Is Star Wars Ruined?

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Is Star Wars Ruined?

Postby sledge » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:18 am

Interesting read. I grew up with the Original Films in the late 70's and early 80's.

Fans of the original Star Wars movies may fear what Disney has planned, but a new series makes room for another generation of fans, writes Michael Collett.

With its purchase of LucasFilms for a tidy $US4 billion, Disney has found itself with the unenviable task of reconciling the Star Wars franchise with its simultaneously disillusioned and overinvested original fans (along, that is, with the much easier task of making filthy wads of cash).

The first space westerns turned creator George Lucas into a geek hero. But hell hath no fury like a pop culture fanbase scorned, and the prequels, unabashedly aimed at a younger audience, made Lucas the target of a disdain usually reserved for the likes of Alan Jones and UHT skim milk.

The question now for these original fans is whether Disney will return their beloved franchise to its former glory or take a match to their cherished childhood memories once more.

However, my own childhood experience of Star Wars began not in 1977 with its first film but in 1999 with the release of the most maligned of its prequels, The Phantom Menace. And you know what? For all the vitriol its name invites, that film blew my prepubescent mind.

I hadn't seen the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vadar in the original film. Instead, I witnessed a much more sprightly Obi-Wan (Ewan McGregor!) with his Jedi mentor Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson!) in an epic fight against Darth Maul - truly the most insidious of the franchise's villains, with his horned skull, demonic red and yellow eyes, and double-bladed lightsaber.

Likewise, I hadn't seen Han Solo guide his Millenium Falcon through an asteroid field. Instead, I saw Anakin Skywalker secure his freedom from slavery by winning a dizzying podrace on Tatooine (the accompanying podrace game for Nintendo 64 was similarly thrilling).

I'd also missed out on Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Instead, I got Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala. Again, seems like a fair trade to me.

Those who decry the later films have one trump card: Jar Jar Binks. I can understand the special hatred for this strange fish-man turned galactic senator - I played it for laughs when I attended an "underwater" themed party a few years ago wearing a Jar Jar rubber mask (bloody expensive, bloody worth it). But, if my memory serves me, I wasn't bothered by him at the time (sadly, I probably found him amusing). Besides, I can't see how he's that much worse than that bumbling robotic Jeeves and his dial-up sidekick from the first films.

Look, this isn't a defence of Star Wars I-III as the better trilogy. I bought a battered box set of the originals on VHS from a pawn shop sometime during high school, and I immediately recognised them as the more accomplished visions - ones that children and adults alike could enjoy. But it's the Phantom Menace which I look back on most fondly. (I also enjoyed but wasn't especially taken by the other prequels, Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith - by that time my wide-eyed naivety had been introduced to fitted caps, wallet chains, and girls.)

We'd all like to think of our childhoods as golden eras of entertainment; my dad with Popeye, Biggles, and the ABC's Argonauts Club on the wireless, me with Where's Wally, Animorphs, and The Secret World of Alex Mack. At Christmas last year I made the mistake of giving one of my young'un nephews a set of books featuring Paddington Bear, a recognised classic, and another a set about the somewhat less canonical Octonauts, which airs on the ABC. Which do you think loved me more?

My brother-in-law Peter watched the first Star Wars film at the drive-in as a child in the 80s. For him, it holds the same place in his heart that the Phantom Menace holds in mine (okay, not quite, seeing as though unlike him I don't have a room in my house dedicated largely to Star Wars figurines, Lego sets, and other paraphernalia - all in the original packaging).

In 1999, Peter was offered a job with ABC Local Radio in Longreach, central Queensland. He tells me he briefly considered not accepting it as it would mean missing the opening screening of the Phantom Menace. This really doesn't surprise me.

And his opinion of that movie?

I saw it a few weeks later when in Brissy for my birthday. I'm glad I didn't quit my job.
But while Peter says the prequels made it hard to be proud of being a Star Wars fan, nothing can ruin the first films for him (try as George Lucas might through his incessant tinkering):

My uncle says there are still only three Star Wars films. If you think of it like that, things like the cartoons (shown on ABC 3!) are just a nice little bonus.
To save themselves the trouble of a breakdown if Disney fails to deliver to their expectations, other old school fans might like to borrow this approach.

The point is, the original fans can't lay claim to Star Wars. No-one can. So hold on tightly to your memories. (It's not easy, I know. Personally, I'm more concerned about the reported reboot of Jumanji ... now that is my childhood on the line).

If Disney wants to update Star Wars for the next generation, that's their prerogative. Will this save or destroy the franchise? I don't know. But I won't just be watching the new films to find out. I'll be asking my nephews and niece too.

Michael Collett is a journalist and producer for The Drum(ABC-TV Discussion Show)

Jar Jar Binks
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Re: Is Star Wars Ruined?

Postby Brian » Sun Nov 18, 2012 7:24 pm

Maybe it's a generational thing, but I can't think of the prequels as the equals, in any sense, of the original trilogy. With the exception of the special effects, the prequels were not well done. Attack of the Clones felt like C-SPAN in space to me.
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Re: Is Star Wars Ruined?

Postby sledge » Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:13 pm

I grew watching the Original Films as a 7 year old. I remember my Dad taking me to watch star Wars in 1977 as an excited 7 year old. I had just gotten into Science - Fiction, doctor Who was the first Sci-Fi Tv Show i had just started watching but some aspects didn't really understand, then Star Wars - Epiosode 4 came and blew my mind.

The Prequel films are too much CGI and invented ideas that are not present in the Original films, could not get over Yoda's lightsaber battle with Count Dooku in Attack of the Clones. But they were least an attempt by Lucas to fill in the backstory and let's not talk about Jar Jar Binks!(lol).

Now Disney has acquired Lucasfilm(star was films) and plans to make more sequels? think they are trying to milk the franchise even nore. :WTF:
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