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May 16, 2011 4:03 AM   Subscribe

The five stages of Star Wars fandom grief. [Slate.com]
posted by Fizz (156 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's just a movie folks.
posted by sammyo at 4:13 AM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is the Amazon just a river? Is K2 just a mountain?

Yes and yes
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:16 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I've never seen it. Do I win?
posted by mippy at 4:23 AM on May 16, 2011


Yes, you win this new TV! I heard you don't have one.
posted by Windigo at 4:25 AM on May 16, 2011 [88 favorites]


So download the Wookie Xmas special off youtube to your iphone and re-watch that over and over. It even has a song by Princess Carrie.
posted by sammyo at 4:26 AM on May 16, 2011


At least the Christmas special had Harvey Korman.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:30 AM on May 16, 2011


At least the Christmas special had Harvey Korman.

Don't you worry your pretty little head, George Lucas is hard at work and will soon digitally alter/reinsert him into every other Star Wars film.
posted by Fizz at 4:33 AM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I do have a TV, but I only use it to watch Jeremy Kyle, so I know what a Wookie and Ewoks probably look like.
posted by mippy at 4:35 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well it could have been worse, he could have got into nu Battlestar Galatica during his bargaining phase... (actually I think I managed to zoom through all the stages during the finale myself as I can only summon up indifference now when I think about the show)
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:36 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Be honest: Once you find out Leia is Luke's secret sister, things just get weird. What with them kissing and Luke obviously lusting after her, what else could he do but become a Jedi to repress those feelings.

Seriously, go back and look at Star Wars, see how Luke is all like "OMG, she's gorgeous, we have to rescue her so I can get a shot at some nookie. Oh she likes Han. Oh ok. Oh she's my sister. So, I guess I'm outta the running?"

Star Wars was good, Empire was great, Jedi sucked. The only thing good about the prequels is that they put a lot of people to work.

(actually I think I managed to zoom through all the stages during the finale myself as I can only summon up indifference now when I think about the show)

It works great, if you imagine it ended when they found the first Earth.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:37 AM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Seriously, though, it was a combination of it never being shown on TV when I was a kid (I was born in 1982; it's been shown on terrestrial telly once in the past decade as far as I know) and hearing people go on and on and on and on about it at length so I was pretty bored with it anyway. Don't know if we're just weird over here but none of the kids I went to school with were really bothered about it. So, you know, I just put it in the same category as Monty Python: Things That Would Be Ace If I'd Discovered Them Myself And Not Via Fanboy Pub Quoting.
posted by mippy at 4:38 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eh. Nerds are blown away by stuff when they're eight, and enraged by basically the same stuff when it doesn't have the same effect on them when they're thirty. As ever, the problem is nerds, not "stuff."
posted by Amanojaku at 4:41 AM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I enjoy Star Wars, but I wouldn't call myself a "fan". However, I am a *huge* Golden Girls fangirl; in other words, I freakin LOVED the Star Wars Christmas Special.
posted by lesli212 at 4:47 AM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


The five stages of Firefly fandom grief:
Grief
Anger
Grief
Anger
Grief
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:47 AM on May 16, 2011 [60 favorites]


he could have got into nu Battlestar Galatica during his bargaining phase...

feafulsymmetry, I have just started watching this show. Is there a point at which I should stop, or is it best to stop now before its too late?
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:54 AM on May 16, 2011


You forgot, "watching anything and everything with Nathan Fillion in the hopes that it'll recapture the magic."
posted by explosion at 4:55 AM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm a little mystified why that piece can't spare a link to The People vs. George Lucas.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:56 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


The two stages of Star Wars grief:

1) (In mid 1980's) Why do people love this so much?
2) (At all later times) So because I'm a nerd everyone is going to assume I love Star Wars?
posted by DU at 4:57 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rule to live by: never watch/read the last season/book of a previously great sci-fi/fantasy/super-imaginative series.
posted by double bubble at 4:58 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's just a movie folks.
posted by sammyo at 12:13 PM on May 16


Yes, and a thoroughly pisspoor one at that. Or rather, a thoroughly pisspoor six movies. I didn't even watch the later three but from what I read about them it sounds like I can safely include them in the total count of pisspoorness. When I hear that someone is a Star Wars obsessive it's a bit like hearing that someone is religious or conservative. My whole estimation of them instantly takes a nosedive.
posted by Decani at 4:58 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The five stages of Firefly fandom grief:
Grief
Anger
Grief
Anger
Grief [Now available in BLU-RAY]


Corrected.
posted by Fizz at 4:58 AM on May 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


It works great, if you imagine it ended when they found the first Earth.

Also, Buffy died at the end of season five, and was mysteriously resurrected for an hour and a half to star in a musical.

Unfortunately, there's no equivalent trick you can use for Deadwood.
posted by steambadger at 5:00 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can't we all just be friends with Jar-Jar ?
posted by Flood at 5:00 AM on May 16, 2011


Can't we all just be friends with Jar-Jar?

Flagged.
posted by likeso at 5:05 AM on May 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is there a point at which I should stop [watching BSG], or is it best to stop now before its too late?

You can watch it right up to the final episode, then make up your own ending.
posted by steambadger at 5:05 AM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I enjoyed the Star Wars movies when I was a kid, I really did. But I can't understand the constant influx of FB posts from friends who find Star Wars stuff online and post it with comments in caps/LOLspeak, etc. And when I fail to get excited like they do, it's like I drowned their kittens or something.

It was great when you were a kid; can we please stop romanticizing it as though no other good (read: better) movies came before and after?
posted by Kitteh at 5:11 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can watch it right up to the final episode, then make up your own ending.

This is what I'm talkin' about. Excellent advice that can be applied in so many cases.
posted by double bubble at 5:11 AM on May 16, 2011


I'd like to amend that last bit wasn't really directed at you lot; I think my frustration with my FB list just came out.
posted by Kitteh at 5:12 AM on May 16, 2011


Decani: Yes, and a thoroughly pisspoor one at that. Or rather, a thoroughly pisspoor six movies. I didn't even watch the later three but from what I read about them it sounds like I can safely include them in the total count of pisspoorness. When I hear that someone is a Star Wars obsessive it's a bit like hearing that someone is religious or conservative. My whole estimation of them instantly takes a nosedive.

To some, your prior statements on religion will pale by comparison to the blasphemy exhibited in this most recent comment.
posted by gman at 5:22 AM on May 16, 2011


I'm just really, really into Flight of the Navigator.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:23 AM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


It was great when you were a kid; can we please stop romanticizing it as though no other good (read: better) movies came before and after?


Like Krull! Man, Krull was awesome.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:23 AM on May 16, 2011 [7 favorites]


You can watch it right up to the final episode, then make up your own ending.

Pro tip: this works for Lost as well.
posted by aught at 5:31 AM on May 16, 2011


Pro tip: this works for Lost as well.
Except here, you can start with the first episode.
posted by PapaLobo at 5:33 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


When I was six, I went to see Star Wars. It was fun. I liked the robots.

A couple of years later, after watching Battle Beyond The Stars at the same pokey little cinema, I was thoroughly cured of any nascent Star Wars fandom.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 5:34 AM on May 16, 2011


to sir with millipedes, I second the stopping BSG at the point where they find Earth. Afterwards it becomes a different more meandering show.
posted by Omon Ra at 5:35 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Never fear; in 30 years or so a visionary will come along and remake the entire series fresh from the ground up.
posted by bwg at 5:38 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Be honest: Once you find out Leia is Luke's secret sister, things just get weird. What with them kissing and Luke obviously lusting after her, what else could he do but become a Jedi to repress those feelings.

You think Luke had it bad, what about Han?
posted by samsara at 5:38 AM on May 16, 2011 [15 favorites]


I couldn't give a toss about Star Wars but he's completely wrong when he says this:

"Then I gave the old Doctor Who series from the '70s as good as try as I could muster. I love Tom Baker's manic energy and toothy grin, but those old episodes haven't aged well. At all. I'm sure it was fine at the time—I'd rather watch Doctor Who than an episode of Kojak—but the glacial pacing and hokey effects start to wear on you after a while."

