Monday, March 05, 2007


Another Man's Treasure

Todd Alcott has posted a terrific analysis of the plot of The Empire Strikes Back, which is inarguably the best of the Star Wars series, and arguably the only good movie of the bunch. (I have a lot of affection for the original Star Wars, but I don't know how much of that is nostalgia for having seen it at the age of seven, and nothing to do with the flick itself; when I watch the flick, I can't get out of my nostrils the plasticky smell of the lightsaber toys that Mattel released the following year, little flashlights with colored filters over the lenses that attached to opaque plastic tubes.)

After Alcott has reminded you just why ESB is such a great film, consider this.
"George Lucas, giving the award to Sid Ganis, who was the in-house publicist on Star Wars: Episode Five - The Empire Strikes Back, said, 'Sid is the reason why The Empire Strikes Back is always written about as the best of the films, when it actually was the worst one.'"
Really, that's all you need to know about why the Star Wars frachise has gone so wrong since 1980. Lucas thinks it was the worst of the bunch, and that the publicist that was responsible for the film's high regard. Why couldn't he have said this years ago, and saved all of us the trouble of even watching the three prequels?

Actually, the comment was made in jest at a an awards dinner for Sid Ganis.

I'd like to shove broken glass into Lucas' eyes at times, but I think he's getting raked over the coals unfairly on this one.

John Klima
I got the impression that it was a somewhat jokey awards dinner kind of thing to say, but that he actually meant the part about the relative merits of the flicks. Has it been confirmed somewhere that the whole statement was tongue in cheek, or at least that Lucas really doesn't think Empire is the worst?
I've seen nothing beyond the article I linked in. I truly believe that he thinks all the films are worthwhile. I refuse to watch the third film (which drives my brother-in-law nuts).

What Lucas actually believes and says varies at any given moment with the phases of the moon. I mean, he's the one saying the press made up the crazy idea of nine films, and he has no idea where that came from while I have an old issue of Bantha Tracks where he's interviewed and gushes about his grand plan for "three trilogies." Changing your mind is one thing. Changing your mind and lying about it is just pathetic.
Feh. I used to think the prequels were harmless, until I got into a series of involved conversations with an eight year old boy who was introduced to the franchise through them, and I decided that they're actually actively bad. Bad filmmaking, and bad for the viewer. I'll save the full rant for another time, but consider this: The POV characters in the six films, from the perspective of the first prequel onwards, are Anakin Skywalker, who becomes Darth Vader after killing hundreds if not thousands of Jedi, including a school full of children, and Boba Fett, who vows revenge on the Jedi and their friends while cradling what appears to be the severed head of his father (it's probably just a helmet, but both readings are equally valid). My eight year old friend didn't just prefer the villains to the heroes, he actively HATED the Jedi for what they did to Annakin (preventing him from saving his mother, first from a life of slavery and then from being raped to death by Sand People, so as not to "interfere with his studies") and Boba (whose dad is just a hardworking joe who never, so far as we see in the flick, does anything evil except possibly killing another bounty hunter who was already dying anyway, and who is then beheaded by Sam Jackson just for choosing the wrong employer). So what is the moral lesson of the films, then?
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