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George Lucas, Saint or Sell-Out?

By Uhlek in Media
Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 10:33:23 PM EST
Tags: Movies (all tags)

There are few groups in the fandom world more rabid than Star Wars junkies. I'll admit, to a degree, I am one. Loved it as a kid, still have my Return of the Jedi bedsheets folded up and in the closet.

But in the last few years, since the release of the Special Edition of the first trilogy, The Phantom Menace, and the recent news regarding N*Sync getting extra bits in Episode II, people are questioning the sanctity of the once-sacred cow of Star Wars, and the sainthood of George Lucas.

To see exactly where this is going, instead of telling you the pros and cons of the Star Wars franchise, instead here is a simple chronological analysis of the Star Wars franchise. I have avoided video games, and have instead focused on the more commonly seen aspects of Star Wars.

Star Wars, Episode IV (1977)

Released in 1977, this was a pinnacle moment in science fiction. Finally, after many years, SF came to the forefront of cinema and, along with several other big-budget movies at the time, gave birth to the "blockbuster" mentality that the modern film industry has. Oh, and it was a great movie.

Star Wars Holiday Special (1978)

Ah yes. Who could forget. In the same year that brought us Battlestar: Galactica, we see the Star Wars Holiday Special (more info). The heartwarming tale of Chewie's family waiting for his arrival for the celebration of Life Day. Their grief at his tardiness is, of course, eased by the help of friends like Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Diahann Carroll and others. Right.

Star Wars, Episode V (1980)

Nothing needs to be said here.

Star Wars, Episode VI (1983)

Cute, furry little creatures with cute, high-pitched voices and funny mannerisms help the Rebels in their assault on the Empire. And shortly thereafter are the subject of millions of dollars of marketing tie-ins aimed at children. Plush dolls, oh yeah.

Ewok Adventure (1984)

Don't try and deny Lucas had anything to do with this atrocity. Helping to continue to capitalize on the marketing potential held within the Ewoks, we have this television special, written and produced by George Lucas himself, and helmed by John Korty, whom IMDB describes as a "principled filmmaker."

Ewoks: Battle for Endor (1985)

A sequel to Ewok Adventure, and again written and produced by George Lucas.

Star Wars: Droids (1985)

According to IMDB, the animated "adventures of C3PO and R2D2 before they joined Luke Skywalker." I remember seeing this as a kid, but most of my memory of it is blocked.

Star Wars: Ewoks (1985)

Paired with Droids to form the Ewok & Droids Adventure Hour, again, I don't remember seeing this much. But hey, its there.

The Star Wars Special Editions (1997)

The re-releases of Star Wars episodes IV, V, and VI are some of the most-argued about releases among Star Wars fans. Personally, with the exception of some of the cut footage that was added in, I thought they were rather trite and silly what they changed, Episode IV in particular.

Star Wars, Episode I (1999)

I'm not going to waste space discussing this movie. Its been done to death.

Star Wars, Episode II (2002)

Even before its release, this movie's been bashed. Between the plotline of a romance, people's opinions of the trailer, and the latest news about N*Sync being on screen for 2 seconds in a battle scene, no one has even seen the movie and yet everyone is convinced it's either good or bad.

So ends the chronology of Star Wars. I have not included the video game, novel, comic, and RPG adaptations, merely because they are extentions of a conclusion that can already be achieved by looking at what is here.

Star Wars, sadly, is no different than Star Trek is today. Artistic integrity is lost, and it is merely a franchise to produce money for the cash-cow that is Lucasarts. Does that mean Episode II "is gonna suck?" Not necessarily. It might be a great piece of cinema, although I doubt it.

Lucas became a sell-out a long, long time ago. Between the Ewok Adventures, the cartoons, the Holiday Special, and everything in between, its more than obvious what he's after: making money.

But in the end, am I still going to go see Episodes II and III?

Well, duh. Its Star Wars.


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Star Wars: Episode II
o Its going to be amazing! 4%
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o Its gonna be released in May! 54%

Votes: 81
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Related Links
o N*Sync getting extra bits in Episode II
o Star Wars, Episode IV
o Star Wars Holiday Special
o more info
o Star Wars, Episode V
o Star Wars, Episode VI
o Ewok Adventure
o John Korty
o Ewoks: Battle for Endor
o Star Wars: Droids
o Star Wars: Ewoks
o IV
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o VI
o Star Wars, Episode I
o Star Wars, Episode II
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George Lucas, Saint or Sell-Out? | 68 comments (63 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Episode V! (3.57 / 7) (#1)
by /dev/niall on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:04:26 AM EST

Star Wars, Episode V (1980) Nothing needs to be said here.

What does this mean? This was the only good movie in the entire series!!

I think folks who loved Star Wars as kids are finally coming to the realization that Lucas is a hack out to make some money, just like a lot of other folks in Hollywood. It burns because of the way they remember feeling about the first few movies. No big deal. Maybe he will produce something somewhat entertaining in the process. ;)

Of course (4.50 / 2) (#4)
by hulver on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:13:49 AM EST

The whole article is critical of the star wars films, apart from V, which is why nothing needs to be said.

[ Parent ]
Re: Episode V! (5.00 / 1) (#38)
by ggeens on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 03:57:53 AM EST

What does this mean? This was the only good movie in the entire series!!

It was also the only one not directed by George Lucas. I'm pretty sure there is a relation between both facts.

Lucas is not known as a good "people director". He likes the special effects too much. IMHO, that is why SW appeals so much to the kids.

