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amner 28th Sep 2004 13:25

Star Wars
The release of the new mucked about, messed around, Star Wars Trilogy inevitably commands the top spot in the DVD charts.

Why? I cannot abide Star Wars, personally, and have never understood the appeal (even though, you'd think, I caught it in '77 when I was at the perfect age to taken along for the ride, just 13). But no, it's never done anything for me.

You're all going to have a pop at me now, aren't you?

John Self 28th Sep 2004 13:34

No. I hate 'em too. I don't believe I have ever seen the first one in its entirety (and it's called Star Wars, just Star Wars, not Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, you tiresome revisionist cock, Lucas) but I did go to the cinema to see The Empire Strikes Back when it came out - 1979? 1980? - when I would have been six or seven (which is actually, at least according to the number of people around my age who still go ice-cold thick banana whips over it, the perfect age to see it) - and I fell asleep. I went to see it again when it was re-released with new bells and whistles in the 1990s and thought it was crap still. I never saw Return of the Jedi or the two prequels but even people who like the franchise say they're shit. On the other hand I did have the Return of the Jedi sticker album, a Jabba the Hutt moving figure and a scout bike that exploded (ie fell apart limply) when you pressed a button at the back.

NottyImp 28th Sep 2004 13:40

I like the first two - the third is horribly cutesy, but just about watchable. They're 1950's Space Opera writ large, and should be taken as such. They are not, in any sense, "good" SF.

The latest two (probably three, by now) are amongst some of the most tedious movies I have ever seen. CGI nightmares with appalling dialogue and less humour than a Charles Bronson movie. If they are to be Lucas' epitaph as a film-maker, then he might as well have written "Talentless Idiot" on his gravestone.

amner 28th Sep 2004 14:09

Hmm, yes, the title. Star Wars is appallingly childish isn't it?

All part of that American Zoetrope crowd of course. He must have sat around with Coppola and Scorsese and the rest wondering when he'd be found out. I can vaguely remember THX 1138 as being 'OK', but turned American Graffiti off after half an hour. Looking at his body of work now you realise it's pretty much all frittering around within the SW or Indiana Jones franchises. Oh, apart from his 'big moment' in Sesame Street Presents: Follow that Bird (1985) as 'Man in Background'.

jim 28th Sep 2004 14:12

I'm with Amner on this. I did go to see it when it first came out but I actually wanted to go and see a horror film (The Car I think it was called) but embarrasingly although my mates got their tickets the lady behind the counter wouldn't believe I was 15 (I wasn't - I would have been 12 or 13) so we all had to go to Star Wars instead.

gil 28th Sep 2004 15:35

Welll.... When it came out, you've got to remember what constituted SF movies back then, most of it low budget tv stuff

Flash Gordon (low budget movie matinee serial) absolute piffle, and the special effects were laughable

The Lost Planet (starring Ronald Reagan) a juvenile romp carried out on a planet with a suspiciously flat terrain resembling a sound stage, lightweight plasticky rocks, strangely painted rubber plants and scenery illustrated on hanging sheets and cardboard boxes.

Dr Who (back when dark blue police boxes were a commonplace sight) deliberately camped up quite early in the series

Lost in Space (with Robbie the Robot) American sitcom set in a terrible studio set

Star Trek (started 1967 and never stopped) yeah, I know it's got its adherents, but so has Coronation Street, only they mostly aren't proud of it.

2001 - a space Odyssey -( the first promising-looking spaceship and a feisty computer) Jolly well done and great to look at with excellent effects, but the chimpanzees' tea party at the beginning was awful, the main story was crap and the effects at the end lame.

Against this tide of mediocrity, Star Wars contained nice looking spaceships, safe drama with (at least two) real actors, functional robots, believable sets that didn't sway when an actor leaned on them, laser blade animation, a nice hologram. Come on! It was wonderful!

OK, the newer episodes are worse and worse, but still the leading edge of child-friendly sf movies. (Die Jar Jar! Die!)

The Alien series was the next step in sf movies, particularly the first one, which was truly horrific in its day (movie gore was less prevalent back then).

Colyngbourne 28th Sep 2004 16:29

You can chalk up another anti-Star Wars vote from me. I too was in the perfect catchment for the first film and hated it from the off. Smarmy Han Solo and the stupid tinkerings of the robots. I thought it was a load of pap then and still do. I did watch The Empire Strikes Back once but have never seen anything more than clips of the others, which utterly confirm what pants the whole saga is. Why a whole generation of (especially) men revere George Lucas is beyond me. (And I'm a pretty untypical female sci-fi geek, into all the creaky Dr. Who/Blake's 7 etc. stuff.)

