KETK — 15 years ago in cinemas across the world “Star Wars Episode I – The Phantom Menace” opened fans up to a new world of disappointment.
The film gave us a world full of miscast, midichlorians and the early killing of the coolest film villains: Zabrak, SithLord and Darth Maul.
Now, in a world full of superhero movies and franchise remakes, one studio is jumping into hyperdrive to revive a franchise that lives in toy lines, kids cartoons and video games.
In 2012, Disney announced they would buy Lucas Film and acquire the rights to Stars Wars and Indiana Jones. Disney also promised to make Stars Wars Episode VII, VIII and IX, plus a spin off movie every year.
Though the news of Star Wars spin off films is interesting, the making of the third Star Wars trilogy came as a relief to some fans.
In the 70s and 80s, when the original trilogy, “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Return of the Jedi,” was released, it was said that there would be three trilogies.
The first was about the rise of the rebellion and fall of the empire; the second, a prequel, was about the fall of the Jedi council and rise of the emperor; the third, the sequel, will tell what our heroes faced in the wake of the destruction of the Sith Lord.
With years between trilogies and criticism of the prequel films, fans grew cynical about Star Wars ever returning to fulfill it’s three-trilogy promise.
Thankfully, 10 years after the last film, the third trilogy is finally coming to life, Disney announced.
The first question that popped into everyone’s mind was, “who could possibly helm a project as beloved as Star Wars?” The answer: J.J. Abrams.
The man behind the rebirth of “Star Trek,” is now taking on a new group of fan boys. Despite Abrams’ greatness, Episode VII has a large shadow to come out from under.
Abrams’ first hurdle is to make people forget the disappointment of the prequel films – a task that several YouTube videos and movie reviews have made hard but not impossible.
The prequel trilogy promised awe-inspiring spectacle with memorable moments but delivered a whole lot of talking, CGI and Jar Jar Binks.
The first three films were boring. Many have tried to discover what was missing from the story but the answer is found behind the camera.
When George Lucas made “A New Hope,” critics thought it would be a box-office disaster. However, Lucas became a pioneer in a new age of filmmaking and created an iconic movie in the 1970s
Fast forward to 1999, Lucas, now a household name, returned with “The Phantom Menace.” Unlike the 70s, Lucas had nothing to prove. He had the fan base, people’s interest and the hype. He went into the prequels with the “odds ever in his favor.” That made him overconfident.
A main criticism of the recent films was they were too CGI dependent. Unlike the first films, Lucas relied heavily on computers. This created a lazy work atmosphere.
He just put actors in front of a green screen, positioned three cameras and yelled, “ACTION!”
On top of that, the prequels were driven by politics. There’s nothing wrong with a political movie, but when your main characters talk politics in front of a green screen for most of the movie, there’s little to enjoy.
On top of the muddled dialogue, heavy CGI and green screen over-usage, Lucas introduced one of the coolest villains just to kill him off in the last moments of the first film.
Darth Maul and his double light saber battle between Obi-Won and Gui-Gon Gin was great, but Maul had much more menacing to do. The build up could have made for an even more explosive face-off in later films.
Moving forward to the present, critics have already questioned the choice to put Abrams in charge. Hoever, he seems to be returning to the films roots by using practical effects like animatronics, smoke and mirrors and bringing back the original cast.
Though both Lucas and Abrams are well respected directors, Abrams understands exactly what these new films mean.
He’s doing it with the fans at the front of his mind. And, unlike Lucas in 1999, Abrams understands exactly what’s at stake. Not necessarily their film making career and millions of dollars, but the future and hearts of fans across the globe.