I was one of them back then. Now I've grown up, and my expectations have changed. That's why I didn't like episode I that much.

L'enfer, c'est les huîtres.

[ Parent ]
movie bore correction - sorry..... (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by THoliC on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 09:43:54 PM EST

It was also the only one not directed by George Lucas.

Irvin Kershner (Lucas's old film school tutor) directed 'Empire'. Richard Marquand directed 'Return'. Lucas did 'star wars' and 'episode one' (which is, as has been stated, why they both generally suck).....


has got us both,
looking for a bed today..."

[ Parent ]
BOOM! (3.71 / 7) (#2)
by epcraig on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:10:59 AM EST

I have the same problem with Lucas that I had with Roddenberry.

No matter how big the explosion in a vacuum, no boom.

It isn't Science Fiction if you get the known science wrong.

There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

Might be Space Opera, though (4.00 / 2) (#7)
by MK77 on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:31:52 AM EST

It isn't Science Fiction if you get the known science wrong.

Neither Star Wars nor Star Trek are trying to be hard sci-fi. There's a lot more magic going on in both of them than just noisy space battles.

What would you do instead? Silence? Music only? I think people want to hear the explosions, even if it isn't accurate.

Mmm... rageahol
[ Parent ]

Why not? (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by davidduncanscott on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 05:08:52 PM EST

Music and silence worked pretty well for Kubrick. As a matter of fact, I've always thought the silence in 2001 was one of the best effects.

[ Parent ]
400 million reasons (4.50 / 4) (#31)
by MK77 on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 07:43:41 PM EST

Music and silence worked pretty well for Kubrick. As a matter of fact, I've always thought the silence in 2001 was one of the best effects.

Kubrick's 2001, domestic gross: $56.715 million
Star Wars Ep IV, domestic gross, including re-release: $460.935 million

Mmm... rageahol
[ Parent ]

silence... (none / 0) (#61)
by guinsu on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 01:21:40 PM EST

The only problem with 2001 (and I did like it a lot, though more for the concept and the ideas) is that there is a bit too much silence and waiting, at least for a fast paced adventure like Star Wars. I do see how having audible explosions might be neccessary for hat sort of movie. However, I am willing to change my mind if anyone can furnish an example of a movie with silence in a vacuum that isn't 2001/2010 or another movie that isn't _really_ long and drawn out.

[ Parent ]
Hush (none / 0) (#67)
by davidduncanscott on Sun Jan 06, 2002 at 12:55:30 PM EST

Silent Running (plus you get to see r2d2's older brothers Hewie, Dewie, and Louie).

[ Parent ]
Could have been worse (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by itsbruce on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:37:55 AM EST

In Battlestar Galactica the fighters used braking flaps to slow down before boarding the mothership.

--It is impolite to tell a man who is carrying you on his shoulders that his head smells.

[ Parent ]
I've seen worse (none / 0) (#50)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 08:46:55 PM EST

In some earlier episodes of Dr. Who, after a spaceship exploded, it'd fall down...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Depends on where you put the mic (4.50 / 2) (#16)
by joecool12321 on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:02:30 PM EST

You are correct that in a vacuum, there's no boom. But at the point of explosion, there is not a vacuum, as the oxygen and oxygen stores aboard the ship are consumned. So perhaps the just put the mic in a different location?


[ Parent ]
Maybe no boom, but a bang (4.20 / 5) (#24)
by epepke on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 03:33:30 PM EST

I always wonder why people think this.

The "boom" is caused by rapidly expanding gases from whatever blew up. In air, these gasses hit molecules in the air which hit other molecules in the air and so on until some hit the microphone or your eardrum or the window or something.

Without air, the rapidly expanding gases would not hit any molecules and then not hit any molecules, but they would hit the microphone or the canopy of the spacecraft. Probably not your eardrum first, because it would likely be ruptured if it were out in a vacuum.

So, there would be a noise, just caused by the expanding front of the explosion rather than compression waves in air. It would probably travel faster than a boom in air, as the boom in air is limited to the speed of sound. It would also probably sound different, as moisture in air tends to act as a low-pass filter, and it would probably last longer and change in character. It wouldn't technically be a boom, as the boom in air is related to the speed of the explosion's being greater than the speed of sound, but the basic character of the sound, random noise modulated in amplitude with smooth frequency distirbution, is enough like the common meaning of "boom" to count.

What you wouldn't hear are the noises of the blasters. You probably wouldn't see the blasters, either. And, the blasters would be impossible anyway, since they're supposed to be pure energy but travel much more slowly than light. But Star Wars isn't science fiction; it's a western with Jungian archetypes set in space.

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
Wow. (3.80 / 15) (#5)
by Defect on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:17:30 AM EST

Seriously, let's pretend you don't see this comment as a blatant troll, sit back and think for a moment.

None of the star wars movies were very good. They were all cheesy, they all tried to appeal to the masses, and they all lacked much quality. The only reason the initial installment entertained people so much was because of the quality of the special effects. It was created over two dozen years ago, since then we've grown to expect more out of hollywood and the star wars fanatics have just placed the first three movies on a pedestal they weren't designed for.

The Phantom Menace, while it certainly did suck quite a bit, was really not all that different than any of the other movies. Episode 2 will be much of the same. Let's all take a step over to reality and come to the understanding that lucas is not a god, never was, and never will be.

