Saturday, December 24, 2016

i am finally one with the force

No, I'm not telling you whether Alan Tudyk dies.
No, I'm not telling you whether Alan Tudyk dies.
Star Wars fans finally have the Star Wars movies they deserved all along.

The justly-reviled prequel trilogy brought into sharp relief what had actually been true about the entire series: The movies really were never that good.
George Lucas' hare-brained, ham-fisted mishmash of Joseph Campbell musings, bastardized Kurosawa, half-assed space Muppets, and Saturday matinee serials was saved from a fate as future MST3K fodder only by Harrison Ford's charisma and ad-libs, and special effects twelve parsecs beyond what any of us had seen before. Otherwise, it held true to the serial-defined limits of George Lucas' imagination - clunky dialogue, wooden acting, and jaw-droppingly awful character names.
But here's what happened: People loved it.
And this love made the series transcendent. Never mind that this love was showered upon movies that, with the qualified exception of The Empire Strikes Back (tellingly, the one with which Lucas was the least involved), were wholly unworthy of that level of devotion. Star Wars engaged the imagination not just of the preteens of 1977, but of each generation after that.
And it is that engagement with its audience that made the series more than a dumb western in space. Children imagining themselves as Luke, Han, Leia, or even Darth Vader, fighting their own lightsaber duels, and most importantly, making up their own stories, this was the true transubstantiation that turned purloined pulp into bread and wine.