09 February 2011

I'm in a relationship with Star Wars and it's complicated.

This was also my first Note posted to Facebook in my proto-blogging phase. Why I thought it would be a good lead-in then, or why I'm continuing that assumption now, is really beyond even me. If there was any doubt in your mind about my being a giant dork, this should clear things up.

I unabashedly admit to being a huge Star Wars geek. As I type this I'm wearing a "Han Shot First" t-shirt (if you don't know what that means, don't worry, we'll get to that in a moment), if I said I'd never bought a Star Wars action figure while being legally able to drink I'd be lying, and I spent a couple very enjoyable years during high school roleplaying as a Stormtrooper in an online game. You might assume I'm on some sort of mission to never get laid again, but really it's just that I seem to have been born without some genes critical to the human body's production of shame.

I'm so far gone that the only thing keeping me from joining these dorks is money. Yep. Source

My relationship with Star Wars is not a straightforward one, however. And since you're a damned fool, you're going to click "Read more" and find out all about it. Go on, it's worth it! I added some funny pictures and all sorts of talk about ferrets and anuses and such.

Anyway, I have a very selective view of what is acceptable, and most of it doesn't make the cut. For starters: the movies. Unlike some other purists, I'm perfectly willing to refer to the movies by their episode number (I, II, III, etc.), since I do think there is a larger story to tell about the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader; but I also concur with the other purists in that the prequels are absolute garbage as they are. My ranking of the films goes as such: Episode V, followed by IV, then a little farther off is VI, and then lurking somewhere down among the mole-people are III, II, and I.

Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, is far and away the best, and I think it's no coincidence that it is the one that George Lucas neither directed nor penned the screenplay for. And that's pretty much what it all comes down to: I love Star Wars, but think George Lucas is a complete jackass. Sure, he did a great thing creating Star Wars, but after that he let his success go to his head (or his second chin, as some have hypothesized), and failed to realize that he had created something too big for he himself to control.

The transformation. It would seem all his good ideas were contained exclusively in his big hair. A few minutes after the picture on the right was taken, his chin gave birth to Jar Jar Binks. Needless to say, his jacket was ruined. Sources: 1, 2

Plus, he got greedy. For instance, in Return of the Jedi, the species that was supposed to give the Stormtroopers their beat-down in the woods was the Wookiees (Chewbacca's folk), which actually made sense, both because they're physically powerful, and they were one of the species most-wronged by the Empire, having been enslaved and forced to work on the first Death Star. Who wouldn't want to see Lucas make good on Han's promise that a Wookiee would not hesitate to tear a man's arm from its socket? It would be a perfectly honorable death for a legion of the Emperor's "best troops" to be pulverized by their own fists.

But of course, that's not how it happened. The script was changed, and in the place of the exceedingly logical and badass Wookiees, we get the mind-numbingly moronic--but much more marketable--semi-sentient teddy bears called Ewoks. Using a bunch of rocks and bows-and-arrows (to which Stormtrooper armor was supposed to be impervious), they almost single-handedly topple an entire galactic government, the concept of which they probably had such a rudimentary understanding that they likely thought the Stormtroopers were angry tree spirits. These guys could pretty much just scratch their furry asses and the heads of the nearest dozen Stormies would instantly implode. Nonsense.

Sadly enough, this thing could kick a real ewok's ass. Source

But Georgy-boy also fell victim to bitterness. I think it's quite clear that he couldn't deal with the fact that Star Wars had evolved beyond him and belonged to everyone, and so he began using an increasingly heavy hand to exert his will over his movies, reassembling the facts on a whim and ignoring the many good ideas that the community had generated. This is evident in the 1997 Special Editions of the original trilogy. Some of the smaller background changes I don't have too much of an issue with, but then there are things like going in and making a character miss another with a blaster pistol from about two feet away, just so the other character looks less cold. Han's a pirate and smuggler--he's supposed to be cold! We love him BECAUSE he unholstered his pistol and shot that jerk under the table before he could make a move, not in spite of it. You really just don't get it, do you Lucas? How can there be any meaning to his decision to join the Rebels if he was always goody-two-shoes?

Lord only knows how this jackass put food on the table as a bounty hunter.
But of course Lucas's real bitterness and arrogance come out in the prequels. He by now considered himself some kind of god, and was able to convince a large group of artists and actors of the same, and what we got was the steaming pile of stupid called Episodes I-III. If Lucas was a god, he was the type that in his first endeavor created a perfectly functional race of beings, but got so impressed with himself over some small and mostly unremarkable feature, totally unrelated to the reason why everyone else likes them--say, their ability to wipe their own asses--that for his next undertaking he decided to create a race of beings with their hands permanently inserted up their anuses. Missing the point, and utterly excessive.

You're not that curious.
I won't go into too much detail on the prequels, since if you've seen them you don't need me to tell you why they suck, and because this blag is already unreadably long. Suffice it to say, Lucas thought he was still the definitive voice in Star Wars, and this arrogance led him to overload the movies with asinine plot details, heaping piles of mind-numbing kid humor, and way too much CGI, which not only will make the movies show their age much more quickly than the painted sets of the originals, but also erased any chance of his casting decisions to actually act, having taken away anything for them to act off of.

And then there's the rest of what constitutes "Star Wars." It's known as the Expanded Universe, and is made up of all the books, comics, and video games that take place in the Star Wars galaxy. Most of it is crap. There are some shining examples, however, that make worthwhile contributions to the overall lore. By picking and choosing among these sources, and by generally disregarding the prequel movies, I have crafted my own personal Star Wars universe, which I think captures the magic of the original movies, but also cuts away all the useless bullshit (for instance, every new author feeling compelled to develop their own superweapon threat, or creating AN EVEN MORE ELITE branch of the Stormtroopers; ugh, good god).

Each SuperMegaRoboEliteNinja Trooper was equipped with two Death Stars. Sadly, all 5 billion of them were destroyed single-handedly by a rough-and-tumble-but-good-hearted street urchin and his pet Space Ferret, Zippy.

So as you can see, when I say I'm a Star Wars fan, there's a little more to that statement than might be assumed. For instance, one of my favorite groups in all of Star Wars is one that was not featured in any of the movies, and is barely mentioned in all of the Expanded Universe. I just try to focus on the good points and ignore all the pathetic inanity. But hey, they say no one makes you angrier than the one you love. And while I'm not suggesting that Star Wars is an acceptable replacement for a healthy human relationship, I do know that it pisses me the fuck off quite often.

Yup, this is pretty much what it would take to make me happy at this point. Source

So there you have it, my first endeavor into the blagosphere. I promise that none of the subsequent ones will center around Star Wars*, but hopefully all that business was at least a little bit interesting.  I'm thinking my next blag may be about some of my favorite places around the interwebs, and then we'll see what I can rant about from there.

If you made it this far, congratulations, and I hope you'll be back next time. :)

*A complete and utter lie. But I will make them few and far between.

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