Sorry if i've made some of you cry.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
Expectations from Hollywood (4.00 / 2) (#62)
by Macrobat on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 02:56:45 PM EST

The only reason the initial installment entertained people so much was because of the quality of the special effects.
Um...no, if that were the case, we'd all be lining up for Silent Running, episode 6. If you look at that, or 2001: A Space Odyssey, you see movies filled with a lot more eye candy. The reason Lucas pushed for advancements in the state-of-the-art was so he could make the story more fast-paced, and a technological advance was the only way to get his ideas on the screen. You may not like the story of Star Wars, but that really was what grabbed people. That, and other production values like John Williams's score or the acting (no, not Mark Hamill's or Carrie Fisher's, but consider Harrison Ford, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing and James Earl Jones).

It was created over two dozen years ago, since then we've grown to expect more out of hollywood...
No again. I do not expect anything good to come out of Hollywood, and am pleasantly surprised when something decent appears. What do people expect from Hollywood anyways? Freddy Got Fingered? Battlefield: Earth? Or the supremely creative effort of turning a 60's TV show into a 90-minute product-placement vehicle?

Please, think before you post.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

I don't know whats so hard to understand. (4.57 / 7) (#6)
by Lost In A Dream on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:18:58 AM EST

Those that think that just because the original movie was killer (and the second was pretty awesome as well) means that it wasn't an attempt to make money simply baffle me. Star Wars was never meant as some altruistic or simply artistic form of expression. It was, and always will be, a way for someone to make some money. Yes, it started as a killer story (some elements of that still exist in fact), but it was a killer story with the sole purpose of pouring money into the pockets of the person that developed it. Now, the story has suffered a bit since the money actually started coming in, but it is still present. As you said, you will see it, because it is Star Wars.

And that's another thing. People that are so bent of telling us all how terrible Star Wars has become will still attend the new movies, still buy the merchandise, and still purchase the movies when they are available on VHS or DVD. All the while they rant and rave about how terrible it is and how they are "forced" to waste their money on such garbage. Guess what? Lucas isn't actually standing over you with a gun to your head telling you to fork over your dough. If it really hurts you that much, just don't pay attention to it. That's right, do the unthinkable and stop watching it, stop buying the products, and ignore it.

As for myself, I quite enjoyed Episode I. I didn't go into it trying to find something to complain about. I went to the movie to be entertained. And, I actually was. End of story. I really doubt I will be disappointed in Episode II either. Once I heard Leonardo was NOT in the role of Anakin I gave up my only protest to the movie.

It's entertainment. If you don't find it entertaining, don't watch. Simple as that.
Armaphine - Screw death warmed over. I currently look and feel like death that had a couple of warm rocks thrown at it.

I don't know... (3.33 / 3) (#8)
by Zeram on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:34:09 AM EST

about Episode IV. Between the trite save the plot (young man on a journey to find himself/save the princess), the some what cheesy dialog, and the pusedo mysticism (I have no desire to go into my feelings about "the force"), most SF fans of the time cringed at the thought of this movie shaping the minds of kids in terms of SF, in much the same way that people cringe at the though of Voyager influcing kids (lets not start this debate either please). Not to say that it's a bad movie, it's on helluva a ride for sure. However Star Wars is to SF what Buffy is to horror. In other words it's not bad, but it doesn't even come close to being representative of the genere.

As a side note even though I was quite young at the time, I remember there being Star Wars merchandise out the wazoo when episode IV was released, so really even back then it was fairly obvious that the series was expected to be a cash cow.
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
The force will be with you... (4.66 / 3) (#11)
by czth on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:48:10 AM EST

the pusedo mysticism (I have no desire to go into my feelings about "the force")

But... the force will be with you... always!


[ Parent ]

Kepp telling yourself that (3.40 / 5) (#14)
by Zeram on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 12:07:11 PM EST

But... the force will be with you... always!

It's exactly that kind of thinking that wins people Darwin awards.
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
The force (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by broken77 on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 03:54:12 PM EST

Well, I know you said you didn't want to go into your feelings about the force, but... I'm not sure what you do/don't feel about the concept, so I'll just assume :-) The idea as it's presented by Lucas may be somewhat half-baked, but as a philosophical/metaphysical belief, it's not that uncommon, and has existed in some form or another for a long time. It may be compared to Holism, Organicism, Panpsychism, or (although somewhat of a stretch) Mysticism, or (although somewhat more of a stretch) Buddhism. And the idea that you can draw power from "the force" is not a new idea either. This is one of the main ideologies behind doing meditation. It's not only for calming the mind, but it is believed (by some) that this can help you tap into "the force" (the universe, the web that links all things together, whatever). I myself used to laugh at this very notion... Until I started doing meditation heavily myself. I really think there's something to it now. What I think there is "to it" I won't go into, as I may start to sound like a lunatic to certain people.

Suggested further topics to read:

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

Not what I really meant (4.50 / 2) (#56)
by Zeram on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 09:04:19 AM EST

I understand what your talking about, and I was aware of most of it. My issue with "the force" is the whole hate/anger thing. I've never bought into the idea of emotions like hate and anger being flat out bad. I have always believed that it's the way that people react to the emotions that is bad, not the emotions themselves.
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
Cash cow a surprise. (none / 0) (#52)
by mahlen on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 09:16:59 PM EST

"...so really even back then it was fairly obvious that the series was expected to be a cash cow."

That's not how I recall it. In the summer of 1977 I was busy getting excited about the impending release of the first Star Trek movie (until I saw it, that is). That spring I'd heard of some movie called Star Wars coming out, but there was very little hype at the time. I was travelling in the UK when i heard about this phenomenon back home, kids seeing the movie scores of times, all the hoopla. I think it really took everyone by surprise (which is also why, I'd guess, that people are so protective of the memory and the film; it was an unexpected craze, the Nirvana's "Nevermind" of it's time).

