Tuesday, March 13, 2012

on star wars

ON STAR WARS
Much thanks, big hugs and little kisses, to DS in New York for the cool LED lights.  You know I'm simply gay over LED's and books.  Great gift to your favorite writer.
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I read “Nerd Do Well” by Simon Pegg this weekend.  He’s the jolly wanker than did “Shaun Of The Dead”.  It wasn’t a bad book, although I would have liked to learn more about the movie making process than how long his first blow job took ( he was first a stand-up comic before he did movies, so there was quite a few laugh out loud moments to the book ).  What stuck in my mind was the psychoanalyses of a few movies, notably Star Wars.  In college he did film studies, where a bunch of pointy heads dissect and over analyze movies rather than just enjoy them.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I’m not adverse to reading such conclusions as a chuckle, although it is a bit sad that an institution of higher learning would offer this and pretend it is an education. What I object to is the conclusion he reached on Star Wars.  I know this was passed on from the school because I’ve read it from many different sources before.  It seems that one guy way back in the day came what with this doozey and everyone since has parroted it without too much thought.  So I don’t blame Simon.  I’m sure he would thank me for this, probably throwing in a “twat” or “bummer” in there for good measure.  The basic analysis goes like this: Star Wars came out at a time when the collecting mood was dark and the spirit of the public was low and this fun film perked us up and we were reminded that good triumphed over evil and we enjoyed the movie because it made us feel better about ourselves.  In other words, it was all about the timing.  I say to this, bull crap.
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Two years later “Apocalypse Now” came out and it was pretty darn popular.  No, it wasn’t the “crowd lined up around the block two days ahead of time” like Star Wars was.  I’m not suggesting it was even in the same league.  I’m saying that all things considered this was a very depressing and dark film and the general public liked it enough to make it a very successful movie.  So I’m not buying that Star Wars was popular because it was happy and fun and made us feel tingly.  It is my contention that Star Wars was so popular because it was a kick ass action film with special effects so good they were not eclipsed for about twenty years.  Look, anything that is new and novel is going to become very popular.  Look at Lord Of The Rings.  Thousands of fantasy novels came after it and none were as popular.  Perhaps they were better, but they never were as popular because the first guy off the starter block wins this kind of prize.  Obviously, you have to have a very good product.  You must get there first, with the best, and with a totally new product.  Star Wars was popular for many different reasons.  It held appeal for kids as well as adults ( I was 12 when it came out and I severely challenged my parents disposable income by my incessant demands for the toys and other dreck with official movie tie ins- I even had a cassette player at the drive in speaker, recorded the movie and listened to it until the tapes wore out.  In short, I was gay over the movie ).  It might have indeed been a happy pill at a time when life in general sucked, but I’d say that was a minor reason.  It was a thrill ride like no other at the time.  Just like The Matrix was years later.  A few nerds might have seen the movie enough to make sense of it ( I still don’t know which pill does what ), but for the general public, it was just a kick ass movie, unlike all the rest.
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 Just like when  “Pulp Fiction” came out.  It was unique because it was about the characters and the dialogue.  Most other films were just eye candy, but here was one that was enjoyable because two guys were standing around throwing witty conversational nuggets around.  It was very well done, and it was something new, and we all loved it.  Those folks that never read and so didn’t realize you could tell a story out of sequence were a bit baffled, but most liked the heck out of the film.  So why did Star Wars falter so badly later, as the first three films of the series were introduced?  You could say, well, the country was doing much better than in the 70’s, if you wanted to advance the original theory of “right time, right place”.   Although, I would say that 1999 was apprehension of Y2K and the beginning of the Tech Wreck, so I don’t know how true that is.  I’d say it was far more likely that it was because computer animation was by then old hat.  After you see the Terminator oozing from one form to another, you don’t get as excited about new Star Wars films using techniques no more exciting, if even AS exciting.  Star Wars was always short on character and storyline skills.  Even the first one.  Those little brown robe dudes were just as irritating as the latter floppy ear pig Latin sounding Rasta wannabe dude ( you’ll forgive my lack of memory over character names and movie titles as I haven’t given much of a crap for the series for quite some time ).  Chewbacca was loud and irritating from movie one, and the female characters were always wooden/cardboard cutout.  There was always too much “trying to be cute”.  And there was never a good story.  If you paid attention to the story, you were ignoring the special effects.
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Star Wars was number one in its day.  Its day was over about the time Jedi came out in 1980.  We had already seen new and novel heights of entertainment and all the subsequent films did was try to equal that.  But you can’t equal the original by following it too closely.  Look at James Bond.  I thought the originals sucked compared to latter ones ( with some exceptions such as the stupid one with that ugly skinny black gal at the Golden Gate Bridge- her hair and manly chest embarrassed me about the 80’s, and I loved the Eighties ).  Because I never saw the originals prior to that.  If I had, I wouldn’t instead have a fond feeling for the late 70’s, early 80’s movies in the series.  You can’t top the original because of the built in nostalgia tied in with the thrill of discovery.
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7 comments:

  1. You loved the 80's? Seriously?

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  2. I often use the search on Bison Survival Blog to
    remember things. Please install an equally good search on James M Dakin blog.

    ReplyDelete
  3. 1121- hell yeh. Even to this day if a gal is wearing 80's hair I give her extra points on her looks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Vlad- added a search feature at the bottom of the page.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was about the same age as you, and never saw Star Wars. Never wanted to. I just thought it was dumb.

    But The Matrix, I actually went back the next night and watched it again. I was gonna write an article for 2600 Magazine describing the whole movie in terms of UNIX processes, and maybe should have because then along with my other article I'd have the two published that would give me a lifetime @2600 email address. But I was too lazy.

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  6. Glad to hear the LED lights made it ok. I love those, tho the (I think) 30 min timeout/shutdown is sometimes annoying.
    Enjoy

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  7. 603- I have some five year old lights of the same type, but cheesier as they are from the dollar store. Comparing the two in output was night and day. I love them. Even the wife, negative old bitch that she she, was excited and started dreaming up places they are going to go in the Bison Pit Of Doom ( B-POD ).

    ReplyDelete