I watched the entire Star Wars series in order of their making (4,5,6,1,2,3) and it struck me the original series was so much better for a few reasons, the most important of which, it was aimed at an older audience.
The ‘New’ Series:
The Phantom Menace was aimed at the ages 10-18, showing that random people in desert communities have amazing skills. It also showed that the only really good actor in that movie (Liam Neeson) died off way too early. One could say Anakin in the Podracer race was akin to Luke flying his X-Wing to destroy the death star. They are both inexperienced after all. But there is a slight difference - if Anakin loses, the Queen and her party are stranded. If Luke doesn’t destroy the Death Star, everybody dies. Finally, it showed that nomad communities have amazing technology to disable droids. It was about action and not decisions and morals. A few scenarios working hard, and for the rest of the time they are just bumming around talking.
The Attack of the Clones showed people you admired before and liked can be dated, even with a massive age gap. Also you can join an awesome force of saber dudes just for the sake of it. All evil people keep being evil, random names of people can be passed around and no one gives a damn (Jedi Master Sifo Dyas anyone?) No one is working. Kenobi is used too much to discover the plot. Oh and why did the Jedi go into the Arena on Geonosis without closing the gates to said Arena? It would have made defending Kenobi, Anakin and Padme much easier if there wasn’t huge doors open to the arena where Droids can arrive from. This is another example of The Jedi Council sitting on their lazy butts for most of the time and not thinking.
The Revenge of the Sith showed how an annoying character became awesome. That’s all I can really say of it. Yes awesome action scenes. Oh and Padme is useless through the entire film. And we saw Anakin kill all the younglings, but we knew that anyway. And the problem with the birth scenario is that we just moved from a teenage audience liking guns to appreciating the complexities of birth in two movies. Anakin is also the worst father imaginable. Finally people are doing things. But no one is working towards a conclusion. In fact, the only one working smart is the Chancellor.
However, the original series has so much going for it.
A New Hope. A teenage boy picks up droids, the only people he knew as family are killed, and he learns to be a Jedi not for the sake of it, but to avenge their death. He meets regular people along his journey, namely Han Solo, who against all odds destroy the first death star. They work hard.
The Empire Strikes Back. Luke learns more about being a Jedi by travelling far away on a desolate planet, and meets a funky green dude with a mysterious past. Han get frozen by trusting an old friend who betrayed him. Leia can’t decide who she likes which creates a reasonably love triangle. The Empires force is seen in full. They work hard.
Return of the Jedi. Luke gets more awesome. Leia realises she loves Han and finds out that Luke is her brother. The treacherous Lando becomes good again. The rebels crush the new death star with some help from everyone. Darth finally does something good for once. They work even harder.
Such a huge difference in plot lines.
The old series had an essence of reality to them. In the new series, you had no Han Solo – a regular guy by all means. The only non-force character in the new series who did anything of value was R2D2, and even then he wasn’t regular.
There was no betrayal of normal people, it was just politics. And for the underdogs beating the empire, remember, the Ewoks killed the AT-ATs in Return of the Jedi with sticks. The Gungans in the Phantom Menace killed some of the droids with goddamn energy balls and shields.
Michael Bay on his insistence on directing shitty movies said “I make movies for teenage boys. Kill me.” You know what teenage boys should get to know? Love, sacrifice, an imperfect life! Teach them morals, fighting for what’s right, being modest and doing things you aren’t sure are correct but you do them anyway.
So stop making these shitty movies. I would watch Empire Strikes Back again and again because it is a good film. I would watch Attack of the Clones only for the CGI.
So why do I write all this? Because if they are going to make a 7th film make it properly. Don’t make it for teenage boys. Make it for a wider demographic. Lose some of the CGI and put some story in there.
Have a compelling protagonist. Have a proper, realistic obstacle for him or her to overcome. Don’t tell the ending before the plot. Make it real – but with space weapons. Make it more like the Godfather.
Oh and if you want to show the midriff of a female actor as eye candy – don’t do it in such an obvious way like in The Attack of the Clones (A dog type creature scratching Padme’s back unfortunately removes part of the shirt between her breasts and her pants.). Do it in the weird, making-fetish type of way like in Return of the Jedi, where you spawned an entire lingerie section.
And get the audience to think people actually work during their tenure and face real problems.
Teenagers have a lot of movies for them. Make one for a bigger audience. Even the Dark Knight Rises, while a great film, had a teenage hint to it. It could have been a lot darker. The Dark Knight was much better. I sensed real evil there.
Because what’s better – making a dark film that people talk about for 10 years, or something that people talk about for 10 minutes after the film and forget when the heartburn from the popcorn sinks in.
What would you like to see in the new film?