The first three series of Tom Baker's incarnation are arguably the strongest in Doctor Who - a series which has far outstripped Star Wars in imagination and continuing appeal. Such classics as Ark in Space, Genesis of the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars, The Masque of Mandragora, The Robots of Death and The Talons of Weng-Chiang are every bit as wonderful now as they were back then and nearly all of the other stories in those years (OK, not The Android Invasion) are really good too. What he terms 'glacial pacing' is actually suspenseful nuanced story telling and the 'hokey effects' look miles better than today's cartoonish CGI.
posted by joannemullen at 5:39 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I like the original trilogy as much as I like any classic movie, but whenever I encounter a Star Wars fan, I really wish I could just recount the entirety of Plinkett's reviews at them, maybe through the use of a mindmeld (oh shit) or something... It's not that the prequels are just disappointing, or even bad because they're sci-fi / nerdwank / etc, they're just fundamentally poorly constructed films.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:39 AM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


Tim Bisley (played and written by Simon Pegg) in Spaced reacts to a customer trying to buy a Ja Ja doll in his comic shop.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 5:43 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


A timeline that might work better for those who are uninterested
posted by theredpen at 5:52 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In high school, I read more Star Wars novels than I did regular books—somewhere around 15

Wait, is her seriously saying he read fewer than thirty book in four years of high school? Because I literally had nearly as many overdue at the public library at any one time -- and that's not counting what I bought at two used bookstores or read in school.
posted by orthogonality at 5:57 AM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Like Krull! Man, Krull was awesome.

My husband feels the same way.
posted by Kitteh at 6:01 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Orthogonality, I was mystified by that sentence as well -- especially since it would take about a week and a half to read fifteen Star Wars novels...
posted by steambadger at 6:03 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


feafulsymmetry, I have just started watching this show. Is there a point at which I should stop, or is it best to stop now before its too late?

When you get to the Bob Dylan moment (you'll know it when it you see it) it really is better to stop watching and make your own end up
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:07 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I never much cared for StarWars or Lost, and never even watched BSG. I vaguely remember watching Firefly, didn't dislike it, but never much cared.

I felt ST:TNG's initially1 made some real effort towards capturing the feel of ST:TOS, which deserves a golf clap more than the preceding. I also liked the first season of SG1 and the later seasons of B5 and Farscape.

In other words, I like shows that're "trying to do/say something", even if they fail, but I don't much like shows that're just being flashy.2

1 But of course ST:DS9 was a bad B5 rip off and ST:V was "who the fuck made my high school principle into a starship captain". 2 I donno if Farscape is the exception that proves the rule here, but hey muppets!
posted by jeffburdges at 6:08 AM on May 16, 2011


I notice that he mentions girls twice (he didn't kiss one until college, he woke up next to his girlfriend)..

Was that to preempt Shatner's question to Star Trek fans on SNL: "You,.. you... must be... almost 30... have... you... ever... kissed... a girl?
posted by orthogonality at 6:09 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, is her seriously saying he read fewer than thirty book in four years of high school?

That sounds fine. My spouse honestly claims that he read maybe 5 in the 4 years of high school.

I felt ST:TNG's initially1 made some real effort towards capturing the feel of ST:TOS

Now THERE'S a fandom I don't understand. TOS is in general terrible, occasionally rising to "amusingly camp."
posted by muddgirl at 6:10 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


In high school, I read more Star Wars novels than I did regular books—somewhere around 15

I read the Star Wars novelisation alone (hey, we had no videos back then) at least 15 times, you big Trekkie
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:13 AM on May 16, 2011


In other words, I like shows that're "trying to do/say something", even if they fail

Then you will probably like the new BSG.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:16 AM on May 16, 2011


In other words, I like shows that're "trying to do/say something", even if they fail, but I don't much like shows that're just being flashy.

The new BSG started as a pretty interesting allegory of the war on terror, then, in the last season, it turned into a weid something or other about religion.
posted by Omon Ra at 6:29 AM on May 16, 2011


Yeah, I'd agree that only reading 30 books reflects pretty badly on StarWars fandom. Asimov wrote like 40 novels, not counting short story collections.

There must be a "short" required reading list for people wishing to comment on science fiction, which'll include several novels from each of Asimov, Lovecraft, Vonnegut, Tolkien, Lem, Herbert, etc. And here is a starting point.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:30 AM on May 16, 2011


That sounds fine. My spouse honestly claims that he read maybe 5 in the 4 years of high school.

Five Star Wars novels, or five total books?
posted by orthogonality at 6:32 AM on May 16, 2011


Omon Ra, IMO the new BSG was always about religion, from the very beginning. The allegory of the war on terror / Iraq occupation (that one season) was the detour.

It started out as an allegory of the rise of Christianity (monotheism, the Cylon single god) and the fall of the Roman empire (the Lords of Kobol).
posted by nathancaswell at 6:35 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


There must be a "short" required reading list for people wishing to comment on science fiction, which'll include several novels from each of Asimov, Lovecraft, Vonnegut, Tolkien, Lem, Herbert, etc.

The English Fanon?
posted by running order squabble fest at 6:38 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I get where this guy is coming from. If you had told me any time from about the summer of 1977 up until early in this century that there would someday be a SW theatrical release called The Clone Wars, I would have been fantastically excited. As it turns out, by the time it rolled around, I was so blasé that I didn't bother to go and still have not seen it.

There is, to extend his metaphor about alcoholism, a moment where every fan hits rock bottom and realizes he has to turn things around. My childhood love of the movies survived the Holiday Special, survived the Ewoks, survived the sixteen-year drought, even survived -- with grievous wounds -- the first prequel (despite the writer's contention, that was a pretty kick-ass three-way lightsaber duel) but finally foundered on Episode II.

I think the tipping point where I was finally free of it came in January, 2005, four months before the arrival of Episode III. Some online board pointed out that it was the 25th anniversary of the premiere of Galactica 1980. In early ought-five, the new BSG was coming to the end of its first season: the fleet was running desperately low on fuel, the election of Zarek to the reconsituted Quorum spelled long-range political trouble, and the pursuing Cylons were relentless.

In January 1980, the return of Galactica to TV was a massive disappointment: all of the interesting characters had been surgically removed, the show had been retooled to make it more family-friendly (kids learning valuable lessons and getting hugs!) and even as an undiscriminating preteen I realized that this was utter crap. The big news on TV for science fiction was the shlocky Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which has never since seen the light of day for very good reason. Beyond that, about the only reasonably new SF you could see on TV was reruns of Project UFO, which was the sf fan's equivalent of those stories about people in besieged castle boiling and eating shoe leather.

In the movie theatres, the long-awaited return of Star Trek six weeks earlier with The Motion Picture had been a dud, and all of my hopes were pinned on the release, four long months away of The Empire Strikes Back the second of the rumoured nine moves Lucas was going to make.

If you took the 2005 me through a time machine back to the 1980 me and had old me tell young me, "Look, 25 years from now, there will still be new Star Wars movies and Galactica will be on tv, but you will care hardly at all about Star Wars and Galactica will be the best show on television," young me would have figured this for some sort of clumsy trick.

Young me also would have asked what it was like to kiss a girl.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:50 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Five Star Wars novels, or five total books?

Five total books (discounting required reading, which I have discovered he read sporadically at best - mostly first and last pages and the Spark Notes). I never imagined, as a young girl who would easily read a book a day, that I'd marry a non-reader, but there you have it.

Also, on the drive in to work I started to regret taking such a strong position on ST:TOS. It is weird for me, as a relatively young sci-fi fan, to grow up hearing one of my favorite sci-fi shows (TNG) continually denigrated, only to return to the source material and find that it's not actually the greatest show ever made.
posted by muddgirl at 6:51 AM on May 16, 2011


Sweet Valley High was at about 70 books when I was in high school. Maybe if they'd got Francine Pascal or Ann M David to write them...

What is the deal with the Holiday Special? There is a programme called 'Naughty Rainbow', which is a rude, done for laughs for the production team version of a programme I loved as a kid, Rainbow. I still won'#t watch it because I have fond memories of enjoying the show as a child and I don't want to see Zippy swear.
posted by mippy at 6:52 AM on May 16, 2011


So some folks don't like Star Wars? Oh, thanks for telling me. I didn't know from the last 200 times someone brought up Star Wars.

