I appreciate all the Star Wars films, even the ones that do not appeal to me or I did not love.
We have a tendency to want to glamorize the three first Star Wars films, but as someone who saw those films when they first came out in theaters as a wee lad, while wildly popular, with the exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, none of the original three were masterpieces. They were flawed films, but the mythos, the characters, the message, the hope, and the gestalt, the end product was enough to outweight any flaws.
Perfection is for Gods. And the goal of filmmakers and a film is to try to give us something… wondrous. To share a bit of love, and awe, and joy with us.
I never liked the first Star Wars, even as a kid. It was overlong, badly paced, dragging in the middle.
But I found things to like and to love in that imperfect movie. The characters, the visuals, the bad guys, the spectacle. I never loved the first Star Wars film, but I never hated it. I always liked it, if finding it flawed.
As an adult having revisited the first STAR WARS film several times throughout my life, if is still flawed, and overlong, and badly paced, and plodding in the middle.
However the good in it, always outweighs the negatives. The great characters, the wonderful visuals, the hopeful message. To not take away more good from all that effort expended and all that talent and all those moments, to not at the very least appreciate a flawed but essentially good movie, I think would say more about the viewer than the viewed.
The first STAR WARS for me is not a 10 movie, but it is at least a solid 7 to 8. Which is a passing and respectable grade. EMPIRE is a 9 to 10. RETURN is an 8 to 8. 5.
All in all it is a fondly remembered movie trilogy. But I do not judge things on Nostalgia.
Because something came out when I was a kid doesn’t make it the greatest thing ever, and because something new comes out when I am an adult, it is not the worst thing ever. Because it fails to be for my adult sensabilities, what that old movie was to my kid’s sensabilities does not make it wrong.
As an adult rewatching those movies, I can judge them based on not what they made me feel as a kid, but on what I get from them now. And the same for a new movie, we should not judge it based on what we want or thought it would or should be, we judge it on what it is.
The prequels for me, judged for what they were, I thought they were underwhelming. They had nice visuals, but suffered from core characters not as interesting, and a story not as compelling or well told as the original trilogy. I was not a fan, I did not like them, but I did not hate them. They were simply a miss for me, simply not for me. Not everything is for everyone. For me they were flawed films, possibly a 5 to 7 for the trilogy.
However I realize for a younger audience, the trilogy, flaws and all, may be more appealing to them. Again not everything needs to appeal to everyone, and with the Prequels, after a long layoff, Lucas was perhaps looking to introduce his aging Mythology to a new generation. Not a bad idea. a good idea actually, just not well pulled off in various areas. But overall, flaws and all, it is a rich addition to the mythology. The good that came out of the films, being a richer mytholgy that subsequent tv shows and movies get to build on.
Enter the new Disney Star Wars films. As of this writing, four films, FORCE AWAKENS, ROGIUE ONE, SOLO, and THE LAST JEDI. Films that for some inexplicable reason have met with controversy and hate from some corners, most vocally SOLO and LAST JEDI.
As I said, I have never hated a Star Wars, I can’t readily think of any movie I hate. Hate is a strong word, and I do not go into a theater, pay money, looking to hate or tear something down. I go into a movie looking to be entertained. And even when a movie has flaws, just like that first Star Wars movie all those years ago, if the good outweighs the bad, I count that as a win. It may not be 10 out of 10 movie, but it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be good,. With me, in a world spinning toward mendacity and hate, if a movie has hope and heart and a cogent story and a likeable cast, that cuts a lot of weight with me.
I think all 4 of the new Disney Star Wars films have at least been 8 out of 10. If I had to rate them off the top of my head I would say 8.5 to FORCE AWAKENS, 8.5 to 9 for ROGIUE ONE, 8.5 TO 9 for SOLO, and 9 to 10 for LAST JEDI.
For those of you counting I am saying yes, the new batch of films, as a whole I find more enjoyable than the original 40+ year old trilogy.
With the big exception of EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, I, an original Star Wars fan who saw the trilogy in the theaters, have no problem not seeing them with rose-colored glasses, and saying quite easily… as a whole the new movies are better made.
They are, as a whole, better movies than the original trilogy. Which is no slight against the original trilogy, but is respect and kudos to just the progress in the level of craft of filmmaking and directors.
And yes I will go further with my sacrilege, I think Rian Johnson’s inexplicably panned and railed against THE LAST JEDI Is a flat out masterpiece. Is it perfect? No, nothing made by man ever will be, or should be, but it comes close enough to earn my standing ovation.
My better half and I just finished watching it again on Netflix, we loved it the first time we saw it. But rewatching it.. it is even more impressive. It is in its DNA the heart and soul of STAR WARS distilled right to its closing moments.
Both of us thoughout the movie kept marveling at how good the movie was, and openly mystified by the virulent hate and attacks those involved in this movie endured.
Again I have never hated a movie, much less to extend that hate to people whose only ‘crime’ is making a living trying to entertain people, it is for us the inexplicable mewling of the mob. Of people who grade movies either 10 or 0, and attack movies for not agreeing with the version of the movie they make up in their head. It is the mewling of people who watch all the trailers, and spoilers, and gossip, and script leaks, pre-chew and digest and second guess the movie before ever getting in the theater, than complain about how there were no surprises in the movie.
I don’t aim this at those who fairly watched LAST JEDI and it wasn’t for you, that is fine, not every movie is for everyone, but the attacks LAST JEDI has endured is largely from armchair directors and armchaoir writers, railing against the movie for not being their fan-fic of what the movie should be.
And for that demographic, who go into cinema looking for something to rail against on social media, the 10 or 0 crowd, the truth is, they would have hated the original trilogy just as much as THE LAST JEDI if they came at it with this same level of entitlement and armchair quarterbacking.
If today’s fans, was the fandom of the original STAR WARS film, that film would have bombed and there would have never been an EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.
Fandom has become people with uninformed opinions and too much access, spreading their noise over the signal.
These are the same behind the curve types who hated on Carpenter’s THE THING when it first came out, or buried Welles’ TOUCH OF EVIL.
Here is the thing.
People, the taste you have today, will grow and matiure as you do. And things that do not resonate with you today, you likely will grow into tomorrow. That, is the goal, of growing and maturity. So be wary of sticking your flag too deep in the ground on what you hate, because the ground shifts.
Two best STAR WARS films of all time?
EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI.
And the most gorgeous, and visually impressive STAR WARS film of all time, well, not even a question, Rian Johnson’s THE LAST JEDI.
That we lost out on him completing his trilogy due to the mewling of the uninformed social media lynch mob, well we and a future generation of filmgoers who rediscover THE LAST JEDI (just like THE THING was rediscovered) will be the losers.
Here endeth the lesson. 🙂