The vast array of strange product spin-offs took some time to exist, as I recall. Remember, a Science Fiction film in those days was Logan's Run, Westworld, or The Omega Man. I doubt anyone thought the director of a marginally successful film (American Graffiti) would make the runaway success that Star Wars became.


Il brilgue: les tôves libricilleux
Se gyrent en vrillant dans le guave,
Enmîmés sont les gougebosqueux,
Et le mômerade horsgrave.
--Lewis Carroll, translated by Frank L. Warrin, "Le Jaseroque"
(Martin Gardner, "The Annotated Alice")

[ Parent ]
In a sense (none / 0) (#57)
by Zeram on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 09:07:59 AM EST

I misspoke myself. You are correct. But I remember very vividly the last few days that Star Wars was in the theater, and right around the same time I remember there being all kinds of merchandise. But then again I was only five at the time.
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
[ Parent ]
The Holiday Special was the best! (5.00 / 2) (#10)
by wiredog on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:42:32 AM EST

It had special effects that were cheesy, even for 70's era TV. And Leia (well, the actress playing her) was on drugs. Seriously, dig up an old tape and watch her eyes. She was massively zonked.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
100% audience coverage (4.25 / 4) (#12)
by gromgull on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:50:56 AM EST

The SW films are already guaranteed to appeal to all geeks, SF fans etc.
No matter how horrid the film seems before hand, as you said: "duh, its Star Wars". And we WILL all go to see it.

By now including N*Sync, romance and sticky toffee pudding they will also appeal to the 10-15 year old girls.

I assume that by film no. 3 they will also include french actors, slight drama and small picturesque french village to appeal to my parents as well - and then they will have 100% audience coverage and EVERYONE will go to see SW-III

If I had my way I'd have all of you shot

Not I. (none / 0) (#17)
by losthalo on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:05:45 PM EST

>No matter how horrid the film seems before hand, as you said: "duh, its Star Wars". And we WILL all go to see it.

I have yet to see Episode I, after years of hearing that it was "in the works". I may someday break down and see the "edited" version someone put together, the one without Jar-Jar Binks.

I loved Star Wars when I was a kid. Looking back, though, the first movie wasn't the greatest, and the second half of Jedi was ridiculous. You can't include Muppets in batle scenes without it being silly.

If there are goofy characters in Episode II, I may very well opt-out of that Star Wars experience as well, because "nothing" is better than crap.


[ Parent ]
We who? (2.00 / 2) (#22)
by chrome koran on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 02:28:09 PM EST

Must be the "we" that doesn't mind paying $8 to see crappy movies.

This is not designed to appeal to SF fans (Space Opera fans maybe) - it is designed for children, teenagers and/or adults with similar literary/art/film IQs. If you don't believe me, all you have to do is take a close look at the marketing techniques used.

Look - I loved the first two films as much as the next guy. Of course, I was also a teenager at the time, and my taste in film wasn't very discerning. (I also read the Gor books, hehe.) None of these movies are a work of art...the plot is trite, the dialog is infantile, and the acting is uniformly mediocre. I won't even mention directing because there wasn't any...Take off the blinders and watch any of them as if you've never seen them before. George Lucas didn't have to "sell out" because he was never anything but a hack making blockbuster movies designed to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Any adult who pays $8 to go see Attack of the Clueless without the excuse of having a child that insists on going should be forbidden to post further on this site. ;-)

[ Parent ]

heh (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by regeya on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:50:58 PM EST

Pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject . . . I can't say I fault Lucas for "selling out" though.

I mean, after all, if you overlook the fact that ANH was "Hidden Fortress in Space," Star Wars is Lucas's baby. He's been very fortunate that he's been able to keep it that way, and hey, we're the suckers that help make the whole thing profitable for him. If the fans were really all that upset that Star Wars was a commercial cash cow, they'd stop buying. But they don't, eh? :-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

yep (5.00 / 1) (#28)
by Danse on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 04:46:55 PM EST

Star Wars fans are like drug addicts. They'll do whatever it takes to get their next fix. Even if it means degrading themselves in the process.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
hrm. (none / 0) (#48)
by regeya on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 07:52:54 PM EST

Could you go a bit more in-depth on that claim?

I mean, it's the most ridiculous bit of flame-bait I've read in months; I'm just hoping you have a link to some fluff AP article or something that makes this seem even funnier. Star Wars fix? Degrading themselves in the process? You make Star Wars seem like it's something that matters. I'm a big fan, but I can't say I've ever degraded myself to get a fix.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

LOL (5.00 / 2) (#55)
by Danse on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 01:52:14 AM EST

That was "the most ridiculous bit of flame-bait" you've read in months? You must not read K5 very much. And you must not even know what /. is :)

Seriously though, by degrading themselves, I meant that they will give Lucas their cash, despite the fact that they hate what he did to the special edition films, and they'll see Episode I at least 5 times, despite the fact that it only makes them more pissed off every time they see it. Oh, and all this despite the fact that they proudly proclaim on /. that they won't give the MPAA another dime. Yeah, this doesn't apply to every Star Wars fan, just a lot of the die-hards and the type that seem to post to /.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Greed (3.83 / 6) (#20)
by MicroBerto on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 01:51:24 PM EST

Is there really a difference between making 100 million dollars and 125 million dollars? I don't think so. But please correct me if I'm wrong.

