it seems was immaculately conceived. Yep, his mom was a virgin. 

Oh, and we learn of midi-chlorians which is some kind of micro bug in certain people that  allows them to control the Force, to become Jedis. It seems Li’l Anakin is just swimming in this.

George Lucas, I find your lack of plot coherence disturbing. 

Li’l Anakin, portrayed by future Where Are They Now? subject Jake Lloyd, is a precocious little boy who can  build anything he wants including C-3P0. Wait! What the f**k? How does that even line up? And R2D2 originally belong to Obiwan? How...? I mean I can't even....

Oi vey!

My mom has a cup in her bathroom she uses to hold toothbrushes. It’s a Phantom Menace cup. Every time I visit my mom, I have to face Li’l Anakin and the film that nearly destroyed Star Wars.

Except it didn’t. George had two more stories to tell and that leads us to Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. In these films, the future Darth Vader is an angry, petulant man-child portrayed by angry, petulant Hayden Christensen.

Here's the thing about prequels: you know where it's got to go. So the journey to get there better be very interesting. Stretching out the journey of Anakin Skywalker to Darth Vader over THREE over long movies was the opposite of interesting.  By the time we get to angry, petulant Anakin Skywalker falling into an angry, petulant volcano, the reaction is "it's about damn time!" The helmet and the breathing apparatus goes on and Anakin is now Darth Vader and its really hard to give a damn.  

I had no problem with a prequel to examine the origin of Darth Vader. It just didn't need to be a set of three movies set in the past. Star Wars fan wanted the franchise to move forward.

So the excitement over Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not just that it's a new Star Wars movie but a new movie that moves things towards the future. Star Wars fans are excited because they're finally getting what they always wanted.

As I post this, I have not seen the new Star Wars yet. That will be Sunday afternoon (and yes, I already have my tickets.) With the reviews being almost universally positive, I'm really looking forward to seeing this movie. I'll have more about that experience in Monday's post.

Tomorrow is a Doctor Who entry as I look at the entirety of Series 9. How do all 12 episodes rank from worst to first? I'll cover that tomorrow. 

Then its Stars Wars time again and after that some holiday themed posts as we get closer to Christmas.

Until next time, remember to be good to one another.

I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

Action Comics#1000

Shhhhhh! I'm reading Superman in Action Comics#1000!   And it.... is.... AWESOME!!!