I swear, some folks wander into threads just to gripe. "Hey, I like this thing!" "You do? You're a moron." WTF
posted by grubi at 6:54 AM on May 16, 2011 [6 favorites]


Interesting, nathancaswell. I dunno. The whole first season dealt with constraining civil liberties when faced by an unseen, deadly, catastrophic threat. Then, parts of it, where about torturing someone who was sort of like us, but not quite. Also about paranoia, also about politicians who staid way too long at their jobs, also about a military that fused uncomfortably with civilian authority.
posted by Omon Ra at 6:54 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did you ever consider that George Lucas saw the obsessive fans and made some crappy movies on purpose to help cure them?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 6:57 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You can watch it right up to the final episode, then make up your own ending.

This is what I'm talkin' about. Excellent advice that can be applied in so many cases.


I....liked the last episode of BSG.

I assume this means I am going to the bad hell?
posted by Windigo at 6:58 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had an unusual experience about a year ago. I realized I had never seen The Empire Strikes Back. Honestly, just never saw it.

I was born in the 60s, so I'm on the older cusp of Star Wars fandom. I've read lots of science fiction in my life, and I love going to movies. Any thing from Jean-Claude Van Damme to pretentious French art-house fare. Yes, I own a TV. It's not snobbery.

I thought I had seen all of the Star Wars films (except for Revenge of the Sith -- who could bother to care at that point?). I seem to get all the references made in pop culture. I know about arms being cut off, fathers, tripping up walkers, etc. Then, a while back, I was watching the Family Guy parody, and started thinking "I don't remember a monster in an ice cave." and "That's who Boba Fett is?". So I hit up Wikipedia, read the plot, and yep, I haven't seen The Empire Stirkes Back. And people tell me it's actually the best written and directed of them all.

So I'll surely see it some time, but I wonder if it's too late, knowing what we all know about the trajectory of the series. Would you still marry your first wife, if you knew it would end in divorce 15 years later?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:02 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


There must be a "short" required reading list for people wishing to comment on science fiction, which'll include several novels from each of Asimov, Lovecraft, Vonnegut, Tolkien, Lem, Herbert, etc.

You don't need to see our identification.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 7:04 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Would you still marry your first wife, if you knew it would end in divorce 15 years later?

Depends on how fun things were during those 15 years. CONTEXT.
posted by grubi at 7:04 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe... By the mid 5th century, as the Roman Empire began to crumble, Thracia fell from the authority of Rome and into the hands of Germanic tribal rulers.

Thrace in Greek mythology was the eponymous heroine and sorceress of Thrace.

Kara Thrace (callsign "Starbuck") is a fictional character in the reimagined Battlestar Galactica franchise.

In Greek mythology Athena or Athene is the goddess of wisdom, civilization, warfare, strength, strategy, female arts, crafts, justice and skill.

Number Eight (Battlestar Galactica), Sharon Agathon, whose callsign is Athena, the Cylon that was inducted into the Colonial Fleet, played by Grace Park.

The twelve colonies are named after the astrological signs of the Greek zodiac; for example, Scorpia (Scorpio), Caprica (Capricorn), and Aquaria (Aquarius). Several of the characters in the series have names or call signs corresponding to significant characters in Greek mythology, including Apollo, Athena, and Cassiopeia.


see also Religious and mythological references in Battlestar Galactica
posted by nathancaswell at 7:07 AM on May 16, 2011


You don't need to see our identification.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now!


heh
posted by AugieAugustus at 7:12 AM on May 16, 2011


No True Midichlorian.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:14 AM on May 16, 2011


I don't doubt what you say, nathancaswell. I'm just saying that at the time, given the particulars of the historical moment we were going through, the religious aspect of BSG seemed like a minor plot point in comparison with the whole: how do we maintain civil society after a catastrophe question. And even the religious aspects fit within the whole war on terror metaphor, given that the war was framed by some as the west vs Islam.

Maybe the religious thing was there in the beginning but it wasn't emphasized as much, or maybe those of us who didn't really cafe for a sf show about religion blocked them from our minds.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:17 AM on May 16, 2011


Jedi sucked.

Oh please. Before Jedi, had you ever seen anything like Jabba the Hutt, speeder chases, and full scale fleet battles?

"But but Ewoks!" Oh stow it.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:25 AM on May 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


I....liked the last episode of BSG.

I assume this means I am going to the bad hell?


I sort of admired the attempt, but I didn't think it made the least bit of frakking sense.
posted by steambadger at 7:25 AM on May 16, 2011


Brocktoon, don't forget "It's a trap!"
posted by nathancaswell at 7:28 AM on May 16, 2011


Did you ever consider that George Lucas saw the obsessive fans and made some crappy movies on purpose to help cure them?

So he's really a 3D-chess master and is four moves ahead of us all, and soon he'll withdraw from Afghanistan and end warrantless wiretapping start releasing the last three Star Wars movies, which will be awesome?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:28 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I thought there were only 4 stages?
1. Fear
2. Anger
3. Hate
4. Suffering
posted by nimsey lou at 7:39 AM on May 16, 2011 [43 favorites]


"Then I gave the old Doctor Who series from the '70s as good as try as I could muster. I love Tom Baker's manic energy and toothy grin, but those old episodes haven't aged well. At all. I'm sure it was fine at the time—I'd rather watch Doctor Who than an episode of Kojak—but the glacial pacing and hokey effects start to wear on you after a while."

I actually really agree with this, having only come to the series in the past several years. I've watched what were supposed to be a lot of the better Baker-era episodes and found them unbearably slow. Good-stuff-to-fall-asleep-to slow. On the other hand, the Peter Davison episodes I've watched have much more modern pacing and were more consistently entertaining.

And, yeah, the special effects were over-the-top ridiculous (though I refuse to hold that against any TV show; but I can see why people would!).

Then again, I liked the movie, so I'm not sure how much my opinion counts for anything.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:40 AM on May 16, 2011


Like the Slate writer, my Star Wars fandom probably peaked in high school. I, too, read virtually every Star Wars novel that came out (but also read other books). I watched, re-watched, and watched again the Trilogy (the other is the Prequel Trilogy), countless times. Three times I read from cover to cover the official Star Wars encyclopedia. I owned multiple VHS copies of the Trilogy. I found friends online, chatted with them for hours (not necessarily just on Star Wars stuff), and engaged in Star Wars RPGs. I'd come home and play X-wing for hours (the first 45 minutes being dedicated to "warming up."), and looked forward to that new sim, TIE Fighter, and the later games to come out. There was within me a great excitement and eagerness for any new release of information concerning the universe, the expanded universe, and talks concerning prequels.

When Phantom Menace came out, I was attending college. I was enviable of those who could take off and camp out in line for two weeks to be the first to get tickets. By this point, I was in Newport Beach, and for as much as everyone went hardcore to get tickets to see the movie on one of the largest movie screens on the West Coast (so I was told - Edwards), I was able to walk up opening day and be the third person in line to see the movie on one of the smaller stadium movies. And...I enjoyed it.

It had a lot of the elements that I felt belonged to Star Wars. Was it ANH? ESB? RTOJ? No. I didn't much care for Jar Jar, and I certainly found the use of a child Anakin annoying. The idea of a virgin birth for Anakin seemed a bit too much for my tastes. But there were moments when I lost myself in the movie, from the race on Tattoine to the lightsaber duel near the end. I left with the impression that this was the result of a guy who'd gotten too comfortable in his place, and for the most part, I had forgotten to a degree on how to dream large. (I felt the most obvious aspect of this came in the battle between the Gungans and the Droid Army - I saw what Lucas had intended it to be...but it fell completely flat as a battle)

In the end, I acknowledged the movie's limitations and accepted it. It wasn't up to par to the trilogy I grew up with and adored. I then waited hopefully for the second installment. Unlike the reviewer, who I'm completely baffled by, it was not worse than the first (and indeed, the final episode was very much the superior of the three - not the worse). Again, it was filled with fewer disappointments and "more Star Wars," as I mentally put it. I felt that the improvement could somewhat be discerned by the difference between the Gungan/Droid battle in the first movie and the Clone/Droid battle in the second. The second battle was much more ambitious.

