Friday, April 5, 2013

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

(Originally Written for Jedi News)

I had another article planned for this week. It’ll still get here, but I’m pushing it to next week because there’s a very important topic I want to discuss.

Those of us who are true, true Saga fans are being beaten down left and right. Our morale is weak anyway due to Disney not taking the Marvel/Pixar “hands-off” approach we had hoped for and instead gutting Star Wars and Lucasfilm like a boned fish (Disney, I grew up with you, but you’re making it really really hard to say anything nice about you right now). But with the sale, the haters have come out of the woodwork anew. That’s why I wrote the post that landed me this column in the first place.

With all this hatred and ignorance, it seems that many of us are starting to bend. Many of us are being beaten down by the storm that we’re devolving.

We’re becoming apologists.

Well, no, I’m sorry. I’m not going to apologize. I have nothing to apologize for. Neither does George Lucas or the cast and crew of any of the Star Wars films.

Am I willing to concede that I-III aren’t perfect? Well, it is the truth. Nothing IS perfect, after all. But…screw it. I won’t concede. In my eyes, they ARE perfect. Or as near to as can be achieved. I might be persuaded to concede that point if everyone else concedes that IV-VI weren’t perfect either, and for all the same reasons. In fact, I’ll go into much more detail on that in a month’s time (stay tuned).

People who love I-III and the Saga as a whole may very well have their own problems with them. But by giving the rabid haters an inch, we’re allowing them to take a mile and still be the dominant thought process. History is written by the winners. It doesn’t matter that all the films were box office smashes. It doesn’t matter that all the films had as many good reviews as bad ones. It doesn’t matter that a new generation grew up loving all of Star Wars. By conceding in any of these points, even if we can see where they’re coming from, we’re allowing the “OT = Perfect, PT = Garbage” fallacy to live on and become validated. And as I and many others have pointed out for the last fourteen years or so, all the complaints are shaky at best and come down entirely to personal tastes.

I will say again and again, to all the armchair critics, pretentious auteur-wannabies, hipsters, cynics, trolls, and executives: All of the Star Wars films are good movies. I’m even done with “if you find X a bad thing then they’re all bad” line. No, they’re good, well-made movies. You don’t have to like them, hell there are plenty of objectively good movies I can’t stand because they’re not my style. But you can’t deny the hard work that went into all six Star Wars films, nor the fact that they all continue to succeed in striking a chord with their intended audiences. Anyone who does is either completely ignorant or lying through their teeth, and nobody will ever be able to convince me otherwise. Those of you who praise IV-VI for their direction, cinematography, effects, and performance should see the same caliber in I-III because it’s there. If your “trained eyes” can’t see it, then you are blinded by something I can’t begin to imagine and nothing I say will make you see what’s in front of your face, so I’ll no longer waste my breath. You know what to look for, so you find it. It’s there, I swear.

And before you start calling me a hypocrite, I never ever state something is a fact without empirical proof, either from what the movies are saying or what Lucas and the cast and crew have said in the myriad of books, interviews, and making-of documentaries. Any time I present a debatable interpretation, I do try to label it as such. I’m also stressing that I’m not trying to force anyone to think exactly as I think, merely to intelligently examine the material before putting someone else down for liking it.

I love Star Wars. There is no such thing as an “Original Trilogy.” There is no such thing as a “Prequel Trilogy.” There is no such thing as “Special Editions” or “Expanded Universe” or “Clone Wars.” There is simply the Star Wars Saga. And I love the Star Wars Saga truly, deeply, unabashedly.

No apologies. Not now, not ever.


  1. The Expanded Universe, as said by George Lucas is a different universe from the one of the films and TV Show. It honestly shouldn't be seen as part of the same saga. But it should be seen as some type of parallel or alternate universe.

  2. Yes, George regarded the EU as a whole as dubious canon at best, and as such I take and leave from what makes sense. But I still respect it.

  3. "Anyone who does is either completely ignorant or lying through their teeth"

    *sigh* Thanks for that.

