Sunday, October 2, 2011

Why, George Lucas, Why?!

I told you, I'm a geek as well as a nerd. If you don't know what's the difference between the two, congratulations! Because you are neither. But unlike most geeks and nerds, I don't feel the need to choose a side. For example, I never once got into an argument over which one is better; Star Wars or Star Trek. But it happens a lot, and whenever Trekkies take potshots at the Star Wars deity, George Lucas, I can't help but snigger because most of the time, they have some good points.

So you see, this article will show you how I went from admiring George Lucas to thinking that he became an old fart the very moment Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace [1999] was released. It wasn't something I noticed right away, but throughout the years since, I got disturbed seeing how he had evolved into something I can only describe as a CGI Fetishist.

You can't see her, but George Lucas is staring down and jacking off to a CG stripper...
Although I understand that he pretty much revolutionised the special effects thing, what with his Industrial Light & Magic and all. So it's pretty understandable that he would utilise it as much as he can. But the irony of it was, for someone who showed the world what special effects can do to help the storytelling, he sure didn't know how to make the CGI work for him. Instead, it was the other way around.

The Star Wars prequel became, more than anything else, something like an extended commercial for George Lucas to say "Hey, look at what my company can do!" Which was how Star Wars went from this;

To looking like this;

Feel free to look at the three pictures from the original trilogy again. Had the technology been available at the time, nothing would be real in the first picture. The background of the second picture would be completely CGI as well and as for the last one, only C-3PO and Princess Leia would be real. I'm even inclined to think that Lucas would have had Carrie Fisher's boobs digitally-enlarged as well.

I understand that Lucas achieved with what he wanted the CGI to do, to lend the universe of Star Wars that otherworldly look. But he must have forgotten that he was making movies for people of this realm to see, so when he served us these overly-polished and entirely computer-animated stuff, well it no longer felt like Star Wars but more like high-budgeted toy commercials.

Heck, don't take my word for it. The way things were done with the prequels caused actor Liam Neeson - who played Qui Gon-Jinn in The Phantom Menace - to complain, "We are basically puppets. I don't think I can live with the inauthenticity of movies anymore."

I'm not a Star Wars purist by a long shot, so there are a number of things that I really liked about the prequels. But let's not kid ourselves, do any of us still watch the prequels? And if you do, do you sit through the whole thing or do you skip everything else, watching only the lightsaber duels instead?

I thought so.

So what gives?
Well for starters, there was no real script. Sure, things happened and the characters talked, but you could get more story and drama from a single episode of Oprah than all three prequels combined. You see, with the original trilogy, it was very much character-driven. All main characters go through a physical as well as a spiritual journey.

With the prequels, however, all focus were given to shoehorn pretty much all the characters we have come to know and love into the prequels. And Anakin Skywalker's transition to Darth Vader could have been something powerful and well justified. Something like an epiphany that could cause one to shift to another religion, which would have been befitting since the Jedi and the Sith have different ways of looking at The Force. So they're kind of like two different religions.

Instead, prior to becoming the Darth Vader, one with that air of a mythical anti-hero he had, Anakin Skywalker was just this bratty man-child whose transition to the Dark Side was marked by this;

Abusing and killing children... Really, Lucas?
To put that into perspective, Darth Vader was actually a step below those guys you see getting caught with their pants down in To Catch a Predator. What the hell, Lucas? Darth Vader is ranked at #3 as one of the greatest villains of all-time by the American Film Institute. Do the guy some justice will you?

"Why is the blame solely on Lucas, again?" is something you might have already asked. Well, because it was he who wrote and directed the whole damn thing. The prequels could have been great for three reasons; the casting, the rich mythology to draw from and the technology.

Look at how George Lucas was able to get all these big name actors to star in his movies, the same actors who grew up watching the original trilogy all excited to be part of the saga. Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Terrence Stamp and Natalie Portman just to name a few. All of whom have won or at least been nominated for any sort of a prestigious award. Heck, even Hayden Christensen isn't that bad an actor.

The script reduced him to just a sneer on two legs...
But give them all one-dimensional roles with no discernible character arcs, combined with having nothing to work with but the green screen, not even a good actor can perform better than a puppet.

Worse still, it's not enough for Lucas to make prequels that don't do the Star Wars legacy justice, he had to reach back and make cringe-worthy "improvements" to the original trilogy as well. I was locked in the facepalm position for what felt like hours when I saw this (Warning, you might want to lower the volume):

Fuckin' George Lucas. I bet the only reason why the original trilogy did so well was because he didn't direct all of them. Stupid old fart.

1 comment:

Saiazuan said...

star wars is the best :D

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