WARNING!!– Incoming Grumpy Old Man Rant!! — STAR WARS!!

So, there is a rumor that a teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode 7 will be attached to The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies when it premieres on December 17th. Considering that I will be ardently boycotting THBOTFA, I am unlikely to see the trailer for Episode 7 until it hits the internet– and I may avoid it, even then.

It is safe to say that I am not anticipating Episode 7 with any sense of joy. True enough, the franchise has been taken from George Lucas’ dead hands and given fresh impetus– but as a part of the Disney (ugh) corporate machine, which seems to have an instinct to trivialize everything it touches, and then, placed in the hands of J.J. Abrams for execution (no pun intended. Well, maybe….).

Let me be clear about my feelings re: Mr. Abrams– he is a quite competent film director and producer. His two Star Trek reboot films have been technically more than competent. They do not have the embarrassment/silliness factor that afflicts the Star Wars prequels (Episodes 1, 2, and 3). He at least takes his material seriously.

But…I don’t think much of his story-telling chops. The two ST films were, in my opinion, unnecessary in the first instance, and untidy story junk-piles in the second, especially Star Trek Into Darkness, with its head-scratching revision of Khan Noonien Singh. Both left me dissatisfied and wanting more, or, better yet, a time-machine, in which I would go back in time and fix the whole business from the start.

I will admit that part of the problem is my distaste for Abrams as the creator of both Alias and Lost, shows which started out incredibly strong, and then withered under the weight of reboots (Alias) and muddled, unresolved plot-lines (Lost) (to be fair, I am aware that Abrams’ involvement with Lost was intermittent, and the collective sins of the production were committed by a number of people). To put it succinctly, I don’t trust Abrams to create a story-line for Episode 7 that I will find enjoyable or even comprehensible.

An online cartoon from some years back around the debut of Revenge of the Sith still pretty much sums up my feelings–

http://pvponline.com/comic/2005/05/10/tue-may-10/

Admittedly, this is all probably more than a little unfair, since Episode 7 is more than a year away. Abrams may yet pull a Wookie out of the storm-trooper helmet. I don’t expect him to, though, based on his past track record. More likely it will be an Ewok….

I will also admit that this rant is more-or-less just an old fart grieving the apparent inability of Hollywood in general, and probably Disney in particular, to deliver the kind of wonder and excitement I knew when I saw the first Star Wars. I will probably never again feel the kind of joyous punch-to-the-gut I felt the first time I saw that Star Destroyer pass over my head, chasing Princess Leia’s ship. That scene is so iconic now that those who didn’t see the film in first release in 1977 can probably never grasp just how stunning it was– how much, in short, this was something that had never been seen before, and how much it was a watershed in film history (both for good and bad). Perhaps it is unfair to hold up any subsequent film to comparison with that kind of culture-changing event.

But, then, I am not noted for being a very fair person. For me, the Star Wars franchise is dead, and neither Disney marketing pixie dust nor Abrams’ problematic story-telling skills are going to revive it. Requiescat in pace….

Meanwhile, if there are no earth-shaking movies on the horizon, there is at least the prospect of something good. And, by golly, guess whose fingerprints are on it….

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8 thoughts on “WARNING!!– Incoming Grumpy Old Man Rant!! — STAR WARS!!”

    1. Yes, I’ve watched it about 50 times now.

      One extra thought– someone is sure to point out that Marvel Studios is also a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. True enough– but my sense is that Marvel’s efforts have not been compromised by their association with Disney, esp. as they seem to be picking some very, very good story-tellers to craft their movies– Joss Whedon being one of the best in the business. I am much more dubious about Star Wars and Abrams.

      Thanks for reading.

      1. I know too little about movies and directors to comment, except that I find prequels to successful trilogies odd…and usually disappointing. I love myths and legends, though, so Marvel is tuning into my fantasies.

  1. I guess the involvement of Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and is co-writing Episode VII, doesn’t help? I am not a huge Abrams fan but I am not a huge Joss Whedon fan either (outside of Firefly and even then Serenity was a Phantom Menace sized disappointment). Also what about the whole Edgar Wright/Ant-Man debacle? Wright worked for eight years on that and then got shoved out due to speculated Disney interference so Marvel clearly does answer to somebody higher up.

    I hope Age of Ultron and Episode VII deliver. If anything else they couldn’t be worse than past Disney disasters like Tron Legacy, The Lone Ranger or John Carter.

    1. Kasdan’s involvement does create a note of hope, but in general I am not holding my breath– Disney’s whole approach to the Star Wars universe seems to be to see it as a property for mass production rather than a mythos that deserves respect. And I am not sure Kasdan can single-handedly overcome Abrams’ deficits.

      Just to be clear, the point of my post was not that either Disney or Abrams killed Star Wars– George Lucas did that. I am just very dubious about whether Disney or Abrams can revive it.

      Re: Ant-man, I beg your pardon for some imprecision in my language– I did not not mean to say Marvel is immune to Disney pressure, only that, on the whole, they seem to be doing better than average, based on the latest run of releases. The day Disney acquired Marvel was a dark day– that Marvel has done as well as they have recently I suspect is due more to the strengths of the people in the studio rather than anything positive brought to the table by Disney.

      In some ways, Disney is beginning to resemble Microsoft, in that they now tend to acquire profitable properties and stamp them with the Disney label, rather than develop them from scratch.

      And re: John Carter– well, I’ve already expressed myself on that subject 🙂 —

      https://douglasdanieldotcom.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/a-few-thoughts-on-john-carter-and-the-horror-of-marketing/

      Thanks for reading.

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