lazypadawan: (Default)
This time from hack Nikki Finke of Deadeyed Hollywood.

The set up is that on a special episode of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” that aired the other night, some members of the 501st in armor volunteered to help renovate a family’s home. If you’ve seen the show before, you know that scores of volunteers are involved with these things.

Finke, whose heart makes the Grinch’s look ten times too large, decides this is synergy taken too far. The program airs on ABC, whose parent company is Disney, now the parent company of Lucasfilm. She blasts this appalling display of do-gooderism:

"I always thought reversing fanboy disgust over George Lucas’ unbridled filmmaking greed and turgid storylines and stilted direction would be the most difficult job facing Kathleen Kennedy and Bob Iger after their deal bringing Lucasfilm to Disney was announced a month ago. Ah, silly me. Because it’s oh-so-apparent that the truly Herculean task ahead will be assuring fanboys that Disney and Luscasfilm don’t further eff up the Star Wars franchise through unnecessary synergy. Disney doesn’t even technically own Lucasfilm yet. But already ABC ensnared Star Wars characters a year ago into last night’s treacly Christmas-themed special episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. 'I just saw the opening two minutes and they had Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers helping build a new house!' one Star Wars fanboy complained to me. 'This is disgusting and it’s exactly what people were afraid of with Disney buying Star Wars. They are ruining the franchise by using it for trivial bullshit. Please write about this. It’s outrageous and it’s totally wrong.'

Wow, calling Lucas greedy and a bad director and knocking charity in just a few sentences, all because some unnamed hateboy, if he exists, urged her to write about this so-called travesty. This was so bad even "Big Baby" Rob Bricken at i09 thought it was a bridge too far and referred this hateboy as the worst Star Wars fan ever.

Really? This is something to complain about?! “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” was cancelled a while ago, probably before this episode could have aired. Maybe ABC had some programming space open on its schedule so decided to air this Christmas-themed show. We don’t know how long Disney’s acquisition was in the works but I don’t think ABC or the show’s producers knew about it a year ago, and definitely not the guys from the 501st. Maybe I missed something but from the ads, I couldn’t even tell the 501st was involved. Even if it was Disney using one show to tout its latest member of the “family,” so what? The show has always shipped the family off to Disneyland or Walt Disney World for a magical weekend while Ty Pennington and Co. fix up the house. These folks suffered great misfortune, so they were getting a dream house and a mini vacation for free. Gosh, how awful.

These butt wipe excuses for human beings (Finke and the alleged hateboy, if he exists) are outraged over cosplayers rebuilding a house. Or is it mere posturing, faux outrage because people like Finke and the alleged hateboy look for any and all excuses to trash someone they don’t like? They hold Lucas to an impossible standard then eviscerate him when he doesn’t live up to it; a standard by the way that Finke probably doesn’t apply to anyone else. I’ve seen it happen over and over again in the entertainment press and in similar blogs.

No doubt Finke plans to go to war against Episode VII and the Star Wars franchise as a whole. Trust me, this was just the shot across the bow. Why? Because she thinks that will make her even more popular with an internet army of a-holes she believes are willing to agree with her. To her, Lucas—even as a retiree—and Star Wars need to be taken down. It needs to quench her blood lust to defeat something “big.” Even if they have to step on some 501st guys and a family that lost a home to do it.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Star Wars needs to renounce geek culture.

That might strike you as a bit weird, as though I’m saying we need to cut ourselves off from oxygen or gravity. Isn’t Star Wars part of the geeky universe after all? How could it possibly divorce itself from the worlds of comics, collectibles, cons, and cosplaying? It just isn’t possible!

Well, I’m not saying Dark Horse needs to stop publishing and far be it from me to suggest I wouldn’t want a Star Wars presence at Comic Con. God forbid! But I’ve recently come to the conclusion that “geek” and “Star Wars” aren’t necessarily synonymous and indeed, they shouldn't be.

Sure, Star Wars was the first film marketed at Comic Con and it was marketed at Worldcon 1976 in Kansas City. But ultimately it has turned out to be an ill-fated partnership. It was geek culture that turned on the series and on Lucas. It dictated what fans and casual viewers alike are supposed to think about it. Because geek culture drives the media these days, the attacks on half the saga and on Lucas have been relentless and effective. (And regular moviegoers made ANH a hit, not the couple hundred people at Comic Con 1976.)

That isn’t to say Star Wars isn’t popular. But it’s popular with two kinds of people: loyal fans like me and Minivan Nation. Families with kids. The kind of people whose opinions aren’t as likely to be shaped by geek culture. Besides, regular moviegoers made Star Wars the megahit and cultural touchstone. Geeks create small devoted cults. The rest of the world picks the big winners.

But old habits die hard and it seems like up until the present, there’s a persistent need to try and keep Star Wars relevant among professed geeks. I think Lucasfilm is totally wasting its time with them.

For one thing, geeks are conformists of the worst kind. “Independent thought” doesn’t make you popular on geek sites. Voice a different opinion from "geek orthodoxy" and they will come down on you like a ton of bricks to punish you for your heresy. Why is that? I think it’s because there are a lot of very insecure people behind those oh-so-clever screennames. After a while it becomes learned behavior that if you deviate, others start to hate.

