Warning/Apology: I have been accused of ranting quite a bit during my Sunday blogs. I apologise for that – but hope my rants are at least entertaining 😉 I apologise too that I am about to rant again – but with good reason I say!
I learned via Twitter on Wednesday that Lucasfilm has been sold for the wee sum of US$4B to Disney (aka The Mouse House). This is one of Disney’s many expensive recent acquisitions – including Marvel, and Pixar. That’s right, the mice are taking over the world 😉
In all seriousness though, it isn’t necessarily Disney’s PacMan like swallowing of the competition that worried me most about Wednesday’s announcement, it was the statement that there would be a new Star Wars film released in 2015, with two more in development. Come on, I hear you say, you like Star Wars don’t you? Surely more Star Wars can only be good? Well, I am sorry, but I am a Star Wars purist. I grew up repeatedly watching The Empire Strikes Back. Over and over and over. I think it was the only movie we had on video…and even then we were missing the first ten minutes. But it didn’t matter – I loved it. So with great enthusiasm I headed to the cinema in 1999 for The Phantom Menace…and a menace it was. I was sorely disappointed with the new forays into a galaxy far far away.
But, I hear you say, they might do it better this time! George Lucas/The oldest ewok isn’t involved, and they might do what they did with The Avengers and get an awesome director on board. Surely that would help? Yeah, it might, that’s true. And if Joss Whedon/JJ Abrams/Kenneth Branagh/Wes Anderson/insert hip young director name here directed a Star Wars film of course I would go see it.
HOWEVER – and yes, the however is intentionally in caps – I have two massive reservations about what this new generation of Star Wars films means for the world. 1. Erosion of the cult wonderfulness of the first three: Sure, they weren’t perfect, the acting was dodgy and the special effects SO dated, but a certain reverence is required when discussing the first Star Wars films. Even now, when discussing Star Wars, many die hard fans take careful steps to specify they just mean the first three made – not the new three. So now it won’t just be the new three, there will be another new three – and maybe more. Sure, they might not all be duds, but it is doubtful they will all be hits either. And with each dud the wonderfulness of the originals is ever so slightly eroded.
2. More evidence of the lack of originality in Hollywood – or should I say, the lack of willingness to invest in anything original: If you look at the upcoming movie slate for the next few years the big blockbusters are already scheduled. We have a new Bond, a new Captain America, a new Iron Man, a new Hunger Games (ok, yay to that) a new Thor, a new Avengers (ok, yay to that too) and now a new Star Wars. Which leaves little if any room for new talented filmmakers to get fresh ideas in front of mass cinema audiences.
Hollywood has been guilty of this for quite some time. Guilty of playing it safe with comic book adaptations, franchises, sequels and remakes. Sure, we have had some brilliant new talent emerge – Neill Blomkamp’s District 9, Gareth Edward’s Monsters and Drew Goddard’s Cabin in the Woods to name a few. But they have been too few and too far between. Although I loved The Avengers, I would love even more to see more up and coming directors creating brand new ideas and worlds – outside of the comic book ones already created. Bust off the shackles of an established universe and create your own. Not easy, and not easy to get people to invest in, but worth the pay-off in the end.
So, with that I will stop my ranting. However, I will say this for the Mickey House meets Death Star news – it made for some amusing tweets. And – scarily enough – the residents of my desk at work seemed to see it coming – my Kermit and R2D2 plushes have been cosying up to each other for weeks! 😉