Star Trek is a different matter of course. :wink:

(And I loved the old Buster Crabbe Flash Gordon too - you see snatches of it on Franz Ferdinand's video for Matinee.)

amner 28th Sep 2004 16:54

Oh yes, Larry 'Buster' Crabbe:
Mixed up very happily with Champion the Wonder Horse, Flashing Blade, Singing Ringing Tree, Belle & Sebastian, etc, is that.

youjustmightlikeit 28th Sep 2004 19:03

I'm a big fan. I was three years old when it came out, probably about seven or eight when i first saw it along with Empire Strikes Back, and it utterly captivated me.

I bought the boxed set last week and watched the bonus material DVD and it told me stuff i never knew before. I never knew for example that it was almost never brought to screen, beset on all sides as it was by doubting Thomas's, including the studio bosses (of course), Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, and numerous other now massively high profile directors - all firm chums of Lucas.
I also never knew, because i've never really paid much attention, that after the (in my opinion garnered from the clips) utterly shite THX1138, and the unexpectedly succesfull American Graffiti, that Lucas turned down the corporate fast track taken up by all his comtemporaries to write, produce, edit, direct and generally push along his own dream project, helping found ILM in the process, from scratch, in an old warehouse, with a group of unprofessional model makers. Respect is due.

As gil alludes to, the film is much admired by many of todays directors, and was credited by Ridley Scott as direct inspiration for Alien and Blade Runner, especially with regard to it's 'used future'. 'Used future', a concept that seems everyday and natural in the best sci fi, but also a concept pretty much invented by Lucas. The cleaners on set had to be actively dissuaded from cleaning, being so used to polishing everything till it shone.

The script is famously culled from selected, condensed, world mythology archetypes; and as such, the story speaks to all except the most obstinately grouchy, or, ahem, those who haven't actually seen it. The film races along (Lucas's persistant direction being 'faster and with more intensity') with handsome heroes, princesses, pirates, wizards, farmboys, robots, spaceships, monsters, laser guns; and most importantly of all, the one that everybody forgets - humour. I ask you, what more do you want from an adventure story?

Lucas, nowadays, projects a sorry image of corporate fat cat with his hands all over multi billion dollar merchandising rights, a huge 'Skywalker' ranch and the man behind that beard and the pitiful prequels. Ok, he's lost it, the spirit and the humour of the originals is gone. His detractors probably love this, thinking he is all that's wrong with corporate big budgetry. This transformation, and it's irony considering his passionate anti studio stance twenty years ago, is not something that's lost on Lucas, he acknowledges it, and makes you feel that he still knows where he's come from. As for the money, well, for the original, he signed away his share of the box office just to get the film made, and instead had the bright idea of getting the rights for the until then unheard of, and predicted meagre profit from the merchandising rights. Good for him. From success comes money, and there can be no doubt that the Star Wars trilogy are some of the most wildly successfull films ever made.
In the 'making of' footage and the archive pictures, Lucas cuts a different figure. He was lean, hungry, driven, a little gauche, and just wanted to make a film that he'd always wanted to make. (Even if he did have a beard).

Unfortunately the recently released DVD's include the buggered about with 90's version with the all too obvious CGI sequences, which momentarily destroys the organic appeal of the original; but i'm willing to forgive that. Why? Because i once again get to wish i was Han Solo and Chewwy's mate, i once again get to wish i could give Luke a kick up the arse, i once again wish i had R2 as my 'wingman' who'd jollily 'gone through a lot together', or wished i was as ruthless as Boba Fett, or, in my more adult moments wished i could get my hands on that rather tasty bikini clad princess. Yes, they're all geek cliches, do i care, do i hell.
Come on Amner, lighten up, the title "Star Wars", 'appallingly childish'? Let's face it, it's a great title. Also, having the playful heart that i do, if i was to go to the grave having spent my career 'frittering around within the SW or Indiana Jones franchises', i would go with a smile on my face.


John Self 28th Sep 2004 19:40

Fair enough. But!


Originally Posted by youjustmightlikeit
'Used future' ... a concept pretty much invented by Lucas

Wasn't it set "a long time ago"??

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