Geekdom is fickle and driven by hype. They are like the fair weather sports fans who only get on the bandwagon if the team’s heading to the Super Bowl or World Series. They like to be part of the cheering crowd of fellow geeks. They want to be where the cool kids are. Right before the Special Editions came out, there seemed to be an awful lot of Star Wars fans. I can also remember a lot of the same people who camped out for two months prior to TPM opening and went to see it several times over the summer quickly vamoosed once the backlash was underway. Why? Again, insecurity. On to the next hyped feature! These people often change their minds on what they consider cool or acceptable. They have lots of passion but they also have the attention span of that dog in “Up.” While looking at the Geek Mom blog on its Star Wars week, someone posted that Star Wars was as dated and kitschy as an Elvis impersonator. Yeah, those people are loyal!

Heroes die hard and almost never regain respect. When you’re on top in Geek World, you could be making Zeus clean your toilet on Mt. Olympus. Many geeks are not religious but geek heroes are as close as they will ever get to worshipping a god. But boy oh boy, displease your audience and you’ll fall further than Lucifer ever did. They take disappointment very personally and will never, ever forgive you for it.

Star Wars needs to establish itself independent of geek culture, a modern mythology accessible to everyone. If geek nation happens to like it, fine. If not, oh well. Disney has a large number of diehard fans and collectors, but they’re not necessarily part of geek culture. “The Wizard of Oz” continues to have a following after 73 years without the approval of Gizmodo, i09, and AICN. I don't have a plan on how to make it happen except to say instead of focusing on geeks, focus on everybody else.
lazypadawan: (Default)
A few more thoughts here on l’affaire Clone Wars.

Some of you guys out there can’t understand why it upset me and other fans even after posting a long explanation.

The bantha in the living room is that Star Wars fandom is hostile to you if you are a prequel fan. You know it. I know it. That’s why we all had to huddle like it’s the first century in the catacombs at a Celebration V panel. Going out in broad daylight as a fan—especially one over the age of 10—of the prequel films is hard in a way that it never is for other Star Wars fans.

Simon Pegg embodies that hostility. A Certain Point Of View may be right in that his frequent prequel bashing is bluster, slagging for the sake of slagging and getting some geek cred at the same time. But it doesn’t matter if it’s for show or for real or somewhere in between. What he’s said speaks for itself. For the record, I’m not upset with him for doing the show. I am upset with the people behind the show and with Lucasfilm (note: there is no evidence George Lucas had anything to do with the casting). They know exactly what they’ve got with this guy and they didn’t care.

After thinking about it for another day, I’ve come to a few conclusions. As noted before, Lucasfilm’s official policy is to “not take sides” when it comes to fan controversies, especially when it comes to the prequels because as far as it’s concerned, The Brand is making money regardless. But you know what…refusing to take a side is taking a side. This on top of the rather limp promotion of TPM 3D tells me that all of these years, I’ve never been wrong. There is most certainly a bias.

But isn’t Dave Filoni one of us, you ask? Yes, but as a friend noted, there seemed to be at least in the first couple of seasons numerous attempts to push forth references to Eps IV-VI on the show. If it wasn’t on the show itself, it was in the DVD/Blu-Ray commentary. There seemed to be a bit of desperation to get prequel haters to watch Clone Wars by promising them the Star Wars they love. Could it be this is yet another attempt to court the OT-only crowd? Possibly. But if this is meant to bring peace to the galaxy and get us all to have one collective hug (“we all love Star Wars!!#!!1!”), they’re doing it wrong. It’s bad enough I had to endure Pegg’s presence in MI:3 or Star Trek. Bringing the #1 Basher onboard for Star Wars by people who claim they love all of the movies is just nauseating.

I also suspect that Pegg is privately a very persistent brown-noser. Just a hunch.

To remind you, Lucasfilm has never tried to court US. When was the last time anyone asked any of us, “What can we do to make fandom better for you? What can we do to make you happy? Or feel like a valued part of the team?” Never.

If you don’t care, I can’t make you care. Go ahead and watch tomorrow’s episode. I’m skipping it. Whatever the reasons, well-intentioned or not, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe once I would have been too anxious to be all happy and stuff about Star Wars to let it bother me, but not anymore. I’m sick of being a good little fan who shuts up and just hands them my money without complaint. From here on out, my motto is, “Pfft, get Simon Pegg to do it.”
lazypadawan: (papageorge)
The NYT published an attention-grabbing interview with GL a couple of days ago, focusing mostly on “Red Tails” but also mentioning that this is Lucas’s last “mainstream” movie and he is “retiring” to focus on smaller and obscure fare.

Now if you’ve read most of Lucas’s interviews over the past 10 years or so, he’s been saying something along these lines for a long time. It’s nothing new. The climb over the hill has taken longer than expected, whether it’s the arduous process of getting “Red Tails” financed and released or getting Clone Wars off the ground. I think there are still things about the GFFA he loves and still wants to tell stories from that universe. I doubt he will ever be completely separated from it and I think ultimately, those charged to play in the sandbox will always need his input because he created that world. He still wants to do an Indy V, but that is iffy. There's the live action Star Wars show, even if that seems iffy as well. Maybe he'll get around to making his "Eraserhead," maybe he won't.

What grabbed the headlines though is the alleged reason why Lucas is backing away from the kind of movies that made him wealthy and famous. You guessed it, it was Darth Fanboy:

“’Why would I make any more,” Lucas says of the “Star Wars” movies, “when everybody yells at you all the time and says what a terrible person you are?’”

