The sets from a movie shot a long time ago in a desert far, far away are crumbling. The sun over North Africa is harsh. The climate and sand, unforgiving. And yet, surprisingly, some of the “buildings” have held up rather well.
Ironically, this set, a stand-in for the planet Tatooine, mirrors the Star Wars story and that of its creator George Lucas, the meteoric rise, imperial aspirations, and subsequent downfall. A mighty crash to the world of mere mortals.
Slowly and steadily, like the Roman Empire, Lucas and his empire have been reduced. First, it degraded into crass commercialism. Then, the art suffered. The majestic storytelling was no longer there. The master had lost his touch.
The final, sad chapter was selling out to a huge conglomerate. Disney now controls the destiny of the franchise and clearly intends to suck whatever money it can from what remains.
I abandoned the Star Wars universe, at least it’s numerous reincarnations, long ago. I still adore the original trilogy and the campy made-for-TV movies Caravan of Courage and The Battle for Endor. There’s even a certain something, something adorable and admirable, in the embarrassing holiday special.
The beginning of the end for me was the re-release of the films in 1997. I had never seen the original films in any theater. It was my big chance to experience Star Wars as it was intended: on a giant screen, projected in a dimly lit theater, complete with surround sound.
Sadly, Lucas had tinkered with the films, adding news scenes and messing with digital, thanks to help from computers. The result was terrible. The computer generated characters were often obvious to identify, a strange sheen emanating for them. I was disappointed. But in my mind I edited out what I didn’t like. I did my best to ignore the garbage.
The Clone Wars series had some great moments. Yet, it too was often overburdened by the excesses of Lucasfilm and the creator George Lucas. Sometimes the story lines went too far. Some of the scenes, particularly battles and fighting, and stories were lazy, relying too much on what’s come before. A shoestring budget and a man or group out to prove themselves are mighty things indeed.