Thursday, August 04, 2005

Let The Wookie Win

My daughter and I watched "Star Wars" last Saturday night. This was in direct response to her unabashed love of the "prequels" and my abject hatred of them.
I had taken her to see the "re-releases" in 1999, when Lucas (read: Arrogant, movie making hack) added scenes that he technologically couldn't have done in 1977. This bugged me. Since she didn't remember seeing them, and since I wanted her to see it as I saw it, I found VHS copies (thanks, Vic!) of the original versions of the original trilogy, popped a big-ass bowl of popcorn and watched the original "Star Wars" in all of its 1977 glory.
Jenna liked it well enough and even wants to see the sequels but, overall, she wasn't impressed.
Halfway through the movie she said "Wow, that Mark Hamill is a REALLY bad actor, isn't he?". I conceded this point. In watching the movie today he is really, REALLY bad. She then said "And the special effects are really cheesy, too - like those old "Star Trek" episodes." This one I had trouble with. I was still watching the movie with my 11 year-old eyes and, to THOSE eyes, it still looked great. However, I am also forced to admit that given today's technology the FX are hopelessly "quaint".
She did like Han Solo, and agrees that if Lucas "reimagined" it so that Greedo shoots first in the Cantina Bar then Lucas really "stinks" because, as she put it, "it makes Han less tough".
This re-watching of "Star Wars" has forced me to admit the following: the original "Star Wars", while AMAZING at the time, does not hold up well. Looking at it as an adult the writing is hopelessly simplistic, the acting is sophomoric, and there isn't and ounce of subtlety in ANY part of it.
And this description is also exactly the way I feel about "The Phantom Menace", "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith".
Don't get me wrong, I love "Star Wars". Watching the Death Star explode on that huge drive-in screen was the coolest thing my 11 year old self had EVER seen. Han's love of the millennium Falcon while Princess Leia refers to it as "A hunk of junk" is still very funny and "Let the Wookie win" is always a great line. I still LOVE this movie.
To my mind, the new films have NONE of this charm.
My 12 year-old daughter disagrees with me. She revels in Anakin's conflicted nature while I find it cliched. She loves the love story between Anakin and Padme while I cringe at the nausea inducing dialog. She thinks Obi-Wan is a great character while I groan at the complete waste of a talent like Ewan McGregor. Jar Jar Binks...well, we both hated Jar Jar Binks so that's okay... And we both think that Yoda's action scenes ROCK!
Looking at it now, these films were aimed at her age group, just as "Star Wars" was aimed at mine. She has her fond "Star Wars" memories and I have mine. By watching them together, we have shared memories of "Star Wars". We just disagree on which is better. And that is just fine with me.
Thank God we both like "Star Trek - The Original Series".


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