Why indeed? Now if you’ve read most of Lucas’s interviews over the past several years or so, he’s been saying up and down, left and right there will be no more Star Wars films. It’s nothing new. But this IS the first time he’s openly admitted that Darth Fanboy has gotten to him. I don’t blame him. Like the NYT article says, instead of the studios telling Lucas how to make a movie, it’s the Star Wars version of Annie Wilkes telling him how to make a movie. Instead of chaining him to a bed and crippling him, the hateboys (credit A Certain Point Of View for that one) instead swarm onto the internet like French Revolutionary mobs and fill every comment section, message board, and social media site with heaps of hatred and scorn. They freak out if he makes any changes to the first set of movies but they feel free to come up with their own edits and pat each other on the back for them. As I posted on the Star Wars Facebook page—talk about a hive of scum and villainy—not even a proctologist has seen this many a-holes in one place.

The reactions are what you’d expect. One site derided Lucas for being petulant, never mind the several years’ worth of petulance from overgrown boys (and a few girls) who think they’re owed something and want to ruin fandom for everyone else. Maybe Lucas shouldn’t have put it the way he did, because it just tells the hateboys, “Okay man, you win. I’m done.” In fact, many of them are doing a St. Vitus Dance of victory, thrilled they’ve chased Lucas from the kingdom and now somebody else to their liking can run it and of course, let them put in their wise two cents. (Please let me know if Christopher Nolan or Peter Jackson have ever made a movie via inbox suggestions.) Somebody who will make Episodes 7, 8, and 9, a trilogy of geeky awesomeness that will totally negate everything from ROTJ through Clone Wars. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Except that’s not going to happen either. Lucas isn’t making any more Star Wars films and neither will anyone else. If he’s smart he will tell his kids at least 3 times a week do NOT let anyone get their hairy paws on Star Wars for as long as the movies are still covered by copyright.

Come to think of it, George, don't retire. I'd make Eps 7-9 those wacky little movies of your dreams, a galactic "Un chien andalou." Bwahahahaha...

Update: In the meantime, here's an interview with Rick McCallum:

http://collider.com/rick-mccallum-red-tails-star-wars-tv-series-interview/138426/
lazypadawan: (Default)
Dear World,

I hang my head in shame and embarrassment at the antics of the following "Star Wars Fans."

First we have a German guy dressed as Yoda busted for DUI and hitting a pedestrian (no serious injuries) on the way back from a Halloween party:

http://www.upi.com/Odd_News/2011/11/01/German-Yoda-charged-with-drunk-driving/UPI-45501320134400/

Next, we have a man in England just convicted for murdering his wife after she allegedly trashed his Star Wars collectibles during an argument. I know how I'd feel if somebody destroyed my collection but I don't think I'd go to death row for it either:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/8865509/Wife-strangled-after-smashing-up-husbands-Star-Wars-toys.html

Dude, you should have just ponied up for that plane ticket to Thailand.

Finally, we have this hipster nudist crackpot in Portland, OR (where else?) whose idea of great art is to butcher a horse, cover herself up in blood, and crawl inside the carcass in a series of photos. I won't link to the full story because the pictures are NSFW or the sensitive. I'll just quote the relevant part of the article found on Seattle Weekly.com:

"The reason for climbing inside the animal was later explained to deputies as Lottin's desire to "be one with the animal."

That and her love of Star Wars.

From the police report:

Lottin said in the movie Star Wars the character Han Solo cut open and animal with his light saber and placed Luke Skywalker inside the animal. This was due to Luke freezing to death in cold weather. Lottin said there was nothing religious about what she did and didn't intend to offend anyone."

0.0

The other day I read that the FBI has now classified Insane Clown Posse's fans, called "Juggalos," as a gang. Given the amount of crime and bizarre behavior attributed to Star Wars fans, are we far behind? Would that make me an OG?
lazypadawan: (headdesk)
This is a big week. Clone Wars Season Three is out today on Blu-Ray/DVD. Darth Vader gets some love from the Scream Awards. The TPM 3D trailer debuts on Friday.

You’d think there would be happiness and mirth in the air. But there is no happiness and mirth among Star Wars fans who seem to look for every opportunity to expose themselves as the biggest jerks in the universe. On the official Star Wars Facebook page, there was a post reminding people to watch the Scream Awards tonight and while it got over 2500 likes, it also got lots of “Lucas is the biggest villain…for ruining Star Wars” and “I think some obscure character from some obscure anime is a better villain than Vader” and “I think (EU/video game character) shoulda won” type of comments.

Where’s your pride? ARE fans proud of Star Wars anymore? Or are we all supposed to be cynical little bastards who complain that “Lucas is giving himself an award” and it’s all just about the money.

Spoiled brats. I remember a time when there was no weekly show on t.v., no Celebrations, no Disney Star Wars Weekends, no toys in the stores, no books, no comics, no video games, and no guarantees we’d ever see more movies. It felt like I was literally the last Star Wars fan on Earth. But all of the punks who clog up the message boards and social media just take it for granted and worse yet, feel like somebody owes them personally. So pardon my utter contempt for most of the losers passing themselves off as a “Star Wars fan” these days. On Judgment Day, Star Wars fans better hope I don’t get called as a character witness.
lazypadawan: (madaotcani)
Going to Celebration VI? Booked a room yet?

