Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cynical Exploitative Moneymaking Machine purchases other Cynical Exploitative Moneymaking Machine. And now, the weather.

Image kindly provided by Simon Pegg
I bloody love Star Wars, and I'm not ashamed to say so. Episode IV was the first ever film I saw at the cinema, and it had an incredible impact on me - I owe it a great deal in that it introduced me to one of my biggest loves, that of the world of movies. But I've banged on about that at length before.

To read about the making of Episode IV tells a tale of a very different George Lucas. It's a real and moving tale of Guerilla film-making, desperately seeking funds and showing half-completed clips to disappointed backers.

I think the rot started with Return of the Jedi - but it was a movie that could only ever have disappointed after the sublime Empire Strikes Back. One too many fart and burp gags and Chewbacca yodelling Tarzan noises, but it ended the series perfectly. Just as the first Matrix film did. A start, middle and an end. Job done.

But then, somewhere along the way, George, now apparently surrounded by individuals who dare not criticize him, decided he needed a few more check shirts - and the unnecessary prequels were born.

Right, Phantom Menace was a pile of shit - even the title (which sounds like slang for a gastric illness) is embarrassing  Even If we grit our teeth and ignore the existence of Jar Jar Binks, it's an utter crud-pile of a film. Based around the exciting adventure movie premise of a trade embargo (the central plot-line was, allegedly, a toss-up between a trade embargo or an intergalactic soft drink sellers convention), it is, from dismal start to abysmal finish, a cynical exploitative advert for action figures and tie-in video games. Remember that scene in Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor crawls into a toilet? He, against all odds, manages to surround himself with infinitely more shit in Phantom Menace. And Darth Maul the best thing in it? When did half decent make-up, a double bladed lightsabre and a few lines of dialogue replace the need for an interesting background and character development - Did I miss that memo?

I came out of the cinema doing exactly what my wife did when she went to see the Nightmare on Elm Street remake. I tried to convince myself it was good, but I wasn't fooling anybody. But - it was early days - the sequel had to be better, right?

Attack of the Clowns, for all its many, many faults, must be congratulated for one major achievement - If you'd thought that Jake Lloyd was the worst possible actor on the planet they could find to ever portray Anakin Skywalker, Lucas pulled the rabbit out of the hat in the casting of Hayden Christiansen. His performance is so wooden you could christen him Häydn and stick him on a shelf in Ikea. Out acted by the majority of furniture in the film, the romance between Anakin and Padme (Bless you) is about as convincing as Gary Glitters pleas of innocence. People were openly laughing at the dialogue between them in the screening I was at. This from the same man who created a believable romance between Han and Leia?

Lucasfilm - Now officially a Mickey Mouse Operation; a.k.a. "I
never said that Princess Leia had buck teeth.  I said she was
fucking goofy."
And finally Revenge of the Sith. It's the best of the three, but only in the same way that having one arm lopped off is infinitely preferable to having both removed. It's a hurried and botched attempt to tie up loose ends, and a little part of my soul died when the word 'Younglings' was mentioned - and that's all I'm going to say about it.

(As an aside, I feel that The Clone Wars series is infinitely better than any of the prequels. It's not overly ambitious, and in the most part is just entertaining fun and doesn't outstay its welcome).

So, the point. Yesterday it was announced that the House of Mouse have purchased Lucasfilm, and it's seems to have upset a lot of people - and I can't understand why.

One of the main issues for the fanboy upset seems to be - wait for it - that Disney are only in it for the money. No shit Sherlock. Because when George was putting Star Wars branded Action figures, Cereal, novels, video games, comics, place mats, plush toys, car seat covers, costumes, chopsticks, ice cube trays, soft drinks, sweet cigarettes, boardgames, pushchairs, air fresheners, bobble-heads, bathrobes, aquariums, soundtrack albums, cookbooks, coffee, toasters, oven gloves, rubber ducks, sleeping bags, rugs, perfumes, dog outfits, backpacks, porcelain plates and ant farms - or basically every product on planet Earth that could have a logo stuck on it - on every shelf he could find, he was solely doing it for the love of the Star Wars brand, wasn't he?

Get real.

The property has simply moved from one huge cynical exploitative mega-corporation that wants your money to another. Nothing has changed - the world is as it was.

As you were.

"Much Cynicism I sense in you, young David."
"Shut up, Yoda."

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