So the next Star Wars-film premiered today in our country, another installment in a series I have loved since I first saw A New Hope in 1981. And now I have learned to hate it.
I have only seen some reviews and ‘plot’ synopses of the new film, since I have already wasted enough life and money on the 3 prequels and the reboot from 2015. This new one sounds like it takes the Star Wars I knew and pisses even more all over it.
I won’t waste more space and life commenting on it. It sold a gazillion tickets so Disney is happy and thousands of fans are still raving, and especially kids, I guess, so a lot of people are happy and that is fine.
So what I want to, briefly, comment on is how it feels to grow up from something cultural that meant the world to you once. First world problem, I know, but hey – those are part of my life, too!
What it feels like is, surprisingly … relief.
There is a void of course, a feeling of loss – in some perverted way akin to how I feel when friends or family have died for real. But it is something I know I will get over.
In concrete terms there is so much of the universe-building (or lack thereof), character development (or lack thereof), plot, script and general execution of everything that came after the last of the old Star Wars films that has not resonated with me that I can’t really use more time and life to think about it, much less describe it. Especially here.
This blog is supposed to be about something important, after all 🙂
But I think it is worth sharing how relatively easy it has been, once I made the decision to cut this time-use from my life, to say: ‘Okay, fine’. To the general, in my ever-so-humble opinion, deterioration of the story quality of both Star Wars and Marvel, which I grew up with in the 1980’s.
A lot of this is, I suppose, because I do fully understand and accept just what raw capitalism does to culture. Nobody publishes a new Marvel mag or creates a new Star Wars movie because they have a dream of telling a certain story. That just does not happen any more, if it ever did. But the circumstances are vastly different from a small company trying to sell compelling stories in print in the 1960’s or a certain George Lucas trying to sell his script of the ultimate space-movie and make it a reality in the 1970’s.
The balance between creator-vision and influence and market forces shift once something become popular enough, once it becomes a so-called franchise. Now new Marvel mags or Star Wars movies are decided in some corporate committee and a whole range of products are planned to go alongside, from movies to the comics, to games and toys with the Star Wars movies. And a gazillion other types of ridiculous merchandise, which is where the real money is made.
Then you hire people – from writers to directors – to carry out this task of creating these properties – a new comic version of the X-Men, a new Star Wars movie. Those people you hire are not meant to rock the boat, and definitely not take any chances on what is a sure-fire recipe to get people to buy tickets – which generally mean big dumb superficial action and special effects sequences. The hired hands are also meant to tick off various boxes, such as having people from various target segments in the cast (China is becoming a big market for Disney, and so we have seen more Asian characters in the last two Star Wars-movies).
And that’s also how you build business empires on other shit like clothes or cell phones and powdered milk. You produce the most variants with the least new input (least resources), market the hell out of it to people who you know will fork over cash to consume this shit for all kinds of reasons, not many of which have to do with getting moved by something as basic as a character who actually has an arc to care about (the 101 of solid movie scripting).
That’s … life.
And anybody is free to find any kind of new pop culture they feel can enrich their lives. There’s plenty of it. Also in the scifi-category. You can check out a lot of good TV-series and books here, especially, and even fan made or fiction-series YouTube-videos from all kinds of indie creators.
You can get new heroes, for as long as they last.
Maybe you can also create some yourself.
It does take some time to get to that point, if old heroes meant the world to you. But you have to reach it and then move to some place else.
It’s kind of funny but in this way this first world-problem of us old Star Wars fans being depressed with the shitty quality of the new movies … it mirrors, as hinted above, how to deal with any other, more important, attachment in life. Something or someone you just have to dump and get over, because he/she/it is no longer good for you.
Perhaps that is why this blog post is kind of important after all. If I then act on it, and say definitively goodbye to Star Wars (and the new Marvel comics).
Well, I do.
And it felt like a relief, despite the void.
But voids are there to be filled. And maybe a few new TV-series about some sprawling epic fascinating scifi universe can wait, anyway. Maybe it would be better to create something myself. Or maybe it would be better to create more quality time with friends and family.
Banal, yes, but isn’t it true?