Sunday December 22, 2019
Star Wars: The Much-Discovered Country
“The success of ‘Star Wars’ has obviated a lot of its original virtues. Much of the fun of watching the film for the first time, now forever inaccessible to us, was in the slow unveiling of its universe: Swords made of lasers! A Bigfoot who co-pilots a spaceship! A swing band of ‘50s U.F.O. aliens! Lucas refuses to explain anything, keeping the viewer as off-balance as a jet-lagged tourist in Benares or Times Square. We don’t see the film's hero until 17 minutes in; we‘re kept watching not by plot but by novelty, curiosity.
”Subsequent sequels, tie-in novels, interstitial TV shows, video games and fan fiction have lovingly ground this charm out of existence with exhaustive, literal-minded explication ...
“We literally can’t see ‘Star Wars’ anymore: Its control-freakish creator won't allow the original version of the film to be seen and has stubbornly maculated his own masterpiece, second-guessing correct editing decisions, restoring wisely deleted scenes and replacing his breakthrough special effects — historic artifacts in their own right — with ‘90s vintage C.G.I., already more dated than the film’s original effects.”
Tim Kreider, “We Can't See ‘Star Wars’ Anymore,” in The New York Times. The ninth movie in the series, and supposedly the last of the Skywalker stories, opened last week to the worst reviews the movies have received since “Phantom Menace.” In 1977, “Star Wars” was refreshing—particularly for a 14-year old who didn't know its movie-serial antecedents. Now it's just weighted, obvious and corporate.