I used to be a huge Star Wars geek. I would tremble with excitement at the slightest whiff of possibility that I’d be getting a new “Star Wars guy” for a present. I would watch them – first on video disc, and give us a shout if you remember that poor dead format, folks, and no, I’m not talking about laser discs – obsessively until multiple copies had to be purchased. As I got older, the love didn’t die. I still had Star Wars figures hung on my walls, still own an ancient Vader t-shirt, and proudly hung a glow in the dark Return of the Jedi poster on my closet until about the age of 28, when my girlfriend at the time made me take it down after she scared herself with it.
I forcibly installed a virus – which is to say, Windows, ew – on my computer so I could partake in The Old Republic. I was… disappointed, to say the least. Remind me again why that has to be an MMO, when it has probably the best single-player Star Wars game ever hiding in it? Hmmph. Anyway.
But then terrible things happened. First we were subjected to constant rereleases of the original films with infinitesimal and at times idiotic changes and additions. We were submerged in a mire of books, video games, toys and other licensed merchandise, that while providing the occasional gem (Knights of the Old Republic, anyone?) was otherwise hopelessly mired in what seemed like gallons of fanboy testicular residue.
Yeah, did I mention, I don’t understand the Boba Fett thing? I really don’t. “But he’s the most awesomest character ever!” you say. Um. No. He’s a bounty hunter who botches the one job he has in the movies, accidentally gets his jetpack triggered (and, I’m sorry, you lose 250 Baddazz Bounty Hunter points for not being able to control your own gear, pal) and flies straight into the mouth of an intergalactic ulcer with teeth. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. You can write all the brooding anti-heroic “I survived the Sarlaac and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” books you want, there’s nothing in the original film that says “Hey, this guy’s amazing and needs more coverage.” He’s a dude in armor with about 4 lines who screws up royally and dies. The end.
Ahem. It was okay. As noted, there were occasional gems to be found as one picked through the landscape of the Expanded Universe, and there was hope, yet; the prequels were coming!
And each one kicked me squarely in the crotch harder than the last.
Okay, so Phantom Menace. We’ll ignore Jar-Jar. We’ll just skip on past the annoying accent of Padme/Amidala. We’ll just pretend that there was some small measure of believability in the idea that Anakin accidentally ends the Trade Federation’s blockade and blows up their Totally-Not-A-Death-Star-Stand-In Droid Factory/Mothership by randomly mashing console buttons. Aside from the fact that it was utterly pointless and gave us terrible lines like “I’m a person, and my name is Anakin!” or “Are you an angel?” and the associated creepy pedo vibes it gives off, there were a few things to like. Darth Maul’s pretty badass (a hell of a lot better than Fett, anyway…) The climactic lightsaber duel was amazing, showing what you could really do when space samurai/ninjas/wizards with laser swords want to go to town. (Say what you will about the original films, the lightsaber duels were honestly kind of boring. The Maul/Qui’gon/Obi-Wan fight is anything but.) Ewan MacGregor did a great job as a young Obi-Wan. There was stuff to like, but it was still a half-ball squash for just not doing anything exciting.
Then we get to Attack of the Clones. Where to even start with this? The title? Yeah, that’s a good place. If by “good” you mean “abysmally awful, who wrote this?” Then we get treated to a lot of wooden, terrible, overly dramatic without actually making anyone care “love” scenes with Anakin and Padme. Wait! What’s that? A shining light! Anakin goes berserk on some Tusken Raiders! A flicker of the Dark Side! Dear god! Awweeeesooo… oh, crap. He’s going to sit and cry. Well, never mind. Then we drag Christopher Lee out of whatever coffin he’s been hiding in (and I say that with affection. I think he’s an amazing actor – that voice! – but maybe he ought to consider retirement. Just sayin’) to be our new Sith Lord, and we get a weird reptile guy in a cybernetic body who’s more than capable of swinging a lightsaber. “Dracula and a Sithbot with 7 sabers? This outta be amazing!”