If you haven't, then I'll break the news for you. If you try to book through the Celebration VI site, you'll find there are different "statuses" for attendees: Fan, Exhibitor, 501st, Mandalorian Mercs, Dark Empire. All of those categories but the Fan category have their own special code to enter to get priority in booking a room. That's right, Plebeian...you get hosed out of prime locations for the con if you're not part of the fandom elite. Not surprisingly, some hotels are totally unavailable and it's little over a year before the con.

I can understand reserving space for guest stars or even vendors who have to roll into town to sell stuff. An organization like the 501st has every right to block rooms for its members just like say the American Vacuum Cleaners Association would if it were holding a convention.

But fan organizations shouldn't get priority over other attendees when booking through the convention's own site. Why are a bunch of costumers more important than anyone else? The friends rooming with me have been active in fandom for 30 years, long before anyone thought of making his own stormtrooper armor. Where's our freakin' priority?
lazypadawan: (demons)
Let's be honest here: Star Wars Fandom, Inc. is one cesspool of misanthropy. At least it is in many quarters, especially on the internet. All it takes is anything new at all in the universe of films or even on Clone Wars and the whole thing just blows up into seething rage, hate, and fury. It doesn't help that many bloggers and pro entertainment/pop culture sites, publications, and t.v. shows fan those flames of discontent. For something that's supposedly a huge pop culture icon/phenomenon that makes soooo much money, it doesn't seem like very many people who invest so much of their lives into it actually like it. If you came from another planet and what you know about Star Wars comes only from the internet, you could be forgiven for thinking Star Wars is widely despised and George Lucas must be worse than Adolf Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Charles Manson, and John Wayne Gacy combined.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw real joy and happiness in Star Wars fandom? *Shrug.* Maybe kinda sorta at the last Celebration?

You can't lay all of this on George Lucas either for making what are really just very minor changes over the years, which have happened almost constantly since 1977. After all, the first version of ANH I saw wasn't called "A New Hope," it was just plain "Star Wars." No, this has always harbored a lot of very reactionary fans. That crowd has only grown larger and louder over time. You see, I've been involved in Star Wars fandom for almost 20 years. My first fannish contact was with the fan fiction/zine crowd. This was years before rumors even surfaced about the Special Editions. Yet I still encountered people who found fault with everything and with Lucas. I never mentioned this before, but the first time I sat down to watch the existing trilogy with some of these folks, I was shocked that some of them were nitpicking all of the films. Didn’t like this person’s delivery. Oh look at that mistake. I never liked this scene. Yadda, yadda, yadda. In all of the years I’d watched the first Star Wars trilogy--in the theater, at home by my lonesome, with family, with friends, etc.—I had never watched the movies with a jaundiced eye like that. I watched them to enjoy them, to get re-immersed in that world, to find little things that made me rethink the story, and so forth. There was a time or two when I’d watched the movies with people who didn’t quite get them and with one wise guy who wasn’t really into that sort of thing, but these were fans. Before there were message boards, there were zine lettercols and there were some headdesk worthy rants in those. I vaguely recall complaints about Lucas’s refusal to “share power,” a whole lot of dumping on the new novels and comics back when I still liked them for no other reason than they were something new, and looking down on fans viewed as too pro-Lucas. There was one zine in particular that was so abrasively anti-Lucas, I dropped it. And this was one small slice of fandom prior to 1995!

When I first got wind of possible changes to the first trilogy during the summer of 1994, my first reaction was, “No, that’s not going to happen.” Changing anything about the existing Star Wars movies was to my much younger self was almost sacrilegious. As I put it at the time, it was like putting a bikini on Goya’s “La Maja Desnuda” (go look it up). It didn’t make any sense…until it made sense. I realized the Special Editions were in many ways a needed dress rehearsal prior to tackling new movies, and that included working with digital effects. If it made Star Wars fresher to younger audiences used to “Jurassic Park” or “Independence Day,” fine by me. In fact, while the fanboys griped about Greedo shooting first, what went unnoticed were the legions of new fans the movies attracted and the opportunity finally given to fans who had only seen the films on t.v. to enjoy them on the big screen. One of the additional benefits of the Special Editions is that the restoration process saved the negatives from total disintegration, which would have made future re-releases difficult if not impossible.

When I first got wind of younger, hot Anakin getting put in as a blue ghostie in the ROTJ DVD, my first reaction was, “Why?” Then I figured out why…it helped tie the movie in better with Eps II-III, which I think was the real problem the complainers had with the tweak because they don’t like Hayden and it ticked them off he was interfering in “their” movie.

To me the little tweaks are part of what keeps Star Wars fresh and alive, not a museum piece. It’s fun to find the little surprises. I think it’s great Lucas is trying to finesse it and have the two trilogies be as cohesive as possible to make an amazing whole. You may not think they are necessary, you may not think they are executed as well as they could have been. The Blu-Ray has tweaked the Greedo/Han shootout further and I think it’s the best execution to date based on a “leaked” clip (you know I have never cared about the whole shooting bit). But the constant meltdowns over fairly small things is perplexing to me, and far more disappointing than any “change” Lucas could ever devise. They're hugely embarrassing to me because it does not reflect well upon anyone who claims to be a fan. Seriously, it doesn’t despite the egging on from i09 or Gizmodo or whatever. When people who clearly aren’t Star Wars fans are referring to the angry bird fanboys as “Star Warstards” and “Star Wars f@gs,” you know folks are really getting sick of this crap. I’m sure the mentally disabled and gays are greatly insulted by the comparison. And well they should be if the best fans can do is to flame Katie Lucas’s or Bonnie Burton’s (!!) Twitter accounts, as though it’s all their fault.

