Posted on 11/20/12 11:07 PM
The Dialogue is Hokey, but What Scope!
Well, all right. Obviously, I should have gotten around to this years ago. After all, I've owned the Original Trilogy for just years now. I remember watching them on TV when I was a kid. Yes, the first time I saw any of them in the theatre was in rerelease, given that I am scant months older than the initial release of this one, but I do also remember a kid I knew in preschool or something who had a Star Wars-themed birthday party when there were still only two movies. So the reason I'm reviewing this now is twofold. First, again, didn't really watch anything today that I could review, and I've seen this easily fifty times. If you can recite large chunks of a movie, you don't need to watch it again before reviewing it. (And Darths & Droids is finally on this one!) Second, alas, I plan to talk about Disney's purchase--and why I don't actually think it's a very bad idea.
Long, Long Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away, there was a young boy named Luke (Mark Hamill), who lived on a planet that never actually got a name in this movie with his Uncle Owen (Phil Brown) and Aunt Beru (Shelagh Fraser). One day, there was a battle above them, and two droids crammed into an escape pod and plummeted to the planet's surface, where they were captured by Jawas and sold to Luke and Uncle Owen for use at their moisture farm. Luke meets up with old Ben Kenobi (Sir Alec Guinness), who knew his father. Ben was once Obi-Wan, a Jedi knight. (Oddly, spell check recognizes more than half these words, but not "Kenobi.") Owen and Beru are killed, and Ben and Luke go to Mos Eisley to find a pilot who will take them and the droids to Alderaan, home of Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). Their pilot is Han Solo (Harrison Ford), brash and cocky, and his copilot is Chewbacca (wow, didn't have that one!), the Wookiee (Peter Mayhew). Alderaan is blown up by the Death Star. And so forth--we all know the plot.
We all know that George Lucas based the whole thing on his beloved Flash Gordon serials. The thing I think he rather missed is how much you feel you own the things you love. He seems annoyed at the fans these days, because they'll argue with him about his story, and I don't think he remembers how passionately he must have felt when he was a child. No, none of us fans have had much to do with creating the work, and indeed most of the fan-made work is a bit pathetic. However, I think we can all agree that some of the official stuff is no great shakes, because George Lucas seems to have gone insane some time in the last thirty-five years and lost all of his story-telling abilities. I mean, compare Raiders of the Lost Ark with Indiana Jones and the Really Crappy Title. I've rather begun to suspect that the reason he sold the company to Disney was that he was tired of being expected to care about what the fans think.
And then, there's Disney. Yes. We've all seen the images that are now floating about the internet. The Death Star with mouse ears. An AT-AT with a Goofy face. Disney Princess Leia. Okay, some of them have even amused me. However, I would like to remind you of two facts. First is that Star Tours, the Star Wars-themed ride at the Disney parks, turns twenty-five this year. Second, let us consider another Disney purchase from 2009. At the time, people were predicting all kinds of horrible things. And what has happened since then was The Avengers, because that purchase was Marvel. I didn't spot any hidden Mickeys in it, though I absolutely would have put them there if it had been me. (Actually, I rather thought the big sky monster thingy looked like the Discworld, but that was probably just me.) Mostly, Disney appears to maintain a hands-off approach. Yes, there's a Marvel store at Downtown Disney, but Disney doesn't seem to interfere much with Marvel most of the time.
The thing is, there's only so much you can say about the movie now that hasn't been said before. You can't even use "for its time" anymore, because Lucas fiddled with the special effects and there are plenty of people who have never seen the original versions. However, I will share with you one great story and my Welsh Jedi Theory. The great story is that, while they were filming in Tunisia, the Libyan government sent a demand to the Tunisian government that they move their implement of war. After doubtless a certain amount of confusion, they called George Lucas and told him that he had to move his sandcrawler. The Welsh Jedi Theory is as such. In this movie, the only real Jedi is Sir Alec Guinness, born in London. In Episode I, there are Ewan McGregor (Perth, Scotland) and Liam Neeson (Ballymena, in Northern Ireland). So to complete our British Empire set, we need a Welsh Jedi. I suggest Sir Anthony Hopkins (Margam, Port Talbot, West Glamorgan, according to IMDb), Christian Bale (Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire), or Catherine Zeta-Jones (Swansea).