Thursday, March 17, 2005

Why "Star Wars" is as dead as Michael Jackson

Back in the dawn of time, I remember taking my little sister to see the premier of what I was told was a genuine "experience". I drove down from the Bronx to Manhattan with her and a couple of my old high school friends in my canary yellow Fiat (first car I ever owned - it was shaped like a box. Ugly as sin - but it was easy to spot in a New York parking lot). After a helpful wino assisted me in parallel parking ("turn it a little more" (stagger) "You got it" (belch), etc.), we walked over to the theater where the line stretched around the block. My sister (she was 13 at the time - I was 21 and in the military on a weekend off. I was stationed in New Jersey) was dismayed at the prospect of not getting in. But a helpful older couple allowed us to cut the line and we hustled ourselves inside. The movie started and a bookmark was placed in my life. That movie was, of course, "Star Wars". A similar thing happened to me several years later on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The town was East Yarmouth and I was home watching MTV (back when they showed actual music videos - remember that? No? OK. But I remember when "Video Killed the Radio Star"). Anyway, there was a new music vid out. I saw it and another bookmark was placed. That video was the full length version of "Thriller".

Now it's all gone. Killed by the unrelenting hand of time, ego and madness. I don't need to go into the case of Mr. Jackson. All you need do is head on over to CNN or tune in to about a bazillion different sources on TV and the Internet to check out that sad can of beans. However, the death of Star Wars is a slightly different matter. It's like a brain dead relative whose family refuses to pull the plug. A parent diagnosed with cancer whose children are in complete denial. A funeral that no one wants to attend. Regarding the upcoming "Revenge of the Sith", I keep seeing the pathetically hopeful fans of the series posting items that say things like "I saw the trailer - and man was it kickass!". Please. It's dead folks. The absolute best we can hope for is another action movie with good CGI that doesn't inspire outright animosity towards Mr. Lucas.

What a lot of people don't seem to realize (or refuse to realize, assuming they're old enough to remember what "Star Wars" actually meant to it's original fans) is that the original trilogy struck the very heart of our multiple belief systems. It had a unifying factor - good vs. evil. Plain and simple. Also, here's the catch, folks - it was groundbreaking. When will people realize that you can't improve on groundbreaking. All you can do is morph it into something that "fits in with the times". Lots of CGI? Sure, why not. Action in the same vein as countless other movies out there? Check. Originality? that by me again? It's sad to see the dead resurrected time and again but when money's involved, the dead will walk the earth. Right George? (Lucas, not Romero).


At 9:05 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Henry, that's a great point, and one I've been making for years, even decades now. You can never recapture the thrill of something original.

On the Jabootu site, I posted a thread about Entertainment Weekly magazine asking if Sin City would be the next Pulp Fiction. My answer was succinct: No. People interpretted this in different ways, but my real point was that Pulp Fiction has happened now, and every film like Sin City exists in its shadow. Therefore there will never be another Pulp Fiction, or Star Wars, or Raiders of the Lost Ark, or John Woo's The Killer, or whatever.


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