Saturday, November 29, 2014

On Star Wars

I'll try to keep this brief. I won't, but I'll try. Because everyone has their own experiences, opinions, and thoughts (idiosyncratic or not) about Star Wars, and I don't think mine are more unique or noteworthy than most people's. Talking about Star Wars has become boring, like talking about the dream you had last night. No one else really cares, nor should they.

Coincidentally, however, and apologies in advance, it was a dream I had last night that led to this post. I don't often have nightmares, but this one was a doozy. I was being chased by Fenrir, the wolf of Norse mythology, and he had me cornered in the upstairs bathroom of my parents' house. I locked the door, but he turned into Norris-assimilated-by-The-Thing in John Carpenter's titular film. Writhing tentacles and viscera started oozing under the door.

I screamed and woke up. Maybe I didn't scream out loud, because my wife was still sleeping peacefully next to me. Or maybe she's just a heavy sleeper. I can never tell. Regardless, I went to the bathroom, splashed some cold water on my face*, and inwardly cursed that I woke up before dawn on a Saturday morning.

Then I remembered that the teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens** had probably been released online.

It had, just minutes before my nightmare stirred me awake. The Forbes Awoken!

It thrilled me. That was Star Wars.


I grew up on Star Wars. I was two years old when The Empire Strikes back hit theaters, and sometime after its release my mother took me to a double-bill of it and A New Hope. I was rapt. Star Wars was the cultural imaginative touchstone of my generation. Return of the Jedi was released in 1983, but between then and 1999, when The Phantom Menace was released, the hype never died. The original trilogy is iconic because of how much of an indelible imprint it left on the minds of moviegoers. Very few film franchises reach that apex.

...And very few film franchises see that nadir. The prequels are awful from almost every level of film criticism***. Terrible on almost every level, they ruined most people's enthusiasm for Star Wars (kind of like how the Philadelphia 76ers are ruining their fans' enthusiasm for basketball).

But a funny thing happened. Disney bought Lucasfilm, something that still blows my mind. George Lucas, who tinkered with his films to the point of detriment, like a plastic surgeon performing procedures on a face until it's almost unrecognizable and ironically ugly, sold his franchise. I would have thought Israel and Palestine would reach a peace agreement before Lucas would give up Star Wars.

But he did. And JJ Abrams has directed The Force Awakens, which will be released in December of 2015 (I imagine there are a lot of idiots on Twitter who think the movie is coming out next month). Then Rian Johnson takes over for Episode VIII and IX.

The Force Awakens might be a good movie, or it might be a bad movie.

But it's Star Wars.

PS - The soccer-ball droid is awesome.

* I didn't actually do that. That only happens in movies, right?

** Look, I'm no title-writing expert, but that's a pretty bad title, right?

*** Attack of the Clones is my favorite, mostly for the shot of Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor) piloting an X-wing in space. For me, that's the only time Star Wars actually captured the openness and loneliness of space.