“But, don’t I have a right as a fan to be upset?!” some of you might ask.

I can’t crawl into your head and tell you what you can and cannot find meaningful, even if I don’t understand why you find it that meaningful. But I have to wonder why anyone who says he or she loves the saga is willing to toss it all aside because of a single liiiittle thing. Don’t buy the Blu-Rays if you don’t want them but I think you’re cheating yourself out of the many POSITIVE things about the Blu-Rays in the bargain. (I will also say the same for those who wholesale reject the prequels or Clone Wars.)

Moreover, try to see it from Lucas’s perspective. It has to be hugely frustrating to have this vision in your head of how everything is supposed to look and what’s supposed to happen, only to find limitations put on that vision by cold hard reality: money, available technology, the collaborative nature of film and all of the egos that go with it, time, etc.. The Star Wars that lives in Lucas’s noggin is probably frustratingly just out of reach but with each new innovation, the reach gets shorter, and I think that is especially true with Eps IV-VI. So whenever he gets a chance to go back to it, he can make that Krayt call closer to the way he wanted it to sound or put in more creatures or something. He can make the connections between his first set of movies and his second that much more readable to the audience. While I’m sure most if not all filmmakers would love to go back and finesse their earlier movies, not everybody can and not every film has enough interest to warrant the effort. And we’re talking about something a little different here than a Woody Allen comedy and something bigger in scale than one-shot blockbusters.

Here’s the only thing I care about: I want people watching Star Wars long after I’ve bought the moisture farm. A century from now. 500 years from now. Only God will determine when Lucas has tweaked enough and perhaps he will, in blue ghostie form, continue to announce changes to whomever’s in charge.

Do read what Randy Martinez and Tom Hodges have to say about the topic:

http://artistrandymartinez.tumblr.com/

http://www.tomhodges.com/2011/09/01/haters-will-hate-always/#.Tl_zH67zZgk.twitter
lazypadawan: (devil)
When I heard through the magic of Twitter about these further changes to the Blu-Ray versions of the Star Wars movies, I knew what was coming.

Spoilers For Those Who Haven't Heard )
lazypadawan: (Default)
Not to turn my LJ into a gender studies class but a thought came to me about the difference between how dudes relate to fandom and how it affects an entire fandom, even if there are a lot of women involved in the same fandom.

Some years ago, I was talking to a co-worker who was a Red Sox fan. There's only one kind of Red Sox fan...absolutely obsessed! He said he hated discussing baseball online because all people do on those message boards and chat rooms are bash and complain. That got my attention because by that time, it was what you ran into on a daily basis anywhere Star Wars was discussed. I recalled this conversation recently as I pondered why Star Wars is the way it is, especially online, while other fandoms seem to be full of people who just want to express their love for (fill-in-the-blank) in creative, open-hearted ways. Could it be that male fans treat fandoms the way they treat sports, with trash-talking, obsessing with stats, second-guessing the owners/coaches at every turn, and so forth, even if they aren't really into sports themselves? I think there might be something to it. Female fans might get into these kinds of controversies and they can certainly be rather critical themselves. (The downside to female dominated fandoms is the tendency for shipper wars or Team X vs. Team Y camps.) But chick fans are expressive, cranking out fan fics, fan art, crafts, and other fun stuff.

I noticed Star Trek fandom has on the one hand, the sort of guys who discuss ship specs, whether it's possible if this or that can really happen, and nitpicky details while on the other hand there's mostly female fans who can create fan art, fics, and publish zines.

Of course there are female fans who stick their noses in technical guides and men who write fan fic. Yes I've seen the guys who built AT-AT tree houses and swimming pools shaped like the Millennium Falcon. But you can't tell me that Star Wars fandom is just like being a fan of romance novels.
lazypadawan: (bashers)
First of all, go to this new blog:

http://acertainpointofview.net/

If you like what I'm selling here, you'll love what this guy/gal has to say about Star Wars. The post "Collateral Damage" sorta ties in with my Twitter ketchup explosion yesterday and an observation I made on TFN's message board recently about how other blockbuster tentpoles are covered by the press.

I've mentioned it here before that the reason why there is inequity in how the SW movies are handled is that the powers-that-be in fandom really don't think there are enough people who are connected with the prequels, while it's a given to them that everybody has a deep emotional connection with the first set of movies. Eps IV-IV, especially the first two, are almost always treated with reverence and respect. The prequels? Not so much. This is why there's a cavalcade of articles, blog posts, and other bits of internet conventional wisdom that goes along the lines of "Why (Fill In The Blank) Is Better Than The Prequels."

I'd posted on a thread about blockbuster double standards that I noticed the near-universal gushing by the press over the last Harry Potter flick, with glowing reviews from the same critics/publications that were utterly merciless to the prequels. Even ROTS. Or, take the Twilight flicks. There's a big anti-Twilight meme on the internet yet the mainstream media covering the films takes care not to bash them. Entertainment Weekly gave every single Twilight film thus far at least a "B," good if not rave reviews. But the best EW could do with the prequels was a "C" for ROTS.