Ultimately, the second movie was flawed, but less so. It had the hope of establishing a romance, as ESB did, but failed in part because of the acting (which really isn't THAT bad).

In Sith, the opening of the movie seemed like an ode to what had been missing in the first two. We're instantly greeted by two fleets of ships engaged in a massive battle over the planet Coruscant which then flowed into two Jedi achieving the incredible because they are Jedi. In a manner, the vision and promise of the Jedi had finally been achieved in the final film, something that never really happened in the original Trilogy. With the minor exception of the very end of the duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan, it's hard for me to see the last 45 minutes or so of Revenge of the Sith as not out and out Star Wars. The montage of Jedi being felled upon by the Clones, the dark twisting of Anakin in the culling of the Younglings, etc...etc...it was the puzzle piece that finally fell into place to setup the three movies I had grown up devoted to.

I haven't read a Star Wars novel in more than a decade. It's probably been a few years since I actually sat down and watched the original Star War films straight through. I have been taken, though, by the Clone Wars series. By this, I don't mean the film which really shouldn't have been released in the theaters (it's probably the most subpar product of the animation team put out compared to the last few seasons). The Slate writer only referenced the movie, and that's a shame. It's a series that has increasingly shown itself to be on level with the Trilogy in terms of fun, enjoyment, and storytelling. As an animated show, it's amazing product for a weekly serial.

I don't blame the writer for feeling the way he does. I think his reaction is a common one for those who saw the first movie and because it could not, and never would, be on par with the original Trilogy or all our fan expectations...it resulted in an emotional pain. If our experiences were anything a like in terms of passion, I can understand the ensuing anger and disappointment. My own thought is that it helped to cloud the following films for him, as it did for many fans, and as a result, I think they missed a chance to appreciate some of the better aspects of the films. My own offer is for him to go watch the three seasons of the Clone Wars and perhaps, he might find that at least one in galaxy far, far away, the flame still flickers on.
posted by Atreides at 7:50 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


I....liked the last episode of BSG.

Um, why? It truncated a bunch of unfulfilled story arcs with pointless stupidity.c

"We've labored to bring the fleet to Earth, now rather than use the fleet to build our new colony or to protect us from the Cylons who might decide to renege on our treaty, let's just sail them into the Sun; Anders will die with them for no real reason. Starbuck is a ghost/angel/unresolved plot point, and the premonitions of the child Starbuck no longer matter. Adama no longer cares about duty, only about the dying Roslyn -- which might be believable, but Apollo also doesn't care. Everyone is going to camp out, fuck heidelbergensis, and let civilization fall. Not only were the final five dei ex machina, so were Six and Baltar." Ugh.
posted by orthogonality at 7:54 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love Star Wars. Loved it as a kid, love it as an adult. Never got into the "fandom" for all that I participated in a 30-second clip thing for the giant fannish remake. I don't get the hate. Sure, the second trilogy needed a lot of script-doctoring, better directing, and better acting. But Clone Wars the TV series ha been such a joy that it honestly redeems the fact that the movies were so bad for me. Lucas didn't hit his target of for-kids-and-adults, which is the comparison I would make between Star Wars and Doctor Who, in the movies, but the TV show, while uneven, has been good about hitting that mark.

(And don't make me come over there for dissing Tom Baker. The Hammer stuff is some of the best of Classic Who. I'm sorry for folks who don't get it.)
posted by immlass at 7:55 AM on May 16, 2011


What is the deal with the Holiday Special? There is a programme called 'Naughty Rainbow', which is a rude, done for laughs for the production team version of a programme I loved as a kid, Rainbow. I still won'#t watch it because I have fond memories of enjoying the show as a child and I don't want to see Zippy swear.

It's about studios and actors cashing in on the phenomenon of the movie, an utter lack of continuous revenue streams other than keeping it in the theaters (this was a few years before home movie rentals of any kind), and show design by a horribly old-fashioned committee.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:01 AM on May 16, 2011


I....liked the last episode of BSG.
Um, why? It truncated a bunch of unfulfilled story arcs with pointless stupidity.c

"We've labored to bring the fleet to Earth, now rather than use the fleet to build our new colony or to protect us from the Cylons who might decide to renege on our treaty, let's just sail them into the Sun; Anders will die with them for no real reason. Starbuck is a ghost/angel/unresolved plot point, and the premonitions of the child Starbuck no longer matter. Adama no longer cares about duty, only about the dying Roslyn -- which might be believable, but Apollo also doesn't care. Everyone is going to camp out, fuck heidelbergensis, and let civilization fall. Not only were the final five dei ex machina, so were Six and Baltar." Ugh.


It could be said that the showrunners' plan mostly consisted of topping themselves every season, which worked for a bit until they had too much back story and too many spectacles to easily top.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:04 AM on May 16, 2011


Related: The Sonic [the Hedgehog] Cycle.

In summation:

1. OMG! New Sonic game! And it's just Sonic! Yay no more goofy friends!
2. Okay, there's some of his goofy friends! Balls. But! The game looks good!
3. This game sucks.
4. Goto 1.
posted by gc at 8:06 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know what? The prequel trilogy really isn't that bad.

It was on TV last weekend as some kind of marathon thing, and I watched it starting halfway through the first one through to the end. And I liked it.

I saw the original Star Wars at just the right age when it was re-released in theaters...I can't remember how old I was, I guess 7-10, but it was really the perfect age and I was completely enchanted. I also saw all the new ones when they came out and, like everyone else, thought htey sucked. It was a let-down.

But then I watched them on TV last weekend, and you know what, darned if they really weren't that bad. The first one's the worst. The second and third are quite tolerable. The acting isn't good, but the story and the design are still epic.
posted by Nixy at 8:08 AM on May 16, 2011


The first one's the worst. The second and third are quite tolerable.

posted by Nixy at 8:08 AM on May 16 [+] [!]

A friend of mine in college said, after the third one came out, "Man, the first one, sucked, the second one was okay, the third was pretty good. At this rate, the fourth one should be amazing!"
posted by gc at 8:10 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Um, why? It truncated a bunch of unfulfilled story arcs with pointless stupidity.

I know! It did!

But. I still liked it. I don't understand it either.
posted by Windigo at 8:13 AM on May 16, 2011


Starbuck is a ghost/angel/unresolved plot point

And a pigeon!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on May 16, 2011


"But but Ewoks!" Oh stow it.

Well, the Ewoks did suck pretty hard. Also, the audio animatronic ghosts at the campfire scene was truly wretched.
posted by steambadger at 8:15 AM on May 16, 2011


You know what? The prequel trilogy really isn't that bad.

You hang in there. Only four more stages to go.
posted by steambadger at 8:15 AM on May 16, 2011 [12 favorites]


Oh please. Before Jedi, had you ever seen anything like Jabba the Hutt, speeder chases, and full scale fleet battles?

Doesn't matter, the story sucked and the ending was telegraphed from the beginning.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:18 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've developed the "anybody but Lucas" theory of Star Wars. Even the first three films are salvaged by the fact that Lucas delegated key responsibilities to some brilliant people who were able to make sense out of his mess. John Williams especially needs credit for providing scores that help to smooth over some cinematic clunkiness.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:22 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally, I liked Galaxy Quest way more than any Star Wars or Star Trek movies.
posted by indigo4963 at 8:30 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


gc: " A friend of mine in college said, after the third one came out, "Man, the first one, sucked, the second one was okay, the third was pretty good. At this rate, the fourth one should be amazing!""

That's the most convenient thing Lucas has done; watched chronologically, you can almost definitely say that they get better as they go along. Of course, Jedi screws it up by being not the best. If I was a real Star Wars fan, I guess I'd take this personally.

I will always love Star Wars for the joy it brought me as a child, for the group-fun in college it brought me in college where we car pooled to go to a "decent screen" to see the re-releases, for the joy in disappointment the first prequel brought me as an adult who saw it opening day, and then for getting at least part of it right in Attack of the Clones and Revenge on the Sith.

