In recent years, as in Star Wars since The Force Awakens, we, as in myself, my better half and my teenage stepson have made the trip on opening night to see the latest addition to the galaxy far, far away.
We also go with my parents, who I have been with to see every one since Return of the Jedi back in 1983, at just 5 years old.
So, it is fair to say that I was disappointed with the turn out for the latest film. The cinema was half empty. Not a sight that I would expect to see for a film of this magnitude.
Now, just let us take a step back in time to December 2015 for a minute. Opening night of The Force Awakens. There were fans dressed up, large crowds and a palpable atmosphere.
2016: Rogue One opens with a little less fanfare but the atmosphere was still good.
Then came 2017’s Last Jedi and it all changed. Granted, it was not the best Star Wars film but it was hardly the worst. It tried and supposedly failed open up the franchise, pushing it out of the old and into the new. But it is fair to say that it felt more like a spring clean than the reorganisation that it should have been.
Then came the online “fan” reaction: Calls for Disney’s and Kathleen Kennedy’s blood. The cast began to rise to this by openly criticising the film and fans and Youtubers alike wanted Star Wars saved from the evil “House of Mouse.”
Quick side note regarding saving Star Wars from dark forces… I there any word yet on when we are getting the Original Versions? Just email George…
What is best way to achieve this? Well apparently it is to boycott the next film, Solo.
I understand the logic of taking the money out of the hands of those who have let you down in order encourage them play ball, but there would seem to be an inherent irony about this approach.
It turns the very thing you love into the commodity which you accuse the corporations of turning your passion into, in the first place.
We all know that films are foremost a product to the studios, but what about those who make them?
Most would see them as we do, either art or entertainment. Star Wars is both. Art is both aesthetic and narrative, whilst entertainment is a crowd pleasing exercise. Or as Martin Scorese recently said, “similar to theme park rides.”
Star Wars is built on a good, if not derivative story, touching people in different ways. It is also a profitable entertainment experience which plays to the audience’s love of thrills, spills and high adventure.
The latter do not require a strong narrative as many films have proven, but when they are working together well, it can be pure magic and that is what the original trilogy achieved.
George Lucas dropped himself into a little hot water a while ago by slipping up a claiming that Star Wars were just kids movies. Whilst it was clearly a slip up, I do not think that meant it quite way it came out.
You l have to remember that Lucas came up with the likes Speilberg, Scorese and Francis Ford Coppola. All have achieved success with iconic as well as Oscar worthy films, just as iconic as Lucas’ only major success, which is of course, Star Wars.
So when he comes out with comments like that he is giving away alot about how he feels about his own career, which let’s face it, on screen is pretty poor.
So when he down plays the artistic importance of Star Wars, he is kind of justifying himself to his peers. But he must also be forced to acknowledge that Star Wars is just as important to the film industry as Goodfellas, Schindler’s List and The Godfather.
All four films have had a quintessential impact on cinema history and the effects are still rippling across Hollywood to this day. So, by default, Lucas’ answer to not being able to adapt Flash Gordon, is primarily entertainment.
The reason that it has endured for so long, is because deep down, Lucas wanted to make a Godfather like his mate but was not up to it, so he littered his Flash Gordon substitute with deeper themes.
The rest is history and it is fair to say that whatever the reasons or drive really were, he created a Sci Fi masterpiece.
…there is no doubt that the sequel trilogy has failed to create a cohesive story worthy of the origins. With plotholes aplenty and undeveloped characters, but its box office has proven that the brand is still good enough, for now at least.
The entertainment side is great, delivered without being cheap. There is enough of a good story to achieve this cohesion of art and entertainment similar to what has already been delivered by Lucas himself.
But because the fanboys wanted more, the whole franchise has suffered from what I see, as a betrayal from those vocal fans who have done nothing but attack the franchise, supposedly with the goal of forcing Disney to do better.
But what would these guys do if they did? Some if these Youtubers clearly make a living from being ‘critical’ of the franchises which they ‘proclaim’ to love and the last thing they need is a good film.
In all fairness, many would say that they have been pretty lucky so far…
But personally, I feel that my Star Wars has been successfully trolled over the passed few years, brought to its knees by “fans”, who whilst, do have an abundance of legitimate grips with the direction of the new movies, do very little other than attack it.
Star Wars is over 40 years old and NEEDS to move with the times. Bond, Star Trek and Dr. Who have all done this, but now in the internet era they have received a barrage of criticism from fans who want things to stay the same or only move in the direction of their choosing.
For Star Wars to remain relevant, it needs to adapt BUT, with the likes of Rey for example, we have a character who is a borderline Marvel superhero as well as a young woman in a lead role.
It does leave itself open to criticism that it is both trying to pander to the audience and success of the biggest blockbluster series of the era, as well as the recent increase in female characters “taking over male franchises” or “woke”.
As for emulating Marvel, this is only to be expected. But Star Wars should be strong enough to be its own thing.
Maybe it can’t. Maybe nothing can outshine Marvel at the minute as it is such a massive juggernaut, that we will just have to wait until it either slows down or crashes.
It does not help that Marvel and Lucasfilm are both owned by Disney and they have open stated that they wanted to copy Marvel’s release model.
But Marvel is sucking the air out Hollywood’s creativity at the moment and don’t get me wrong, I like Marvel. The fact that the atmosphere for Avengers: Endgame was what it should have been for Rise of Skywalker spoke volumes to me.
This is Marvel’s time and let them enjoy it. But having an endless parade of sequels to aging franchises and reboots in order to compete with the MCU’s originality is just doing more harm than good.
It is best to wait for a time when films like Star Wars can breath and share a space with the likes if Terminator, Ghostbusters and Star Trek without Marvel overshadowing them
This is why I believe that James Cameron is delaying the next Avatar movies, possibly to his peril but as long as we live under the shadow of the Marvel, then this is not going to happen.
In this climate it is best to embrace what is good about Star Wars, not nitpick everything that would with anything else, simply be small issues.
It can not get away with anything. If this was a person, there would be no doubt that it would be considered to be bullying.
If you truly love Star Wars then fine, criticise it. Hate it if you feel that strongly. But helping what I have tried NOT to call Trolls throughout this entire peice, to destroy something which many of us have loved for decades just because it is not quite as good as you would have liked, is just bonkers.
Loyalty? Yes. Blind loyalty? No.
Being loyal is to forgive its faults and stock with it as long you can. If the time comes that you know longer like it, then move on.
Blind loyalty is to fail to accept its faults and defend it blindly.
I am not that person. I am well aware of the latest movies issues but unless these so called “fans” get their way, this will could be the end for Star Wars on the big screen.
So my loyalty will keep giving it chances until it falls too far. But in all fairness, the Sequel Trilogy is no where near.
Perfect? No. Filled with plotholes? Yes. Do I like everything I’ve seen? Have I got a cart load of unanswered questions? Yes. Could this trilogy have been better? Absolutely.
Do I like the characters? Yes. Do I like the action and production values? Yes. Do I like the story? Pretty much.
So, as for me, this trilogy is doing just fine.
And for those who would accuse me of settling for second best… yeah, I probably am. But if I only liked films which were perfect, then I probably would not have enjoyed enough movies to have become a film buff in the first place.
Nothing in this world is perfect. Everything, as in truth, is in the eye of the beholder…