Attack of the Star Wars Rants

George Lucas has announced the title for Star Wars: Episode 2. It’s "Attack of the Clones". No, really, it is. Yes, that is a extremely crappy title that sounds like a 1930’s Flash Gordon movie. Considering that Episode I was a soulless movie with crudely drawn characters and none of the charm that made the first three movies bearable, my expectations for Episode II could not be lower. (Not that I ever gave a pair of fetid dingo’s kidneys for Star Wars in the first place, but bear with me here…) The first movie was enjoyable because it was a straight rip-off of Joseph Cambell’s mythological hero archetype, a kind of post-modern Beowulf for the space age. Empire Strikes Back was more of the same, and attempted to put some depth in the trilogy. Return of the Jedi had those damn cutesy Ewoks, which should have been a warning to the world that George Lucas shouldn’t be allowed within 100 meters of a screenplay.

Episode I was, well… crap. It was good-looking crap, true. It was exquisitely computer-generated crap full of plastic, soulless images that never really resonated. Jake Lloyd, who played the young Darth Vader, offered not even a hint of the characterization that followed as was merely another annoying child actor. The story offered no sense of real movement, the actions of the protagonists were meaningless by the end, and don’t even get me started on that damn Jar-Jar… the only decent thing about the movie came in the trailers and the "Duel of the Fates" score.

George Lucas should take a look at Farscape for inspiration as to what Star Wars could have been. Farscape always treads on the razors-edge of self-parody, but has the emotional and thematic resonance that Star Wars lacks. The puppets on Farscape are more three-dimensional than the usually great Liam Neeson in Episode I. Will I end up seeing Episode II?… probably. Will it be a decent movie?… possibly. Will it be a good work of science fiction?… my guess is no. Considering that movies like Star Wars get all the press while other, more deserving works are lucky to break even, it’s no wonder that the genre of SF has been stereotyped as nothing more than plastic space opera.