But mostly as an adult, I love Star Wars for the hours of joy the Lego games and Knights of the Old Republic brought me on the XBox. If you'd been able to tell 5 year old me (who played the fuck out of the Atari 2600's Empire Strikes Back killing AT-AT's over and over again, turning black to purple to yellow again and again because the theme music swelled when you got the force) that I would be able to play video games like that set in the Star Wars universe in my lifetime, you'd never have been able to get me to wait until I grew up.

I guess there's plenty of things to dislike about the Star Wars franchising or decisions Lucas has made. But I fortunately I'm only enough of a fan that I care to focus on the good things it's brought me. I consider myself lucky that way.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:34 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Galaxy Quest is really underrated.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:36 AM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Galaxy Quest is really underrated.
Did you even watch the show?
posted by PapaLobo at 8:39 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's the most convenient thing Lucas has done; watched chronologically, you can almost definitely say that they get better as they go along.

Well, rising above crap isn't that hard. That it takes three movies to even reach that point is...odd.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:46 AM on May 16, 2011


Also, I only saw them once but I remember Episode 2 being significantly worse than Episode 1. Episode 1 at least had Darth Maul and a pretty decent lightsaber fight. Episode 2 had 90 minutes of puppydog eyes, the worst "romantic" dialogue ever and a CG Yoda doing backflips fighting Christopher Lee. No thank you.
posted by nathancaswell at 8:55 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


The big news on TV for science fiction was the shlocky Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, which has never since seen the light of day for very good reason.

Buck Rogers is totally ripe for a reboot. It could just be so *grim*. Buck doesn't know how far he can trust the Earth authorities, especially if they keep the mutants and whatnot in the ruins of Chicago. Throw in some hints that maybe the Draconians aren't such bad fellows to increase this. And Buck is so fucked up that nobody, including the viewers, are entirely sure he's a good guy.

Haveta haveta keep the core of the design of the starfighters, though. Those were awesome.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]




I've never seen it. Do I win?

Is this article something that I'd need to own a TV to understand?

"Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of gravel, work twenty hour day at the mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!"
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:02 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Computers are the new TV. If you're posting here, you have a TV.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:04 AM on May 16, 2011 [8 favorites]


>And a pigeon!

Biggest reveal in BSG, sadly.

>"We've labored to bring the fleet to Earth

When I think of the show's end, the characters all marching off in fairly random directions, I also think of the show's writers doing the same thing, just before the final script was due. The final episode gives the impression of having been written by the lighting team, the caterers, the custodians, and anybody else who just wanted to lend a hand in order to wrap things up and get the props and staging cleared off the lot.

I suppose the other option was a big CGI rendering of a sign saying GONE FISHIN'.
posted by darth_tedious at 9:09 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


I found the first two films entertaining as a child and the Clone Wars series that is running now is similar. Not great but just entertaining. A good way to unwind. The sound in all the films and television series is superb.

I'm in the from Return of the Jedi onward camp the series erased any potential it ever had and became unfathomably awful. I remember never bothering to see the Phanton Menace in theatres and then someone brought it by to watch on Christmas day. I couldn't believe how awful it was. Darth Maul had no depth whatsoever. It was incredibly boring. It had an annoying Roddenberry like kid in it. The sound was still great.

Saw the other films on TBS I think (they were constantly playing them awhile back). I watched with fascination at just how bad they were (with the knowledge that they were first actually still even made and then made a ton of money). If you want to see films that are fascinatingly bad these are it.

Then Russel T. Davies did the same thing to Doctor Who. I didn't think anyone could rival Lucas but Mr Davies did so.

Then you have shows like SGU. I thought it was pretty flat the first season but shows need time, at times, to find their feet, to grow, to improve. It did. Tremendously. The result. Cancelled. I'll never get used to this all too common dynamic.
posted by juiceCake at 9:12 AM on May 16, 2011


Is this article something that I'd need to own a TV to understand?

"Luxury. We used to have to get out of the lake at six o'clock in the morning, clean the lake, eat a handful of gravel, work twenty hour day at the mill for tuppence a month, come home, and Dad would thrash us to sleep with a broken bottle, if we were lucky!"


You don't even make any sense. I have a TV. I just live in a country where it hasn't often been shown on the channels to which I have access, so I didn't grow up with it, and by the time I left home and met people who really liked Star Wars and it became a pop culture trope, I KNEW TOO MUCH.
posted by mippy at 9:14 AM on May 16, 2011


it was pretty flat the first season but shows need time, at times, to find their feet, to grow, to improve. It did. Tremendously

As did Deep Space Nine, the forever misunderstood middle child of modern Star Trek TV shows.

Don't you DARE mention Enterprise in order to mess with the preceding sentence.
posted by PapaLobo at 9:17 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, the Ewoks did suck pretty hard. Also, the audio animatronic ghosts at the campfire scene was truly wretched.

I was 6 or 7 when I saw Return and I had no issue with the ghosts or the ewoks. I loved that movie. I think if you want to evaluate the original Star Wars movies, you do have to keep in mind they were trying to appeal to people of all ages. Try comparing them to more recent movies meant to appeal to kids and their parents, like Shrek. There's no comparison, unless you like poo, booger, and fart jokes a lot. In my mind it still stands up as better than the Toy Story movies or any of the Disney hero-with-sassy-sidekick stuff of the last 20 years. Holy fuck do I hate those newer Disney movies.
posted by Hoopo at 9:17 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I've watched Flash Gordon more times that I've seen Star Wars.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:26 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Personally, I liked Galaxy Quest way more than any Star Wars or Star Trek movies.

To be fair, indigo4963, without Star Wars and Star Trek, 90% of the Galaxy Quest context disappears.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:44 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's my theory about the suckery of the last .5 season of BSG (the subplot with Gaeta and Zareck excluded)

From what I remember, quite a few folks were not sure if the season was going to come back for the final .5. I remember hearing about Olmos telling everybody on the set that he was sure that it was not going to come back. The last episode, if they couldn't do what now are the remaining episodes, would have been w/ Tigh's revelation of who the finalest of the five was.

Think about that episode: Dualla, the flashbacks of the final five to "Earth", what Xena decided to do with the rest of their days -- it would have been like an end to a Flannery O'Connor story. GUTPUNCH

So with the rest of the episodes, aside from the Gaeta/Zareck thing (and I still think the foundation wasn't laid right for that one, in terms of Gaeta's behavior) it's kind of like somebody took one of the best O'Connor stories (Good Man is Hard to Find, say) and extended it beyond the horrific ending and instead meandered in the car with the Misfit and his companions, talking about whether or not Christ had risen from the dead. WRONG
posted by angrycat at 9:48 AM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I love that we're hijacking a Star Wars thread to gripe about the TOTAL SHITFEST SCREWUP of the last .5 of season 4o f BSG. It still tingles!

ACK! Preview!
posted by cavalier at 9:52 AM on May 16, 2011


Episode 2 had 90 minutes of puppydog eyes, the worst "romantic" dialogue ever ...

I believe I called that "the shampoo commercial in the middle of the movie".
posted by benito.strauss at 10:03 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


From what I remember, quite a few folks were not sure if the season was going to come back for the final .5.

BUT THEY KEPT TELLING US THE CYLONS HAD A PLAN!

A PLAN !!!!!!!
posted by orthogonality at 10:07 AM on May 16, 2011 [4 favorites]


Star Wars is my earliest memory. When Jedi came out, I felt betrayed, but not because of the Ewoks. Wookiees would obviously have been cooler, and Lucas's own argument as to why they wouldn't work doesn't hold water...but ultimately, the Ewoks didn't bother me. Disappointing, but not enough to ruin the film. Still, I had a sharp sense of betrayal.

Then I discovered the GI Joe comic series, which gave me new heroes, and they were far more human, and funnier, suffered more, and were less whiny. It taught me things about sacrifice and conflict even while the bad guys wore evil clown outfits...and it taught me that Luke's a whining punk. He really, really is.

I love the setting. Absolutely love it. It's a great backdrop and full of great visuals. But the Jedi are stupid, Luke and Anakin are both unforgivably stupid, and the series doesn't nearly give Chewbacca the attention he deserved.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:07 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Episode 2 had 90 minutes of puppydog eyes, the worst "romantic" dialogue ever

Men who slaughter entire groups of people, including women and children, are HAWT, amirite Queen Amidala? Throw in some general bitchiness, lust for power, whining and obsession and you got yourself a reeeeeeeal keeper there, mmm hmmm.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:08 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love that we're hijacking a Star Wars thread to gripe about the TOTAL SHITFEST SCREWUP of the last .5 of season 4o f BSG. It still tingles!

