Over/Under Rated: Star Wars

Image Credit: Nurina Iman Nizam

Odin O’Sullivan thinks Star Wars is over-rated and he’s right!!

Someone once said that the world would be a better place if the first Star Wars had bombed at the box office and instead of spawning a myriad of sequels, spin-offs, video games, and tie-ins, became a cult hit recognised for what it was; a sort of schlocky low budget film about space wizards. Instead Star Wars is treated like some sacred text handed down from on high to the prophet George Lucas to tell us all that it is okay to still base your personality around something you enjoyed in childhood. We have to watch grown adults get furious at a director for attempting to do something different with the series to the point that any interesting changes that are made get taken out again in the following movie, or watch vicious online pile-ons for an Asian actress daring to not conform exactly to what the fans think she should. It's insane, and deeply overrated.

There was a brief period after the prequels were released in which culture washed its hands of Star Wars except for in a nostalgic sense. I remember the prequels, I was a child and I thought they were great (if confusing) but in reality they are not very good films. Messy, confusing, laden with unexplained politics and terrible CGI, they are a mess (if an enjoyable re-watch for humour's sake). Now, there’s nothing wrong with that and I think they have their merits and are enjoyable to watch, but a certain amount of Star Wars fans insist that they are not only good films, but they are the world's greatest art, genius flowing from the third eye of daddy Lucas. The sequel trilogy had the same issues, a rabid fan base, now considerably older and with more disposable income (and apparently disposable time) the severely lackluster sequel trilogy, placed in the hands of the director I most associate with the colour beige, J.J. Abrahms, were unimaginative remakes of the original trilogy bar one, which the fans hated so much it got retconned in the next film!

This is part of a wider cultural issue of both stan culture and the neoliberal encroachment on our personal lives. That which you once held dear as hobbies, interests, tastes, and proclivities, becomes something which you construct your whole personality around. What you consume and how you consume it is now more important than why you like it, why you got into it in the first place, or just generally why it is worth watching. The fact that it is watched suddenly makes it worth watching. Any critique is met with “well it made a billion dollars at the box office so you’re wrong,” the fandom equivalent of “one day you’re gonna work for me!” It’s childish and boring, and I wish we could go back to 1978 and make sure no one saw it and let it be a schlokey sci-fi B-movie in peace.