Now why would that be? It's because Harry Potter fans and Twi-hards would never buy another EW mag or any other publication again if it trashed their beloved fandom. And the editors/publishers know it. The mainstream media took a different tack with the prequels because they believed they were doing so with God and Star Wars fans on their side. The fans were angry. They were hurt. They were disappointed. And by golly, that out-of-touch fat cat Lucas is going to pay for foisting his trash on those poor people who believed in him so much. Too many people fed into that and they still keep feeding into it. Even people who liked the prequels kept buying those mags because they were "collectible." Way to send a message, peeps.

"Collateral Damage" makes the point that all of this stuff doesn't hurt Lucas so much but it hurts the fans. To take that point further, it goes beyond hurt feelings and being annoyed. If you really, really, really love all of the saga, you're the gum on the bottom of fandom's shoe: taken for granted and not given an inch of respect.
lazypadawan: (headdesk)
In a recent interview to promote "Captain America," Star Wars alumni-turned-film director Joe Johnston mused how cool it would be if he could make a movie about Boba Fett. Didn't he already make a movie like that called "The Rocketeer?"

Fanboys everywhere went into geek mania, salivating at the prospect of a 3-hour film of nothing but Fett killing people and looking cool while doing so. Even more preposterously, they forgot all about Joe Johnston--who actually did work on the first set of Star Wars films--and started salivating over the idea of Christopher Nolan making the film. Oh brother.

Let's not parse words on what this is all about. It's not the joy of seeing more Star Wars in any way shape or form, though maybe for some fans it is. It's the prospect of someone not named "George Lucas" making Star Wars cool again in their eyes. That's it.

It's not as though Lucas hasn't bent over backwards to please Fett fans in the wake of his growing popularity. He let the EU revive Fett from the dead and appear in scores of books and comics. He went out of his way to create a backstory for Fett in AOTC, tying him to the stormtroopers. Fett has popped up on Clone Wars and if this live action show ever gets made, he's going to be in that too. What more do they want?

Anyway, if "Captain America" stinks, everyone will forget all about this and move on to whatever else.
lazypadawan: (facepalm)
Today I get around to the latest mini tempest, a C&D issued to a bar in Brooklyn that had planned to run a Star Wars marathon over 4th of July weekend. The hipsters running the joint proceeded to whine about it to everyone who would listen and it's of course followed by the usual blind fury and rage directed at that cold, evil George Lucas. The media always portrays this sort of thing as the "little guy" getting beat down by the "evil faceless corporation."

Well, Darth Media and Darth Fanboy, U.S. copyright law covers exhibition and performance rights. You can invite your friends and family over to your house to watch your shiny new Blu-Rays in September. You cannot take them to some public establishment like a bar or restaurant and show them to the patrons. The bar owner thought he could get around any issues by not charging cover, but he was using the movies to draw people into the bar to buy drinks. Duh! You wouldn't believe by the way how many businesses get nailed for playing music over the PA without paying ASCAP licensing fees. There was even a case where a band that sued a bar somewhere because it hosted a cover band that hadn't paid ASCAP licensing fees.

"But it's just a bar!" they whine. Well, if you let a few guys squat on your land, pretty soon you're going to have a whole squatter village all over the place. Moreover, Lucasfilm asserted in its C&D that it had suspended exhibition of the films. Why is that? Because they have Blu-Rays and movie tickets to sell!

Lucasfilm owns Star Wars. It can tell me to take down my fan fic. It can tell me to deep six my icons. It probably won't because I'm not a financial drain on the company. But it can do what it likes. If you don't like it, go lobby your Congress critter to repeal our copyright law. While you're at it, lobby the European Union to do the same. We actually changed our copyright laws to comply better with European protection for authors.
lazypadawan: (luke rescue)
Be sure to keep some aspirin and alcohol handy to navigate the controversy du jour concerning the expanded universe, or more specifically the post-ROTJ books. You can read about it from a level-headed person here explaining the whole brouhaha with a blog post suggesting Luke bite the dust and the Forcecast referring to the blogger as a "kook" as well as a debate on the issue on show:

http://womprat99.livejournal.com/11706.html

Here's what I think:

1. I agree the books rarely got Luke right and the post-ROTJ continuity has rather implausibly put our older heroes through the paces of a 35-year-old. Perhaps this has sapped the opportunity to develop a new generation of SW universe heroes because everyone knows/believes readers are mostly interested in the movie heroes. But I also think tossing Luke down the stairs isn't necessarily the answer, and it would further inflame and tear up the book-reading fan base. I recall how fans reacted to Chewbacca's demise-by-moon more than a decade ago, with the author receiving death threats. A number of my friends stopped reading the books at that point. Would anyone want that shiz on a bigger scale? What's wrong with letting the characters gently fade into the background and leaving their trips to Valhalla to mystery and fan fiction?

2. Even so, said blog author shouldn't be referred to as a "kook." The Forcecast guy who tried to suggest that this person is out to get Mark Hamill is way out of line, even if he was kidding.

