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By Pete Vonder Haar | March 28, 2005


Think about how rarely you across someone who honestly hates “Star Wars.” I know, I know, every group has some crank who claims they were never impressed when they first saw it on the big screen. We’ll leave them in their rooms, clutching their DVD copies of “The Hidden Fortress” and muttering blackly to themselves. For many of the rest of us, most notably those under the age of 40, “Star Wars” sparked a lifelong interest in genre films and of movies in general. Even knowing what we do now about Lucas’ penchant for “borrowing” from other filmmakers and his reliance on talented people around him, we’re still hard pressed to find too much fault with the original, much less actively dislike it.

But this is, I believe, exactly what he wants. Maybe he’s tired of all the adulation heaped on the original trilogy (“Hey!” You can almost hear him scream, “I directed ‘American Graffiti’ too!”). Maybe he’s been getting death threats. Perhaps he even entered into some weird arrangement, a la “The Producers,” where he actually stands to make even more money the more negative reviews the prequels receive. I’m not sure of the rationale behind it, but taken in that light it makes a kind of twisted sense.

The man obviously doesn’t need any more money. His recent claims that he wants to make smaller, “quirky” films and the backpedaling he’s done after saying at one time he wanted to make nine movies only cements the idea that he’s sick of “Star Wars.” Granted, he could coast by until his dying day without making another film and his legacy would be complete. Besides, after seeing the impressive job Peter Jackson has done with his “Lord of the Rings” movies, I doubt Lucas would be missed. If six films are all that are really required to tell the story (and “Episode III” should’ve been subtitled “Ignoring the Continuity” to help it jibe with the other five chapters), why not have a little fun with them? For example, Anakin is not, as you assumed he was, the sympathetic character who succumbs to his inner demons, but rather an unsympathetic, easily manipulated little prick. What, you thought the Force was this mystical energy field binding the universe together? Wrong: turns out it’s a biological anomaly, no more remarkable than having webbed toes or possessing the ability to roll your tongue.

Maybe if this was actually Lucas’ agenda, I could relax some and enjoy the prequel train wreck a little more. It’d be like seeing Bill Hicks on his final tour, after he knew he was dying of cancer. If we could view the latest movies in the context of Lucas’ loathing of his own franchise, it’d add a whole new dimension. Of course, while I’d like to believe my little conspiracy theory, that sinking sensation comes over me again after carefully sitting through the 30 or so bearable minutes of “Episode II.” I’ll go to “Episode III” when it comes out (I get to see it free, after all), but the thought no longer fills me with anticipation like it did a scant five years ago. At most, I have a tiny glimmer of optimism awash in a sea of black dread. And that comes from the prospect of seeing a certain Gungan bite the dust.

To the doubters, I say this: “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” Would a man who truly loved his creation expose it to Bea Arthur?

Read the next installment in THE STAR WARS REPORT: LINE ‘EM UP>>>

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