Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hype and Expectations

I’m probably about to be disowned by every geek I know, but I have to say it…

I thought the Star Wars Prequels were kinda good.

Ok, Episode I had the whole Jar-Jar thing, but you gotta give George Lucas a little bit of credit. Episode IV came out in the seventies, and it was such a phenomenal hit that you could guarantee that pretty much everyone aged 25 or over was going to see this movie.

Jar-Jar was just a failed attempt to pull in the kiddies, ok? You gotta appeal to the Shrek generation with a non R-Rated movie for it to do well at the box office.

Then, Episodes II and III. Well, they got a load of flak over Hayden Christensen. Sure, he came across more whiney and spoiled than evil, and pretty much phoned in his performance in Episode III…but then again, this guy had to play Darth-freaking-Vader. Who can measure up to that?

I’m just gonna say two words. Leonardo DiCaprio. Christensen suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does he?

Then, of course, you have to understand that the scripts weren’t pre-written. Lucas basically had to squeeze a lot of what was then vague back-story into three movies. I’ve always felt the movies would have been a lot better if the story had been spread over 4 movies instead of three. Anakin turned to the dark side far too quickly and easily. There’s really a whole movie’s worth of material that was just shoehorned in. Anakin growing up, showing his bond with Obi-wan and Palpatine’s slow and deliberate manipulation…instead of:

Anakin: “Hey! I’m a good guy, I just saved a bunch of people.”

Palpatine : “But I know the Dark Side and can save your missus from this vague premonition of danger you’re having.”

Anakin : “Well, despite the fact everyone’s told me the future is really hard to read and can never be known for certain, and despite the fact that you’ve openly admitted to being evil, which everything I’ve been taught my entire life means you’re lying anyway… I’ll go kill a bunch of kids with my Lightsaber to save Padme! Woot! Vader me up, beehotches!”

Really, we needed a movie between Episodes II and III. One where General Grievous was introduced and his character fleshed out, More exposition of the Jedi getting more suspicious of Palpatine. Palpatine subtly manipulating and encouraging Anakin over to the dark side and more of Anakin actually growing up and bonding with Obi-Wan. We also needed another actor for Anakin between Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen…we saw him as a kid and as an adult…what about a cock teenager undergoing his Jedi training and getting more and more frustrated and angry?

Basically, Lucas had painted himself into a corner through dialogue in the original trilogy and by calling the first movie Episode IV. When you consider what he was up against, you can forgive the odd plot hole and ‘artistic license’

(Seriously, we know Yoda was supposed to have trained Obi-Wan, but imagine replacing him in the movie with Yoda…who was still a puppet at that time.)

Anyway, this is a very round about way to make a point.

My point is that the prequels where, in the grand scheme of things, good movies. They weren’t great, and can’t hold a candle to the original trilogy…but they were no where near as bad as everyone said they where.

Seriously, how the hell do you follow Star Wars? It was a movie that was groundbreaking in pretty much every way, and was released at exactly the right time.

So here’s my point. Hype kills movies.

The Matrix was one of the best movies ever made. Reloaded and Revolutions had no chance of matching up. Despite the fact they were good (not great, good), people still said they were terrible.

Take Spiderman 3 for example. I’ve read two types of reviews for this movie. It was either the best thing ever, or it sucked.

However, and as you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say by now, Spiderman 3 is a victim of its own hype.

Spider-man 1, at least for me, was one of, if not the best Superhero movie made. They stayed true enough to the comic book to keep hardcore fans happy, but weren’t afraid to mix some things up (Organic webs instead of webshooters being one…and as Stan Lee said in an interview “If I knew about genetics when I first wrote Spiderman, that’s the way I’d have gone. I wish I’d thought of it”).

Then, they did the unthinkable, and created a sequel that actually improved upon the original.

So with Spider-man 3, we have a movie that everyone gets so hyped up about, anything but a ‘perfect’ movie is going to be a let down.

So I’m going to end with a piece of advice that I heard recently, which I think is a really good idea.

When you want to go see a movie, before going, read every negative review you possibly can. This lowers your expectations enough to where the movie is going to be a good experience, even if it doesn’t live up to the hype.

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