3. Why didn't the Forcecast promote Prequel Appreciation Day? I'm too small potatoes? Feh!
lazypadawan: (Default)
Okay, so I wasn't jumping around throwing confetti after yesterday's Blu-Ray update. Maybe it would have been smarter to wow people with the quality of picture and sound they're going to get with this edition, as in, "This is going to ROCK on your HDTV! Go buy a Blu-Ray player now! They're on sale at Best Buy! Hurry, hurry, hurry!"

But even I got quickly sick of the peanut gallery whining and I wasn't even going out of my way to find it. I don't like the cover art. I won't buy it unless it's the original 1977 theatrical cut. I don't want to see Greedo shoot first. Wah wah wah. At this point, I'd make a version of ANH where I CGI in Dave Filoni, then have him shoot both Greedo and Han. That's how annoyed I am with the whole thing. There's nothing Lucasfilm can possibly do to make these people happy. Nothing. Honestly, I don't get why they bother to get up in the morning.

Buy the Blu-Rays, or don't. It's just that easy.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Paul McDonald’s essay talks about the seriousness with which some kinds of fans approach their jihad against all they see wrong with the universe. I’ve noted before how nerd rage comes from the belief that they were deeply, personally-wronged by (fill-in-the-blank). Again, it’s not new or unique to SW fandom. But it is incomprehensible to most of us how these guys behave as though somebody burned down their house, stole their money, murdered their parents, and carried off their hot supermodel girlfriends at the same time and blood must be shed if not literally, then metaphorically on the internet in revenge. However, the blood debt is never repaid with these people. They can’t stop. They live for what they do.

I was going to post in reply to McDonald but Blogger ID doesn’t like me very much. So I’ll say it here. Something like SW ultimately attracts obsessed-types who do take their beliefs about SW or continuity ultra-seriously. Ergo you have fans going ballistic over little stuff, like the fate of an obscure Jedi or the addition of a silly character, and they hold on to it for years and years. I used to joke that they should make t-shirts that say, “Remember When Star Wars Was Fun?”

SW stopped being fun for them and they proceed to make it no fun for everyone else, which drives me up the wall. It’s like trying to have high tea while monkeys are flinging their poo around the room; it makes it a little hard to enjoy yourself. I’ve cut myself off from a lot of sites and other fans but going totally incommunicado isn’t easy either. Sometimes the poo lands on you no matter how far you try to put yourself from the monkeys, sometimes you’re inexplicably drawn to the tea room even though you know what will inevitably happen.

Take what happened to me the other day on Facebook. I’ve blocked the 501st from my feed but since several of my “friends” commented or liked the entry, it ended up on my feed anyway. They very nicely wished honorary member Hayden Christensen a happy b-day (he turned the big 3-0 on 4/19) and most of the people who commented were posting birthday wishes. But there’s always a few douchebags who feel that it’s a golden opportunity to bash Hayden and I called them on their behavior. It bugs the snot out of me that there are people who are that obnoxious and it bugged the snot out of me that the 501st didn’t have the decency to erase those posts. Hey, if someone had posted smack about Albin Johnson, the group’s founder, you can best believe those posts would be gone. But prequel people are permissible targets, so I’m not really sure why the 501st bothered in the first place. (Note to the rest of the SW cast…stay away, far away.)

Then yesterday I find on a retail site called Superherostuff.com a banner 10x worse than the one I saw on ThinkGeek recently. Read about it here: http://starwarsprequelappreciationsociety.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/another-e-tailer-bashes-the-prequels/. I mean, it hurts to read stuff like that. Why did this retailer think it HAD to do that in order to appeal to the folks who want to buy SW stuff?

I admit I’ve always taken affronts to the saga a little personally and maybe I shouldn’t. But I can’t help it. I’m a Leo. I’m loyal to a fault and SW was “there” for me at a crappy time of my life. I know what it’s like to be bullied and I can’t stand bullies when I see them. And the older you get, the lower your tolerance for b.s. becomes. Mine is way below the floor and sinking fast.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Paul McDonald’s two recent essays on his Star Wars Heresies site inspired me to address a couple of things that really aren’t about the expanded universe controversy but some things tangential to it. This is going to address an issue that came up in the comments of the first essay; it’s actually something I’d wanted to address for a while. I’m going to address the whole taking fandom as serious business thing tomorrow or Thursday.

Fans who are unabashed fans of the movies, who love Clone Wars, and who admire/respect George Lucas just aren’t regarded very well, at least not on the internet and even in a lot of in-person fannish circles. We’re the ones who are dismissed as nut cases, yes-men, even fanatics who just blindly love everything that comes out of the Bay Area dream factory.

But nothing, and I mean nothing, matches the fanboy fanaticism attached to Red Letter Media’s videos or the fan-written “The Secret History of Star Wars.” A decade ago, the same kind of people were breathlessly promoting the vast superiority and awesomeness of “The Phantom Edit,” somebody’s bootleg attempt to improve TPM by simply whacking out the stuff the raging nerds didn’t like, leaving a movie that didn’t make any sense. Nobody really cares about it now. The herd has moved on to more “evidence” and “proof” that they are justified in their hate for Papa George.

They will invade any forum to push their point, confident that if only you or I would take hours out of our lives we will never get back to examine the proof and listen to the evidence, we too would join them in their zombie march against everything that raped their childhoods. Resistance is futile! And if you aren’t persuaded, look out. They will troll your comments section, hack into people’s accounts and post in their names in an attempt to mock or humiliate the original poster, and even issue threats to kill or molest the children of people they disagree with. The absolute worst in this regard are the RLM fanboys. Appalling is too nice of a word to describe some of their actions. But I guess one should expect that from people who look to a faux serial killer character as their new god.

