A friend of mine sent me this link as the last word on Star Wars Episode III.
Despite so many of my fellow SF-geek friends liking it, well, or at least liking it well-enough, I sat in the theater, yes, watching it, knowing it would be utter trash, and thinking to myself, “Why didn’t they spend the money making ____ instead?” I know why, of course: they knew Star Wars III (which is in all reality Star Wars VI) would make piles more money, even if it was trash.
Never mind that The Forever War would make a much better movie. Never mind that Greg Bear’s Slant would be an incredible film, as would his Darwin’s Radio series. Or Maureen McHugh’s China Mountain Zhang, or Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (which with today’s tech would be doable, even!). Or, hell, any one of Connie Willis’ wonderful novelscan you believe that not one of them has been filmed yet? That’s a goldmine waiting to be found.
Fine, set aside all of these excellent SF stories and make instead Foundation, or one of those Heinlein books into a film. Or go ahead and make Star Wars’ finale: but why make it so utterly bad? Most of my objections were stated in more forceful form in the review linked above.
All I’ll note is that for international audiences, some of whom by and large missed out on the original trilogy, the conclusion of the last Star Wars movie was completely bizarre and depressing. They have no idea those twins will be heroes in a later age, they have no sense of what the hell the guy in the black suit is still alive for, or why he made such moronic decisions. The clever among them are wondering how the hell it is that a society with spaceflight could still have women dying in childbirth, or why Anakin is so shitheadedly gullible as to trust a villain. But mostly they must have the impression that SF movies are somewhat like French movies, perplexingly depressing.
Or rather, it must seem even more bizarre, sad, and stupid to them than it does to me.
They’re still consuming Star Wars, but in a city like the one I live in, where I haven’t seen in DVD or videotape form any of the original Star Wars movies (Episodes IV-VI), the trilogy must seem a rather bizarre, sad, and stupid tale. Certainly some Korean SF geeks know the whole series, but the mainstream of the population I suspect only vaguely know the existence of a previous trilogy, and most people I’ve asked haven’t seen them. (Not even on TV!) That’s different from in Canada, where under a certain age, even people who really don’t care for SF know the basic story and would immediately understand that Anakin is doomed and that there will be a gloomy, sad, dark ending for the trilogy.
All I know is that I found it kind of sad and kind of amusing, the perplexed looks on the faces of moviegoers. More sad in the case of parents who brought their kids out for a fun night at the movies. They should have gone and seen The Pacifier instead.