So I saw the TV ad for Clone Wars, and…whuzzat? Huh? Am I actually supposed to want to see this? Am I actually supposed to care? This is like the Star Wars ad version of McCain in the supermarket aisle, I just want to put my hands over my face while I figure out whether to laugh or cry. Or do both at the same time.
How could this have happened?
I know I’ve said it before, that it seems impossible for the same Lucas and Spielberg who made Raiders, to have made Temple Of Doom. It just doesn’t make sense: scratch half a millimeter beneath the surface and it becomes painfully obvious that the second movie has almost nothing in common with the first, in fact misses every mark that the first one hit, and by a mile. So what did they think they were doing? How could they have made such an awful series of mistakes? My own theory, reluctantly developed, is that they never understood what they were making with Raiders in the first place: they liked the adventure-serial trappings most of all, in other words they liked the bullshit…they thought it was supposed to be Lash LaRue, not Casablanca. The Casablanca thing was something they just fell into — just some unconscious theft, that seemed like it was on purpose at the time.
Temple Of Doom they made their way. And it stank.
Then with Last Crusade, they were probably (at last!) forced to concede that what we all thought made Raiders great, really was what made it great.
But that’s just my theory. A friend of mine has another:
He says, maybe they just don’t deserve their creative reputations at all.
He may be right: think of how the plot-problem to be solved in Return Of The Jedi was just about <i>exactly</i> the same one as had to be solved in Star Wars…and then think about me laughing my head off during Phantom Menace when I realized, with giddy punch-drunk glee, that the same well had been gone back to once again.
And now Clone Wars, which I have zero interest in seeing, like really zero — I mean, my God, who cares about any of that stuff, at this point? But I could see that Clone Wars exists, and never feel particularly moved to type anything about it, except for one thing.
And for those of you who haven’t seen the ad, I am not even joking: one character tells another character that they’ve “got to find a way to turn off the shield-generator!”
To which I say: really, George Lucas?
Is this what’s supposed to make me want to go out and see the movie, that there’s some kind of need to turn off the shield-generator? Can you really think of nothing else that might pique my interest, than that? Do you even realize how many shield-generators I’ve seen turned off, because of you? Boy, warfare in the Star Wars universe is really the simplest damn thing in the world, isn’t it? You get yourself a shield-generator. You station a couple of stormtroopers next to it, just enough to bring the IQ level in the room up to fifty. Then you pray the Jedi don’t show up. Damn, they showed up! Oh well, back to the drawing board…
These people are clearly not what you would call the sharpest spoons in the drawer. They do not seem to have many ideas. They do not seem particularly good at drawing adequate conclusions based on their experiences. Maybe, like their creator? There are things that Lucas and Spielberg and all their ilk do, and have done, extraordinarily well — and I will be addressing this in a near-future post — but giving me a break does not seem to be one of these things. But why oh why won’t you give me a break, George Lucas? What is this shit with the goddamn shield-generators anyway, what’s up with that, what does your shrink say about it, for Christ’s sake what is wrong with you?! No, I am not going to watch any more Jedis shut down any more shields or blow up any more battle-stations, I’m just not, why should I? The filmic universe that I found so tantalizing, suggestive, expressive, open, and free back in 1977 (I am beginning to suspect) was created mostly by your inability to make it your way from the beginning, and now that you can make it your way it seems you’re making it a lot smaller and more boring with every kick at the can you take. Or, should that be “with every kick at the football”? And who’s supposed to be taking those kicks, anyway?
“We’ve got to find a way to turn off that shield-generator!” Indeed we do, George. So we can get into your house and steal your notebooks, and stop you from shovelling shit on what was, in all honesty, one of the imaginative treasures of my childhood.
But man, the imagination’s looking in pretty short supply now!
Yeesh. Totally ridiculous.