Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Random thoughts and George
Current Mood : Pensive
Well….(sigh) Last night, we went back to the dark side and resubscribed to Netflix. You’d think with rent-included unlimited wireless DSL and 30-some cable channels, over 200 DVDs and a Wii, not to mention the gentle changing of the seasons, we’d be well-stocked entertainment-wise, but I was kinda outvoted. If it makes my guys happy, it’s fine – it’s not like I don’t have other options. Like sewing, and photography, and reading, and…
Still…I didn’t sew today. Instead, I watched The People vs. George Lucas, a documentary on Netflix. I may not need more media, but I’m not gonna be a hypocrite over it now that it’s here. Anyway. I missed half of it preparing lunch and laundry, but what I saw, I hope to see a couple more times, now that I know it’s worth my complete attention.
It really got me thinking – and you know me, I hate thinking very much ! – and it hasn’t let go of me yet. Yes, I was a huge, stinkin’ Lucasfilm fangirl back in the day, and one of the greatest days of my life was a college road trip to Disney, and its Star Tours attraction. I figured I’d be wearing various Star Wars-themed t-shirts until it was time for me to be cremated in one…until a certain midnight movie premiere in May 1999. We didn’t know it then, but Dearest Son was already with us. Not like we were gonna bring Dearest up as a Jedi or anything, but if he wanted lightsabres, by the Force, he would have them ! Guess it says a lot that I didn’t rush right out the next day and buy a Padme doll. Nope. I called around TRUs (see, that’s not new, MH-only behavior !) for the Portrait Edition Ceremonial Gown Princess Leia. I was already ‘This is Leia’s mother ?!?’ during Phantom Menace, an opinion that only got worse as the series progressed. I felt what most fans did over the next six years – a bit betrayed, a bit hopeful, a lot concerned about Unca George, some resignation, and a whole lot of “WTF ???!!1!!! ?? I wasted my imagination on this ? ”.
Today’s film made a poignant observation. ‘You can tell who’s a really big Star Wars fan, he’s the one talking about how much he hates Star Wars !’ – it’s plain truth. I heard that ‘there’s no greater hate than that which used to be love’ as a kid, and had no idea what it meant. If you loved something, or someone, you’d always love them, right ? I haven’t spoken to my parents since 2002, but part of me will love them regardless, and sometimes knowing that hurts. I didn’t know that I already had experience dealing with it, in a much smaller, limited format, thanks to the SW prequels. And with Disney, too, but no one’s made a documentary about love/hate and Walt.
What really got me is this : What does the creator owe to his/her creation ? What does he/she owe the fans ? And do the fans owe him/her something else ? I’m quite sure Garret Sanders, the designer/creator of Monster High is pleased that, like quite a few others of all ages, I enjoy his dolls and environments, and buy what appeals most to me. I’m sure he’d prefer that I buy the nice clothes and playsets hanging on pegs across America – if I can find them - instead of making my own. But I’m sure he and Mattel know that I buy what I can when I can, and I appreciate what they’ve done…but that doesn’t give them carte blanche to allow total crap to join the marketplace with their trademarks on it, nor does it muzzle me to not say anything if/when they do. Just as Mattel has a responsibility to release toys as safe as current tech allows, I have a responsibility to enjoy them without hurting anyone else with them (Rule #34, anyone ? Not on my blog and websites !). I can write a thinly veiled critique of the MH books as a fanfic (which I have) and post it, but since kids are in on this, too, I don’t need to write happy adult times stories with those same characters and post ‘em where the younglings can find them.
I don’t think Mr. Sanders needs to think of me specifically when he’s envisioning a new doll, just ‘cause I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time, effort, energy and money on what really is *my* hobby. Just as I won’t think he’d sit down to create a ‘Dorrie Grey’ doll so hideous, so evil of character, none of the other characters will interact with her, because he doesn’t like that dress I sewed yesterday. When it’s all said and done, whether it’s toys or tickets, it’s all an exchange, and no one involved should take it personally.
I think a lot of us did take Jar Jar Binks, midichlorians, and Luke and Leia as unwitting twins personally. Not to mention the reworked ‘special editions’ that removed most of the charm in our 1977 memories and attempted to replace it with CGI womp-rats. Yeah, it’s annoying to learn that, after playing Jedi for 20+ years, you’d never become one because it’s not in your DNA, but I don’t have the genetics to make a concert pianist, either. It’s simply not in who I am, and it’s no tragedy. I have my cutie mark in several other things that aren’t fiction-based. Plus, I read fanfiction – anybody wanna talk with me about sloppy storytelling ? I’ve read stuff that makes Lucas dialog sound like Shakespeare in the park in spring with scones.
Simple fact is, the story Unca George gave us in the prequels isn’t what we were expecting or wanted. Arguably, it wasn’t as good as the Trilogy either. Ranks, but aside from doin’ your own fanstuff, there’s not much ya can do about it. Frankly, if I had all his pressure to deal with, I’d be sorry I ever thought up SW in the first place, ‘cause it made me a slave to consumer expectation and my own success. If you’re a filmmaker, you wanna make films. Not deal with six toy company licensing and liability contracts. I haven’t really seen him make a personal film that actually meant something to him – like American Graffiti – since Star Wars, which is kind of a shame. Who knew what else was in him before SW steamrollered his life ?
All that said, I still think the Star Wars in the American Film Institute should be the original 1977 edition. With all its bobbles and mistakes and…um, interesting choices in special effects. It was that imperfection, those frayed edges which made it real to us, and that’s what opened our imaginations and let us live there when times were tough here. Not womp-rats and more space junk.