Well, at this point, I think we're all tired of ripping on the Star Wars prequels. Almost no one likes them, even fewer people are willing to defend them on the Internet, and the whole thing started more than 10 years ago at this point. There's nothing left to talk about.

Lord knows I had my issues with later BSG, but the complaining about its ending does make me wish that nerds (and others as well, but I see it more with nerds) were better about defining things they like in terms of what's good and pointing out what they enjoyed instead of defining goodness in terms of not-badness and cataloging the many ways in which it failed to meet their expectations. I'm thinking largely here of an excruciating series of conversations I had after the Fellowship of the Ring movie where my friends basically made a list of everything that happened and the extent to which it deviated from the books or otherwise wasn't what they expected. These people clearly enjoyed the movie, but they couldn't stop themselves from rattling down a huge list of things they didn't like before they could even start to think about what might have been good.

BSG had tons of great moments, plots, and characters. It sure as hell didn't end the way I would have ended it, but I can't really bring myself to muster that much anger against something that gave me a lot of joy in the final reckoning.
posted by Copronymus at 10:24 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


BSG, in my opinion, started out with a plan. But the "war on terror" shifted the show's focus in its third season to an allegory about that. This left original plans in disarray, from which the show never recovered.

Also? The show is FUCKING GRIM from beginning to end. I enjoyed it hugely for what it was, but I doubt I'll ever watch it again.
posted by PapaLobo at 10:28 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


BSG, in my opinion, started out with a plan.

Nah, it started out with a natural conclusion, i.e. do they get to Earth or not? The creators then proceeded to muddle the answer.

Still, it had some astonishingly good episodes and arcs in there.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:39 AM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


[To a Star Wars: The Phantom Menace fan]

Tim: You are so blind! You so do not understand! You weren't there at the beginning. You don't know how good it was! How important! This is it for you! This jumped-up firework display of a toy advert! People like you make me sick! What's wrong with you?! Now, I don't care if you've saved up all your fifty 'p's, take your pocket money and get out!

[The little boy runs off, crying]

Tim: What a prick.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:08 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tim: What a prick.

Classic spaced.

As a child, I saw Star Wars when it was re-released in theatres and found it very boring. However I really liked episode 5, for me the video games are the best creation of the series. KOTOR alone, is just wonderful.
posted by Harpocrates at 11:34 AM on May 16, 2011


Star Wars, in its heyday, seemed like more than just a bunch of movies. As Mike Leigh would have said, the characters really did go around corners: When a bit-player like Admiral Ackbar left the screen, you could believe that he was going off to have his own adventure. Only the original series could do that for me.

I read the article and walked away thinking "yeah!" about this line but then 10 minutes later, I was like "wait a second...Admiral Ackbar is not actually a well-rounded deeply nuanced character in the vein of Mike Leigh!" If he's bringing that much to the table it actually weakens that argument that the whole Star Wars fandom/hatred thing is something other than frustrated juvenile folly. However great the originals or awful the prequels, Lucas' skills in characterization don't really bear comparison to Leigh in either case.
posted by anazgnos at 11:50 AM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Had Ackbar been a fully developed, adult character we may well have been saying things like, "Donald Draper's Ackbarian attitude to delegation in the firm...".

But no. We've been denied that.
posted by juiceCake at 12:01 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I saw the original 3 decades ago in the theater, and probably have not seen them since. I liked them fine, but didn't obsess. I had always been kind of interested in seeing the 'first' 3, but my wife wasn't interested.
So last week she was out of town and I got The Phantom Menace out of the library and finally saw it......wow. I'm really impressed at how bad it was.
posted by MtDewd at 12:08 PM on May 16, 2011


In Sith, the opening of the movie seemed like an ode to what had been missing in the first two. We're instantly greeted by two fleets of ships engaged in a massive battle over the planet Coruscant which then flowed into two Jedi achieving the incredible because they are Jedi. In a manner, the vision and promise of the Jedi had finally been achieved in the final film, something that never really happened in the original Trilogy.

I agree with this. The opening of Sith was really great, especially in the theatre. Too bad the plot was so bad. In my mind the worst thing about the prequels was the screwing up of backstory that had already been set in the OG trilogy. I remember what I said too after seeing Phantom Menace: It looks like Star Wars, but it doesn't feel right. If you have an hour to blow and want to really get into the suckage of Phantom Menace, you can start watching here.
posted by norm at 12:12 PM on May 16, 2011


The hook-nosed Middle Eastern slave-dealing fly thing was especially offensive. Really? Really?
posted by dunkadunc at 12:14 PM on May 16, 2011


Telling anecdote: I am down in Walt Disney World for its 40th Anniversary (a similar type of obsessive nerdom) and attended a presentation by the imagineers behind the new version of Star Tours opening this week.

The ride now takes place between the prequels and the sequels and visits locations from all 6 films. They agonized over what would take place on Hoth: they wanted to show the rebels battling the AT-ATs but they knew it wouldn't make sense for either to be there. They devised an elaborate fly-through involving Wampas and Tauntauns that everyone agreed was pretty great.

The time came to show it to George Lucas and after their presentation he only had one question: Where were the AT-ATs?

They explained how they struggled with the timeline and the canon and how it wouldn't make sense for them to be there.

Lucas' reply? "Who cares?"
posted by unsupervised at 12:19 PM on May 16, 2011 [11 favorites]


Side note: the new Star Tours is great. It's digital 3d, randomized, two destinations per ride, 54 possible combinations total (whatever that math works out to). Guy on line behind me had been on 22 times and hadn't seen everything yet.

My rides took me to the Wookie planet (Wookie got stuck to our windshield at one point), chased through a meteor field by Jango Fett, through the middle of the in-construction Death star (interrupting a stormtrooper drill) and a fight over a planet I recognized from the prequels but don't know the name of.

I know from 22-timer that on Naboo you take down Jar Jar in a hit-and-run.
posted by unsupervised at 12:29 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


As a child, I saw Star Wars when it was re-released in theatres and found it very boring. However I really liked episode 5, for me the video games are the best creation of the series. KOTOR alone, is just wonderful.

Yeah, I made my peace with the movies long ago, but I'm still pissed that LucasArts and Bioware opted to make an MMORPG instead of giving us a proper KOTOR III.
posted by Rangeboy at 12:41 PM on May 16, 2011


Okay, he lost me pretty much right off the bat with this:

"The release of The Phantom Menace split the community in half, the gushers (people who loved it) and the bashers (people who didn't)."

No. Goddammit, NO. This is like being defined as "far-left" because you think Bill O'Reilly is a douchebag. You can be a "basher" all you want. But (and yes, I'm working out some unresolved aggression here) just because I don't want Lucas dead doesn't mean I have his dick in my mouth. I can acknowledge that there are some pacing and structure problems with Episode 1 without having to declare it a crime against humanity.

Stop treating the Red Letter Media hackjob as your sacred text, and stop insisting that everyone MUST hate the movies in the EXACT way you hate them. RLM is a disingenuous idiot, The Clone Wars series is a fun adventure show (though yes, I agree, Tartakovsky's shorts were the bomb), and Episode 2 is actually pretty good.

Yeah, I went there.
posted by mgrichmond at 12:42 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Like Krull! Man, Krull was awesome.

I saw it when it first came out in the theaters and I disagree. It was ok. Dragonslayer, on the other hand is still pretty astonishing, especially when you realize that all that was done with stop-motion. It's fucking amazing.


Reading this thread, I just had an interesting thought experiment that might be worth giving a try one bored weekend; I wonder how well the prequels would work if you removed any shot of a person close enough to identify who exactly it was.

All you'd be left with is pod-races, spaceships blowing shit up, and distant shots of planets. Once cut, all three movies could probably be shown in about 45 minutes or less and wouldn't make any sense... but might look pretty awesome.
posted by quin at 12:42 PM on May 16, 2011


Did someone say Star Wars?
posted by idiopath at 12:46 PM on May 16, 2011


I've watched what were supposed to be a lot of the better Baker-era episodes and found them unbearably slow.

