Why I’m glad Disney has purchased Star Wars
When, a few days ago, Disney paid turkey necked toy seller George Lucas a cool $4bn (£2.5bn) to buy the company that gave you Star Wars, in order to make a 7th film in the series, there was a certain level of disquiet from fans of the francise. Presumably, the negative reaction to this news was born from the fear that, in Disney’s hands, the latest film in the series would be rubbish and filled with stupid characters cynically created to sell lunch boxes and action figures. To those people, I say a very loud ‘AHEM’, while pointing in the direction of Star Wars, Episodes I, II and III.
Let’s be honest (and I speak as a Star Wars fan here), nothing could be worse than those pathetically conceived, terribly written, badly performed and confusing prequels. The woeful CGI? Jar Jar Binks? Hayden Christensen? The introduction of Midichlorians even though they were never mentioned in the original trilogy? That brat that played Anakin in the first one? The fact that technology was way more advanced despite the narrative taking place years before Episodes IV-VI? I hated the prequels. Let’s look at them in order…
The first one is baffling. Why the hell would anyone relaunch the most celebrated francise ever with a film that is basically about political bureaucracy? The Trade Federation is doing what? Who isn’t trading with who? What’s that about an embargo? Everyone says that Jar Jar Binks is the worst thing about Episode I but, while he is brain-achingly annoying, for me the major downfall about this film is that its plot is unspeakably confusing/boring. Take out the nine seconds that Darth Maul is on the screen, get rid of the pod race and that (pretty terrible) final battle and you’re left with a film about trade embargoes. Fun!
And then there is the second film, which is even worse that the first. It looks like a glorified computer game and seems to involve little more than Ewan McGregor walking into a completely computer-generated room and looking upwards at an unconvincing alien. And, again, what the hell is going on here? Are the stormtroopers goodies or baddies? Goodies, right? And that scene with Yoda having a lightsaber battle is, frankly, embarrassing.
Episode III was the best of the prequels by some margin, but that’s like saying that having a mild headache is better than having the shits. This is the film where Hayden Christensen got to display his vast emotional range. By which I mean he went from neutral to ‘a bit cross’ and back again. Nice one Hayden, nothing says “I’m emotionally traumatised to the extent that I’m about to go over to the dark side” like a slightly furrowed brow.
Of course, we should have known that the prequels were set to be a disaster, having witnessed what a mess Lucas made of the remastering of the original films. The best of the series, The Empire Strikes Back, thankfully remains largely unharmed but the other two? Yikes. Greedo, a feared bounty hunter, can’t hit a stationary target from about three feet away? Do me a favour. Han Solo steps on Jabba the Hut’s tail? Stupid. And how about the new ending to Return of the Jedi? Fair enough, it’s good to see the impact that the Death Star’s destruction has on the galaxy but, what the chuff is that music to which the montage is set?
So, long before the sale of Lucasfilms to Disney, George Lucas had already done a massive, stinking shit on the Star Wars legacy. I for one, am glad that he is nowhere near Episode VII. I’ve had flu viruses that were more fun than watching Attack of the Clones. Disney could deliver a two-hour R2D2 soliloquy and it would still be more coherent and entertaining than Lucas’ efforts over the past few years. Remember, Disney’s recent Marvel outings have been pretty great. Would I take something in the vein of the 2012 Avengers movie over the crap we’ve been offered with the last three Star Wars films? Of course. In a heartbeat.
I’m actually excited about Episode VII now, especially with rumours that some of the original cast might be jumping on board again. George Lucas may have invented the Star Wars universe but he also completely ruined it, so it’s time to let someone else have a go at making it great again.
Words by Bobby Townsend (pictured here with Darth Vader in a shopping centre).