5 Easy Steps to Channeling the Force

I’m sure we all know by now, but Star Wars – Episode 7 is coming.star-wars-iv-a-new-hope-nei1b

For those of you who have been squatting under rocks, chomping on maggots like Timon and Pumba, Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas a few months back and have set to work breathing fresh life into The Saga.

I’m a pretty big Star Wars fan. Though I was not old enough to see the original trilogy in cinemas, I’ve spent my fair share of time watching poor quality VHS recordings of New Hope whilst making Luke and Han action figures duel to the death with Skeletor. And, like most Star Wars fans, I left ‘Revenge of the Sith’ feeling a little violated.

The wound Lucas has gouged into the Jedi mythology will not be an easy one to heal, of that there is no doubt. And so, philanthropist that I am, I shall list the ways to ensure a successful return to a galaxy far, far away.

Gosh, I’m a good human being.

  1. Cast Returns – there’s a lot of talk about getting the cast from the original trilogy back in, and I’m all about it. Good sequels always hinge on maintaining the link between installments. Replacing or writing around characters has proved to leave gaping holes of dissatisfaction and remorse in the mass consciousness – it don’t work guys, don’t try it! They may be able to get away with missing one, maybe two, of the main actors from the original trilogy, but they really need to get as many of them back as possible for this thing to be a success. Besides, who doesn’t want to see Luke and Leia’s matching trailers in a Tattooine caravan park at the ripe old age of 60? I know I do.
  2. Bigger Isn’t Always Better – a classic big-budget mistake is thinking that if you have cash you should put it to use. There is a culture of one-upsmanship prevalent in action movies these days, and it grows tiresome. Think about the prequel trilogy. The prequels were meant to set the scene for the awesome three movies that followed them. If we see nothing but colossal CG droid fight scenes, expensive and extravagantly budgeted sets, and entirely unnecessary fight scenes between core characters (cough-Emperor-and-Yoda-cough), what’s left to follow? I think the fact that the original trilogy shines so much more so than the polished turd of the prequels tells us that bigger and better are not synonymous. Also, well-made puppets will always look better than the best CG. ‘Nuff said.
  3. Story, Story, Story – this may be the writer in me, but I can’t stress the importance of a good story in film. A good, well-planned story is absolutely key to making it work, especially when you’re making a trilogy (and I’m certain Episodes 8 and 9 will follow all too soon). While it’s true that audiences these days are a bit more sophisticated in what they expect than they were in the 70s and 80s, I think that everyone will be happy with something that matches the tone of the original movies in a well-thought out way. Remember the last rule; bigger isn’t always better. Keep it simple to start with, gently remind us why love this franchise, and lay the foundation for an epic story arc in the last two movies.
  4. Grit – I must confess, the Disney label on this scares me a little. The original trilogy were infamous for some really gritty scenes, like the death of Obi-Wan, Han and Greedo’s shoot-out, Luke losing a hand… Don’t fluff this out too much, Disney. The temptation will be there though, since Star Wars has a ‘cross-generational’ appeal (because fans of the trilogy are now parents who want to share the experience with their kids) and movies that gross the highest tend to be ones that all age brackets want to see. Keeping it light and fluffy ensures a high-grossing movie at the potential cost of artistic integrity. I hate being able to observe decisions that have obviously been made based on production-end meddling, but there it is. Of course, Disney’s influence doesn’t scare me quite as much as my last point…
  5. J.J. Abrahams – is slated to direct Episode 7, and words can’t express how overrated I think this guy is. Now, I’m sure a lot of people will leap to defend him, so lets look at this logically – what has J.J. Abrahams ever done for me? Alias? I enjoyed the first season or two, before it flopped. Lost? Another show that flopped due to lack of planning. Cloverfield? Super 8? Not terrible movies… Not great movies either. Truthfully, the only 2 movies on J.J.’s IMDb profile that I don’t mind are Regarding Henry, which he produced in ’91, and the new Star Trek movie (and even that didn’t have a great plot). Am I missing something? Why do people think this guy’s so great? He’s a modern day Spielberg, sure… But Spielberg’s big-budget, grandiose style have become par for the course in modern cinema. You might as well say Abrahams is a modern day Karl Marx in Communist Russia. But I digress… By the same token, J.J.’s mediocrity hasn’t gone too far against him, so I’ll hold out hope. But in all honesty, I’d rather see Joss Whedon behind this project.

Disney for the win.

Here’s hoping for cybernetic Ewoks.

(image credit to nei1b)

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26 thoughts on “5 Easy Steps to Channeling the Force

  1. being old enough to have seen the original trilogy in the theater, I remember that Star Wars was the movie when I realized, at the ripe old age of 8, that I wanted to write. It was that movie. The degradation of the franchise in the “prequels” that followed was heartbreaking, and ultimately soul shattering when we were told we had to have “metachloriates” in order to be a Jedi (still a dream of mine, I confess). But you’re absolutely right, bigger is not better, and shiny doesn’t make it pretty… but I did adore what was done with the new Star Trek franchise (although I do agree, Joss Whedon would bring the “dirt and grime” needed to make Star Wars magnificent again) I allow myself to hope that Abrahms will bring something to the table. My fingers are crossed, although I may be woefully naive, I’m hoping. 😉

  2. Yet I still have only seen the first movie…I guess it’s time to watch the others!

    Try not to throw anything at me, I blossomed into a Sci-fi junky late in life (Early this year)
    and I was under a rock playing the first Halo with Steve Jobs and Bill Gates looking at houses to buy in Silicon Valley, preoccupied with processors and design features.

