This is galling. Before I expound upon the many reasons why, let me backtrack a bit. I love George Lucas, and I despise him. Despite the onslaught of crap he’s imposed upon me this past decade, I can not deny what a profound effect the original 3 Star Wars movies had on me, and the way they shaped.. well part of everything I am today. Yes, they were that impactful and that meaningful. No, it didn’t mean I became a fanboy and went to conventions or camped out for tickets. And I have never picked up a Star Wars “novel” in my life. But the movies alone did allow me to delve in, heart and mind, into a universe I could get completely lost in. Then Lucas took a giant, steaming crap all over my childhood, with his abominable “prequels.” 3 movies so soul-shatteringly disappointing, I kind of, and I am not even fucking kidding here, swore off even going to see movies afterward. I have been to scant few since.
I wasn’t sure at first what I didn’t like about the prequels. All the basic elements seemed to be there. There were light saber duels, fighting, lasers, space battles, weird aliens, even the windshield wiper scene-fade deal Lucas brought from his nostalgia for the old action serials. But every time, and especially after the Phantom Menace, I left the theater feeling hollow, confused, and sadly.. bored. I am not going to go into much more detail of how and why the prequels sucked donkey shlong, because Red Letter Media has already done an amazing job of that. But I will say I thank them for being able to explain point by point all the failings of these films, which I could not at the time. I only knew there was really nothing memorable, and I had little to no desire to ever see them again. I guess my lack of being able to explain to my friends, who were deep in denial and actually claimed to like the prequels, was something akin to being a little kid and feeling patronized. At the age of 4 or 5, you can feel and experience a complex emotion like that, but you aren’t familiar with the term, let alone able to explain it. You’re just pissed off, and it just gets worse when your mom says “oh he just gets cranky when he’s tired.”
Anyway, in a child-like way, I was unable for a long time to explain why the prequels sucked. They just did. And if you are having a hard time coming to terms with the specifics of why they also left you bitterly disappointed (hint: it’s not JarJar. As annoying as he was he was the least of the problems), check out the brilliant Harry Plinkett’s synopsis by clicking the Red Letter link in the above paragraph. And if you are a prequel fanboy/girl…a) you suck.. and b) noooooo.. I did not “decide” to dislike the movies after seeing the Red Letter reviews. They were merely a conduit for pointing out all the technical reasons from a standpoint of filmology I couldn’t articulate. Now.. onto why George Lucas is an even bigger dick than he was last week..
2 years or so back, while visiting my sister and her husband in Florida, we all went to see Avatar. Despite what all the American critics sucking at the teet of James Cameron tell you, that movie also sucked. But it was, at least visually, amazing. It was also groundbreaking. Almost up there with the Wizard of Oz or the early animated Disney films in terms of innovation. It truly was a surreal visual spectacle the likes of which film-goers had never before experienced. Upon leaving the theater, my sis and I both agreed the movie sucked but looked pretty amazing. Literally the next words out of my mouth were “George Lucas has to be thinking how he can top this.” Well, he could have made an amazing new badass Star Wars flick.. Episode 7.. i.e. the empire reforms, Vader’s secret protege emerges, etc. It all could have been in 3D even more bad-ass than Avatar, and perhaps even Lucas learned from his horrific mistakes from Ep. 1-3 and made a movie whose quality was on par with the first 3 AND IN AMAZING FUCKING STATE OF THE ART 3D!! Or.. he could have just started with a brand new story.. something completely new and nothing to do with Star Wars. Maybe an Indiana Jones type flick, or another sci-fi one, or something. But no, that’s not what happened.
You see, going with any of the above suggestions would have required Lucas to do something he has clearly become reticent to do since the early 80s. That is getting off his fat ass and doing some work. We’ve all seen the outtakes and behind the scenes stuff from the original 3 SW. Lucas is thin, frail, looks worn the fuck out, but he’s directing. He’s on location braving sandstorms, he’s involved in every detail and aspect and pleading with his actors for more energy and intensity. For the prequels, his ass is in a comfy chair, sipping coffee, watching actors or stunt doubles fuck around in front of a green screen where he can observe all the “action” from 4 or 5 huge-ass monitors.
Again, I’m not going to go too heavily into this. Go check out the Red Letter stuff for details. But that difference right there should clue you in on some important things about Lucas, and why the prequels sucked so hard.
But here’s why Lucas is a dick. Yea, he’s trying top Cameron alright. He’s also trying to jump in to the new 3D craze. He’s also trying to make more money. I have no problem with any of that, except for the fact that he’s doing it by peddling out the same shitty movie that broke 100 million hearts in 2003 or whenever the fuck the Phantom Shithole came out. That’s right. George Lucas watched Avatar, thought to himself there’s no way he can allow Jim Cameron to have the biggest dick in the room, and decided to pay a bunch of assholes to turn his shittiest movie into 3D and re-release it. What a dick move. I know no other way to describe it.