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Heart of Dorkness: Star Wars Celebration IV, Day 1 Part 2

23 May 2007 by Chad No Comment

Star Wars Celebration IV

Day 1: The Saga Movie Marathon
So today I hauled my ass through the clean and un-congested freeways of the City of Angels, that are not at all terribly designed or life threatening to drive on, to get to the Los Angeles Convention Center this morning. Star Wars is having a birthday, and she’s celebrating alllllll weeeeekkkk llllooooonnnng.

The real festivities of Celebration IV do not start until tomorrow. Today, is a geek-endurance trial of epic scope. All six Star Wars films. In a row. In one sitting. With a few breaks.

There’s honestly not much to report from here. It was a very very very long day. I didn’t stay for all of it. The highlights go something like this: there was a war, in the stars, then apparently some evil dude did some bad stuff, then became president for a while, then some farm boy who may or may not be the president’s grandson came and fucked things up for him. He ended up falling down a well.

The end.

In order to re-create the experience in your very own home, get out your six Star Wars dvds (fan edits don’t count), sit in a less-than-comfortable folding chair, eat some hamburgers and hot dogs fresh from the heat lamp at QT, and watch ALL OF THEM IN A ROW. Also, if you want to go for the whole John Waters Smell-O-Vision thing, get yourself a few overweight lads to sit on either side of you and let their sweat glands complete the experience for you.

Oh, and being high on something is optional. Not encouraged, not required, but most definitely preferred. Chad tested and Mother approved.

Seriously. It was fun. But I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Especially since my worst enemy is General Maxamillion Veers. Bastard. One day I’ll get you. (throwing arms to the sky) VEEEEEEEEEEERRRRSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

If you got that joke, you feel my pain. If you don’t, you feel my wife’s.

Tomorrow will be more exciting. Fan Club Only Day. I’ll send a true report with pictures. But yeah, all I got today is a sore ass and a little bit of a twitch in my left eye. But that may have been there before. I couldn’t say.

* * * * * * * * * *

Thoughts and Reflections: Episode I: The Phantom Menace

First Seen by Me: Opening Midnight Show. Lawrenceville AMC 16 Theater. Lawrenceville, GA.

Known Aliases: The One that Sucked, The One With the Worst Title, The One With Jar-Jar Binks, The One Where Lucas Raped My Childhood, The One With the Fart Jokes

Best obscure character: Yaddle, the female Yoda.

Favorite Image: No surprise, my favorite image in TPM is the door coming up to reveal Darth Maul, along with the killer music cue. Say what you want about the flick, but Maul v. Kenobi/Jinn was fucking bad ass.

Favorite Line: “I will be watching your career with great interest.”

Biggest Sin: Too many to count.

The O’Williams Factor: “Duel of the Fates” is a great musical cue. It’s the type of music you want when watching Jedi duke it out with Sith. I also loved that Anakin’s theme is a slow, sad, beautiful variation on the Imperial March. Listen closely.

* * * * * * * * * *

Before I go on with this, let me just say something. If you hate the prequels, I’m not going to change your mind. Nor am I going to attempt to. I understand. I get it. You should probably stop reading here and check back in on Saturday when I start weighing in on the “OT.”

I like the prequels. There. I said it. I’ll fight you here and now. Well. No. Not really. I’m a pussy. You want my lunch money? Here, take it. I don’t want any trouble, really, sir, please.

Wait. Where was I?

While I’m getting shit out of my system, I’ll say, yes, Episode I was a disappointment. Yes, Jar Jar sucks and Jake Lloyd sucks even more. Yes, it is, at its very core, a bad movie. I am and will always be the first to admit that. It is a bad movie.

The reason I was excited for the prequels to come out was that it combined two of my great loves: Star Wars and history. The thing I wanted to see was the history of the universe. I know some people think that stuff is dull and all, but I wanted to see the Rebel Alliance being formed. I wanted to know what political tools Palpatine used to become Emperor. From the moment I heard the phrase “clone wars” back when I was little, I wanted to know what that was. I wanted to see the Jedi in their glory days. I wanted to see the senate. I wanted to see Anakin Skywalker, great pilot, cunning warrior, and good friend, become Darth Vader.

And now I have. It’s been an interesting ride.

