Somehow I feel almost unAmerican regarding how unExcited I am about the upcoming Star Wars movies. Unlike my wife, I’m a fan of science fiction movies and novels, but I’ve never felt an undying kinship with the Star Wars universe. I find the movies terribly cliched, filled with cringe-worthy dialogue, acting, and ridiculous plots where everything hinges on coincidence.
Oh wait, Ras Al Guhl with longer hair and a hobbit’s wardrobe shares with us in Phantom Menace that “there are no coincidences, everything happens for a reason.”
(Remember what I said about cliches?!? Oh, and they even bring “The Chosen One” plot-line into the movie as well … ughhh.)
So the prevailing “theory” of Star Wars fanboys, and the one they always fall back on, is encapsulated in this one idea:
That the thousands of coincidences are in actuality caused by “The Force,” that mystic-guiding-spiritual-entity-type-thing that causes all things to work out for the good of the Star Wars Universe.
Sounds nice, right? Especially for the lazy writers who didn’t have to come up with anything brilliant because they could always fall back on the old “The Force made me do it” argument. But if there’s one thing you learn as an author or screenwriter, it’s that the only thing you CANNOT use when constructing a novel or screenplay or, let’s face it, even a crossword puzzle, is COINCIDENCE. It will destroy the credibility of your work faster than R2D2 can be called MacGyver. Because it doesn’t ring true.
Life is full of coincidences, but in our entertainment, in our novels or movies, we want to see that things happen for a reason. A complex puzzle that makes sense in the end because the links were always there, we just didn’t know how to put them together. Since life rarely provides such a neat wrap up, it’s imperative that our entertainment provide that, creating the illusion that life can make sense and that things really do happen for a reason.
Here’s my own personal theory about Star Wars:
I believe the IDEA of Star Wars, the prevailing concept of WHAT IT COULD HAVE BEEN is what everyone gravitates towards. Because that concept really is brilliant. And it’s a story I could get behind.
Now I’m not boycotting the new movies, or anything foolish like that. I’ve even started watching them with my children in anticipation of the new release and, hoping foolishly that I would realize I was mistaken all this time and find the greatness I’ve been missing all these years (still waiting on that, by the way, and yes, my children have even been bored). But I do refuse to buy into the hype. (Though that hype sure is making Disney some buckaroos, even way before the movie’s even released … a billion dollars in merchandise predating a movie isn’t a bad start).
I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether I’m a commie unAmerican Force-atheist or whether, deep down in your heart of hearts, you actually agree with me. Are you more in love with the concept and nostalgia of Star Wars or am I truly missing the boat here?