In the midst of fatherhood, a career, Fallout 4, and El Niño I have decided to temporarily resurrect this blog to contribute needless additional preening over Star Wars published to the internet.
I’m going to watch all of Star Wars again. And blog about it.
Nine years ago I watched the entire saga in one day. In the last nine years I’ve watched a Star Wars movie exactly once: the theatrical re-release of The Phantom Menace in 2013. I’m anxious to see how my opinion on all the movies has changed in the years since.
I’ve already seen The Force Awakens twice, and after the rewatch, I plan to do a third. I had mixed feelings about TFA, but generally liked it better on second go. The first viewing was hard. I was a prodigal fan reluctant to return to Star Wars; similar feelings were expressed in this old post about the Star Wars live-action TV show that was never to be. (Please forgive the unfortunate “ex-girlfriend metaphor”. I was 25 when I wrote that.) On second viewing, I quite enjoyed TFA. A friend astutely measured it: “Not as good as Return of the Jedi, but better than Return of the Jedi: Special Edition.” But TFA still leaves me wanting more.
I am, generally, a “prequel apologist”. I kind of love The Phantom Menace, sincerely, in spite of its deep flaws. I think it’s a great Star Wars movie. (Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, not so.) Will I still think so in the coming days? We’ll see! I do agree that George Lucas is the key to “Star Wars,” that all expanded universe games and novels previous (and grievous), and now even The Force Awakens, lack the essential ingredient which is Lucas’ auteurism. I agree with the notion that, even if the prequels are bad, they at least strive to break expectation and be something greater. If I remember rightly, they succeed more often than you think. And more importantly, they are deeply connected to the original trilogy in an artful way. (As opposed to the superficial connections of TFA.)
(A quick word on the much-maligned Special Editions and Complete Saga Editions on Blu-Ray: the special effects clean-ups are a great contribution, many of the CGI changes are horrid, but George Lucas was changing the movies constantly since their initial release.)
I’m also anxious about the franchise future. Every new Star Wars movie will diminish Star Wars. Each one risks being substandard in some way, contributing characters or plots or themes that don’t jive with your own beloved ideas about Star Wars or the original six-film cycle about the redemption of Anakin Skywalker. Anthology films will water down the great mythic arc. Joseph Campbell’s mythic hero’s journey will become an aspect of the Star Wars mythos, not its backbone. Even as George Lucas’ great contribution to pop culture becomes validated in Disney’s handling of the franchise, so will his voice in the great shared universe be diminished, soon to a whisper.
Reluctant as I was to return to Star Wars fandom, I’m just as sucked into speculation of the stories to unfold now as I was when the prequels were unfinished. (For the record: I believe Rey is Luke’s daughter, and I enjoy, though doubt, the outer rim crackpot theory that Luke = Snoke.) Each post for each film will have my thoughts before the rewatch, and my thoughts after. I’m hoping revisiting the films will give fresh perspective on this very exciting time to be a — sigh! — Star Wars fan.
I have a bad feeling about this.
The CGT Star Wars Rewatch of 2016