In the summer of 1977 I turned 9 years old. A bit before that event, another one hit the country and started a frenzy. That is the year Star Wars hits the theaters and lines to see the movie were phenomenal. Though my mother did not let me see the movie then, I could not get enough of it and the toys. Some action figures I got as gifts while others, including the Land Speeder, I bought with saved allowance money.
I was hooked. I saw 8mm shorts without sound. I listened to the multi-record set that the library had many times. I even ran to the car after church to listen to a portion of the NPR Star Wars radio drama.
Three years later, The Empire Strike Back hit theaters and my mother had started to have a change of heart about seeing the movies. Empire was the first one I saw and next week we saw the re-released Star Wars movie at the Fort Belvoir (South Post) theater. I had finally realized a dream.
Being 12 at the time, it would take years before I would see Empire as the best of the three movies. I thought it too dark and didn’t understand it was the third act of a play. By the time of Jedi, I was 15 and the eyes of the 9 year old were nearing forgotten. I liked how the story ended, but the Ewoks were a bit ridiculous, even if they were cannibals.
There was all manner of buzz of a prequel movie and possible sequels. Apart from the books for the first three movies, I also read Splinter of the Mind’s Eye and the trilogies for Han Solo and Landon Calrissian. They were all a bit different than Star Wars and even felt like more general sci-fi. I was a bit of a Tolkien fan as well, so the weak pop novels were not something I kept pursuing. The EU expanded well beyond those books, but not for me.
In the mid-90’s my love for Star Wars came back around. George Lucas had the originals remastered in THX and available on video cassette. They were also released again in theaters, though with a few changes. I only went to see Empire as it was my favorite, though I knew all the changes because of websites. Other than changing Luke’s dialog to R2D2 when the swap monster spat him out, I liked what Lucas had done.
The buzz started about a prequel trilogy and the closer 1999 came, the more I wanted to see them. I waited a few weeks after the release before venturing to the movie theater. By this time I was married and living in Marion, Ohio. The local mall theater was good, but it didn’t have the advanced sound system I knew the movie deserved. Having a surround BOSE system at home, I also knew where to sit when my wife and I arrived at a theater in Delaware that had Dolby Digital.
I was soon dismayed as the teenagers running the place had no clue. All it was was loud, no surround effects and no audio immersion. The poor movie with Jar Jar Binks and a whiny Anakin Skywalker didn’t help. I also thought the movie had too many callbacks to the original trilogy. I didn’t mind so setup, but having Anakin build C3PO was too much. The suspension of disbelief was too great to have this twerp become Dark Vader.
Wait for the other movies, they said. The Phantom Menace is great, you are just too critical they said. But the whininess never stopped. Anakin never developed in to the villain of Vader. Ironically though, Darth Maul was one of the best characters of Star Wars, good or bad, and they killed him in the first movie.
Eventually, more and more people started to agree with me: the Prequels were horrible. Not only were they poor movies, Lucas changed his story so much that he had to redo the conversation in Empire between Vader and the Emperor. Yeah sure, George, we believed you planned that all along. Sure thing.
Years passed and Lucas produced more and more versions of his movies. I soon lost track and interest in what he was changing and why. All I wanted was the originals on Blu Ray, but apparently that is too much to ask. I went on to other things like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Battlestar Galactica. Then Lucas sold his children to Disney and talk of another trilogy started.
Due to the fanboi whining about the prequels and CGI, Disney and J. J. Abrams made a big deal about using real sets and film for the new movie. The hype machine started before filming and they totally misrepresented the techniques Lucas and company had used. They completely ignored the real problem: the horrible script and acting.
After two years of complete hyperbole, The Force Awakens finally came out. The trailers promised a great movie. J. J. Abrams promised a great movie. The third official trailer even made my get very emotional and shed a few tears. Then it was on the screen and the truth became known. It was not only a J. J. Abrams hack reboot, it shredded George Lucas up one side and down the other. It was a complete hatchet job on the originals with heavy handed feminism themes thrown in the good measure.
The Internet became alight immediately. The fanbois followed in locked goose step with the paid reviewers. They said how great the movie was. They are blind. They are asleep. Max Landis finally called it stating Rey was a complete Mary Sue. He was attacked. It was merciless. But he was 100% correct.
All things being fair, the movie is about a C. The script isn’t quite as bad as the prequels and the acting is ok. Harrison Ford gives winks and nods to the audience as if he knows how bad the script is. The CGI, yes this movie is full of it, are good and the physical sets are adequate. The effects and score however are horrible. Where is John Williams musical genius? Gone. That’s where. After all, he’s a man and Mary Sue doesn’t need men.
The fans started to speak out. A little at first, but now as a torrent. As people see it more and more, they are starting to see all of the serious flaws. Over the past week I’ve had several people who had previously be energetically apologetic to the movie saw they were wrong. Sure, it will make Disney a ton a money, but the party is starting to wind down. The one movie a year is in serious jeopardy of not having people burn out. The main villain is now known as Darth Emo and J. J. has become Jar Jar. Time will tell just how damaging the backlash is.
Thank you Jar Jar Abrams. You have shown all of us that you cannot direct and your best motive is to destroy the works of others. You destroyed both Star Trek and Star Wars. Go back inside your mystery box. We don’t need you anymore.