A Geek’s Dilemma

Written by Dan Carlson@minutiaeman@tenforward.social

Published May 7, 2005

Many years ago (we’re talking early 1990’s here), I was a big fan of Star Wars before I’d ever gotten into “some dumb show called Star Trek”. (See my account of the origins of Star Trek Minutiae for more.) The original Star Wars trilogy was my first introduction to science fiction, and the original movies are still favorites of mine. (And the first Star Wars novels — Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command — are still among my favorite books.)

But the new Star Wars prequel movies? Ugh, don’t get me started! I’m sure I was not alone in the high expectations I had for the cinematic return to everyone’s nostalgic sci-fi classic, and certainly not alone in having those high hopes almost completely dashed. The Phantom Menace was promising, but ultimately lame and crippled by poor acting on the part of a couple of central actors, and the incredibly stupid decision on George Lucas’ part to introduce Anakin Skywalker as a little 9-year-old boy. (Yippee! — Ugh!) Then, Attack of the Clones was not much better. Although the mystery and the action were both more interesting — and more credible — the love story was quite simply abominable. From the mind(s) who created the classic love story of Han Solo and Princess Leia (who can forget such classic lines as I’d just as soon kiss a Wookiee!?), we instead got the awful dreck of Annie? My, how you’ve grown! and a much less believable progression towards supposed love.

(To divert on this tangent for a moment, just what was the difference? Both The Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones are similar in the basic progression of their love stories, but with a crucial difference: in the first movie, the two characters were both treated as mature adults, and even from the beginning there was a clearly-established underlying attraction. But in the prequels, it’s nothing but cheesy, adolescent love with little justification. Because rather than unacknowledged or underlying attraction, there was no attraction at the beginning, and was instead a complete turnaround — at least for Padmé. And that was what really crippled the story, at least for me.)

Anyway, on to my actual dilemma. There’s an old, old Earth saying... Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Dare I be fooled a third time?

Sure, I’m going to see Revenge of the Sith regardless. At this point, I might as well see the series through. But I’ve been invited to go to one of the midnight showings on the premiere day. Aside from the crowds, the noise, et cetera, do I really want to give George Lucas my money for a premium ticket on the opening night of a movie that, were it any other series, I probably wouldn’t even go see in the theater at all?

On the other hand, the advance reviews for Revenge of the Sith have been remarkably positive. I’m not sure whether to believe them or not, though. It seems to me that advance reviews are oftentimes little more than a more subtle form of marketing to generate interest, and unless a review is undeniably negative, people are pretty likely to go see that film. And the reviews for the previous two prequels were also not bad, as I recall. We all know how that turned out!

I guess what it boils down to is, will a night out with some friends, and the opportunity to be among the first to say with authority whether the movie actually sucked or not (as I at this point fully expect it to, despite the reviews), be worth the $10+ it’ll cost for the evening? Heck, I’m not even necessarily concerned about the $10 itself, but more with the nausea-inducing idea of giving George Lucas even more of my money to see what will, if recent past experience indicates, will be yet another exercise in the ultimate form of self-indulgence and conspicuous wealth? He’s already said he doesn’t care what the fans think of the movies at this point, that he’s making the films for himself (and making money hand-over-fist in the process...).

Ah well. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 😉