I was reminded recently that one needn’t rely exclusively on George Lucas‘ recent rash of franchise mangling to have their attitude inch methodically toward the idea that perhaps he’s really just an idiot who got very lucky.
Many a Star Wars fan reacted with disgust when the prequels began hitting screens, and with good reason. The sad excuses for milking more money out of a 30-ish year franchise managed to only slightly disguise the fact that they were feature-length video game trailers. They were purposeless in a sense rarely seen in film, mainly because no one presenting such ludicrous scripts to anyone could ever get them turned into a movie.
There was a more subtle reaction to the latest Indiana Jones movie, the worst movie of this and possibly any year. (Catch my Crystal Skull review) I assume this is in part due to the response of some critics who put forward odd, yet positive reviews. As an example catch Roger Ebert’s review, wherein he manages to have no problem describing the utter stupidity of the thing while giving it 3.5 out of 4 stars. Curiously, it could have very simply been a nearly great movie. All it needed was a title change. Indy Movie… as in Scary Movie, Date Movie, Epic Movie…etc.
The real curiosity of the whole Lucas affair is that these entities are such behemoths at this point that the internet is littered with odd ramblings of the form “(some movie) is a Star Wars remake.” These then detail who is Luke, who is Vader, etc. The Harry Potter version, in one incarnation or another, finds its way to my browser every few weeks, but there are dozens and dozens of them. Pretty much every movie with a good guy, a bad guy, and someone in a “trainer of the good guy” role finds itself being deconstructed in this fashion. This despite, of course, the invention of movable type predating the mid-70s by a fair span (and the “curious to the masses” idea that people wrote things even before that).
But, as I say, I was recently reminded that the equation George Lucas + Actually Original Thought producing error messages on the calculator isn’t anything new. SlashFilm took the time to highlight the fact that Howard the Duck (I refuse to link to anything there) was available on Hulu.com (check out /Film’s Howard the Duck story), and it’s not only good Lucas material, it’s rather interesting to look back at how the strangest things can have far-reaching effects. As it happens, Lucas dumped a heap of cash at Howard the Duck, and when it bombed he was put in the position of needing to come up with money. The result is a surprising twist of fate, and I encourage you to check out /Film‘s story to find out how things turned out.
Then, Entertainment Weekly of all places gave me a Christmas present I didn’t dare hope for.
For reasons I cannot hope to understand, this was the Christmas season of a thousand references to the Star Wars Holiday Special which aired on television decades ago, and was immediately followed by a nationwide mindwipe. Moneydrunk Lucas had an idea, and here it is… in some sense one of the greatest things ever on television.
This actually buffers rather slow, and is somewhat tricky on the embedded version… I assume because it’s 2 hours long. I won’t be offended if you just click through to the Google Video page.
Are You Screening?
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