Definitely a dud but attack of the clones I can at least watch again. I have no desire to rewatch the Rise of Skywalker. And attack of the clones felt like a real movie, in a real world (not a great movie, but a movie), whereas Rise of Skywalker felt more like a video game or like a GM making up crazy stuff as he or she goes. It just had a glitchy feel and it never felt like the protagonists feet made contact with the ground.
Quoted for the reference to 'the magic.'To address the thread title, I'd say if Lucas' prequels squashed the magic out of Star Wars, the Disney films tried to put it back
This is definitely the caveat/exception to my point about there being good and bad in both eras. This was just mind-blowing in the WTF-ism. Why would you do this to the main trunk of the story tree you were building a bunch of branches and developing a whole halo of side projects around?First, Kathleen Kennedy. If you aren't familiar with her, she is the "Feige" of Star Wars. And while it still boggles my mind ... they didn't settle on a developed plot for the sequels. Nope. It was every movie for itself. That was the first major problem.
Nice post, though I think you kind of disprove your premise almost immediately in basically admitting that the first two films were pretty magical (and half of the third, thus the original trilogy as a whole).Quoted for the reference to 'the magic.'
So, I have a premise, and starts with a shots-fired, but bear with me at least a few paragraphs before writing it off. Anyways, here it is: there was never any magic in Star Wars to begin with. Not Star Wars the IP, nor the setting, the iconic characters, the tropes or concepts explored, etc. Instead, there were magic moments, plus the magic that the fandom imputed into the series with their adoration, and then individual bits and pieces that worked in the IP not because it was in the IP, but because it was good in and of itself.
Star Wars (the original film, now A New Hope) came out and was magic. It was a combination of westerns, samurai movies, WWII mission films, and Flash Gordon/Buck Rogers-style space fantasy films which previously were usually treated like fluff films/Saturday matinee/'kids stuff' and it somehow worked. Well. Amazingly well. It is hard to exaggerate how much it changed things. It (and Jaws) instigated the concept of the blockbuster movie. It normalized adults openingly being fans of 'kid stuff' media, in a way that boosted/allowed things like high-budget comic book movies and star trek revivals and D&D to flourish. If Star Wars had been one and done, this would still have been magic.
Then Empire Strikes Back came out and it was a sequel (and, based on the ending, clearly an establishment of a franchise), and yet it was good. I mean, I'm a fan of the Thin Man and James Bond* and the Planet of the Apes series and some other movies which had already been franchises, but in general, having more than one movie in a setting was not a recipe additive growth. This too, was game changing. I can see why people took these two movies, plotted a trajectory, and started measuring which parts of the IP lived up to/failed to meet this plotline**.
*And the best of those had happened by 1977
**Honestly none, because that was the second best thing in the series and then the best, so by nature the next thing should have been even better, and nothing thus far has surpassed ESB, IMO.
However, even by then, there was a huge amount in the properties that was not good. The holiday special holds a special place in peoples' minds as notoriously bad, but then there were the novelizations which were not bad, but pretty much just 'fine.' Comic books set in the universe (including a rabbit-species buddy of Han's, since exactly what kind of aliens existed in this universe outside the cantina hadn't yet been finalized).
And I think, with just this*, we can see the issue. The IP is good when someone does something good with it -- good script, good premise, good hook. The universe (with indistinct ominous bad guy empire and plucky rebels) isn't inherently magical worldbuilding**. The main characters we all have come to know and love -- when divorced from the actors who portrayed them (and the cast clearly had some amazing chemistry together ) -- are relatively standard/unremarkable (or standard-subversive, in cases like 'not so in-distress princess') tropish figures. The force/Jedi are an interesting idea, but one that works best when vague and seems to have diminished each time the exact boundaries have been explored. Nothing about the IP makes it inherently a good thing that a new story is set in it. It is only when someone already has a good story to tell that putting it into the setting has ended up being a success.
*I could go on and map out the stuff in the Lucas era and the good and bad EU writing, and then proceed into Disney, but I think the point can be made just here.
**given how many divergent opinions there are on how much shades of grey the rebels have or how bad the empire really would be without the Emperor, it's safe to say even the audience doesn't all agree on exactly how this world should be built
And that's why the series has been so hit-and-miss (both in the Lucas era, and with Disney). The good stuff (Rogue One, Mandalorian) were good ideas, well written, outside of them being in the SW universe. The Mandalorian and Book of Boba Fett are a great example of this principle in action. Boba Fett the character is coded as awesome, and they took the character, figured out what story to tell with the character to make the character actually be awesome, and proceeded to tell that tale --- with a character named the Mandalorian (who is everything people wanted out of Boba Fett when he was introduced -- mysterious, bad ass, a pragmatist combatant -- just without the canonical history of the character) instead of Boba Fett. They then took the character of Boba Fett and tried to pull something awesome out of the existing canon (explaining what happened after the sarlacc, dealing with existing known relationships, figuring out what BF would do after RotJ) and it just doesn't work wonderfully. Probably mostly because the existing canon wasn't set up to facilitate something particularly great for BF after he captures Han (which is where he was last cool), so starting fresh with 'a Boba Fett-like character, minus specific backstory' works better.
This is definitely the caveat/exception to my point about there being good and bad in both eras. This was just mind-blowing in the WTF-ism. Why would you do this to the main trunk of the story tree you were building a bunch of branches and developing a whole halo of side projects around?
I mean, no? Maybe not communicated well? The point was that the consistent through-line of the franchise itself -- the universe, setting, characters -- aren't specifically these amazing things that engender greatness by nature of being associated with them (and were instead good because the actual films/stories/acting was good). I don't see how the first two being great/magical disproves this in any specific way.Nice post, though I think you kind of disprove your premise almost immediately in basically admitting that the first two films were pretty magical (and half of the third, thus the original trilogy as a whole).
What it did, IMO, is be a big enough success that it normalized 'childish things' as a entertainment-revenue force of nature which could not be ignored. Big(ger) budget superhero movies like Reeve Superman and the Indiana Jones franchise and Star Trek motion pictures all looked like safer investments because Star Wars suggested there would be a market for these things. In a (American viewpoint here) market that still looked at the Baby Boom as the unbelievable hegemon in buying forces, focusing marketing dollars on anyone else was significant.As a slight caveat, I don't think the original trilogy as much gathered adult fans, if that's what you're saying, as the kids who grew up on it remained fans into adulthood. I think Generation X was the first generation to be a kind of puer aeternus...part of that is extending fandom into adulthood. But I don't think the films, when they came out, immediately spawned an adult fan base. Most of the adult fans of Star Wars grew up on it.
Of course, all of that was cancelled by bringing back Abrams to do the last one. Which combined all the worst aspects of Abrams (mindlessly remixing fan service), cancelled everything that was interesting about LJ, and tried to continue a story line that no one wanted. Not only was it a terrible movie on its own, it also managed to retcon the entire sequel trilogy into being worse. Which is impressive!
One thing I haven't done with the Disney trilogy yet is watch them all, back to back, to see how it all fits together.
I saw TFA when it came out, and then again before TLJ came out, and then the TLJ again before ROS. So I've viewed them twice, twice, and once - but never all together, or all three within a short span of time.
I imagine it will still feel disjointed, but you never know.
Ha. Never watched Dexter, but I take your meaning.While I appreciate your self-sacrifice (or masochism), I feel like this is akin to someone saying ...
You know, I watched the entire original run of Dexter when it aired, and boy ... those last seasons were bad. But you know what? Maybe if I binged the whole thing together, that Lumberjack finale would be awesome?!!??!!