My Thoughts on Disney Buying Lucasfilm

November 06, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
“The suns look a little different tonight.”
News of the mousey kingdom buying up the Lucasfilm properties has set the internet ablaze this week, not just with the news of a new Star Wars film expected in 2015, but with endless speculation as to what this might mean for the other Lucasfilm properties created over the years. Indiana Jones 5, anyone?
 
Some of the buzz is good, some of it is bad. It really is a sterling definition of a double-edged sword situation. Disney is something of a corporate giant, and it was not that long ago that they also got their oversized white-gloved mitts on the Marvel properties. And a lot of casual moviegoers don’t even realize that they not only produce family-friendly fare, but are also the monetary engine driving such studios as Miramax and Dimension. So while Pixar was giving us Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, Miramax was giving us Pulp Fiction and Clerks, and Dimension gave us Scream.
“Jar Jars Binks is in ‘Return of the Jedi’? NOOOO!!”
So what do I think? Honestly, I think it’s about time George Lucas take a step back. In the last fifteen years, he has systematically gone about pissing off virtually every fanboy who ever took a moment to pick up a Nintendo 64 controller as a kid, play Shadows of the Empire, and ask himself, “So this was based on a movie?”
 
He forgets what a lot of filmmakers, like his good buddy Steven Spielberg, seem to understand very well: Once you’ve made the film and put it out there, it isn’t entirely yours anymore. It belongs to the hearts and minds of the people it touches, and in the case of Star Wars, the very culture it leaves its immortal stamp on. Lucas has made it a mission to move against this grain by rearranging, digitizing, and sometimes downright murdering the original films that had such a profound effect on us growing up. His decisions not only were childish and self-indulgent, but in specific cases…
Correction: He’s the only one who shot.
… downright stupid, and went against the whole idea behind his characters. If you watch the Sergio Leone westerns Lucas drew on so heavily to create characters like Han Solo, the good guy doesn’t just shoot first — he’s the only one to shoot. It’s not about being a cold-blooded killer; it’s about being smart, and living to fight another day. Lucas also drew from numerous other genres and cultures, such as the films of Akira Kurosawa, whose influence sparked the inspiration for C-3PO and R2D2. All of this went into a blender to create a loving cross-cultural homage that felt fresh and new.
 
Fresh and new are two things Lucasfilm has not been for a while now. The prequel trilogy of Star Wars films, brimming over with perfunctory dialogue and wooden acting, was like sitting through two overlong meal courses before we finally got to the dessert that made us wanna sit at the table in the first place. Revenge of the Sith was the home run after the previous two strikes were separated by three-year long rain-outs.
“I don’t always nuke the fridge. But when I do, I drink Dos Equis.”
Then there was Indy 4. I will say it publicly: I don’t think this movie is half as bad as everyone else says. I’m not going to sit here and dissect all the reasons why I think the mythos of an alien species fits in perfectly with the previous trilogy’s plot hooks of using religious artifacts as MacGuffins to further the action, but well, there it is. People hate it. The rest of us (Roger Ebert included), just kind of stay quiet and maybe watch it in the dark alone. Mythbusters fans will know that if people wanna complain about surviving a nuclear holocaust in a fridge, there’s always the fact that he would’ve died trying to jump out of a plane with an inflatable raft, too. But part of the beauty of films is that they can spark so much debate.
 
The overall point I’m making here is this, and it is the cause to rejoice: George Lucas is officially done with these series. He won’t touch them anymore. He can’t teabag them with his turkey neck anymore than he already has. One thing I haven’t seen anyone touch upon is the fact that, with Disney now in charge, all they would have to do to make everyone instant fans is not to promise another Star Wars film… but to finally release the original, unaltered trilogy of Star Wars films on Blu-ray and DVD. It would be the pinnacle move that would galvanize generations of fans behind this acquisition, and get everyone geared up for a new trilogy. It would show us all that they’re in it for the fans, not just the money. Buying Star Wars is a guaranteed way to make money, but to release those films as they were originally shown to us as kids would guarantee them something they can’t buy: Our thanks.

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