We now live in an age where CGI and digital special effects are the norm in nearly EVERY movie, and on TV, even in commercials. But in 1975, there WAS nothing. Star Wars was the first CGI movie and it blew us away. I remember seeing the preview with my Mom (she wanted to see New York, New York) and I was just stunned. The effects were too real! HOW did they do that? I knew I had to see that movie and it put a buzz in my head- so the first time afterwards when I saw my best friend, I told him “We GOT to go to see this movie!” And we did. I lost track of number of the times that we saw it. I knew a girl in college who saw it 300 times. Of course she was working at the theater at the time, but she never missed a show. It meant that much to us teens back then. It was more than a movie- it was a way of LIFE.
I have become jaded to the first movie though. It seems sophomoric now really. The dialogue is cheesy, the special effects are crude, the plot is ridiculous. I can’t watch it any more really. And I could anytime I wanted, as my wife has the collection on video. I can plug it in day or night anytime I like. But I don’t.
I don’t really like any of the other movies either. Oh I know, George Lucas has enchanted generations now with his storyline about the tragic life of Darth Vader and the rise of the Evil Empire and all that. But he has over merchandised them. In fact Lucas invented cross merchandising of movies and books, and TV; with every other damned thing under the sun. And he killed the romance of it for me. I mean EVERYONE has done Star Wars now- even fucking Mickey Mouse. It’s a become a joke- a parody of itself. It has lost all the original meaning and zest. I really feel that Lucas is just doing it for the money now. I’m tired of making him rich.
Who has kept up with all the plot twists and turns Lucas added to Star Wars over the years? I didn’t. But I know friends who did. I know a guy who saw all the movies, and knows them in the order that that little blurb says they should be in the beginning of each movie (Example the First movie ‘Star Wars” is called Chapter Six - “A new Hope” or some such crap) and calls them by that name .
He also has read and seen all the novelizations of the Star Wars story, all the comic books and the animated cartoons and knows them by heart. He knows shit that not even in the movies. For example- did you know that there’s a sci-fi novel where Princess Leia marries Han Solo and they have a daughter and she has her own adventures. That shit wasn’t in any movie. Who knows that shit? My friend does. I feel sorry for him, It’s like a sickness. A mental brain disease. George Lucas has eaten this guy’s imagination. And George Lucas does it for the money.
I don’t buy all that crap about Lucas having a story arc in mind from the beginning. Star Wars #1 was designed to be a stand alone movie. It’s a classic fairy tale set in a space opera setting- handsome hero saves the princess. It’s Snow White with laser pistols. Luke and Leia kiss each other romantically in it (and in the sequel) and there is NO indication anywhere except Movie Three- the Teddy Bears in Space movie (which I loathe)- that they are brother and sister.
No, Lucas made Number Two for the money, and then kept churning the next dozen movie sequels out for the money. He has now bastardized the whole concept of Star Wars just for the money. He uses it to sell Legos. I wish he would just admit it, and be honest about it. It would make no difference, as a huge segment of the population is completely mad about the whole George Lucas Star Wars Universe.
Over the past 40 years, I have read and seen better science fiction/ fantasy novels, movies and story arcs; for example the whole Star Wars story pales in comparison to say JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings; or to Robert Heinlein’s Lazarus Long stories. So Lucas doesn’t impress the me now – I , who was once an Star Wars enamored 15 year old boy, hypnotized by his computer graphically enhanced space age fairy tale. Now I know better.
For example; I don’t give a damn about the rise and fall of Darth Vader. It’s a cliffhanger space opera in the tradition of better movies like the Flash Gordon movie serials of the 1940s. I also despise the ‘religion’ that George Lucas invented called ‘the Force’. It should be called ‘the Farce’ since it allows the characters to spout the most ignominious clichés at any given moment. Compare the complexity of the alien religions in Frank Herbert’s Dune series or Heinlein’s Stranger in A Strange Land (to name a few scifi greats); if you want an original take on futuristic religions. Lucas’s ‘Force’ is something he invented from smoking too much 70s weed.
Then there are too many holes in the plot. How come Luke Skywalker gets to use the Force, but his sister Princess Leia does not? How come Darth Vader acknowledges Luke as his son in the second movie; but tortures Leia (his daughter) in the first one? How come the X Wing fighters can fly faster than the speed of light from one star system to another- and yet they don’t even have a toilet in them? And where the hell is planet Earth?
Because I don’t buy that “Long Ago in a Galaxy far far away…” crap. George Lucas’ science fiction future falls oddly flat at all times. He steals planet settings and storylines from every other science fiction or fantasy story out there. Lucas doesn’t even try to make his alien societies or cultures original like Herbert or Tolkien’s did. Lucas mixes up a few gibberish consonants and vowels and makes names for planets and characters out of them. And that’s the extent of his creativity. Its rubbish. But Lucas got away with it- because he did Star Wars on film first. And that’s it.
I do have a sneaking admiration for the second movie “The Empire Strikes Back”, because the good guys lose. Darth Vader is at his villainous best in this move and the Empire has a great menacing movie score as composed by John Williams that rivals anything the other movies ever had. The Bounty Hunters froze Han Solo in carbonite; and Luke and Leia escape in the Millenium Falcon flying away into outer space - beaten at the end by Darth Vader in every plot twist and turn. I loved it, and had no desire to see another Star Wars movie after that.
Because I had grown up. I was in my twenties, and I could see how shallow all of Lucas’s Star Wars culture was.
Without the CGI- no one would wasted any time on it. My own imagination had far better ideas than he ever did. And thank God for that.