Keith Palmer (krpalmer) wrote,
Keith Palmer

Video Thoughts: The Prequels Strike Back

Dropping in to the discount store across the corner on the weekend, I was wandering around its rack of cheap Blu-Rays when I saw two "previously owned" copies of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on display. A moment I'd imagined might arrive back when I hadn't bought the movie on its home video release had indeed come to pass, but I walked out of the store without a disc, remembering how hearing the special features had gone straight back to "isn't it wonderful there were so many animatronics on set?" had squashed what interest I might have had and how the movie's been available on Netflix up here for months but I've kept putting off making the time to watch it.

Instead, not that long after seeing a link to a critique of the movie, discovering (through the distancing accident of the subtitle file downloading before the video) it included a distasteful amount of casual "prequel bashing," and getting around to watching a "fan film" I'd heard about months before, I went back to a documentary I'd paid for a downloadable copy of. Hearing "The Prequels Strike Back: A Fan's Journey" had turned out well had been sufficient for me to buy a copy, but I might have still had to get past "I don't need to slog past potential criticism to see rebuttals I might very well already know," and when I had got past that to the point of copying my video file to a memory key plugged into one of my TV's USB ports, I discovered the file used a codec the TV couldn't handle. It had taken a fair while after that to get around to copying the file to a portable computer also hooked up to the TV.

Starting off at last might have provoked just a few "I have been around for a while" thoughts when the movie's narrator had implied he'd once drawn no youthful distinctions among the Star Wars movies only to eventually be told to fall from grace. Instead of doing that, though, he'd got around to a major road trip interviewing a variety of people. There was a similarity to a lot of them that just seemed to press in how leery I am of self-proclaimed "fandom," but it wound up hard to tell if anyone was there just to be negative. For that matter too, the documentary, organized in chapters in the best tradition of the Campbellian hero's journey, had got through rebuttals to criticisms (going so far as to mention how rear-focused Walt Disney's cartoons could be, something I haven't escaped picking up on either, and then arguing that had been intended for little kids to giggle at and spark general laughter) before getting to the broader, more interesting perspectives (and plugging not just the "Star Wars Ring Theory" but "The Star Wars Heresies" along the way).

With all of it, though, I did keep mulling over the familiar "perhaps it just wasn't what some had expected," which in the context of the moment did get me wondering about the ideas George Lucas had sold only for them to be thrown out, and how they've been left anything you might want. A part of my own "fan's journey" was stumbling to the point of not daring to watch any of the Star Wars movies for long years for fear something in me would snap and "I'd see the problems"; I can at least wonder if an impression The Force Awakens had been relentless at pushing "snappy dialogue" amounts to my being reluctant to take another chance on it "pushing down barriers." I do want to think that in general I'm not opposed to the idea of "Luke and Han reach a breaking point," but the idea didn't seem that explored in the movie and what was presented seemed unimaginative, however "competent" some would insist it was. I am conscious, anyway, that I'd have been much more likely to have bought a copy of Rogue One in the same circumstances, even though that movie hasn't made it to home video yet.

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Tags: star wars
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