Don’t count me in for more ‘Star Wars’ — the Force isn’t with me

BY BILL HORNER III, Publisher
Posted 1/10/20

Google “Star Wars” and you’ll get 1.67 billion hits, which is about 1.4 billion more than when you type in “The Beatles” but some 390 million less than when you type in “Jesus,” of whom …

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Don’t count me in for more ‘Star Wars’ — the Force isn’t with me

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Google “Star Wars” and you’ll get 1.67 billion hits, which is about 1.4 billion more than when you type in “The Beatles” but some 390 million less than when you type in “Jesus,” of whom John Lennon once famously said his band was “more popular.”

I’ll let you be the judge.

Online search results aren’t necessarily the best measurement of popularity or interest in a thing, but with a new Star Wars movie showing on at least one screen in most theaters around the globe, you surely know about it. And as such, you’ve either seen “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” (it’s approaching $1 billion in box office revenue) or, like me, you plan not to.

You might be just as happy watching a rerun of an episode of another space fantasy like “The Jetsons,” or at least reading (Google it; it’s fascinating) about the “14 Times The Jetsons Predicted The Future,” an it’s-so-absurd-it’ll-never-happen list which includes flat-screen TVs, dog treadmills, smartwatches, space tourism and, ahem, digital newspapers, all of which showed up in George and Jane Jetson’s futuristic world. Even as a kids’ cartoon, “The Jetsons” — which debuted on primetime television in 1962, before I was born — had better dialogue than most of the Star Wars films I’ve seen.

So now you know you can’t count me among the legion of Star Wars fans. The movie franchise is owned by Disney, which bought it for something like $4 billion from creator George Lucas, whose best film, in my opinion, was “American Graffiti” — another movie, ironically enough, set a long, long time ago (also 1962) in a galaxy far, far away (California).

This latest Star Wars installment is billed as “The Rise of Skywalker,” but the original title, I think — and I say “I think” because I don’t know for sure and, frankly, wasn’t inspired to look up the details — included the words “Episode IX” in it. Disney must have ditched that either because people no longer know Roman numerals or because they know whatever they put out will sell. They could just start calling the franchise “$tar War$” and I don’t think many people would protest.

Having said all that, I must admit that I saw, and really enjoyed, the first Star Wars movie — which, if you’ll remember, came out way back in 1977. But I got lost somewhere in the storylines of “Return of the Jedi,” the third film released. Then the prequel trilogy came out starting in 1999, and “Star Wars” became Episode IV and “Return of the Jedi” became Episode VI, just to add to my confusion.

I fell asleep during the last two Star Wars films I saw. Don’t ask me their titles. I just remember that Harrison Ford died in one of them. I also remember walking out of one or both with one or both of my grown sons and asking them, “What just happened?”

So what happens in “The Rise of Skywalker”? If you’re curious about the Cliff Notes version, here’s the official summary I found somewhere: The surviving Resistance faces the First Order once more in the final chapter of the Skywalker saga.

That’s pretty much all I needed to know.

I was also particularly drawn to one line our own Neil Morris wrote about the movie in his review for the News + Record: “Huh?”

Neil nailed in. Another review of the new film I read talked a little bit about the plot, then said: “What unspools after that is a series of quests and fake-outs leading up to one epic battle, just like every Star Wars movie that came before.”

All of which sums up one of the main reasons I’m not a fan. For me, the movies are indistinguishable from one another. I know there’s layered complexity in there somewhere, but it’s hard for me to hear it above the sounds of phasers being fired. (Wait, phasers are from Star Trek?)

And there’s just so much not to like. At this point in time, the Star Wars cinematic universe includes a trilogy of trilogies, two so-called “anthology films,” multiple other movies on the way and a host of other TV and related projects. Out of curiosity, I checked out George Lucas’ page on IMDB (the International Movie DataBase website) and counted (quickly, I might add) exactly 101 projects among his credits that were or seemed to be Star Wars-related.

And…we’ve not even started talking about baby Yoda — which, we learned recently, isn’t even really baby Yoda.

It was Yoda, in fact, who once said: “Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi craves not these things.” (By the way, he said that in “The Empire Strikes Back,” which was the second movie, but is actually Episode V.)

Just don’t tell that to the rest of the Star Wars universe.

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