Lucas was going to do great with this movie even if he didn't sell out to our young teenie-boppers. But instead, he went for an extra buck and decided to betray his truest fans in the meantime.

This, my friends, is the definition of selling-out. There's no defending it, and there's no way around it.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip

NSync dies? Cool! (4.75 / 8) (#21)
by Elkor on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 02:14:37 PM EST

From the link for NSync:
"They are only seen for half a second in the background getting blown up by droids. There is then a short, blurry shot of N Sync dying."

How is this a bad thing? We get to see NSync die!

I can imagine this clip being spread all throughout the internet to be enjoyed by all Boy-Band enemies.


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
Pinnacle of SF? (4.50 / 2) (#23)
by DesiredUsername on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 03:28:31 PM EST

I wasn't old enough in '77 to see a movie, but I saw it later on TV.

I was unimpressed.

By that time I had already read Asimov's Foundation series and watched a great deal of Trek (TOS). Except for "The Force", there wasn't anything in the movies that was in the least bit original in terms of SF. The Force itself is (or was, before Phantom messed it up with biology) just ESP, something that was hot hot hot in the 70's. It seemed to me, even as a young child, that the makers were cashing in on some already popular ideas by stringing them together with a hackneyed plot.

I realize these are hard words to hear, but let's examine the past in light of the present. Jar-jar, N'Sync, cheap toys and merchandising deals with McDonald's all indicate a person who is, shall we say, not all that occupied with "artistic integrity" in the first place.

Oh well, just my $.02. I've never understood the fascination with the Star Wars movies and I guess I never will.

Play 囲碁

My fave line from SW IV: Spec. Ed. (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by ti dave on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 03:38:08 PM EST

"Hi kids! I'm Boba Fett. Buy my toys!"


ti dave

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

Mr. "Evil Empire" Lucas.... (4.00 / 3) (#27)
by tomte on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 04:15:18 PM EST

that's what my friends and I call him ever since the special-edition appeared on the big screen:).
But let's get a few things straight:
  • SW is not SciFi, it's a fairy-tale/western/fantasy-mixture loosly citing a lot of myths I can't remember right now.
  • despite some posters here denying it, my brain is still ok; being entertained by SW or a silly action-movie or whatever doesn't mean I'm a moron.
To get back to the article:
Yes, we don't call him "evil empire" for nothing, jarjar /was/ unnerving and the robots weren't that great either (but, hey, theres the cause why stormtroops and clones are utilized later on) but they appealed to kids and made/make some big bucks, they did the job!
And yes I certainly will see episode II ASAP...maybe I should have my brain checked though :-)
Funny. There's a brightness dial on the monitor, but the users don't get any smarter.
Star Wars: Shite (4.40 / 5) (#30)
by spiralx on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 06:55:15 PM EST

Was I the only person that managed not to be infected by some kind of rose-tinted Star Wars Vision&tm;? I mean come on, apart from a few ground-breaking special effects, there really wasn't anything at all worth bothering with in any of the films. And while I see people here bash films today that rely on nothing but fancy special effects, these same people pant at the very mention of George Lucas's latest cash-grab.

Star Wars, sadly, is no different than Star Trek is today. Artistic integrity is lost, and it is merely a franchise to produce money for the cash-cow that is Lucasarts.

Hah. As if it was ever anything else. George Lucas is nothing other than a third-rate director and writer who managed to be at the right place at the right time. And episode one is no different to episode four - lots of special effects desparately trying to mask a tired plotline, shoddy characterisation and a weak background. Even the Muppets existed in a more consistent universe than Luke and company.

Quite frankly the only reason Star Wars was ever successful was that it had some fancy new effects. Unfortunately this nadir of science-fiction became a template for sci-fi on television and in the cinema, leading to endless hackneyed pieces of crap that did the genre an immense disservice in showing what it was capable.

Quite frankly, George Lucas can go fuck himself.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Star Wars: The Legacy Continues (4.00 / 1) (#32)
by Orion Blastar on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 09:58:32 PM EST

First george Lucas owns the whole "Star Wars" empire and he can do with it what he wants.

Apparently the first trillogy either wasn't finished or couldn't be done with the special effects of the 1970's so he went to episode 4.

*Nsynch added to episode 2 sounds like he is trying to get some of the viewers to be girls. Most likely dragged into the movies by their boyfriends, at least they get 2 seconds of *NSynch even if they do die horrible deaths. It will save them from dumping a bucket of popcorn of their date's heads for dragging them to see this Space Opera for men.

Jarjar is just to add silliness and to give something for the children to see in the film.

What "Star Wars" taught me was that merchandising is king. They lampooned this in "Space Balls" when Yogurt had "Space Balls the pillow", "Space Balls the flaw thrower" (they kids are going to love that!) Anyway I grew up with "Star Wars" bedsheets, T-Shirts, action figures, model sets, posters, books, etc. Even toothpaste, shampoo, and Crazy Foam! No matter what they make from the movie, the merchandising will net in more money.

If you don't like it, don't watch the movie and don't buy the stuff. My son will most likely ask me for "Star Wars" stuff when he is old enough.
*** Anonymized by intolerant editors at K5 and also IWETHEY who are biased against the mentally ill ***

Am I the only one noticing this? (5.00 / 4) (#33)
by Gutza on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 10:30:19 PM EST

I've read all of the posts on this story so far and nobody seems to realize a very simple fact: WE GREW UP! I mean, why don't you complain that you don't like your favourite robozaurus anymore? Because you loved the robozaurus when you were seven and you're not anymore. That's a simple one, right? Why can't you understand it's the same with SW? Instead people complain it's "become" a movie for 10-year old children. No, it didn't become anything - it's always been a movie for 10 year old children.

