19 February 2016

Thoughts upon watching Star Wars: Episode I

After seeing Episode VII, we rewatched the previous films. Some thoughts...

There may be spoilers for Episodes I through VI below! ...but none for Episode VII.

Episode I: Arguably, Episode I should either never have been made or should have been a very different movie from the others. Contrary to the movie serial conceit, the backstory for an action-adventure may not, itself, be an action-adventure. And this isn’t just an action-adventure but a mythic action-adventure. But here it is anyway...

(If it were a movie serial, Episodes I to III would be about the same characters as Episodes IV to VI. Was there ever a generational movie serial? Flash Gordon certainly wasn’t. You could imagine prior adventures for Leia and Han. Maybe Biggs too. Even Luke could have some minor “Young Indy” adventures on Tatooine. But a serial that followed the adventures of several separate heroes who meet up in Episode IV would be just as unusual.)

We now have Tatooine garb unequivocally becoming the Jedi uniform. This is emblematic. The first film was intended to be “Flash Gordon done right”. With a believable “used future” aesthetic. Here, this film completely contradicts that aesthetic.

Including C-3P0 and R2-D2 is, likewise, is trying to please the audience in the laziest of ways.

This film has been defended as being intended for kids. Which is pointless. A good kids movie has to be a good movie. Being for kids is defense for nothing.

Watching it again, this film does feels strongly like it was made for kids, and that is always a bad thing. Good kids movies don’t feel like they’ve been made for kids.

Furthermore, reflecting on seeing Episode IV when I was eight, it seems completely pointless to make a movie in the same series for kids.

I think a lot of criticism of this film unfairly expects it to be more like Episodes IV, V, and VI. It is a different time with different characters and different events. We already had Episodes IV, V, and VI; no need to repeat them.

The problem is that so little of what is new here is compelling. And the stuff that isn’t new isn’t used in the way that made it work the first time.

The first time I saw this movie, it was my job to make sure that the web site my company was building had no single point of failure. The idea that a droid army should have a single point of failure was—and still is—completely unbelievable. No amount of willingness will suspend it. Not to mention that a kid—no matter how strongly the Force may be with him—would stumble upon that single point of failure that professional fighter pilots wouldn’t find.

And I haven’t even mentioned the J-word.

At the moment I have nothing good to say about this movie.

We later checked out the “no cheese” edit on YouTube. It is amazing how much better it is. Still not good, but so much better.

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