Friday, June 4, 2010

Not very long ago, in a galaxy not far, far away...

An idea is born. A film that would change the way that movies are made. Characters and themes based on archetypes that are thousands of years old. An opera of sorts (without the singing)...a space opera.

Star Wars. The classic tale of boy meets girl, boy makes out with girl on ice planet, boy finds out girl is his sister, boy is filled with strangely erotic remorse. As I have stated before, I am a nerd, and Star Wars is one of the biggest reasons why. From the opening scroll of Episode IV, I was hooked. Already so many questions, like what about Episodes I, II, and III? Boy, I wish I wouldn't have asked that question.

Episode IV was awesome, from start to finish. Great characters, great story, but beyond that, it was a brand new way to make movies. But the success of this first movie would begin evil thoughts in George Lucas' mind. Taking his cue from KISS, Lucas slapped the Star Wars brand name on everything. Lunchboxes, pajamas, sofa covers, oven mitts, and feminine hygiene products to name a few. Some of these may have not really existed, but Star Wars tampons? I would have bought those! So in rolled the money and the plans for a sequel.

Then came Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, which is arguably one of the greatest movies in the history of history. New characters like Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian, and a little green muppet named Yoda. I would have given my girlfriend anything she wanted if I could have named my son Lando (that's right could have been Lando). This film ended with so many unresolved issues, you just knew there was going to be another one. Again, more merchandising, and more money.

Now we come to Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, the end of the saga. Or so we thought. I have some very close nerd friends who swear that Jedi is better than Empire, but they are wrong for one and only one reason. Ewoks. "I have an idea!" exclaims Mr. Lucas. "Let's put a bunch of midgets in teddy bear costumes, and they can help save the galaxy! But they can't have blasters. They need to have spears, bows, and rocks." Seriously, teddy bears with rocks defeated the Empire. Oh well, it was still an awesome trilogy. That's where it should have ended, but no!

Let's jump ahead a decade. George Lucas realized that he could make more money off of Star Wars without doing any actual work. A phenomenal series of books is released, written by Timothy Zahn, taking all our favorite characters and putting them in new situations and on new worlds. Finally, new Star Wars material! More books are published at a rapid pace, most of which are fantastic. This is where the wheels in Mr. Lucas' head start spinning.

Ugh, the Special Edition, where George went back and "fixed" his movies with 1997's state-of-the-art technology. All of these "improvements" were ridiculous. The confrontation between Han Solo and a poorly computer generated Jabba the Hutt in Episode IV is the best example of this. Watch it and laugh, it's horrible. The real question is, why go back and fix something that's near perfection? Or if you're going to, why not get rid of the damn teddy bears? However, there was one redeeming quality to the Special Edition. The younger fans (like myself) got a chance to see all three films in theaters.

That brings us to 1999, and the greatest travesty in the history of filmmaking. It also brings us to the end of part one of my two part blog. Stay tuned for "Episode II: The movies that make we want to repeatedly hit myself in the face with a hammer as I'm slowly lowered into a vat of lukewarm cat vomit." I might want to shorten the title a bit.

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