Five Star Wars mistakes that the new movies should avoid
It's a common behavior of Star Wars fans: canonize the original trilogy, and get all hater-y on the screw-ups in Episodes I-III. But if the mistakes made in the second trilogy weren't so completely soul-crushing and legacy-altering, then people wouldn't be bitching about them to this day -- and keeping interest in the saga alive. Now a new hope has come with the prospect of three more movies -- sequels to the first trilogy or, at the very least, a stand-alone movie to be released in 2015 -- made with all the magic, and fat piles of cash, that Disney has to offer. And with George Lucas officially a consultant on the project (rather than the driving force), there is an above-average chance that the next three Star Wars movies will restore balance to the force and faith in the franchise -- if Disney can avoid past sarlacc-feeding type offenses.
Here are five Star Wars mistakes that the new movies should avoid.
5. Idiotic throw-away characters
It's been said that in the first Star Wars trilogy, the ewoks were completely unnecessary and those adorable, pint-sized, warlike wookies were only slapped into Return of the Jedi to help market the film to pint-sized viewers. And that's likely the straight truth, but at least the ewoks were cute, had cute little weapons and did things to move the plot along. Not so much with some of the super-stupid characters in the second trilogy, including General Grievous, a score of nameless Jedi who didn't do anything but die fast, that McFreako-looking diner alien-cook, an elementary-school-aged Boba Fett and, of course, everyone's favorite failure, the quasi-racist, incompetent-turned senator (heehee) Jar-Jar Binks. Rather than trying to force-feed us with inane lines, ridiculous accents and useless scene-fillers, why not keep the lesser characters truly lesser, and just have them milling around, waiting to get force-choked like in the original movies?
4. Bad casting decisions
In the prequels, Lucas and company managed to cast a few actors who looked like the parts, but couldn't actually act them -- which was 100 percent their only jobs. You can change an actor's appearance to suit a character, but ain't no kinda fix for bad acting. Let's face it: If it wasn't for Ewan MacGregor, ten minutes' worth of Christopher Lee and not near enough Liam Neeson, the last three Star Wars movies would have been vying with the last three Resident Evil movies for the "Why Fucking Bother?" award. Hayden Christensen's acting was so mechanical that he should have put on a droid uniform and not taken it off, and his inept on-screen bonding with Natalie Portman was so cringe-worthy I'd rather lick Jabba's slimy tail than watch it again.
One reason the first trilogy was and still is so endearing to fans is that the cast wasn't all big names: There were unknown and little-known actors who gave the films a more real-life feel, rather than the easy-come-easy-gone sugar high of Samuel L. Jackson's combined fifteen minutes of playing himself on screen, instead of actually playing Mace Windu.
3. Terrible writing
The dialogue between Anakin and Padme (and between Anakin and everyone else) sounded forced in a good scene, and trite to the point of vom-splash in the better ones. It takes a special sort of screen writer to make Natalie Portman come off as being a terrible actress -- but George Lucas managed to do just that with his awful, no-good, nauseating writing on all three prequels.
In fact, the writing in the prequels was so completely different from the source that it almost felt like bad fanfiction at times. Michael Arndt, the Oscar-winning writer behind Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3, is confirmed to be the sole writer for the next Star Wars movie. But at this point, fans just hope anybody but Lucas picks up the pen.
2. Too much CGI for its own sake
The first three Star Wars movies had something special that the second set noticeably lacked: character -- the character that comes from things not being perfect. Sure, the original tril had some crappy costumes here and there; badly-made, almost post-apocalyptic sets; and terribly dated bits of technology, like tiny computer screens with washing-machine-sized processors with blinky lights. But those details -- tather than the glossy, CGI perfection of everything in the second set of movies -- were what made the movies seem darker and more authentic. J.J. Abrams has said that he intends to use less CGI in the upcoming film(s): good move.
1. George Lucas should not be writing or directing anymore
If anyone in the sci-fi movie business has duly earned his retirement, it's George Lucas. His original Star Wars trilogy is a masterpiece: He built his own special effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, from the ground up; directed the Star Wars films and handled all the media, spinoffs and merchandising -- turning some strange, science-fiction dreams into one of the biggest film franchises the world has ever experienced.
And we love him for it.
We really do, but it's past time for him to pass the torch to Abrams and sit back in an Adirondack chair, letting others do the heavy lifting from here on out. Thank you, George Lucas, for giving us Star Wars. Now let J.J. Abrams do his job.
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