25 May 2007

on Star Wars

Today being the 30th anniversary of the release of George Lucas' Star Wars (1977), there's a lot going on. Namely, Edward Copeland is hosting the, you guessed it, Star Wars Blog-a-Thon. So, should you be in the mood, head on over there and read what is sure to be a plethora of wonderful, if somewhat nerdy[1], posts.

I'll leave you with just this one question: am I the only one who couldn't care less? And not just about the anniversary, but the whole Star Wars empire, from the movies to the action figures to the fan fiction to the costumes to the video games. I just don't see what the big fuss is all about.

Gun to my head, the first one is the only one of the original trilogy I could say with 90% certainty I've seen all the way through, but I remember little of it. It never struck me as being worth remembering, I guess.

When you've got an entirely contrarian opinion like this, there are 2 possible explainations: either you are very wrong or everyone else is. So, which is it?

[1] There is, of course, nothing wrong with nerdy posts. I have nothing against them. Nor do I have anything against nerds, but let's call a spade a spade, shall we?


Peter Nellhaus said...

I saw Star Wars relatively soon when it first was released. My own feeling was that among George Lucas' films, it ran well behind American Graffiti and wasn't as interesting as THX 1138. I'm mostly annoyed by Star Wars fans who don't care to see the films Lucas cribbed from, and believe, contrary to what Lucas has even said, that the film is a totally original creation.

pacheco said...

I think everyone's an absolute nerd. Some are nerds about Star Wars, some are nerds about sports, some are nerds about literature, some are nerds about history, some are nerds about cooking, some are nerds about guitars, some are nerds about movies. You, my dear Lucas, are some sort of nerd just like the rest of us. So let's call a spade a spade, all right bucko?


Bob said...

Hmm. Missing the light saber gene I see. It's okay, I'm almost the only guy I know who never went through a heavy metal phase. Missing the long-guitar solo gene.

In a way, after "Empire Strikes Back" you really haven't missed much -- and you've spared yourself a LOT of aggravation with the horrible second trilogy.

Of course, I sat through every minute. Because I am both nerd and geek.

Mike Peter Reed said...

Star Wars got me at the right age - about 6 when I saw it. It was so much better than any of the Sinbad films or the black and white Flash Gordon episodes I'd seen. I was hooked and reeled in with a plethora of merchandising.

By the time Empire was released the craft of filmmaking was really fascinating me (I would've been 9 or 10). Science fiction and sound design. became of particular interest.

The rest is history.

Don't talk to me about the 30 year anniversary. That has become meaningless to me, and only serves to remind me of my age!

Noel Vera said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Noel Vera said...

Saw it in 1977, was ten years old, maybe eleven. Saw it twice. Loved it till around '88, I suppose, no specific reason. Then it grew more and more annoying with each passing year (the second trilogy only exacerbated the irritation). Only Empire stays watchable, and I consider that a Kershner-Leigh Brackett film more than a Lucas film. So I'm not too far from the fanboys, or from your position.

lucas mcnelly said...


I'm with you. American Graffiti is a vastly superior film, easily Lucas' best work.

i'd really love to see him get back to those roots. get away from all the computer razzle-dazzle and just make a film with actors and sets and locations all that good stuff. it might do wonders for him

lucas mcnelly said...


i'll have you know that i am not a nerd, but a cinephile! A cinephile, I tell you! Your semantics be damned!


lucas mcnelly said...


me too, no heavy metal phase. unless, of course, you count Spinal Tap.

I grew up on Willie Nelson. If you got Willie, you don't need heavy metal.

I actually did see 2 of the new ones. I wish I hadn't.

lucas mcnelly said...

Mike & Noel,

maybe i didn't see Star Wars at the "right" time in my life, the way you guys did.


i can imagine that, aside for a certain fondness, they probably don't age well. and isn't that one of the main criteria for greatness?


your rating is higher than it was 10 minutes ago. huzzah!

David Lowery said...

