Friday, August 15, 2008

(Author’s Note: I struggled with whether I should post this or not, it being somewhat faddish the last few years to write pieces of this nature, but I ultimately decided that the subject matter was such a large part of my personality, and the realization so important, that I’d be doing myself a disservice not to post it.)

Star Wars, for the one or two people I haven’t told already, is the first movie my parents ever took me to see. I was an infant, and don’t remember seeing it at the drive-in that first time, but I’ve seen it hundreds of times since. I do, though, remember seeing both The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in theaters, the first time they came out. I played with toys, read the books, slept in the sheets, dried with the towels, read along with the record in my book, colored, washed with Darth Vader shampoo, etc etc etc. I was Darth Vader for Halloween, and I had both Yoda and X-Wing pilot Underoos. I ate Taco Bell twice a day leading up to Phantom Menace because they had tie-ins. In other words, Star Wars was very much like a good friend. Which makes my recent realization even more painful.

It seems I’ve outgrown Star Wars.

I didn’t want it to be so, but I can’t deny it any longer. While I didn’t think Phantom Menace or the other prequels were quite as bad as many thought, they did not sit well with me. I shrugged it off, because it was Star Wars, and I’d been a fan literally as long as I could remember. I got heavily into video games about this time, and there were some great games set in this universe. (Both Knights of the Old Republic and Lego Star Wars are excellent, and worth checking out if you’re at all interested. I‘d recommend renting, rather than buying though, for reasons you‘re about to see.)

Then I heard that George Lucas was releasing the first episodes of (one of) the Clone Wars TV series in theaters, and this, finally, was the last straw. I’ve spent more money than I care to think of on Star Wars over the years, and no doubt my family has spent a small-to-moderate fortune buying me gifts for birthday, Christmas, graduation and so on. Now Lucas wants to take a story that has been told before on TV (Genndy Tartakovsky’s excellent Clone Wars shorts on Cartoon Network) and will be told again on TV (the current CGI series) and charge people to see it in theaters. In other words, Lucas thinks he doesn’t have enough of my money, and I’ve reached the point in my life when I don’t care to give it to him anymore.

Look, I’m not going to claim that “George Lucas raped my childhood.” But I’m not going to pretend he’s seduced my childhood with champagne and strawberries, either. It’s more like he picked up my childhood in a roadhouse, took it out to the backseat of his car where he slapped it around some and basically treated it really badly before leaving it tearful, bruised and half-naked in the gravel with a five dollar bill, far too little compensation for the rough treatment it was surprised with, and the lack of respect shown to it.

And that’s what gets me, finally. George Lucas has no respect for me, or any of the other fans who ultimately got him where he is. He sees us as literally a fountain of money, idiots that will pay through the nose for any piece of crap with a lightsaber sound. I admit my complicity through all these years, but finally at thirty I’ve either grown old enough or cynical enough to realize just how greedy he really is.

So that’s it. George Lucas has enough of my money. I’m not going to pay for any more of his movies, toys, books, video games, and so on ad infinitum. I’m sure as heck not paying for another re-release of movies I bought two or more times already. I will continue to remember the good times I had with Star Wars, talking with friends and remembering how it used to be, sort of like I remember the good times I had with college friends I don’t speak with anymore. But just like I don’t moon people or try to light my farts any longer, neither am I going to keep giving George Lucas my money, only to have him repeatedly show his contempt for my love. Frankly, I’m tired of crying behind the roadhouse.


Anonymous The Dad said...

**sigh** Alas yet another glorious childhood memory dashed to bits on the rocky crags below.
(Reminds me of my bike with the chopper handle bars and white banana seat...not to mention the 'bicycle' playing card and clothes pin on the spokes. Well before the days of 'Spokey-Dokes')Damn commercialization!

8:15 AM  
Blogger Norman said...

I completely see that. My take is don't stop loving the earlier movies, but there's no need to do anything else. Stop now and move on, but don't poison the memories, as they are fond and the more fond memories we have, the better.

And George Lucas is a douche.

8:37 AM  

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