I may have covered this subject before, but who cares. I'm bored, and after seeing a couple of the original and newer Star Wars episodes this week on Spike TV, I felt I needed to get some things off my chest. Namely, that I have come to the conclusion that, although the Star Wars films are a big part of my childhood -- and still hold a certain place of nostalgic value in my heart -- they are, for the most part, really crappy movies.
Yup, I said it. Bring on the nerd assault; I'm ready for it.
For starters, let's look at the first film which bore the title: A New Hope (which isn't the first, of course, because the ever-wise Mr. Lucas doesn't understand the concept of "chronological order," but more on that later). As we all remember, the movie begins with space ships and laser blasts and a menacing Darth Vader capturing a less-crazy Carrie Fischer (she hadn't married Paul Simon yet). This sticks out in a lot of peoples' minds because, at the time, nothing like it had ever been witnessed. So far, so good.
But then the focus shifts to the hero and focal point of the story: Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hammil who is, by the way, stumping for Barrack Obama, saying that he is the greatest person he has ever had the opportunity to vote for. Yowza). At this point the story begins to completely fall apart. How do I figure that, only ten minutes in to the first picture? This is where George Lucas actually is a genius; if looking at each individual movie, they work out ok. But when you factor in the entire story, it's pure crap. Look, if Obi-Wan took Luke to the planet of Tattooine in the first place, a) why did he hide them with DARTH VADER'S RELATIVES, and b) don't you think that maybe, just maybe, Obi-Wan could have been hooking him up with some cool Jedi skills while he grew up? Especially considering that he knew he would eventually take him to Yoda, who would talk some crap about how Luke is "too young to begin the training." Well gee, it's not like you didn't have control of this kid from the time he was an infant. I know, instead of keeping a close eye on someone who could very well have more power than anyone in the universe, let's foster him out to some people in the desert and we can just hope he doesn't get molested and end up in some weird cult practicing polygamy and farming out sex-droids.
But see, we forget all of that because "Oooh, look at the pretty colors and big explosions!" Yeah well, I didn't forget, dang nabbit!
As the story progresses, we meet Han Solo who, as Peter Griffin says "is the only actor who's career is not completely ruined by these movies." Han pretty much saves the movie, which is odd considering Luke is supposed to be the hero. But never mind that, go back to the story: Luke, after meeting Obi-Wan at what appears to be the age of 16-18 (way to keep close contact with the wonder-boy through his most formative years, Obi-Wan). Suddenly realizes he has to be a Jedi and do Jedi stuff. Obi-Wan proceeds to give Luke what equates to about a 10-minute block of instruction on light-saber laser-blocking before they end up on the Death Star and Obi-Wan sacrifices himself for...whatever reason. One that has never really become all that clear, even after six movies. Yeah, he says that he is "stronger" dead than alive, but whatever. I sure never saw him doing any training with Luke after he died. He just showed up as an apparition a time or two, spouting crap like "use the force." Thanks a lot, old man. If you had actually lived long enough to teach me what in the hell "the Force" actually is, that might be useful. Maybe.
Which leads me to something that has always bugged me; that Luke is a complete ninny. Again, if looking at the story as a whole, we see his father, Anakin, at his age kicking some major butt (and scoring with the ridiculously hot Natalie Portman, I might add. Which brings up another question: how many women did you see Luke with over the course of three movies? Hmmm...). But, like I said before, this could have been avoided had they actually shown some interest in the boy beyond that of a recovering alcoholic, dead-bet dad who shows up when the kid is fully grown and says "gimme a hug!" Let's just say that Luke, in today's society, would be on any sane person's watch list for possible assailants in future school-shootings.
And this brings me to my next point: That George Lucas was completely flying by the seat of his pants in creating this story. There are too many holes to think otherwise. There's no way you would have two people making out in one movie and then "surprise, you're brother and sister" in the next. Unless you are from Kentucky. Or have some serious mommy-issues. Whichever, the guy is a goof. If he had it all planned out, then why didn't Luke get trained as a boy? Why did he make out with his sister? Why wouldn't they change his name from "Skywalker"? Good job hiding him, guys. Put him with Darth Vader's in-laws and have him keep the name. Let's see, you have the ability to travel at/beyond light-speed across the universe, but you chose to "hide" Luke on the planet his now-evil father grew up on. Wow. And Jedis are supposed to be wise. Gotcha.
And what was it, exactly, that made the Empire so bad? This is yet another gaping hole in Lucas' story telling. We never have any concrete explanation of why the Empire is bad and the Rebellion is good. Even after the newer movies came out, trying to tell the back story, it never made any real sense. Maybe the Rebellion were actually terrorists? Perhaps the Empire was just trying to stop an insurgency running wild? We hear some nonsense about "trade federations" in the back story, but isn't that a good thing? Intergalactic trading would be necessary to keep up your economy, especially with the drain of illegal aliens on your Medicare program, would it not? Whatever the cause, it proves that Lucas made it all up well after making the originals; the first three movies give no indication as to why these two groups are fighting, only that one is decidedly "bad" and the other "good." I could go into a whole host of stereotypes that the films use to pull this off, basically insulting the intelligence of every audience member, but that would take too long. And it would be boring. And I seriously doubt anyone is even still reading at this point...
Beyond all of that, my notes kinda trickle into a cursing tirade about how Lord of the Rings is better and how Natalie Portman doesn't return the letters I sent her with my toe-nail clippings. Really not much else to say, because everyone knows that there was never anything really deep or innovative about these stories, and that Jar-Jar Binks was Lucas's way of coming out of the closet. They were basically vehicles for revolutionary special effects, using simplistic plot lines and wickedly-bad acting that happened to come at a time in people of my generation's formative years that forever rendered them to a nostalgic place in our memories because they were so different.
Compare that to the series of movies containing the word "Predator" in the title. If you want to see in-depth story telling at its best, then look no further than that, my friends. Alien Vs. Predator part 2 comes out on DVD tomorrow, so don't even bother calling me. I won't answer. I will be engrossed.