Does it actually suck or not? I can't say, although I loved it when I saw it -- but then again, the same about my favourite truck. Do the new episodes suck? I don't know that either - can you tell if the newest toy on the market all children die for is actually cool?

Nevertheless, as the authour says, I'm probably going to see them all... :-)

Who's your vendor, who's your vendor? — Scott Adams
time is K5

Children (none / 0) (#41)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 10:42:37 AM EST

Instead people complain it's "become" a movie for 10-year old children. No, it didn't become anything - it's always been a movie for 10 year old children.

To point out just one obvious difference, in the first movie all the characters were adults. Now we've got a kid Anakin and a kid Amidala. I think it's fair to say that the series is a lot more child-oriented than it was originally.

[ Parent ]

and another thing (5.00 / 2) (#42)
by Gris Grue on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 11:24:53 AM EST

After Empire--a better and more "serious" movie than the first--when Lucas went shopping for a director for Jedi, the man at the top of his list was David Lynch. Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Dune--that guy. A serious, dark, grown-up, respectable, Academy Award-nominated director with, at the time, a .667 "great film" batting average.

Lucas didn't want a kids' movie; he wanted Elephant Man in space. And when Lynch wouldn't do it--he was busy getting Blue Velvet made, and thought that the already-delimited Star Wars universe was too inflexible for him to work with anyway--Lucas did the best he could without him (i.e. Ewoks).

This "They've always been kids' movies" thing is a retrospective, "official" view, adopted by Lucas Inc. to deflect criticism of the post-Empire movies' lack of depth, and the series' fall from fun, cheesy '50s sci-fi with some darker "adult interest," to incoherent two-hour commercials for toys.

If a bad zombie gets you, he will weep on you, or take away your whiskey, or hurt your daughter's bones.
[ Parent ]
A good kids' movie (none / 0) (#47)
by Macrobat on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 07:19:22 PM EST

A good kids' movie should still be enjoyable by adults. Just because kids have less worldly experience doesn't mean they're stupid, so a movie that respects their intelligence will continue to be appreciated even into adulthood. Think of fantasies like the Babe the pig movies and early Disney, or movies like The Secret Garden. They all respect children's intellectual capacity, even if they acknowledge that kids don't have as great a body of experience to draw from. And they're fun for adults to watch, too.

I think that's why people feel George kinda slipped in a big way on Episode I. There was just too much pandering to a supposedly less-capable crowd in Phantom Menace. Episodes IV and V, and part of VI, felt like they were taking their audience seriously, regardless of whether they were adults or children. Jedi spoiled it with the Ewoks, but I was willing to let it slide then. I'm holding out hope for Clones, mostly because I know Lucas was sensitive to some of the accusations of racist overtones in JarJar's behavior, and he's a savvy enough entertainer to know when to fix his act. I think (hope) enough people have also sounded off enough on the kiddie factor that he may also have accounted for it in Episode II.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

kids movies... (none / 0) (#60)
by guinsu on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 01:15:44 PM EST

Just a side note, I _hated_ the Secret Garden as a kid. I alwyas thought it was a movie that appealed to girls more than boys. But I agree there are great kids movies that appeal to adults, Disney has always done that, then there are the Toy Story movies, Monsters, Inc, etc...

[ Parent ]
Star Wars Summary (4.50 / 2) (#34)
by PresJPolk on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:16:13 PM EST

  • Episode IV - Humor, Effects, Memorable Lines, Good vs Evil, Illusion of Depth
  • Episode V - Humor, Effects, Memorable Lines, Good vs Evil, secrets revealed
  • Episode VI - Humor, Effects, Memorable Lines, Good vs Evil
  • Episode I - Effects, Good vs Evil

I have to say my favorite Star Wars movie is episode IV, even if my favorite Star Wars scene is Luke with the Emperor. In episode IV Vader is the prima donna (quirky but respected in power) of a greater Empire, and Leia was the dynamic last hope (gee, until the new hope came?) of an honorable old government. Episode V begins the mass-market simplification: Have to make it Vader vs a small band of rebels, and in VI they just *had* to bring back the Death Star.

I'll take Tenchi over Star Wars any day, though. Even though I'm dreading the obligatory kidnapping of Ryouko in the coming new OVAs, it's better than what those looking forward to Attack of the Clones are dreading. Oh yeah, and Tenchi fans have received 13+1 episodes and counting. :-)

Ep1 had "humor" (none / 0) (#51)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 08:48:51 PM EST

"Jar Jar, hand me the spanner"

Its "humor" was, unfortuntately, limited to pratfalls to make all of the annoying five-year-olds in the audience squeal with deligh.
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Episode I (none / 0) (#54)
by PresJPolk on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 12:06:34 AM EST

Episode I tried to be funny. Episode I also tried to have memorable lines (hm, even I do say "Victory"), but I only give credit for what it succeeded at doing. :-)

[ Parent ]
Star Wars: pinnacle moment in science fiction?? (4.50 / 4) (#35)
by jabber on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:45:11 PM EST


Not to steal SW's thunder, but for all it's droids, aliens, lasers and space battles, Star Wars is NOT "science fiction". It's a "Space Opera", a genre much closer to the "Western" than to "Science Fiction".

Science Fiction extrapolates a current trend through an enabling technology, making something impossible today possible in a different reality. It then analyzes the human (moral, causal, etc) consequences of that change, usually as a cautionary tale.