    (I have only had a couple of hours of sleep, I am slay happy I think)

    Now I am off to work good Sir, Great post!

    • Haha, you’re excused, Shane. It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn a lesson from it. Now, for the next step in your education, it’s Episode IV-VI, the Matrix Trilogy, Firefly (immediately followed by Serenity), and Season 1 to 4 of the new Doctor Who (covering the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant years). And there will be a quiz. 🙂

      Cheers, dude. 🙂

  3. I’m a little worried about his. I grew up watching old VHS copies too. The cast is iconic to me, and I hated the new movies. I’ve read many of the books and I have no idea how they’ll match the movies to the books. Like, what about Mara Jade? Will she be there? I’m a hopeless romantic, so she BETTER be there.

    • I’m not familiar with Mara Jade, Olivia, but then I haven’t read many of the books. From what I understand though, Lucas has always asserted that the books may or may not directly correlate to the main Star Wars cannon (as a way to cover his ass, I’m sure), not to mention the fact that the SW cannon belongs to Mickey now…
      I started to read the first book dealing with the Sun Crusher, but couldn’t make it through it. Still, I hold high hopes for a new Jedi Acadamy and Luke going evil. I still believe in you Mark Hammil! Cheers for sharing, Olivia. 🙂

  4. I’m confused on the Abrams thing too. I never got into ‘Lost’, which I think is the reason people refer to him as a cinematic god. I saw ‘Cloverfield’ and was not impressed at all, especially after all the hype. Don’t even get me started on ‘Mission Impossible 3’. I think he’s one of those people who did something that gripped the masses and now he can do no wrong. Though, screwing up Star Wars could be the end of him.

    • Preach, Charles. He’d be lynched in the street. Maybe Star Wars needs to take another hit, in order to topple Abrahams’ false idol… But I hope not.

      Didn’t realise he did MI3, but it fits his modus operandi; mediocre action movie with a big budget. I never got Lost either. Funny story – Chris Carter of X-Files fame was one of the writers on Lost, X-Files being yet another show that laid some great seeds for a long-term story arc and yet had no idea where it was actually going. I think it frustrates me when story flops when countless bucks have been poured into a movie, because it costs the same amount to hire a good writer as it does a bad writer. This may be a whole other blog post… Sigh…

      Cheers for stopping by Charles. 🙂

      • I think ‘Lost’ suffered from the disappearance of the creator. I remember reading an interview years ago with Abrams and he was asked to explain things about ‘Lost’. He admitted that he wasn’t working on it any more (just a Producer, I think) and he wasn’t paying attention. I think Seth McFarlane does the same thing with Family Guy. They create a popular series/franchise then walk away to work on other things, but leave their name on it.
        As for MI3, it was ‘okay’ until the ending where he pulled that mystery crap. I wasted an entire night trying to get through that movie. My reward was Laurence Fishburne refusing to tell me what the ‘Rabbit’s Foot’ does. Total slap in the face of the audience.

  5. I was around in the beginning, always liked Star Wars. You have a good point about keeping as many as possible actor. I’m maybe a new twist to the story would prove creative.

    Hopefully will be-able to get a good torrent quickly.

    chris

    • Haha, that’s pretty funny, Soph. I’m glad HF can laugh about his oft obsessive fan-base. 🙂

      I may shell out cash for it, I’m sorry to say. Sometimes you just start to feel like a lab rat at the feeder button though, every pellet tasting less than the one before it…

      And I would happily spam the world with your site, and not think twice about it http://sophiesansregret.wordpress.com/ 😉

  6. Hahahaha Thanks Ryan! I just posted a recipe with hooch in it so maybe that will help traffic too. 🙂 I always forget to update the blog. I’m so busy doing promo for everyone else. Must put own oxygen mask on once and a while. mmm. Oxygen.

  7. I saw the originals in the theater and took my sons to see the second (but wait, it’s first) trilogy in the theaters – Hubby hurriedly pulled out his wallet everytime the next “new & improved” boxed set came out and now, once a year, on a snow day, the child-unit and I have a ‘Star Wars Marathon Day’ –

    I’m sure we’ll watch what ends up coming out, but I’m not convinced the slow decline I felt as each new one came out will be halted…

    🙂

      • Which reminds me, you do know the origin of margarine and liquid butter substitute, right? 😀
        (I’m such a food snob.. :D)

      • In all seriousness, supposedly, margarine was invented in answer to a request (and award money) from Napoleon III for a ‘butter substitute’ that could fill the needs of soldiers in the field and those too poor to afford real butter – – when it first started gaining popularity in Europe and made it’s way across the ocean, apparently American Dairy Farmers acted quickly to require that margarine be colored with red dye (turning it a sickly pink, according to accounts of the time) in order that it not be confused with their superior product…

        Marketing and lobbying at it’s finest… 😀

  8. Tattooine caravan park at the ripe old age of 60? Now if nothing makes you feel old that would ripe old age of 60, I’m only five years behind…

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