Thursday, November 1, 2012

Will Star Wars still rule the galaxy?

A long time ago, in a sunny state far away – a certain announcement caused nerds everywhere to feel their heads implode.

The announcement this week that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm – essentially buying the ‘Star Wars’ franchise – had fans of the film series every where shrieking in dismay.

“No, that’s not true! That’s impossible!”

I include myself in the dismayed camp.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love ‘Star Wars’ and I love ‘Disney’ – I just don’t want the two franchises to be run the same way, though.

I think most fans – yes I would be one of them – had horrific nightmares of the Emperor conspiring with Captain Hook while Luke started using the Force to make teacups sing and dance on the Millenium Falcon – where Beast and Chewbacca found out they were long lost brothers – all the while Yoda and Mickey had a smack down for puppet supremacy.

I know that’s not realistic. But I take my ‘Star Wars’ seriously.

Still, when you think about it, this might be a good move. I stress might.

The truth is, Disney bought the Marvel franchise in 2009 and released the best comic book movie ever this summer. They (wisely), let Marvel handle their own business and continue to make quality movies that people wanted to see.

After the failure of ‘John Carter,’ Disney found themselves in the unenviable position of being at the bottom rung of action flicks.

For them to acquire Lucasfilm is smart.

I’m just curious why George Lucas let it go.

Lucas is a notorious control freak that has to have a hand in every aspect of his movies – from dialogue to creature creation.

The truth is – he’s been hit or miss.

Sure, the original ‘Star Wars’ was a creation beyond all imagination. It succeeded despite certain failings.

The second movie, ‘The Empire Strikes Back,’ came out in 1980. Unlike the original film, this one was directed by Irvin Kershner and is (arguably) the best in the franchise. It also had the best dialogue of the entire franchise – which was largely ad-libbed by the actors.

I like Lucas’ imagination. I don’t like the direction he’s taken his franchise in, though.

Not everything has to be tweaked and upgraded. Not every shot has to have some digital marvel in the background. If you don’t have a solid central story, then it doesn’t matter how many digital effects you throw into the mix. It’s not going to be a great movie.

When ‘The Phantom Menace’ hit, fans were hungry for ‘Star Wars.’ It was a different ‘Star Wars’ than they remembered, though.

This time, they had a wooden kid actor, a cardboard villain and the worst character to hit movie screens – EVER – in Jar Jar Binks.

The next two movies weren’t as good as the originals – although I am fond of 2005’s ‘Revenge of the Sith.’ Still, all three prequels had one central problem: Lucas lied when he said he had all these films thought out from the beginning.

The truth is, when Lucas started filming his prequels, it became obvious he was trying to wedge certain facts that didn’t naturally exist in his stories in the new movies.

For example, why is Luke’s last name Skywalker? Given the ending of ‘Revenge of the Sith,’ the rebellion would stop at nothing to hide Luke’s identity – including giving him a different last name.

Or, why didn’t Chewbacca ever mention meeting Yoda?

Why didn’t Darth Vader ever recognize C3P0?

And so on.

Essentially, I want Lucas to keep creative control of his movies visually. Maybe he could just run all his ideas – and his dialogue – past ‘Avengers’ director Joss Whedon. I think everyone would benefit from that.

Basically, I guess I’m willing to wait until 2015 – when the next new ‘Star Wars’ movie is released – before I completely freak out.

One thing is certain, both Disney and Lucasfilm have merchandising down to a science. Now, maybe, I’ll finally get that partnership between Converse and ‘Star Wars’ that I’ve been hoping for.

What do you think? Is ‘Star Wars’ going to be ruined by Disney?


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