I think the very first one ages incredibly well. The second one, too, although it was always amazing to begin with in my humble opinion. A New Hope is the one that continues to yield new surprises...and that proves that Lucas was, once, a directorial talent to contend with.

The others, not so much.

Matt Riviera said...

Simplistic, militaristic, cheesy, tiresome, repetitive and cringe-worthy. All of them.

That wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing - there's plenty of room for bad cinema, event the ideologically unsound - but it pisses me off that we've collectively spent 20 billion dollars on such drivel (so says Forbes).

6 Star Wars blockbusters or the chance for 20,000 independent filmmakers to make a $1 million feature? How many great films might've been made, talents discovered?

Bob Turnbull said...

It's not so much that I couldn't care less, but just that it doesn't grab me. I saw Star Wars in the theatre when I was 11 or so and thought it was cool and certainly not what I was expecting. But that was it...It was cool. Saw 5 and 6 as well. Enjoyed them and moved on to other things.

Flash forward to 1999 and Phantom just didn't hold any pull with me. A buddy showed me the podrace and Maul saber fight when it came to DVD and, even though there were some well done sections, it then held even less interest for me. The acting was even more wooden and just completely took me out of it. I did see Sith in the theatre, but was pulled along by siblings. I fell asleep during part of it.

Flash forward to now. I have a six year old. He loves Star Wars and has seen all the episodes. For some reason it just stimulates his imagination. We have Light saber battles, he builds his own Lego ships, etc.

So I've now seen the second trilogy in its full, uh, grandeur. I find it hard to sit through as the acting and script just really weigh it down. There was an interesting post on another blog that said that Phantom Menace should be seen as an art film, especially if you watched it with subtitles (and in a foreign language). It's an interesting thought...There are some really great visuals in the prequels (too much and too artificial sometimes, but still darn purty) and reading the script might make it more palatable than hearing someone try to make it sound natural.

I guess I can't get worked up over Lucas either way. I don't understand the really in depth fascination about minute details that the big fans have, but that's the same with any specific obsession. Nor do I feel I can completely blame him for the state of the industry the way some others do. All I know at the moment is that whatever personal interest I have in the films is because they have brought a whole lot of joy to my son...B-)

lucas mcnelly said...

6 Star Wars blockbusters or the chance for 20,000 independent filmmakers to make a $1 million feature? How many great films might've been made, talents discovered?


you have no idea how much stuff like this annoys the hell out of me, especially something like Van Helsing that loses money. i always look at the budget and go, "i could go my whole career and use that much total"....argh

RC said...

interesting star wars blog-a-thon contribution.

personally i'm not into the fandom but acknowledge the stories as accepted american mythology.

Noel Vera said...

1) We could use more interesting mythology. How about adaptations of the works of John Sladek, for starters?

2) Lucas going back to his roots? If I remember right (and some fan please correct me if I'm not), he had to use an acting coach on his cast in American Graffitti. He was never comfortable with humans, something I think should be basic for any filmmaker worth looking at.

lucas mcnelly said...

2) Lucas going back to his roots? If I remember right (and some fan please correct me if I'm not), he had to use an acting coach on his cast in American Graffitti. He was never comfortable with humans, something I think should be basic for any filmmaker worth looking at.

i think i heard the same thing...and, yeah, that's absolutely fundamental.

there's that famous Hitchcock line everyone always cites, but i always kind of thought he was mostly joking.

but Lucas...well...he doesn't seem to understand people at all.

Noel Vera said...

Sorry, I took so long to read this.

Hitchcock was kidding. Actors loved him, from Bergman to Stewart to Paul Newman to Bruce Dern, and he wouldn't have elicited so many great performances from so many actors if he didn't love em. Doncha think?

Piper said...


I don't think you're alone, although I find it weird that you can't seem to remember Star Wars. To me if you take all the sci-fi stuff away, you still have a pretty good movie. But I am of the group that likes the original two at least and bits of the others.