This essay is from Chris Early
Published on May 11, 2002
Why We Love Star Wars
(and Why it Doesn't Matter if Critics Don't)
Admit it: you've been peeking. That's right, you've been reading spoilers and reviews, and if you are as naughty as I am, you've even read the book. While surfing through cyberspace to scrutinize every little tidbit on Attack of the Clones available, you probably, at least recently, came across a few reviews.
Guess what? Most that I have seen are positive, unlike the scathing, gut-wrenching reviews of Phantom Menace that were plastered everywhere a few years back. Remember those? Yikes! Though Clones seems to be enjoying at least a little more critical success, there are a few reviews that are, well... mean.
Mean? Is that a very mature way to put it? Do I sound like some kid on the playground that just got his feelings hurt over kickball? Probably, but if your heart pumps for Star Wars the way mine does, I think you get the idea. Call me foolish, call me immature (titles that I am often proud of), but there is something about hearing a negative review for Star Wars that stings a little, kind of like the feeling you used to get in school when you heard someone say something bad about a friend.
I found myself pumping my fist in triumph the other day when Clones reviews started to pour in, for in the beginning of the review frenzy, it seemed that most all were positive. Then others came that weren't so glowing, and I found the wind being sucked right out of my proverbial Star Wars sails.
Admit it: you did too.
You can't help it. It ticks you off to no end to hear something you love so much get bashed. Yet, even in my anger, I forced myself to read the bad reviews. What I found is that most reviewers left a convenient little gripe list about a multitude of things, such as the pacing, the romance, and so on and so forth. Surprisingly enough, I found myself very excited about these so-called "complaints."
What's interesting to note is that most of the things that reviewers are complaining about are things that I LOVED from the original trilogy. So what if the romance is a little sappy? The romance between Han and Leia wasn't? Come on, this is Star Wars! It's purely fun science fiction! Even the brightest of reviewers wouldn't go into this film expecting a deeply emotional, moving, tear-jerking romance, would they?
I myself wouldn't. As a matter of fact, I would be downright disappointed. That would distract too much from what Star Wars is really about: Good vs. Evil. And what about the critics that are complaining about the exposition. Listen, guys, if you're like me, you read that little preface in your original Star Wars novel over and over and over again that talked about what happened during the fall of the Republic. Exposition? Bring it on, baby! I've waited years and years and years to know how this all goes down. Clones could be a two-hour Palpatine political rally and the true fans out there would dig it. We want the story, and Mr. Lucas is giving it to us. What's even funnier is the fact that virtually all reviewers are saying this is the best since Empire. I regard The Empire Strikes Back as not only the greatest Star Wars film of all time, but in fact the greatest science fiction film of all time. So, Mr. Reviewer, you are saying that this is a bad film, but the best since Empire? Well, I love Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, so in your negative review you are telling me this is better than two movies I already hold dear? Sounds great! I'll get in line now! If negative reviews are meant to keep me out of the theater, these guys have failed miserably. Their gripe list sounds like my want list!
I felt compelled to write this because I know there are other fans out there like me who get down when people bash the movies that we have come to embrace. In a nutshell, though, just listen to these reviewers. Even the negative reviews are saying things that I want to hear. I know that sounds strange, but it sounds to me like Mr. Lucas is giving his target audience, which has never included critics (and hopefully never will), exactly what they want.
Don't get down. Stay pumped. Remember, these movies are for kids and people who were kids during the original trilogy. I myself plan to stay a kid forever, so Mr. Lucas, if you are listening, I'll be waiting for Episodes 7, 8 and 9. Keep up the good work, and I'll see you May 16th! May the Force be with you.