A Space Opera, like a Western, has a Bad Guy doing Bad Things to Good Folks, and requires a Hero to come along and foil the villain.. How this is done varies from tieing the bad guy to railway tracks, to dropping him into a fusion reactor.

"Alien" is a HORROR movie. "Aliens" is a Space Opera. "Pitch Black" is Horror. "Total Recall" and "Sixth Day" are Science Fiction, though on the action-adventure side. "2001" is very much Science Fiction, so is "AI" and "Bicentenial Man", but not "ET", that's just fantasy, as is "Close Encounters".

"Frankenstein" and "The Time Machine", as well as "20,000 Leagues" are all Sci-Fi, so is "Neuromancer", but not "Heavy Weather" or "Left Hand of Darkness" really.. The latter are both squarely Fantasy, like "Ringworld", but not really "Ender's Game".

"Bladerunner" is very much Sci Fi, moreso the book than the movie which flirts with being a criminal mystery.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Disagreement (4.33 / 3) (#37)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 02:50:33 AM EST

Hm. One of the things I liked about Pitch Black was that, although the plot was that of a horror movie, its science was quite hard-core and sound, except for the "perpetual eclipse" situation (but other than that, the orbital mechanics are great - the way the writer(s) solved the problem of making a stable trinary star system with a binary system of a star and another binary system was pretty cool). Aside from a couple of Sci-Fi channel adaptations of Arthur Clarke's short stories, it's the most hard-core sci-fi I've ever seen in a movie.

How is Ringworld fantasy? It extrapolates a trend (terraforming) through an enabling technology (nanotechnology), making something impossible today (converting an entire solar system's mass into an artificial world with gravity provided through centripetal force) possible in a different reality. It then analyses the consequences (lack of mining ability causing massive economic collapse when the nanotech breaks down, divergent evolutionary paths of a species when the available landmass is practically infinite, and so on). Granted, the second and third books were more of a space opera than science fiction (and the second book was only so that Niven could say "Yes, yes, thank you for pointing out the flaw in my design a million times over, here's how the people with infinite resources trivially solve the problem," and I hardly even remember the third book), but none of the Ringworld books ever rely on things like super-c travel, teleportation, time travel, dimensional rifts, or any of the other science-fantasy standards. The only thing which comes close is describing extreme luck as a "psychic ability," and even then the characters are loathe to call it that.

Additionally, how is "The Time Machine" science fiction? It doesn't fit any of your criteria, nor does it really try to follow any consistent scientific principles. In fact, I'd call Niven's various casual flirts with fantasy writing closer to science fiction than "The Time Machine." (What Niven often does is writes an essay on why some principle is flawed to begin with simply because it can easily be used to violate basic properties of physics as we know it, and then goes and writes a story based on the premise that it's true anyway. His 'swords-and-daggers' fantasy stories are incredible, too; he simply treats magic and demons and the like as axiomatic scientific principles in an alternate reality.)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Redux (none / 0) (#40)
by jabber on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 10:31:15 AM EST

Ok, I'll concede on Ringworld. Time for a re-read.

"Pitch Black" had a science context, but the plot could have just as easily have happened on a far away island as night falls. As great as it was as a film, it really wasn't that much different archetypaly than "Tremmors" or "Aliens".. At best, straddling the line between Sci-Fi and Horror. Whether the science is sound and accurate or not is a minor issue.

If "Time Machine" only used 'science' to create the context of time travel, I would agree, and it would be no different than "Pitch Black", but there's much more to "Time Machine" then that. It's a cautionary tale arguing against industrialization, the specialization of a 'working class' that runs the machines, and a 'ruling class' that reaps the benefits of the former growing dependant. It takes a then current and timely trend of industrial factory building and extrapolates into a distant future populated by Morlocks and Eloi. It has a moral, a lesson and a point.

That's what, in my eyes, makes for 'true' Science Fiction. It's a warning about the future, with a strong science undertone (and technology is applied science). And this is how "TM" differs from "PB". "PB" is a great futuristic horror movie, but there is no lesson there, other than, 'pack heat wherever you go'.

As for Clarke.. He's just brilliant. Anything I've ever read of his, from the 9 Billion Names of God, through Childhood's End and into the 2001 series (though the things I'd heard about 3001 stopped me short of reading it) has been true Science Fiction.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Clarke (none / 0) (#43)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 01:09:10 PM EST

Yeah, avoid 3001; as good as Clarke used to be, he just doesn't have it anymore. I'd also probably recommend avoiding 2061 (though it sounds like you've read it already). Since you didn't mention Rama, I wonder if you've read the horrible Rama sequels. They start out okay, but they quickly devolve into whiny pseudo-romance novels; I get the impression that Gentry Lee wrote most of them, only going to Clarke for help with "that sciency stuff." I only bothered to read all of them because I kept getting sucked in by the cliffhanger endings. I'm just glad there weren't any more after the last one, because the last one practically made me want to vomit.

I guess I need to reread Time Machine. I read it as a kid and I guess I didn't get the right stuff out of it. :)
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

2061 and classic sci-fi (none / 0) (#45)
by jabber on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 04:34:39 PM EST

Yeah, I'd read it. (grumble gumble) Except for few things I thought were clever, the vast bulk of the plot was sadly forgetable.

