Feb 072012
 
Authors: Matt Miller

In many ways George Lucas is just like Anakin Skywalker. A promising young filmmaker who, despite his talents, was seduced by the dark side and is now bent to use his movies to suck every dollar out of those who used to trust him.

And for that reason, I will not be in a packed movie theater on Feb. 10 giving him any more of my money to watch “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” in 3D.

As of September of 2011, Lucas’s net worth is $3.2 billion, according to Forbes, and all six “Star Wars” movies have grossed $4,502,013,228 at the box office in the U.S.

Should he get any more out of us after going to the dark side?

In 1977, on a budget of $11 million (about $100 million less than “Revenge of the Sith”), Lucas released “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” The movie was a masterpiece of the kind moviegoers had never seen before. The special effects were groundbreaking, the story was simple yet gripping and the characters were familiar, fantastical and lovable. The image of the Death Star, the rasp of Darth Vader and the epic battle of good verses evil will forever be etched into our collective cultural consciousness.

The next two sequels in the series kept that momentum going. Through twists and turns, we followed Luke Skywalker in his journey against the dark side, and by the end of it we were all a little bit changed, as Skywalker was.

For the next few decades, the movies lost none of their influence on audiences, the science fiction genre and filmmaking as a whole. I still remember my first time watching “Star Wars” about 20 years after its release, and even to a kid familiar with the wonders of modern movies, the film was the most unbelievable thing I had ever seen.

I grew up, like generations before me, on “Star Wars.” And like all other fans I wasn’t ready for what was in store for the franchise just before the 21st century.

In 1999, I left the theater purely glowing about “Episode I.” And this is fitting because at nine years old, I also loved the Pokemon movies and the live-action Mortal Kombat movie.

But as I got older, I watched the film again and started to understand why countless fans had been outraged by what Lucas had done to one of the most beloved series ever made.

The characters were dull, the plot made utterly no sense, the action was mindless and the acting was just painful. Computer generated special effects had taken over, and the end product was nearly bad enough to ruin the classic “Star Wars” movies.

So, how did this happen?

Lucas knew he had a product that would sell regardless of what a steaming pile of crap it was. He knew that as long as that crap was put in a package of flashy special effects, we would still fork out the money to drool over it.

And he was right. The “Star Wars” prequels made $1,375,195,003 at the box office from all of us –– including myself –– who were hoping, just hoping, that they would live up to their predecessors.

The robbery didn’t stop there either. Lucas knew we would buy the DVDs of the same movies we already owned with awful CGI scenes sloppily spliced into the original product. He knew we would buy these individually and then again in boxed-sets. He knew we would buy the action figures, the t-shirts, the plastic lightsabers and the video games again.

And now he knows that we will pay $12 ($3 more than the first time) to watch some aliens sit around talking about trade disputes and taxation in 3D.

I say it’s time we stop. We stop biting at the spoiled meat that Lucas dangles over our rabid heads, and we hold on to our money and our dignity.

It’s as if nothing is sacred to Lucas as long as there is a buck to be made. Even our childhood memories can be warped and the things we love can be used to suck every dollar out of us.

He ruined Indiana Jones with the fourth movie that shall not be named; he ruined “Star Wars” with the worthless prequels, and now we are getting those prequels shoved down our throats once again.

If any of you want to hold on to your hard earned cash and preserve your memory of the masterpiece that “Star Wars” once was, then this isn’t the movie you’re looking for.

Matt Miller is a senior journalism major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. He can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Official_MattM.

 Posted by at 3:31 pm

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