Tuesday, November 10, 2015

You find my lack of enthusiasm disturbing.

I was as big a dork as anyone growing up, but I can't get myself psyched about Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens, opening on December 14. I almost certainly will not fight the crowds to go see it in theaters, and probably won't ever see it.

I'm not just a contrarian by nature---well, maybe a little, but if I am excited by something I will want to experience it, even if it is popular. In the case of Star Wars, I have good reasons for my poor attitude:

1) Ewoks: The third movie should not have had little bears in a pitched, lethal battle with the Empire. Hey, I liked the little guys, but if you're going to have space teddies you have to play them for laughs, like Poul Anderson did with the Hokas. This is first on my list because it was clear evidence that the whole thing was going to crap right in the original trilogy.

2) Vader love: Everyone loves Darth Vader until he destroys your planet, even after you give up the location of the rebels. Sure, he mind-strangles people in business meetings, which we'd all like to do sometimes, but look at the big picture. You know what we can the annihilation of millions? Genocide. You know what Vader calls it? Tuesday. And yet people love the bastard and find it perfectly okay that he gets to go to Jedi heaven because he bailed out his kid. Come on. 

3) Bad biology: The original picture was mystical. The prequels were biological. In trying to make the Force (and those in whom it is strong) more scientific, the screenwriters made it more insane. I'm sure there was a perfectly reasonable explanation as to why the midichlorians, which were microscopic power critters, could give magic Jedi powers to people even after they died, but you know what I was by then? Past caring. 

4) Misplaced trust in Disney: In recent years the studio has given us great pictures like Tangled, but on the live-action front they've given us Tomorrowland, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, John Carter, The Prince of Persia, The Lone Ranger, and in SF animation, Mars Needs Moms... You trust them? Granted, they have yet to come out with Star Wars Tsum Tsums, but it's probably just a matter of time. Cute li'l Vader can play with cute li'l Stitch (who was created as a weapon of mass destruction---just saying). Meanwhile, you can get these at the Disney store:

If there were real Wookies, they would kill us all for that. 

5) Unreasonableness: Almost forty years later, people still want to know why the planet-size Death Star could have a preposterous flaw that enabled its destruction with a single blast. That's like building an aircraft carrier that could be sunk by a revolver and a lucky shot. The movies are full of stuff like that, but it may be the most famous example. Another is the way the Jedi started to look pretty evil in the prequels---not Empire evil, but evil, the freelance jerks of the galaxy. Others have written loads about that, so I'll leave the explanation to them. Any if Darth Vader built C-3PO, why doesn't he recognize the bot years later? Don't get me started.

6) Humor: Virtually nothing funny in Star Wars is funny---Jar Jar Binks being People's Exhibit A. (Watch the pod racing contest in the first prequel again and tell me how funny the two-headed race announcers are if you doubt me.) On the other hand, moments of high drama have been absolutely hilarious ("Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo...."). Which leads us to:

7) Emotional immaturity: Contrary to popular belief, mass murders like Anakin Skywalker don't become monsters because they caught a few bad breaks. If the little creep had been psychotic from childhood, or brought up in a nihilistic culture and religion of death, he might be understandable. But trying to use the building blocks of the Star Wars universe to explain how he became a towering force for evil would be like building Leonardo's Last Supper out of Lego blocks---and expecting it to be mistaken for the original. They tried... and that is why they failed. There is no try.

8) Timeline: The mighty empire lasted what, twenty years? Thirty? I forget. I don't care. That's not  an empire, that's an aberration. No one refers to the Nazi Empire because it was battled constantly and it lost, thank God. In the first movie you got the idea that the Empire had been around for some time, but it turns out that Obi-Wan had socks older than the Empire. 

So that's why I've lost interest in the whole franchise. Even if the movie gets raging rave reviews from the saner, non-fanboy critics, I doubt I'll get fired up. I can never forgive them for the lake of Naboo.

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