One thing that I think we have to keep in mind when discussing the prequels is that George Lucas didn’t direct a movie for 22 years before he directed Episode I. Not only was he rusty, but he was a different person. If any filmmaker is making the same movies at 55 that they are at 23, well, then they’re not progressing as an artist. Not that TPM is the way we wanted him to progress, I’m just sayin’. This was never going to be the film that we thought it should have been. The man that directed the original film does not exist anymore. And neither does the you that watched it.

The biggest flaws in the film come down to one thing: George thought his audience was mainly going to be children. To him, these are kids’ films. They’ve got magic swords and funny robots and little furry teddy bear creatures.

What he failed to realize, what he probably realizes now, what we all realize now, is that the audience for this film was much older. The audience for the film was made up of the people that grew up on the originals. The operative term there being “grew.” As in up. As in old. As in adults. Lucas was making this film with the audience in mind, but he was just so out of touch, he aimed at the wrong audience.

Did you know that there are children out there that prefer TPM over all other Star Wars films? It’s true. I know a couple. The ‘tweens that sat in front of my friends and I during Sith LOVED Ep I but hated Ep II. That’s what they saw first, and that’s what they like. When they grow up, they will understand that Empire is the altar unto which they should all be praying. But now, as kids, they like Jar-Jar and Podracing better than Lando and AT-ATs.

I will always prefer Lando to Jar-Jar Binks. Lando is a pimp. Jar Jar is a chickenhead. There’s no competition there.

But I have gotten to the point where I can enjoy TPM.

Almost really.

Quite possibly almost really…


Some of the things that really bugged me the first go-arounds don’t so much anymore. Anakin’s virgin birth? Now I love it, because Sith pretty much established that Anakin was created by a Sith Lord using the dark side. It makes Anakin, “The Chosen One” born of evil and destined for evil. That scene no longer bugs me. Now I kinda dig it as a great moment in Star Wars history.

Midichlorians don’t bug me anymore, mainly because I got used to the idea. But also because people made way too big of a deal about it. The Force has always been an inherited thing. It has ALWAYS been in the blood. It is still a mystical thing. It is not a democratic super-ether that anyone can tap into. Some are born with more of a connection to it than others. It goes from Skywalker to Skywalker to eventually Solo through their BLOOD. Get over it.

Little Annie saying “yippee” hurts me to my soul. Jar-Jar makes my heart weep blood. Rubber Stupid Looking Yoda makes my sack wither and die. There is no fixing of that. Nothing in Eps II-III fixed those things for me, and those were the moments when George lost a whole bunch of people. And I feel their pain. That night in 1999 did end up being a major disappointment in my life.

When I focus on the cool stuff in TPM, though, there is some cool stuff. Darth Maul is cool. Double bladed Sith saber? Still makes me smile. Maul v. Kenobi is second only to Ali v. Foreman. I loved seeing the Senate. Ewan MacGregor as Obi-Wan, which is the best casting ever. And the great Ian McDiarmond, coming back to play the villain and doing a great job of taking us through his rise to power. The Podrace. The Jedi Temple. Jedi at the height of their power: one men wrecking crews for Peace. Best of all, I loved seeing the luxurious skylines of Coruscant. Been waiting a long time for that stuff. Droidekas? Fuckin’ A. Liam Neeson as Obi-wan’s master? Nobody does Bearded Mentor Warrior Who Dies better. It also has both Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley in it, so its babe quotient has got to be much higher than any of the other films.

My final thoughts on TPM? It’s not good, but I like it. Like candy corn, Dawson’s Creek, or Nancy Pelosi. Not everything I want them to be, I had higher hopes, but I like them all the same. I like it for the place it holds in the history of the saga. There are important events in it, but I admit that they are marred by all the general crappiness flowing steadily around them.

My feelings about The Phantom Menace are mixed, needless to say. Then why did I just fucking say it? I’m a hack, I guess. Whatever. My feelings are very mixed about the film. But not nearly as mixed as they are for the film that followed it.

* * * * * * * * * *

Tomorrow, my report from the Hyperspace Fan Club Members only day at Celebration IV. Only the geekiest geeks from all of geekdom shall be admitted.

My only fear is that, upon entering, I will be forced to hand over my virginity at the door.

Plus, I sally forth into the trenches of the Battle of Geonosis. Pack your lightsaber and your Super Battle Droids and maybe a little dried gimer stick. It’s going to be a bumpy night.

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