Like all the other people who were
between the ages of five and 15 in 1977, I have always considered the
movie "Star Wars" as a kind of cultural touchstone.
No, I'm not one of those people (guys) with "action figures" and posters and models and on and on
cluttering up the house. But I can still remember sitting slack jawed
in the old Cherokee Theater on Main Street in 1977 as huge spaceships
flew across the screen and laser guns put down stormtrooper after
stormtrooper and the good guys somehow stayed untouched.
So, I was a little surprised when I
heard the recent news that Disney had bought Lucas Films (or whatever
it's called) for the royal price of $4 billion. The house of Mickey
Mouse and Donald Duck taking over Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader and
all the rest? Perish the thought!
Yeah, I know Disney did those Pirates
of the Caribbean films and they're doing superhero movies after
buying Marvel Comics, but when I think of Disney, I think of
Tinkerbell dispensing pixie dust. That doesn't really gibe well
with memories of the Death Star exploding.
And now Disney has promised that not
only will they start making new Star Wars movies by 2015, but they
might even try to put out two a year. For anybody who remembers the
second trilogy that came out starting in 1999, this is news to be met
with a hesitant, "What?"
I'm not one of those people to look
at the original three movies (Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back,
Return of the Jedi) with rose colored glasses. The acting was bush
league at best in parts of the movies and the dialogue could leave
you cringing. But hey, we were all 10 and it was the greatest thing
in the world.
By 1999, when we were all either well
into our thirties or heading that way, we weren't so forgiving. The
second trilogy (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of
the Sith) were derided for wooden acting and horrible writing. Pretty
much what we loved about the first three. But, we were no longer 10!
I will admit I pretty much enjoyed
Revenge of the Sith, but could have done without the first two. But
did the titles have to be so stupid? Of course, aside from Star Wars,
all the titles have been silly.
Some say Disney's track record with
the Marvel Comic movies shows they'll be good stewards with the
Star Wars franchises. I don't know about that. From what I can
gather, Disney bought Marvel, then left the company to its own
devices. A company that makes comic books making good comic movies.
What are the odds?
A lot of over reacting nerds in 1999,
when confronted with the awfulness that was The Phantom Menace,
claimed George Lucas had ruined their childhoods, that they'd never
be able to look at the old Star Wars movies the same again. Of
course, they said the same thing when Lucas would change three
seconds of video in re-releases to make the older films closer to his
original vision, so we won't pay them any attention.
However many more Star Wars movies they
end up making, I'll be waiting for them on DVD, or whatever format
is popular by then. For some reason, only Batman can get me into a
theater, which probably says something considering I'm in my
forties, but that's a topic for another day.
And does $4 billion seem like a lot to
pay for the rights to a movie franchise? It does, but consider what
Disney will make not only from the movies, but from all the offshoots (toys, video games, books) and it'll probably be looked back on as
And considering that Lucas said he'd
give the entire $4 billion to educational charities, it's a safe
bet he made some money from the franchise. So, Disney will be all
As for us fans? Well, we can only hope
there won't be any menacing phantoms in 2015.
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