As for Wells, Verne, Shelly and Stevenson are well worth the read, if only for Time Machine, 20k Leagues, Fankenstein and Jekyl and Hyde respectively. All of these are great Science Fiction, though they are not scientifically sophisticated.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Classics (none / 0) (#49)
by fluffy grue on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 08:21:57 PM EST

Actually, given what was known at the time, 20kLeagues and Frankenstein are both quite scientifically sophisticated, just as there's always the possibility that what's considered scientifically-sound sci-fi now could turn out to be laughably full of errors in a hundred years...
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Instead of 3001 (none / 0) (#58)
by spiralx on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 09:51:25 AM EST

Which wasn't particularly inspiring I'll admit, read Space by Stephen Baxter, which is immeasurably better in every way.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Fantasy (none / 0) (#46)
by MrAcheson on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 05:21:40 PM EST

Actually Star Wars is a fantasy movie when you get below the surface. Sure it has space ships and blasters, but above all it has old wizards, black knights, farm boy heroes carrying their fathers swords, stupid servants, pirates and smugglers, princesses, and an evil king. The sci-fi stuff is just dressing.

These opinions do not represent those of the US Army, DoD, or US Government.

[ Parent ]
Not all about money (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by Dphitz on Thu Jan 03, 2002 at 11:52:51 PM EST

Lucas had more opportunity to make money off this cash cow if he wanted. He went to great lengths in the early days to produce the film HE wanted even though it meant he might fail massively. That's why I don't think this 'NSYNC thing is about money. It's more of a detriment to the film (franchise) than anything because he's taking the most beloved film franchise and dragging it through the mud and risking alienating many fans. First the Ewoks, then Jar-Jar, now this. This is just an indication of where his mind is these days . . where the sun don't shine. What's really stupid is that when Michael Jackson wanted to play Jar-Jar in the last film Lucas declined because he thought it would ruin the integrity of the film. They say drugs ruin creativity . . . having kids ruins creativity. Episode 3 will probably star Lil' Bow Wow and Barney the dino cuz his kids like them.

It's also been said that we don't like the new episode because "we grew up". That's not entirely valid. I still watch the old movies and they are still just as good. I can't say the same for some of the other things I grew up with, like Speed Racer. That just sucked.

God, please save me . . . from your followers

Saint or Sell-Out? (4.50 / 2) (#39)
by sluggie on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 05:26:00 AM EST

Well that does not matter.

Even if Episode II had as much product placement as the Trueman show, or other brutal means of advertising, people would still go to cinema to watch it.
Maybe they go to see how shitty it really is, or they want to go out to see a good popcorn movie, either way, George is making money...

So, bottom line,might it be shitty, annoying, sell-outish, over hyped or even cool, everyone is going to watch it.

What I don't understand... (2.50 / 2) (#53)
by kreyg on Fri Jan 04, 2002 at 09:31:36 PM EST

...is why a bunch of people who claim to be Star Wars fans can at the same time express such vile hatred. Did you people actually watch these movies? I don't know, maybe you cheered for Vader in the first two movies and were royally pissed when the Emperor got killed.

I always wanted to be a Jedi as a kid, and have generally strived to achieve inner peace and to learn patience. When did you all go over to the Dark Side? Such un-Jedi-like behaviour.

Maybe I just expect people to identify with the themes of the movies of which they claim to be rabid fans. More likely, people are just complete whiners.

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams
It was TIE Fighter (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by hardburn on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 03:10:35 PM EST

The game "TIE Fighter" had you playing as an Imperial TIE Fighter pilot. The developers knew they had to have some elements that would make the player want to fight for the Bad Guys, and they did a great job of doing it. Everyone who played it turned over to the Dark Side :)

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
X-Wing (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by Lai Lai Boy on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 10:34:51 AM EST

I have not included the video game, novel, comic, and RPG adaptations, merely because they are extentions of a conclusion that can already be achieved by looking at what is here.

Well, you've missed some of the interesting Star Wars momements. The PC games X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and X-Wing Alliance, were some of the most engrossing true-to-the-spirit of the movies games I've ever played.

[Posted from Mozilla Firebird]

Especially TIE Fighter (4.50 / 2) (#63)
by hardburn on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 03:07:17 PM EST

X-Wing was pretty good, though it is considered one of the most difficult games ever. Although the AI of the enemy fighters sucked; I often stuck around at the end of a mission, long after all my wingmates had left, and wiped out an entire Star Destroyer's worth of TIE Fighters all by myself. The really hard part of this game was that you had to be near ship X at such and such a time and destroy other ship Y at such and such a time, or the whole mission would be lost. The story basically aped what was in the movies.

OTOH, TIE Fighter was absolutly extrodary; some call it the best space flight sim of all time (possibly would have only been usurped by the Babylon 5 sim, had it been completed). It usually didn't have the hit-this-ship-right-now mentality of X-Wing, and the AI was a little better (not great, but better). The story was astounding, and the ending to the entire series (which I believe you could only get with the special expantion pack that came only with the "TIE Fighter Collector's CD-ROM", titled "Enemies of the Empire") was an excelent show of Grand Admerial Thrawn's abilities; very much in line with what Timothy Zahn showed in his Star Wars books.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
Sell Out... (none / 0) (#66)
by THoliC on Sat Jan 05, 2002 at 09:59:39 PM EST

...but then it is uncertain as to whether he has ever been anything else.

Why all the noise? You sound so surpised.....


has got us both,
looking for a bed today..."

What do we need "Star Wars" for? (none / 0) (#68)
by cpbell on Thu Feb 14, 2002 at 02:31:47 PM EST


Why do we need Star Wars anymore? The Lord of the Rings is out now. It's the cult classic for the new generation.



George Lucas, Saint or Sell-Out? | 68 comments (63 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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