Star Wars: A Dissenting Opinion

I think it’s safe to say that the one thing that binds all of us here together on InsidePulse is the fact that we’re all geeks. Not the “feast on chicken heads and get gawked at” type of geek, but the obsessive type that is proud to flaunt their love of popular culture. We certainly don’t spin or moods or write about music, movies, action figures, television, wrestling, sports, and video-games because of the alluring pay; no, it’s because we love to love pop culture.
If anything, the internet has been a valuable asset to the geek, globally linking us, despite the fact that our obsessions may leave us ostracized by our peers. It can be hard meeting flesh and blood friends in person and still be true to your geekiness. But on the internet? I can read a new issue of Thunderbolts or watch the latest episode of Wonder Showzen! and talk about them with others right afterwards. Obsession after all is a language that bypasses national borders.
Now back to that social part. The whole, actually meeting people thing. Since it can be difficult meeting other geeks, you try to hold on to the few you encounter, because there’s a good chance you might not find another person to put up with or perhaps appreciate your obsession for a long time. This is why it’s hard to be gay after all. In a lot of areas, especially conservative ones, it can be impossible to find others who share your lifestyle. So you end up working with a lowest common denominator approach sometimes, connecting with someone because of what they are, and not who they are. Heck, it’s why I’m not 100% gay myself. Their just aren’t many choices where I am, so in order to be with someone, I’d have to lower my standards to sometimes insulting levels. And there are more gays than geeks in this town, so you can imagine how hard it is to make friends. And out of the few friends I’ve found, (and this was especially true in middle and high-school), most of them shared the same thing in common: They were Star Wars fans. Talk about your turnoffs. You find someone, they get your Count Duckula references, still have a box of Urkel-Os in their closet, and all of a sudden it’s dropped like a bombshell. They have the original VHS versions, the wide screen versions, the special extended editions, the hyper super turbo championship editions, that god-awful holiday special, Ewok coloring books, the video-games, the bed sheets (unwashed for authenticity), and even a copy of Mahogany because of Billy Dee!! And worst of all, (Even worse than owning Thumb Wars), they bought the new movies, and can’t wait to see the latest and final (as final as Hogan retirement if you ask me) installment, already having purchased their tickets in advance.
I’ve already been invited to go and had to decline. Why? Because I don’t see what the big deal is. And if I don’t like a movie (Unless it’s bad on a Gigli level I have to be interested in a film because it looks good), I don’t pay to see it. The Star Wars films are soulless pulp adventures that somehow caught on big. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love certain types of fantasy. I’m a life-long fan of superhero comics (particularly those of Marvel), and have enjoyed some fantasy and science fiction literature. But Star Wars doesn’t do it for me. It’s not the actors, although I do find Harrison Ford to be as wooden as the materials he worked with in his previous job, or the direction, as I think Lucas and the two other guys (Hey I’m not a fan, I don’t have to know!) who’ve directed the films have done as good a job as they could considering the lackluster scripts. Yes, that’s the problem, the story and the characters are a bit…lame. I’m going to do a brief analysis going over the first trilogy now, since the second one has thus far been so bad that we need not reiterate it here. Just go to any message board or Arbies and I’m sure someone will gladly vent for you.
First of all, it’s a galaxy long, long ago, and far, far away, and somehow they have humans who look exactly like us. If it’s long, long, ago, wouldn’t they look like cro-magnums? Or at least be a little shorter! Or is this a galaxy so far away that humans evolve at a much different rate? Yeah, yeah, that’s nitpicking, but what can you expect, like I said, I’m a geek.
So we’ve got these characters long , long ago, and far, far away, Luke, Leia, and Han Solo, our triumvirate of lead protagonists. Ones a farm boy with loads of hidden potential, ones a whiny princess, and the others a cocky pilot. Already we have stock characters as stocky as can be. What is there in these characters that I’m supposed to care about as an audience? When the paternal revelation in Empire comes I’m not shocked. I’m disinterested because I don’t feel like I was made to feel for these characters at any time up to that point. Han is only good at cracking one-liners and getting kidnapped, Leia has turned me off completely by that ugly ass hairdo that would make even Bjork hurl, plus that sequence where she keeps begging and begging “help me Obi-Wan” like she’s some intergalactic Olive Oyl, and the coolest thing about Luke is that he loses his arm.
Not that those three completely sink the films for me. And really, it’s the villain and supporting characters that draws me into any type of action/adventure/fantasy picture. I saw Die Hard because of Alan Rickman and Reginald Val Johnson, not Bruce Willis.
During the AFI’s list of the best heroes/villains a while back, they had Darth Vader listed in the top 3 villains. Top 3?! Darth Vader has never appeared the least bit menacing to me. Sure, the John Williams composed “Imperial March” that accompanies his entrances adds a certain villainous bravado, but the guy A. Has a phallic helmet (Parodied quite well in Mel Brooks Spaceballs which is by far the best thing to happen out of this dull franchise) B. Audibly wheezes as he walks (Is he 500 pounds?) and C. Looks like the offspring between cancer and Courtney Love underneath his cock-mask. Not to mention he’s not even the head guy of the empire. A decrepit old f*ck who makes Zell Miller look young in contrast is. That’s a part of why the prequels were even less appealing to me than the originals. If Darth is the effect why would I even want to see the cause? I think Star Wars just came out at the right place at the right time, and people flocked to it because there was nothing like it. A lot of it’s success and popularity has to do with the timing. I’ve got to admit, had I been alive to watch it in 1977 I’d probably be amazed like everyone else and given into the hype. I’ve heard the stories from my father about waiting two hours just to see a screening back when that wasn’t happening every week. It’s competition at the time looked old-hat in comparison. It’s a lot like that other overblown fantasy, the Bible. No wonder Lucas has had to go back and change the damn things again and again.
As for those supporting characters, some of them, like Yoda, Chewbacca, and Jabba the Hutt are amusing, but I certainly can’t take them seriously. And any appeal most of the supporting cast has had for me has been taken away because Lucas had to go from decent puppetry to C.G.I.,which, while it has improved vastly in recent years, never looks as good as flesh and felt. Yoda has gained more mobility but has lost a lot of his charm.
Ah, what am I saying. it’s probably an exercise in futility to talk about the demerits of Star Wars. If you’re a fan of the franchise and you’re reading this, you’ll still be a fan afterwards. And you should be. Perhaps being so devoted to something as cornball as Star Wars is the ultimate in geek obsession, like those three guys who own Pat Boone’s metal album. And I suppose if anything else, I’ll at least be able to laugh heartily at the expense of dumb fans when Triumph the Insult Comic Dog berates them as he most surely will.