I was reading an article yesterday about the purchase of LucasFilm Inc. by The Walt Disney Corporation. They were discussing the future of the Star Wars franchise and the possible negative/positive effects Disney might have on it. In the middle of this article, there was an argument made that Disney has been very good to both the Marvel stable of movies and the Pixar folks by adopting a very hands off approach. In the course of that argument, an aside comment was made stating that Pixar has a very impressive track record despite the obvious missteps of Cars 2 and Brave. It was stated in such a way as to imply that everyone agrees that these two movies are both lacking. What was startling about it to me is that…I like Brave. Is it the best movie I’ve ever seen? No. Is it even my favorite princess movie made in the last the few years? I would again have to say no. I much preferred Tangled and think it is more entertaining than Brave, but I still liked the movie about the Scottish redhead. And more to the point, my kids LOVED it.
Which brings me to my main point. I just hate how much mob mentality seems to rule the opinions of our society.
I mean, I had to agree with the author on Cars 2. I really tried to love that movie. For one, the original Cars is one of my favorites. Two, Pixar had not let me down ever up to that point. But as I sat in the theater with my two boys, waiting for the patented great storytelling associated with Pixar to kick in, I finally had to admit to myself that it just wasn’t going to happen. They had made a movie about Mater, and Mater just ain’t that interesting.
However, as the credits rolled, both of my boys started gushing about the movie. And to this day, they both will choose Cars 2 over the original every time. So am I right in saying that Cars 2 isn’t a good movie? Is the general consensus that Cars 2 is lousy correct? I don’t know…but I do know that Disney/Pixar scored a hit with the demographic they were shooting for in my household. A demographic, by the way, of which I am not a part.
Which finally brings me to true rant of the day. Why is the human race of the late 20th and early 21st century so obsessed with Star Wars? I mean seriously, it’s…Star Wars. Other than arguably the greatest villain ever (I would argue for Heath Ledger’s Joker, but, I can at least concede there’s an argument) these movies suck! Let me recap the negatives:
1. The smartest good guy in any of the six films is a trash can that beeps, honks and sprays oil on occasion. (Sorry Obi-Wan, this could have been you had Lucas stopped after three movies. But your mystical wisdom went to crap in the three prequels that followed. I mean seriously, your incessant hen-pecking practically created Darth Vader single-handedly.)
2. What could have been one of the truly great villianous regimes (the empire) gets completely undermined by the fact that they got beat, multiple times by this roving band of idiots. (My apologies, Chewbaca. In most instances, you do seem to have your wits about you and I hesitate to bunch you in with this group, but at no point did you finally acknowledge that none of these people could understand you. Had you done that and just left, your legacy might have been salvaged.)
3. The writing. I mean, come on. Is George Lucas just so intimidating that no one could stand up at any point and say, “Uh, George? This line you have here about…well, basically all of these lines. They sound like my third-grader wrote them.” The only thing worse than the writing is…
4. The acting. I suppose if you are given the worst lines ever to recite, your ability to do it in a believable way is probably hampered significantly. However, we learned from other movies that at least some of these actors could actually act. But if you only had these films to judge the actors on…ecchhh. The most glaring example in the first three movies is…
5. Mark Hamill. There are so many things I could say here, but let’s boil it down to one thing. When your principal protagonist is introduced initially in the manner Luke Skywalker is, (incessantly whining, “Uuuuuncllleeeee Owwwwennnn, whyyy do IIIII have to clean up the droids?”) there is no recovering from that. I don’t care how many Death Stars he blows up or how many blubbering mountains of flesh he destroys, I always see his face and suddenly, I’m hearing that grating whine. Is that Mark Hamill’s fault? Probably not, but…life’s not always fair. However, as bad as Mark Hamill was in these movies, he still stands head and shoulders above…
6. Hayden Christensen. I’ve never seen a man so determined to destroy anything good he creates the way George Lucas seems to be. Who else would create possibly the most iconic villain in pop culture history and then turn the reins of that villain over to this schmo? I’m sorry, but there is no way this petulant doofus, who couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag, would eventually turn into the masterful character voiced by James Earl Jones. There literally is no way.
7. Side characters that make you want to rip your spleen out through your eye socket. I never thought it would be possible to make me hate a character more than I hated C3PO. And then we met Jar Jar Binks.
8. Unbelievably rude stereotypes. Thieving, untrustworthy “businessman” who happens to have a huge nose and a Jewish accent. Manipulative finance folks whose eyes are slightly slanted and have Japanese accents. The most non-redeemable and useless character in the history of film (the aforementioned Jar Jar) has a Jamaican accent. White people as stupid…oh wait, that’s every character, not just the white ones. Forget that last one.
But, when it comes to Star Wars, I find I am generally in the minority. The common wisdom of the masses is that this franchise is possibly the greatest film franchise of all time.
And yet, I don’t care. I don’t care that a ton of people from my generation equate their youth with a galaxy far, far away. I don’t care that the special effects were so revolutionary that they changed the way movies are made. I don’t care that this franchise has such a following that the Disney corporation paid $4 billion with a “B” for it. I just don’t care.
Regardless of the opinion of the masses, I will always mock Star Wars…Always. Except maybe with one exception. I won’t be mocking one bit when Star Wars VII comes out and the shares that I own in Disney Corp. shoot through the roof. On that day, I will cry out, along with Star Wars fans everywhere, “May the Force Be With You.” Even if the movie is as big of a dud artistically as the six that preceded it.