Or they could just babble, wheeze and do little for the entirety of the film. Yeah, there’s that. Oh, and hey, look, we’re cramming in Boba Fett… I mean, Jango Fett! Who’s made of almost as much fail as his son/clone, despite being the bestest bounty hunter in the galaxy ever and the blueprint for the clone soldiers (who will eventually become the Stormtroopers, and gee, I wonder why they can’t ever hit what they’re shooting at and die at the drop of a hat…) Oh, and Yoda draws a lightsaber. Fapping commence. Not.
Then we move to Revenge of the Sith. Which almost – almost – made me not hate it. It built up so many potentially amazing moments… and then screwed them up. The movie’s plot as a whole isn’t as riddled with stupid as the first two are, and the acting has drastically improved, but they absolutely screwed up every duel that should have been amazing.
Tyranus/Anakin? “I drop some debris on your buddy. You cut my head off.” Oh, that’s it.
Obi-Wan/Grevious? “Hey, we have this cyborg with seven lightsabers and one of the best Jedi left in the galaxy. They need to fight. What do we do?” “Have the robot jump into a hoverbike and take potshots at the Jedi, then have him crash (I’m not getting into the logic flaws, there) and have the Jedi shoot him to death.” “Sounds good, boss.” Fuckwha?
Windu/Palpatine? “Palpatine busts out the Force Lightning, Windu deflects. Anakin jumps in, cuts off Windu’s hand and… Palpatine shoves him out a window?” Sure, why not. Because the Jedi Weapons Master with “Bad Mutha Fucka” stamped on the bottom of his freakin’ purple lightsaber doesn’t need once single chance in the whole series to show off why he’s considered the best. Nice way to “explain” why Palpatine looks and sounds like a dead frog, I guess.
Yoda/Palpatine? “They throw some shit at one another, and Yoda runs away.” Gosh, sounds great. Don’t know why I didn’t think of it.
The only Jedi fight in the whole movie that’s even vaguely worth watching is Vader vs. Obi-Wan, and even that isn’t anywhere near as stellar as Maul/Qui’gon or as dramatic and interesting as Vader/Luke. And it falls flat on it’s face when Obi-Wan practically starts reciting D20 game mechanics to his former Padawan. “Don’t do it, Anakin! I have the high ground! I get +10 to my attack roll!” And then there’s the Torso Boy shot after that particular exchange. Sigh.
We can also skip the melodramatic “She has no reason to live” crap at the end.
So after inflicting all of those wounds, after I have suffered so – out of the way, because I try to avoid getting dragged into Star Wars Fanboy discussions because I despise many of my so-called “own people” – and after I have been let down, repeatedly, and have despaired of ever having liked the series in the first place, here comes Episode VII. And people don’t know why I’m not jumping for joy.
I’ll watch it. Eventually. But I will not be there on day 1 (or day 100, for that matter. I’ll rent it when the DVD comes out, thanks; let Redbox have my dollar instead of Disney taking my $15 or $40 or whatever.) And unlike the subtitle of Episode IV, I have no hope. I don’t have much faith or interest in JJ Abrams. I certainly don’t think Disney has it in them to care (oh, by the way, what’d you do with 1313, Walt? mmmhmm. Or Force Unleashed 3? Or, you know, just about anything interesting that might have been in the pipeline from Star Wars? I mean, yeah, you decided a lot of that Expanded Universe crap didn’t count, which is nice, but…)
I am not offended by “lightsaber crossbars.” I am not intrigued, outraged or both at the possibility that The Force Awakens may be Han Solo’s swan song, or that Luke Skywalker may ultimately prove to be the villain of the piece. I don’t worry about whether they’re going to bring in Mara Jade or the New Republic or the New Jedi Order.
I just don’t care. At all.
I’m sorry, Star Wars. You killed it for me.