    Also, you need to keep in mind that, regardless of what extremists on the internet may think *you guys are not a minority*. You said yourself- the films were HUGE successes and still continue to rake in money via merchandising and it is not an unpopular opinion to like the prequels. Acting like it is and then accuse the other side of lying is not helping your case.

    1. Wow, you're going all over the place.

      You just admitted the success of the films, and I've never heard you deny the work that went into them, so that particular comment wasn't aimed at you. Yet you took it personally.

      I will admit the part about all the directorial stuff being there and you know what to look for was in reference to our frequent debates, and I did attempt a more pleading tone in that out of respect for you.

      And if it wasn't an unpopular opinion, then why does the mainstream media treat it as such? Why is it so many people who love the movies forced to qualify it with a "but" or risk being ostracized? This has even happened to you. You've hinted that you actually do like the films, but you've been browbeaten by all the negativity into believing that they're bad films even though the depth and quality should be apparent to someone who pays attention to that kind of thing as much as you clearly do.

      From every non-SW-related discussion we've had, I can see that you have a good eye for cinema and tastes that I can identify with. I like you, even if you give me headaches sometimes, I honestly like you. It just makes me sad when you can't see what, based on some other comments you've made, you probably should be seeing.

    2. You're right, I did take that comment personally. The way it was structured in the paragraph made it sound like it was directed at anyone who had fault with the prequels, but I see what you're saying now. I apologize.

      As for the mainstream media, outside of the internet I've never seen anyone get beaten down for liking the prequels- most of the people I know in real life went to see them, and the general opinions range from liking to, at worst, passive dislike (as in, they didn't like them, but aren't going to fuss about it). I've never seen the kind of negative extremism outside of the internet, and even there it didn't properly explode until a few years ago.

      "This has even happened to you. You've hinted that you actually do like the films"

      Have I? To date I believe I've mentioned I have a nostalgic liking for Phantom Menace, but there's a difference between liking a film and thinking it's good (for the record, I like and enjoy Phantom, Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi to varying degrees, but consider Phantom and Return to be markedly weaker than the other two on an objective level).

      I'm confident enough in my tastes and likings to not be swayed by overly negative people, though (my favorite film is the '73 Jesus Christ Superstar, which is more likely to get you laughed at than respected), so when I've come to my opinions and theses, I've come to them of my own accord.

    3. Well it seemed like you did.

      The fact is that I-III is a punchline not just on the internet, but in TV shows and news as well. Even in non-geek news articles, writers can't resist taking a jab. And of all the Star Wars references on TV I've only seen two shows that we're pro-I-III: Robot Chicken, of which the positivity can even be debated but at least it's fair, and 1600 Penn. Everything else is decidedly negative.

      Yes, we Saga fans are not the minority, but we're made to feel as such because the other side has a louder megaphone. I'm simply evening the odds so that particular squeaky wheel doesn't get any more grease.

      And I would think you'd adore Clones with it's subtlety and symbolism...

    4. Clones is actually the only one I disliked outright as a kid, and far and away my least favorite of the films. I can appreciate in some ways what it's trying to do, but it feels to me too much of a 'checklist film' that has to achieve a certain amount of plot contrivances to get us from point A to point B, and doesn't feel natural in doing it.

    5. Interesting.

      It took me a little longer to warm up to Clones, and personally it's one of my least favorite (though that's like saying it's my least favorite style of Reese's, it's still delicious), but the more I watch it the more I feel it was probably one of if not the best made of the saga.

      But more on that next month...

    6. I think it's mostly harmed by how much it has to accomplish- my term earlier of 'checklist film' applies well, and it's really hurt by how Phantom is done (I've commented before I feel the prequels are structurally off, and this is really where I feel that kicks in).

    7. I have something planned, so I won't go into detail now. Suffice to say, I can see how what you're saying applies to certain films in the Saga, but not the ones you mentioned nor enough to ruin or dismiss them at all.