Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"So this is how liberty dies: with a thunderous applause."

UPDATE: I fixed the link to Mango's blog down there.




This is going to take some effort.

In our 2005 Year in Review I commented on how much Star Wars: Episode III, much to the contrary to my initial reaction, SUCKED ASS.

Since the time that I've actually owned the film (ca. December 2005) I've tried and failed to watch it top to bottom several times. I usually fall asleep during the first ten minutes or so. Last night, for some God-awful reason, I made a concentrated effort to sit all the way through it again.


I guess we can get the obvious complaints out of the way first.

What pisses me off most about the movie are its egregiously political overtones. The OT was a masterwork of fantasy, and a was a fairly decent take on spirituality. Even though "the Force" in itself was a rather poorly conceived amalgamation of Eastern mysticism and New Age mumbo-jumbo, it was at the minimum thought inducing and mildly theological.

Episode III, and the entire NT in general, are nothing of the sort. E3's especially grimace-inducing allusions to current events leave it feeling horribly and unbearably dated, even before it has celebrated its one year birthday.

See if this sounds familiar: our executive leader has used lies and treachery to usurp the emergency wartime power legitimately granted him by our representative branch. Not only does he despise our precious democracy, but he also uses religion purely as a tool for his political advancement.

Only the neo-gnostic Jedi, with their access to secret goings on, untenable longing for justice, and relentless desire for truth are in the right in their actions. "He was deceived by a lie; we all were!" See the title of this post for more of the same from the good guys.

Gee, it's no small wonder that the Democrats don't carry lightsabers and that Howard Dean doesn't communicate in Yoda-speak everywhere he goes. Liberal bias in Hollywood? I don't believe in it.

Asinine politics aside, the love story thing is atrocious. It's obvious that George doesn't have a romantic bone in his body. Not only did he write some of the worst lovey-dovey exchanges in the history of the English language, but he directed the actors to deliver their lines with all the emotion of a dead baby. Anakin, you idiot! Padme is smokin' hot, that's for sure, but she's got the personality of tree stump. You turn to the Dark Side for her?

I just realized that this movie isn't worth the time I have spent on it so far.

Which leads me to my next point: George Lucas raped my childhood.

The Star Wars tapes I grew up with were all bootlegged. Star Wars was recorded off a CBS airing and Empire was a Showtime job. Jedi was an anomaly - I never owned a physical copy until I recorded it off the Sci Fi channel in early its early years, but I still had seen it a zillion times by then.

I watched those movies as many times as was physically possible by a kid. Empire was obviously the best, and obviously my favorite. I can remember stretches of several months where I would watch it every.single.Friday.evening. Without fail. Of course, I had internalized every last detail of the OT by the time I was 10. All three are among those movies I can quote verbatim, start to finish.

Needless to say, these films are near and dear to me, and hold a special place in my heart. Which explains why when Mr. Lucas came in and completely defaced them with his special editions, a little piece of me died inside. I remember it vividly. The year was 1997, and I was at the midnight screening of Episode IV. Never have I felt such a sense of violation, of hurt, of betrayal as that moment when, on the big screen, in glorious THX, Greedo shot first:

Greedo. Shot. First.

What the fuck? WHAT THE FUCK?!?

The rest of the movie continued in similar revisionist fashion, as did the the other two, whose releases quickly followed. By the time I witnessed what amounted to the gayest orgy of CGI overload EVER during the new ending of Jedi, I seriously contemplated suicide. Well, maybe not.

Lucas continued to reveal not only his unadulterated apathy to his millions of loyal fans, but also his sick, sadistic side as he released the drivel known as the New Trilogy and his self-proclaimed "canonical version" of the OT on DVD.

I think the DVD is what hurts the worst. DVD is the ultimate fanboy medium. Think: "Dude, I can't fucking wait until that comes out on DVD!" about, well, every geek movie, ever. For years, as was the case with Back to the Future or Indiana Jones, I would spontaneously cum at even the hint of Star Wars being released on DVD. Little did I know...