Almost as bad are the people who have taken “The Secret History of Star Wars” as their new holy bible. I’m pretty sure same guy who posted in McDonald’s comment section also out of nowhere posted on a friend’s Facebook page and proceeded to troll away until my friend got annoyed enough to delete all of his comments. At least he was more respectful with McDonald, unless he was the one who posted those asinine comments under McDonald’s name. The unofficial book is a compendium of various interviews over the years but as McDonald pointed out in his second essay, it’s not so much there as an historical record of how SW developed over the years as it is meant to condemn Lucas as a sham, a con man, and a no-good liar. Wow, good thing there isn’t 34 years’ worth of statements I’ve made or else somebody may notice that I forget things, contradict myself, change over the years, or shoot from the hip. I mean really, who cares if Lucas intended to make 12 films or not? It doesn’t matter. My reaction to these “startling revelations” is a resounding, “So what?”

Hate The Creator (see, I made up my own trope) isn’t a new phenomenon and it’s not exclusive to SW but it takes on a bizarre zealotry with regards to Lucas. Why? I think it’s because of his success and because he has been at the creative helm of his universe for almost 3.5 decades. He has ruled his Mt. Olympus for too long and it’s time for somebody to knock him off his pedestal. It truly bothers them that there are still people out there who think he is a creative genius. They want desperately to tear down one myth around Lucas and in its place construct another one that makes him out to be a combination of Uwe Boll, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Josef Stalin. The really crazy part is these guys will also swear that it’s only because they love what Lucas did so much with the Original Two, they have to do what they do in order to “save” SW.

They’re really like that villain from “The Incredibles,” who goes from overeager/annoying fanboy to an evil jerk who is trying to be greater than those whose natural abilities he once admired. You see, deep down these fanboys want to control SW. They wish they could be Lucas. But they’re not. They’re a collection of dweebs, misfits, and cynics who can never hope to come up with anything half as awesome as SW or become billionaires. Think about it. They would much rather spend their time searching the internet for opportunities to spew forth their diarrhea than to improve themselves, do something for charity, spend time with family/friends, travel, or read a great literary classic. Or take a shower.
lazypadawan: (bashers)
Earlier, I checked out e-tailer ThinkGeek and ran a search for "Star Wars" and noticed at the top of the page a graphic that said, "Han's equation: Ep 4-6 > Ep I-III."

I've never bought anything from ThinkGeek and I won't be buying anything from them any time soon. But I will be sending them a lovely complaint e-mail.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Yesterday I was enjoying a slow day at work--not a whole lot happens between Christmas and New Year's--and saw a link via Twitter to some article on i09 called "My Year Without Star Wars."

As policy, I refuse to link to anything on Gawker media. Go look it up if you're dying to read it. The author, who used to be a producer on "Lost," decided to go cold turkey on Star Wars and comes to various conclusions. The bad news, he starts at the top by talking about how he doesn't like the PT. Gee I'm shocked. He has a lot of problems with SW's ubiquity and Lucas's tinkering with the movies. But he does acknowledge that SW is Lucas's to do with what he wilt and he doesn't really owe anyone anything. Then you get the usual comments.

Me go cold turkey on Star Wars? Not too likely, especially so long as Clone Wars is on t.v., though I wish the kind of people who comment on i09 and other professional nerd sites would go cold turkey from Star Wars forever.

But I have to admit, I don't watch the movies obsessively. Honest. I might watch each one a couple of times a year. There are times when I go through long breaks without seeing any of them.

Then I started to wonder if perhaps that's germane as to why I've pretty much accepted what's come my way without much trouble. Star Wars endlessly fascinates me on many levels and in different ways but I don't think I geek out over it the same way a lot of other fans do. I'm not saying that makes me smarter or more open-minded than other fans. I have a close friend who is totally disinterested in any of the symbolism or mythical archetypes in the saga. She just thinks it's great entertainment and leaves it at that. And it's fine to approach the movies that way. People will take different things away from them and that's part of what makes Star Wars wonderful.

I have as much of a deep attachment--there goes that word again--to the GFFA as any one of any other "hardcore" Star Wars fans out there, but I think the reasons for it and the nature of it are pretty different. On the surface, you'll see just another gal with a lot of t-shirts, a whole mess of collectibles, and piles of fan fiction to show for it. But you know, I don't fetishize Star Wars. I've never put George Lucas on a pedestal somewhere between the Seraphim and the Holy Trinity. I don't think I "own" Star Wars or that they owe me the Star Wars I want. I'm not particularly hung up on the Star Wars of my childhood. Sure, it's nice to remember a time when it seemed so simple and pure, but that's because your whole life was relatively simple and pure. You approached the movies differently. You didn't nitpick every frame, raging and cringing over every infraction on the internet. To me, if it touches your heart, you don't need to complain over how somebody delivered his lines.

Now I do worry about how the myth is being preserved. But the movies themselves? They all made me happy.
lazypadawan: (Default)
I spotted this chart on Twitter, which I guess originated at Cracked.com, on why Hollywood doesn't give geeks what they want:

http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/comment/8/2010/12/dc24e25a3cf3c2fea1e4253861c5b694/original.jpg

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