A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was a Star Wars fan.
The guile and charm of Han Solo, the exuberance and tenacity of Luke Skywalker, and the sage wisdom of Yoda and Obi-Wan were the role models of my youth. Countless are the Saturdays I squandered on Star Wars marathons, so enraptured I didn’t care about the VHS tracking lines. I didn’t care that the Rancor looked dumb, that the aliens were Muppets, that every storm trooper was some unpaid extra, or that there was a shoe where a ship should have been. In fact, I loved that. It meant the movies were a collaboration by real people who cared about what they were doing, but were limited and flawed just like the characters. Just like me.
Sure, it sounds silly now. Star Wars is the ultimate space opera, and more than a little melodramatic, but at the heart of it are characters, real characters that are given space to develop and endear themselves to the audience. The characters of Star Wars, the very world of Star Wars, grew with the care of many hands beyond George Lucas’ vision to become something beautiful.
And now Lucas, in his infinite wisdom, has decided to cram his creation back in the box he built for it. Episode 1 was a resounding disappointment. The low budget charm of the original movies was sacrificed to advertise Industrial Light & Magic. Depth of character was sacrificed for multitude of characters, too many story lines, and a six-year old with no discernable talent whatsoever. Cool action sequences were sacrificed for twenty minutes of cartoonish, Disney-like pod racing that served only to spin off a video game. Continuity and rationality were sacrificed to make every possible reference to the old movies.
When trailers for Episode 2 came out, they looked pretty cool. Episode 1 had been awful, but I reasoned that it was only there to set up for Eps. 2 and 3. Episode 2 would be much better without the kid, and we’ll get to spend some time on the principal characters. Well fool me twice, shame on me.
Episode 2 was awful. Yoda was CGI. All possibilities of interesting plot twists were abandoned for brain-dead obvious conclusions that had been hamhandedly foreshadowed. The plot was even less consistent than Episode 1, and the glorious final dual we’ve come to expect was relegated to poorly executed CGI.
I’m not seeing Episode 3. Ever, if I can help it. I still enjoy Star Wars, but the new movies, even the Special Editions, are something different. They are more CGI now than film, twisted and evil. So I must become an anti-fan, joining the rebellion against Emperor Lucas because I know that somewhere inside the new scenes, the altered pasts, and the forgotten futures is the trilogy I love. Someday it may be released unencumbered by it’s unnatural prosthetics, and, with any luck, when we finally remove the mask it will not reveal Hayden Christensen’s face.