DING DONG, THE BITCH IS DEAD
And yet, those of us who sat through the first two prequels – with their midichlorians and virgin births and Jar Jar – in anticipation of the final battle between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, can’t help but feel a little relieved that the hype is finally about to come to an end. Even the promise of more animated and/or live-action TV shows won’t stoke the fires of fanboy speculation the way these last three movies have. Those of us who spend an unhealthy amount of time following the doings of Hollywood won’t have to deal with any more leaked teaser posters or hastily snapped behind-the-scenes photos or annoying false casting rumors (anyone remember when N’Sync was supposed to be in “Attack of the Clones?” Or when Lucas was supposed to be in “Revenge of the…” wait, that one actually happened). The pre-release speculation surrounding the “Star Wars” movies has always made the hype related to other films look like schoolyard innuendo by comparison, and I can’t think of many people (outside of those sad bastards who make their livings off such thing) that won’t be relieved.
The prequels gave all of us who grew up with the Original Trilogy the chance to revisit our childhoods, and for the most part, it was a pretty harsh reunion. Gone were the dirty spaceports, refreshingly bizarre creature creations, and stark battles of good vs. evil, replaced by too-sterile CGI backgrounds, fart jokes, and ham-handed political intrigue (and the next time Lucas tells someone “Episode I” was supposed to be a “kids’ movie,” ask him how many kids found an intergalactic trade dispute to be a compelling storyline). Many of us who saw the prequels, whether out of generational inertia or because it’s our job, breathed a sigh of relief at the end of “Revenge.” That annoying little kid grew from a whiny adolescent into a sullen young adult and finally took his lava bath and became Dave Prowse. Everything has come full circle, and now we’re all free to plan our marathon DVD viewing parties.
Big budget genre pictures are in no danger of dying out. Comic book movies, for better or worse, are more popular than ever, and Peter Jackson proved you don’t need to write all your scripts in longhand and take three years between films to put together a compelling epic trilogy (at the risk of reopening the “Star Wars’ vs. ‘LotR’” can of worms, the only one of the prequels that ranks with Jackson’s films is “Revenge of the Sith,” and the only one it beats is “The Two Towers”). Few things in life are certain, but you can be sure the world won’t come to an end on May 20, and there will be plenty of excellent sci-fi and fantasy movies to come in the years ahead.
And who knows? Maybe one of them will answer the question of why Yoda and Obi-Wan decided to “hide” Luke on his father’s home planet. And let him keep his last name.
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