Saturday, March 03, 2012

War on the Wars

It’s hard for me to grasp that some people don’t like strawberries. What’s not to like? Well it’s annoying that you have to eat around the green leafy bit, but I’m very good at finding things to complain about. Otherwise, it seems like something that everyone could agree upon: strawberries are delicious.

I don’t like Star Wars. People look at me with a look of shock and disgust when I tell them so. EVERYONE LIKES STAR WARS! they declare. And I can certainly see why they’re surprised that I, of all people, don’t like it. I like nerdy television, movies, even music. I ‘m even in a relatively nerdy profession. I am a student of pop culture and Star Wars is firmly entrenched in our pop culture landscape. But the fact remains that I don’t like it. Here are 10 reasons why.

1. Mark Hamill

I’m sure Mark is a perfectly nice guy. And it’s very possible that his acting has improved over the last 30 years. But in Star Wars, he’s horrible. Wooden, dull, annoying, take your pick. If for no other reason, I’d have a hard time getting behind these movies with him as the protagonist.

2. Luke Skywalker

Maybe I’d like the movies better if Mark hadn’t played Luke. But even if someone else had, I don’t much like the character. His character arc goes from whiny and naïve to self righteous and emo. If the movies followed Han or Wicket or Admiral Akbar I’d like them better.

3. Popularity

I can’t get behind universally popular things, except strawberries. Whether it be Harry Potter, U2 or Star Wars. If everyone else likes it, I don’t.

4. It’s All Been Done

I watched Citzen Kane for the first time last year, and I didn’t much care for it. It has been so endlessly riffed upon, referenced and homaged since it’s release that it didn’t seem fresh or interesting. Star Wars is the same. It is so in the cultural zeitgeist that it seems done-to-death. Even though all the imitations came afterwards.

5. Pacing

There are some great scenes in Star Wars, I’ll admit that. But they’re scattered though a half dozen hours of dullness. Get George Lucas an editor!

6. George Lucas

Even though I don’t like his work, I still find his exploitation of it annoying. Between all the rereleases, altering his previous adored movies, making new not adored prequels, and generally not having ever done anything NOT Star Wars, I just don’t much care for him.

7. Trekkie

I realize of course that you can like both Star Wars and Star Trek. In fact most Trekkies probably love Star Wars. But in my mind you have to pick sides. And I’ve seen every episode of TNG and DS9, so I’ve got to stick with Star Trek.

8. Melodrama

I realize that George was trying to make everything very epic in Star Wars. But it just sounds cheesy to me. The dialogue is very overwrought and overdramatic. I feel like Nicholas Cage should be giving it. Space Opera is hard to do, and this just doesn’t do it for me.

9. Fandom

I kind of like loyal fan communities. The social aspect can be a fun addition to a show/movie. But Star Wars fanboys are in a galaxy of their own. Debate if Han shot first? Fine. Get angry about it? Come on. If you can name all the extras in the movies, you have a problem.

10. Where the Girls At?

I’m not a devotee of the Bechdel test; I don’t think failing it makes a movie anti-women, maybe just a-women. But Star Wars (the originals) has 3 named women in it, and you can’t name 2 of them. And the third is nagging and wears a golden bikini. This just goes to show the relative simplicity and single dimensional nature of the story.

When people ask me why I don’t like Star Wars, I just tell them because it’s popular. But really there’s a lot not to like.


katilda said...

11. LaVar Burton was in star trek, and not star the former the "captain planet + reading rainbow" stamp of approval, and well, that's a trump card if i ever heard one.

Unknown said...

Objection: I can too name the other two female characters, and after only a minute of thought. So there!