Why Star Wars is the awesomest movie ever made

>> Friday, August 21, 2009

It's easy to rag on Star Wars. As a somewhat-famous online essay says, "Star Wars fans hate Star Wars," and of course it's absolutely true. We, and I do mean we, really do have a kind of bittersweet relationship with the whole thing in whatever form.

What brings this up is a little bit of recent poking by John Scalzi, who I think knew he was going to stir the pot with a follow-up he wrote to a humorous piece on bad design in the Star Wars universe. (One of many old running gags among fans, along with the bad aim of stormtroopers--of course, Scalzi misses the flip-side running gag, "Ridiculously Convenient Design In Star Wars," a list that naturally starts with "Hey, how wonderful is it that my utility belt just happens to have a super-helpful grappling hook and fifty feet of high-test line attached to it!" Yep, guess stormtroopers are sorta like Boy Scouts, prepared for anything. Anyway, moving along....) Anyway, Scalzi went on to say Star Wars is bad SF, which I guess is true. And immaterial.

In spite of Star Wars' SF trappings, I've considered it a fantasy series for twenty-something years, and not because the SF stuff fails so consistently. It's because the first one is a pretty traditional fantasy quest (skip the Joseph Campbell stuff, it gives me a headache and it's horseshit--I'm not talking about "heroic journeys" or whatever). It's the abduction of Guinevere with less sexual tension and Meleagant on an aqua-lung. Also, Meleangant has a badass laser sword and can choke people with his brain.

I'd like to thank John Scalzi for making my mind go there, actually, because it was an overdue reminder of what I loved about the original Star Wars as a child and what a part of my brain that will never get past the seventh grade (hi, Hannah!) will always love. See, Star Wars is this movie where:

See, there's this farmer who gets a message in a bottle from a beautiful princess who was kidnapped by the evil Black Knight, and then he gets into a fight with these, like, Bedouins or something but he gets saved by Gandalf who gives him his Dad's magic sword that he was holding on to after the Black Knight killed the farmer's Dad and they go off to storm the castle where the Black Knight took the princess and he's like a wizard, too, and the farmer's best friend is a cowboy, only the cowboy drives a B-52 bomber and he has a dog that's also a gorilla, and they get into these fights with these, like, Nazi-knights or something and they all have ray guns that go b-deww, bwoo-bdoo and then Gandalf gets into this swordfight with the black knight and they have these, like, laser swords that go bzzzzzzz, krish, krish, schlurssssh and then Gandalf sees he has to let the bad guy kill him and so he gets cut in half but then he's not there and he becomes a ghost and the farmer and the princess and the cowboy and the gorilla-dog and their robots (did I mention they have robots?) get into the B-52 and they fly off and they're all being chased by the bad guys' spaceships which look like bowties and they're all like bdeww, bdeww, kbloosh, bdew, bloosh and they blow up all the enemy fighters and they land in like this Mayan pyramid and all decide to fight the bad guy's castle in their spaceship jetfighters and they're all, like, firing lasers and stuff and then the cowboy comes back because he really wasn't as big a jerk as he pretended to be (he was just trying to be cool and stuff) and makes one of the Nazis crash into the Black Knight and the kid closes his eyes and fires his rockets into the bad guy's castle and it goes KERRRRRRBLOOOOOOOOM and kills Dracula, and then they all get medals and I guess have a party and stuff, except the gorilla-dog who just kind of stands there.

And that's why Star Wars is the awesomest movie ever made.


Nathan Friday, August 21, 2009 at 1:06:00 PM EDT  

That is THE BESTEST description of Star Wars I have ever read.

How do we make sure the entire internet reads it?


Konstantin B. Friday, August 21, 2009 at 3:09:00 PM EDT  

He forgot to mention that the robots are saved from the crafty dwarfs. And the garbage disposal.

Dr. Phil (Physics) Friday, August 21, 2009 at 3:10:00 PM EDT  

But... but... but... I want to see THAT movie!

Ultra cool -- no, seriously ultra cool.

Dr. Phil

Jeff Hentosz Friday, August 21, 2009 at 3:50:00 PM EDT  

Amen to this. Star Wars is Star Wars. Despite the opinion of what seems to be the entire fan universe besides myself, Empire was no advancement. The only thing any subsequent movie added of value was the "Imperial March." If it had all ended right there in 1977 -- no Yoda, no carbonite, no Leia's bikini -- I would have been a perfectly happy camper.

Ilya Friday, August 21, 2009 at 5:07:00 PM EDT  

Yep, that's exactly how I remember my first viewing of Star wars. Except that every single character spoke in the same singularly revolting nasal voice, for some reason. Took some sheen off Leia, I'm afraid.

Jim Wright Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 1:42:00 PM EDT  

I've never understood the overpowering need to categorize SW into a specific slot.

It's a fantasy.

No! It's Sci FI!

You're wrong, it's a Fantasy with SciFi trappings.

Nonsense, It's 80% Fantasy, 18% Sci Fi and 2% Golden Retriever.

It's a lot like listening to an argument between drunks in a bar.

It's a fucking movie. Popcorn, Big damn soda. Junior Mints. Enjoy. I love Star Wars, but I don't live my life by the Jedi Code.

Carol Elaine Monday, August 24, 2009 at 5:51:00 PM EDT  

Eh. I could take it or leave it.

Saw SW for the first time at a drive-in with my family and I really didn't want to see it because it made me miss the second half of a Hardy Boys two-parter.

(I was eleven. Shaddup.)

After discovering the awesomeness of Peter Cushing a year or two later, I revisited my dislike of the movie and decided, eh, it was okay. Especially since that Han Solo was really cute. And then I got to know Mark Hamill's brother Pat when I moved to San Diego and went to the same school as him in the late 70s - early 80s. Playing Pat's romantic interest in my first play ever didn't hurt my view on his brother's star making turn either.

I also probably would've liked it better if someone other than Lucas had done the directing. I really don't like Lucas as a director.

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