Saturday, February 2, 2013

Star Wars 3.0

"Wait... So you actually thought Jar Jar Binks was a good idea?
So I know I’m super eight to this story (hehe), but I guess the big movie news of the year so far has been Disney’s purchasing of the Star Wars franchise and consequent hiring of nerd-god JJ Abrams to helm Episode VII. My thoughts on this can prooooobably be encapsulated best by a minor shrug.  Now I very much enjoy the original three, as does probably any person that happened to see them in their pre-teen years.  But I wouldn’t call myself a super-fan by any stretch.  And as for the prequels… can we just agree that those don’t exist?  I mean yes, I understand their canon or whatever and that’s fine, I can live with the story (which we all pretty much knew to begin with), but that portrayal… Jesus, those movies are beyond abysmal.  And you if you even try and defend them…

The rise and fall of Star Wars fascinates me though.  You pretty much have a movie and its sequels that completely transform the film industry and becomes arguably the biggest pop culture phenomenon of the 20th century, that is then slowly but surely commoditized to the point where any semblance of a soul this phenomenon had has been completely extinguished. I mean you go from being the symbolic ideal of creative rebelliousness and imagination to, within a couple of decades, the exact corporate Leviathan you so brilliantly juxtaposed with during your inception and early years.

Which begs the obvious question:  Where does Star Wars go from here?  And do people even care?  Well, I think the answer to the second question is definitely yes.  But it’s not the unbridled enthusiasm we saw when Episode I was announced however many years ago.  People are more cautious now, even, to an extent, more cynical.  It’s a cultural transformation that has probably had its largest effect on today’s young adult generation (what is that, Generation X or something?).  There are many reasons this transformation has occurred and there’s no real purpose for me to speculate as to the reasons why it occurred, but if you read the internet at all, yeah, you know it exists.  And what happened to Star Wars with the prequels and the further ruthless commercialization of the property really f*cking jaded a lot of people.  So I think there’s this tepid optimism about this project, but at the same time I expect fans to be very willfully cautious.

JJ Abrams seems like a decent start.  He’s a safe but not exactly boring pick.  A decent middle ground between the old-school establishment (eg Spielberg) and some sort of brash (and risky) up and comer.  I loved what he did with Star Trek in regards to the balanced blend of story, characters and action.  Star Wars needs that to the face.  Like hardcore.

But at the end of the day Disney knows what they’re doing.  They’re doing it with Marvel and their doing with Star Wars.  By taking the idea of the “sequel” (pretty much a studio's favorite movie type because it’s guaranteed to generate “x” amount of cash) and shooting it up with steroids to now create a so-called “universe”, the overall property value is going to skyrocket with massive potential for growth.  But I think a lot of that potential is contingent on how VII is received.  Strike the right mood and tone, ala Batman Begins, and watch out mother*ckers, you’re going get Star Wars up the butt for decades.  But miss, ala Superman Returns, and its going to prove a real uphill battle to regain that goodwill and get Star Wars 3.0 off the ground.

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