Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fixing What Isn't Broke About Star Wars

A favorite saying among those in the military is:  "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."

Unfortunately, George Lucas isn't following such advice. 

The Star Wars Creator-in-Chief is currently in the process of re-vamping the orignal films--again.  A couple of "improvements" have been leaked and are now swirling around the internet.  This article in blastr has the details.

While these films are riddled with gaffes and story-line inconsistencies, they're still well loved by us fans.  So instead of improving on what is truly wrong, Lucas is dumbing-down the orignal films down to "prequel level."

Here are some noteworthy comments/rants from some friends:

I think it's safe to say, it sucks. I hate when they dumb down movies because they think we don't get it.  Blade Runner was dumbed down as well when they added the dialog at the end of the movie.

However, there is one change he could make - he could get rid of the couple of scenes in Episodes IV and V where Leia kisses Luke because those scenes take on rather creepy overtones in light later revelations...

Nahhh…those were innocent pecks on the cheek. I'd much rather Lucas go back to the original and fix the dialog about the Millenium Falcon being so fast it "made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs." In the Summer of 1977 I had just learned what a parsec was (a unit of distance….NOT speed). So this has eaten at my brain for 34 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It even made it's way into the Family Guy "Blu Harvest" episode.

There were two innocent pecks on the cheek in Episode IV. In Episode V Leia gives Luke a full blown kiss on mouth when they were still on Hoth and she had just gotten done arguing with Han Solo and she says, "Well I guess you don't know everything about women" and then Leia proceeds to plant one on Luke - EWWWWWWWWWWW.

The 12 parsecs thing is a good catch. The also used hyperspace and light speed interchangeably at differents points in the films. After the escape from Tatooine in Episode IV, Han Solo says, "Strap yourselves in, I'm going to make the jump to light speed." The problem is, in the scope of space travel, light speed still isn't very fast and at that speed it would still take them several years to get to the next star system.

Ouch, you're right. I forgot that Luke nearly tongued his sister in "Empire." Yick!

Of all the things to fix, the "12 Parsecs" comment was the one to do. There are T-shirts that say "Han Shot First!"  And lets not forget the prequels. One writer I know, Kristen Lamb, maintains a blog and posted on why the prequels were so bad:

Those were good points on that blog, though I might quibble about the edges of a few. Still, the bottom line is that Lucas was spiraling downwards rapidly after Star Wars and Empire, and by the time he did the prequels he had descended totally into madness and banality.  I think I sent this around a few months back, but it is apropos:

As the series went on it became less about the story and more about Lucas saying, "Hey, look at all of the cool things I can do with special effects and CGI."

The biggest problem overall is that Lucas made it all up as he went along which means there are so many holes and inconsistencies in the plot you can sail a supertanker though them. He even admitted that he came up with the whole Luke/Leia brother and sister thing to solve the emerging love triangle between Luke, Leia, and Han. If a writer/producer/whatever can't have basic issues like that solved before he starts the problem will compound itself in multiple ways as the story goes along. Gee, why not just solve the issue by deciding that in the Star Wars universe they practice a form of polygamy where women take multiple husbands and have Leia get together with Luke and Han. Return of the Jedi could have ended with the three of them heading off to private hut in the Ewok village for a threesome.

However, for some reason the single biggest thing that bugged me was the secret creation of the clone army over the course of a decade. This probably bugs me because I work in government. I don't care how corrupt or dysfunctional a government is, there is no way anybody can fund, organize, man, train, and equip a force that size to include weapons, warships, and everything else that goes with it in secret. That is just silly and to compound the problem, a war starts and this massive army appears out of nowhere to fight it and everybody just says, "Wow, it sure is a good thing we have this army and navy that nobody knew existed so we can fight this war" Yeah, right...

I think we all need to get together, pound back a few dozen pints, and hash all of this out. Our middle-aged psyches would be greatly salved.  Here's another one……is anyone else a bit dubious that Luke's "training" as a Jedi night lasted….what….a few days….a week tops?  And how bad a sentinel was Obi-wan? I mean, he parks himself in Tatooine's equivalent to Death Valley where he has no hope of keeping watch on the bright young hope for the rebellion. It was only a fluke of the boy wonder removing R2's restraining bolt that kept Luke from getting chopped along with his aunt and uncle. Nice job Obi-wan.  As for the "prequels," I refuse to comment on them because well…..while visually stunning…the stories just blew all over the place. I always like the idea of the Jedi until I saw those movies. What a collection of group-think sissified pansies!!! They deserved what they got.  OK….I'm better now.

"Hello. We're the Jedi - guardians of the Republic. We're on the lookout for the Sith Lord, our greatest enemy.....whaddaya mean he's running the whole government?!?"  "What, the mystery army that appeared from nowhere is suddenly attacking all us Jedi and we have not made the slightest contingency plan for our own survival."  If I was helping form the new Republic, I would certainly not allow the Jedi any role in it - they failed spectacularly though hubris and sheer stupidity.

On the list of things that bug me about the movies, you can add the battle scenes. People are just standing around shooting at one another. It doesn't occur to anyone that they might want to take cover so they are a smaller target. Do they have no instinct for self-preservation? If someone is shooting searing bolts of plasma at me, I would think of ways to avoid taking one in the chest. It drives me crazy every time I see it.   Also, why can't storm troopers hit anything with their blasters? They were the Empire's elite troops but apparently didn't get any weapons training. They got their butts kicked by a bunch of stone age teddy bears. The Emperor might as well have issued them Brown Bess muskets and bayonets for all the good those blaster did.


Mik said...

I can't say I'm surprised, I used to really be true fan too. He's killed any 'love' I have ever had for this franchise.

George Lucas is the worst thing to ever happen to Star Wars. Period.

Ted Henkle said...

The original Star Wars movie is a template for mythic story-telling. Afterwards, the problem has been George Lucas won't let go of Star Wars and move on to other things. Maybe because he's incapable of creating anything else?