Where Lucas' botching of the Special Edition was largely described as a master tinkering, the "canonical version" released on DVD in 2004 was nothing short of a butcher cleaving away at a masterpiece. Inserting the face of Hayden Christensen over Shaw IN THE VERY LAST SCENE of the VERY LAST MOVIE goes beyond unacceptable. HAYDEN FUCKING CHRISTENSEN. Its like rewriting the last chapter of Revelation to read, "And the beast swallowed the lamb and darkness ruled the universe until the end of time. The End." What the fuck?!?

The list of changes is no concise one. Even at the viewing of the smallest modification, my heart breaks all over again. And I can spot them all.

The saddest part is that Star Wars is such an integral part of my character that I have regular, inevitable urges to watch these things. Yes, even the vomitous Episode I, every once in a blue moon. As much as I try, I cannot disassociate myself with them. The one God-send in all of this has been Ebay. Blessed, blessed Ebay. Only on Ebay can you still regularly purchase the 1995 THX re-mastered VHS versions.

Blessed, blessed Ebay.

Which is why I will never throw away my VCR. Rest assured, Elliot will have unlimited access to these versions only, until he is of appropriate age to appreciate the irreconcilable distinctions between the two. All the DVD's will be safely locked away in the gun cabinet.

Okay, I'm stopping now. Suffice it to say: Lucas, you have scarred me beyond reprieve.

Oh yeah, one more thing. Now Mango has a blog. He's way hipper than me, maybe Giz, and definitely Richard.

Typical Mango.


At 10:32 AM, February 22, 2006, Blogger mrshife said...

Nice post Vince. It sucks that Lucas is trampling all over our childhood memories. He should have left well enough alone. I hated the last 3 chapters. I think everyone went ga-ga over the last one because they wanted it to be good and it was sentimental because it was the last one.

At 10:34 AM, February 22, 2006, Blogger mrshife said...

And Eight Below is good even though it got Disneyfied. It is inspired by a true story about a Japanese sled dog team that got left behind for a year in 1958.

At 11:05 AM, February 22, 2006, Blogger angel, jr. said...

I'll stick with my childhood memories of Star Wars.

At 1:19 PM, February 22, 2006, Anonymous Cole said...

Amen, brother. You have articulated our shared rage in way I could only hope to someday mimic.

Lucas, like an early R2 prototype, seems to have a bad motivator. If only he could have been stopped in time...

Alas, all true OT Star Wars fans share this in common: We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life.

At 2:18 PM, February 22, 2006, Anonymous Cody said...

There have been a few good things to come from the Star Wars saga lately, like the missing Episode 2.5 that Cartoon Network funded. Star Wars: Clone Wars is bad-ass and, in my opinion, is how Star Wars movies should be done from now on. Then again I'm a cartoon nut, but seriously, they kick more ass than a Chuck Norris roundhouse... and that's a lot of ass!

At 3:04 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Vince said...

The Clone Wars was definitely a worthy endeavor, further proof that the critical success of any Star Wars project is inversely proportionate to the amount of direct control Lucas exercises over it.

On a side note, the director of The Clone Wars, Genndy Tartakovsky (who is also the creator/mastermind of Dexter's Laboratory and Samurai Jack), has recently been announced as director of the Dark Crystal sequel, tentatively scheduled for a 2007 release. Hellz yes!

At 5:14 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Arun said...

Man, did everyone have the original Star Wars trilogy on bootlegged VHS? Unfortunatly, our copies were lost when our house got flooded. Along with those casettes we also lost another bootlegged star wars movie. The made-for-tv Caravan of Courage: Ewok Adventure. Does anyone even remember that any more? I wonder if they have it on Amazon...

At 5:22 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Arun said...

holy shit! check out what i found with a simple search. this guy is more passionate about his Star Wars than you are Vince. And I had such fond memories of that movie...

At 9:06 PM, February 22, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

i love you toonces


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