The trick there is to watch them spaced out, the way it was intended to be watched. Not as a two hour movie, but as four 25 min parts of serial. Holds up MUCH better that way, and you can enjoy the 25 min getting out of a cave on its own merits rather than yelling "we're an hour in! get to the damn city already!"
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 1:08 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


>The first one's the worst. The second and third are quite tolerable. The acting isn't good, but the story and the design are still epic.

I thought the second had some enjoyable elements, and the third was actually enjoyable.

The thing is, the third was an exercise in picking low-hanging fruit: There were so many easily closed arcs waiting to be closed that it would be hard to screw it up too much.

What stands out, then, is just how those arcs were closed in such a dopey fashion. Lucas seemed to deliberately skimp on the two most potentially interesting underlying points: the foggy fecklessness of democratic and rule-based governance versus the pointed efficiency of dictatorship-- that is, any real weighing of Old Republic and New Empire; and more importantly (and more easily managed, in film), the chance to present Anakin's conversion as an act of effective rhetoric. Really, the big failure of the third film was in dramatizing the conversion, and therefore casting the rather abstract and lofty conflict of Dark and Light into concrete human experience.

A few sentences of back-and-forth on Jedi inconsistency or clumsiness-- say, their tolerance for child slavery and Failure to Protect Mothers might have been enough--... but Lucas seems to have thought even that would be too demanding. In the absence of an actual Sith argument, Anakin's conversion is just a mish-mash of Force flutterings and post-traumatic stress disorder and messianic burden. If you're going to make a movie with a moral message, even one aimed at kids, it would probably be more effective, as well as more entertaining, to reveal the Bad Emotional Lollipops Strangers Might Offer You, as opposed to just saying, Don't Be an Unhappy Messiah and Trauma Victim.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:47 PM on May 16, 2011


The second has sweeping stretches of utter illogic, punctuated only by moments of Amidala being so awesome I'm left wondering why in the hell the film isn't following her exclusively.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 2:05 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is Red Letter Media the outfit with the mushmouth commentaries punctuated by S&M scenes that make no sense at all?
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:06 PM on May 16, 2011


the complaining about its ending does make me wish that nerds (and others as well, but I see it more with nerds) were better about defining things they like in terms of what's good and pointing out what they enjoyed instead of defining goodness in terms of not-badness and cataloging the many ways in which it failed to meet their expectations.

Worst. Comment. Evar.
posted by orthogonality at 3:44 PM on May 16, 2011


I know from 22-timer that on Naboo you take down Jar Jar in a hit-and-run.

Worth the price of admission.

My nephews, who are too young to see the movies, nevertheless play the Wii Star Wars Lego game. In it, you can play any just about any character from the movies, including Jar Jar, which was the little one's favorite because he thought Jar Jar was a horse.

Not realizing that I was using what their Mom tells them is a bad word, I explained to them that "Everybody hates Jar Jar." ("Why?" "Well, because... he ruined everything" which apparently is true both esthetically in terms of the films, and also in terms of the plot, as there's a fan that theory Jar Jar's weakness is why the Republic fell. I can't be sure, I've only seen bits and pieces of the prequels.)

And then we spent several hours repeating that bad-word phrase and watching Star home movies on Youtube, all of which involved Star Wars Lego figurines killing the Lego Jar Jar in stop action. (The one in which Jar Jar is guillotined, literally bringing smiles to the faces of the assembled Star Wars Lego characters, was particularly popular.)
posted by orthogonality at 4:04 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I cannot describe the disappointment I had in the prequels. When the first came out, I thought "well, Lucas has been out of the game for a while. Perhaps he is rusty". Fellowship of the Ring followed it and blew most everyone away. I thought for sure that now that Peter Jackson raised the bar for the genre, Lucas would feel challenged and come up big with Attack of the Clones. I still remember watching AotC in the theater with my wife and several friends. We were all aghast at how bad it was. I remember saying as we exited "Money back, I want". If anything, Lucas had regressed even further. And then Serenity came out months after Revenge of the Sith. With a fraction of the budget Whedon totally whupped George's ass up one end of the cineplex and down the other. Serenity didn't make nearly the money but it was way more fun and NEVER insulted my intelligence and taste.

Remember, Spielberg and Lucas came out of the blocks at roughly the same time. Spielberg went on to making some seriously good, thoughtful, ambitious films. Lucas, who showed the same amount of promise, squandered it with paranoid notions of controls and an obsession with merchandising to kids.

Unlike the Slate writer, I have found plenty of other outlets for my geek movie/TV viewing: the nu BSG, Babylon 5 (seasons 2,3,4), Firefly, Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, Wall-E, Moon, Torchwood, and now the Game of Thrones. I can by without Star Wars but the wasted potential of this series is monumental. It could have been so much more.
posted by Ber at 4:07 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Is Red Letter Media the outfit with the mushmouth commentaries punctuated by S&M scenes that make no sense at all?"

That's the fella. If the Lucas-Bashers are like the Teabaggers, he's made himself their Glenn Beck. If you take a close look at his nonsensical ramblings you see that it doesn't make a lick of sense, but of course he's not out to convince anybody of anything, but rather to feed their biases.
posted by mgrichmond at 4:15 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked Star Wars as a kid. A lot. I can't tell you how much. I was in exactly the right age group, I think (4 or 5 for ep 4 in second run, 6 for Empire, 9 for Jedi).
When I was in high school, I read Harlan Ellison's review, "Luke Skywalker is a Nerd and Darth Vader Sucks Runny Eggs",
and had a lot of my growing doubts confirmed (I swear it was "Ninny" and not "Nerd" but the google is not backing me up).
At that time, I had watched the first film again after long years of only having seen 2 and 3 with any regularity. Man, did it have problems (let's start with the jump-cuts, which the revamped versions mostly cleaned up, and expand from there). Still good, but far from best movie ever.
So old Harl kinda saved me from continuing to be a Star Wars geek into adulthood. I was free to let go.

When Phantom Premise came out, I was excited, and when I saw it, didn't hate the movie at all. I liked a lot of it. My roommate at the time was outraged by it, and I tried the "you aren't a kid any more" argument, but got nowhere. I admit, it's pretty thin, and ludicrous in places, but the big dukeroo at the end is cool. 
Ep 2? Not bad. Better than 1. Not good, but not bad. I think I need to see it again. 
But fucking Revenge of the Fucking Sith? Whattapieceashit.
Why do they slide when the spaceship tilts? Is there that much gravity in orbit?
General Grievous.
Vader does a Mendoza.
"This party's over."

I laughed when I didn't cringe. That movie made me feel the hate my roommate must have felt for the first one. I hated it, not for "betraying my childhood" or such, but just because it was a shit movie. And, okay, I had expectations, sure. I thought it might have been nice for the last one to tie up the prequels to the pre-established mythology. Oh, well.
I have other sci-fi to enjoy. And Empire is still a great movie. To anyone who has never seen a Star Wars movie: The Empire Strikes Back is the only one you need to see. Seriously. 
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:37 PM on May 16, 2011


I'm not even sure if I like Star Wars anymore. But I love arguing about it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:48 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oddly my favourite thing about the prequels has in fact become all the discussion about how awful they were that they spawned... the Red Letter Media reviews are wonderful (though, yeah, I could do without the pointless tortureporn stuff). I was never a big Star Wars fan whatsoever (and never saw the originals till they were re-released, even though I was certainly of the age to grow up with them), so there's no real reason I should find these discussions oddly compelling, but I certainly do.
posted by modernnomad at 4:59 PM on May 16, 2011


If you take a close look at his nonsensical ramblings you see that it doesn't make a lick of sense, but of course he's not out to convince anybody of anything, but rather to feed their biases.

Oh man, that's terrible -- a totally humourless 100 page document rebutting, line by line, a review of a movie?
posted by modernnomad at 5:03 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh man, that's terrible -- a totally humourless 100 page document rebutting, line by line, a review of a movie?

