Some Time On Earth (Or Something Like Earth)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Tolkein vs Lucas

Unlike the late J.R.R. Tolkein, a man who knew something about the power of myths, the mysterious allure of alien languages and the draw of ancient cultures, George Lucas is a filmmaker who thinks he's a storyteller but is actually the head of a corporate franchise. Tolkein wrote a story he felt was unfilmable. Mr Lucas created a film series that is getting more and more untellable. If Mr. Lucas was truly concerned about all these yawning abysses in the Star Wars universe, a lot of the story would have made some kind of sense. Instead, we have this cultural marketing force and touchstone of 20th Century kitsch that appeals to immediate unthinking gut reactions - Lucas is not making any kind of grand sweeping statement (I hope to gosh he isn't, for his sake, this stuff isn't The Power Of Myth, by gosh!) he's supposed to be telling what should have been one or two simple stories. As evidenced by the problems of Episodes I, II, Lucas is really failing at that convention, while desperately trying to grab our attention with gee whiz state of the art filmmaking techniques. The constant revisions to Ep. IV, V & VI (I won't say enhancements) rarely add anything that help those existing storylines along; in Episode VI, they come off as clunky and ludicrous. I'm not going to bother listing all my nitpicks on the whole series. It truly is nothing more than a crass calculated marketing venture, a once semi-mystical action filled fable with widely disparate and flawed storylines, embraced by two generations of filmgoers who grudgingly or happily line Mr Lucas's pockets while glorifying or reviling what is essentially badly executed comic book trash.Long ago I sold off my old enhanced VHS Star Wars boxed set and recently found the original Saturday morning serial innocent popcorn video of Star Wars at a video store for three bucks. No extra scenes or better effects added on. I watched the plain vanilla original and it still has that innocence and fun it originally conveyed when released twenty seven years ago. All that stuff is lost, lost, lost. The one redeeming feature is Mr. Lucas allowing the fan base to create their own fan films and stories (for no profit) to spread this culture amongst themselves. Like Star Trek universe, the fans may eventually fill in the the wide gaping holes themselves to their own innate satisfaction.Still, because of all the inconsistancies, it will never trancend the ages like Tolkien's work. It will eventually become part of the cultural detritus and dung heap of history.


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