Thursday, April 10, 2008

Star Wars: Get Fucked!

I have to say it: Star Wars blows. It is just contrived, hacky dreck that is the most overrated franchise in movie history. Yes, it was a neat conceit towards the tail end of the 70's era of gritty realism. But that's it. Set against 'Bad Lieutenant', it's optimistic. But any other time, its pure unadulterated schmaltz. It's as if "Dude Where's My Car" spawned 6 films and infinite product tie-ins.
Lucas' license to print money became just that with the prequels, engulfing even the modicum of heart the original 3 had.
And so, here I present to you the Top 3 reasons why SW sucks.

1) The woodenness

In the first film, Lucas imagined, and shakily realised, a galaxy made of rock, sand, plastic and metal. Nothing was wooden - except the dialogue. The characters in the first film don't so much hold conversations as stand there like cavemen, lobbing chunks of monologue at each other. As Harrison Ford said to Lucas in a moment of majestic exasperation: "You can type this shit, George, but you sure can't say it."

The first plausible exchange in the sequence comes some way into The Empire Strikes Back, when the superfluous verbiage melts in the face of the steam rising between Ford and Carrie Fisher, or perhaps Lucas's sheer ignorance of human relationships. At moments like this, Ford turned into an unofficial script doctor, notably when Leia tells him she loves him (as you do, seeing someone you've got the hots for about to be frozen in carbonite). In the script, Han replied "I love you too," which was both predictable and implausible - he's supposed to be a bastard, albeit one slowly disclosing a heart of gold. Ford changed it to "I know," which is smug and shallow, but at least in character and free from monosodium glutamate.

2) The hollow centre

Star Wars was "a conscious attempt at creating new myths," Lucas said. So how do his stories and characters stand up against, say, those of Homer? It would be harsh, and hard, to pit five movies against 24 books of epic poetry, but there's a realistic yardstick available in the shape of last year's attempt to do Troy the blockbuster. Troy was widely regarded as a thin and patchy version of The Iliad, but it is more involving than any of the Star Wars films. When Achilles kills Hector, you can feel it hitting the audience hard. The first wince on that scale in Star Wars comes (look away now if you haven't seen The Empire Strikes Back) when Darth Vader slices off Luke Skywalker's hand. And the hand is duly mended. If Achilles had been dreamt up by George Lucas, he could have taken his injured heel to C-3PO, who would have fixed it in no time. Star Wars has assumed a myth-like place in contemporary American culture, but it lacks the edge, the depth and the resonance of the real thing. Its most mythical moment is when Darth Vader says to Luke Skywalker, "I am your father" - which is borrowed from Sophocles. Bland and calculating, Star Wars is a McMyth.

3) The arrogance

Some of the acting is so stagey, today's audience takes it as camp. In 1999, an interviewer made this point to Lucas. He didn't like it all. "It's not deliberately camp. The film is based on a Saturday-matinee serial from the 1930s, so the acting style is very 1930s, very theatrical, very old-fashioned. People take it different ways, depending on their sophistication ... Cinema has only been around for 100 years or so - not long enough for people to really understand it." Up to a point, Lord Vader.


Anonymous said...

Artie Lange - RIP :(

project nowhere said...

get fucked you trekkie cheese junkie