Seriously. "Not a single adjective...except for one guywho displays an ignorance of vocabulary by laughably labeling Qui-Gon as 'stern.' No, Qui-Gon Jinn is most certainly not "stern." In fact he's the complete opposite, and can basically be summed up as an idealized father figure."

Who's the stupid fanboy again?

(Hint review-review writer: the person knows what "stern" means. They misdescribe Qui-Gon's character because he's flatly written and acted and it's incredibly difficult to glean any information about his personality from just watching the movie.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:33 PM on May 16, 2011 [3 favorites]


I kind of trust Simon Pegg's opinion of a Star Wars review over anybody else's. I mean, not over my own, but I love RLM too.

mgrichmond, I don't know why the vitriol over those Star Wars reviews, but comparing a fan of a review to a Glenn Beckite? Comparing Lucas-bashers to Tea partiers? You're over the line and I'm marking this zero.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:48 PM on May 16, 2011


aside: Science fiction is one of those genres where the reasons everybody has for liking/disliking the things they like/dislike baffles me. I grew up on Isaac Asimov and think he can do no wrong, and Dune is one of my favorite novels of all time, and I think Philip K Dick is one of the unsung literary heroes. But I'm completely lukewarm on Firefly; I just tried watching that train heist episode again a few weeks ago and I'm still totally confused by the people who love it. I keep hoping something'll click, but I keep not seeing anything to fall in love with. It's not just that it's cheesy because I love, say, Star Wars. Or Asimov. I keep hoping that somebody will know how to make sense of it all because Firefly just baffles me.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:57 PM on May 16, 2011


That wasn't a great episode.

Firefly isn't scifi so much as a character drama in the trappings of scifi. Like Lost, all the extra glitter doesn't matter, it's all about the character relationships.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 PM on May 16, 2011


Sounds like you like SF for nifty ideas. Star Wars doesn't have super original ideas, but they're still neat. Unless you're really a big fan of Western tropes and flavoring (and Whedon dialog), Firefly isn't likely to be your bag. That's my suspicion at least.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:12 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


I stopped reading (OK, skimming) the 100-page critique when he rebuts "the audience doesn't meet Anakin until 45 minutes into the movie" with "Anakin shows up at almost exactly 32 minutes into the movie."
posted by kirkaracha at 6:26 PM on May 16, 2011


Wait, there's an article? I just saw the phrase "Star Wars" and started talking about shit.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:51 PM on May 16, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm here to speak for the Ewoks. I think it was actually brilliant that the Emperor's whole plan fell apart because he could not foresee that a small and seemingly harmless non-human species would ally with the Rebels and bring about his downfall. Also, they were cute.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 7:06 PM on May 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thematically, the Ewoks make sense: they're all primitive and full of life, able to great things when concentrated. Just like the Farce. "The power to destroy a planet is insignificant the power of the Force" and all that.

But watching them on the screen? Oh so very painful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 PM on May 16, 2011


I keep hoping that somebody will know how to make sense of it all because Firefly just baffles me.

Firefly:SF::Buffy:Horror
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:06 PM on May 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Oh man, that's terrible -- a totally humourless 100 page document rebutting, line by line, a review of a movie?"

And that's somehow worse than taking the time to create an hour-long trashing of that same movie?

"mgrichmond, I don't know why the vitriol over those Star Wars reviews..."

Why the vitriol? I've been asking that same question for years, and I get called a "gusher" or "worshipper" or worse. Again, I'm NOT SAYING THAT TPM IS A GREAT MOVIE. I just don't hate it with the same, well, vitriol that's expected, and to some, that's an unpardonable sin.

...but comparing a fan of a review to a Glenn Beckite? Comparing Lucas-bashers to Tea partiers?

My comparison is perfectly apt; they're both built around a disproportionate level of hatred for a public figure. Just as with Lucas, President Obama could be seen as a disappointment on some levels (which is a discussion for another thread). But the Lucas-bashers, like the Teabaggers, aren't interested in any kind of honest debate about that figure; they'll turn off their critical thinking filters and believe any ridiculous bullshit, the more unbelievable the better, that allows them to justify their hate. And like Beck with his chalkboard full of arrows making imaginary connections between George Soros and the Book of Revelation, the RLM review works by piling on argument after argument, faster than the average viewer can parse in one sitting, to a receptive audience who wants to hear what he says and isn't inclined to question it.

And just like when I tell my dad, "No, Obama isn't banning Christmas," I can't say "No, Lucas isn't actually reanimating dead celebrities," without being shouted down and accused of having his dick in my mouth. It is possible to dislike something without believing bullshit.
posted by mgrichmond at 9:32 PM on May 16, 2011


If you take a close look at his nonsensical ramblings

Okay, I'm going to sit here and gape my jaw at that amazing document and just hope no little biological Millenium Falcons fly in for, like, an hour.
posted by furiousthought at 9:58 PM on May 16, 2011


Also, Buffy died at the end of season five, and was mysteriously resurrected for an hour and a half to star in a musical.

This.

Also, Firefly totally offended my taste, but that's because I'm underwhelmed by Whedon's near Tea Party contempt for government and authority that seems to be a bit of a running thread through his work.

And complaining about the pacing of old Who? Well, I like time to tell a story, and one of the things I like least about the new Who is the format change on that front.

Now, Blake's 7 and Babylon 5. Those make me happy. Let us not speak of BSG.
posted by rodgerd at 3:48 AM on May 17, 2011


Also, Firefly totally offended my taste, but that's because I'm underwhelmed by Whedon's near Tea Party contempt for government and authority that seems to be a bit of a running thread through his work.

Interesting, and not something I had really thought of in those terms before. I think Whedon's heroes are always scrappy outsiders, and they are almost always up against monolithic authority - and often the systems that are supposed to protect them are indifferent or actively colluding against them.

I've always seen Whedon's distrust of authority as narratological rather than political - although things do get confused in Firefly because the brownshirts work as both the American rebels in the War of Independence and the Confederate states in the Civil War, depending on the story direction.

One of Whedon's big, recurring beats is that you shouldn't trust anyone who claims or implies that they have your best interests at heart - whether that is your school, college, employer, municipal government or elected representatives. I guess I've seen that as British-influenced rather than Tea Partyish - like the difference between Blakes 7 and Andromeda - in a lot of ways, they are the same show (the same set of mismatched characters navigating a supership around a hostile universe), but in the UK they are trying to overthrow the paternalistic Galactic Federation, and in the US they are trying to restore it.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:22 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing that I always found very off-putting about Firefly was that it echoed the Confederate States in the Civil War. There's something very privileged and tasteless about that: the real-life Confederacy was one of the most grotesquely abusive regimes in human history and to feed that strange belief that actually it was a romantic, freedom loving attempt to break away from centralised authority... It just seemed really wrong to me. The echoes were repellant.

It felt a bit like doing, say, a space adventure where a planet system that crusaded for human purity was overwhelmed by an alliance of other systems led by a cabal of long-nosed mutants who are very intellectual and say "oy vey" a lot. You can claim that one thing isn't meant to echo the other until you are blue in the face, but it's pretty unavoidable. And the one thing you can't say about the Confederacy was that it was admirable for its commitment to human freedom ("we aim to misbehave" - really? aside from the fact that that sounds oddly twee, like your political aspiration is no higher than a toddler wanting to smear jam on things, it's also kind of jarring when your lead character is basically John Wayne's character from The Searchers).

That and the fact that it was so excruciatingly visually boring, which was important for anything science fictional. It just looked really... brown.

Anyway, to return to Star Wars: I watched the original trilogy so many times when I was a teenager that I now cannot return to it at all; the prequels more or less coincided with me developing the ability to tell good from bad in art and boy did they suffer for it.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:10 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing that I always found very off-putting about Firefly was that it echoed the Confederate States in the Civil War.

Except for actually owning slaves, sure. It was interesting premise, i.e. what if the South had had a legitimate point? I think Wheadon was inspired by reading some old Civil War history and thought it would be interesting to explore what it would be like to live after being on the losing side.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:39 AM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I tried booting up the 2nd KOTOR on my old XBox a few months ago, and I couldn't fathom sitting through the loading screens as I did when it first came out.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:24 PM on May 18, 2011


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