Mourning the death of “Star Wars”
People who have known me for a long time tend to react with surprise when I tell them I’ve done something like going to Blockbuster to rent “Star Wars” on DVD so Helen can watch it.
“You don’t own all of those movies on DVD in three or four different versions?” they say.
This is a completely legitimate thing to ask, by the way. Like a lot of people my age, my memories of Star Wars go back almost as far as I have memories; I can’t really say there is a time in my life that I can really remember that didn’t involve Star Wars in some way.
So when asked about things like having to rent Star Wars on DVD because, no, I haven’t ever bought it, I explain how the state of the franchise has disillusioned me, and how those movies have become nothing more than an opportunity to turn the greatest pop-culture phenomenon in human history into Disney Princess-level merchandise whoring. I explain how, despite the existence of shelf after shelf of Star Wars toys in my basement, Star Wars computer games in boxes in my office, various iterations of Star Wars on VHS tape elsewhere throughout my house, and billions of sections of my brain permanently tattooed with images of Stormtroopers, stories about my parents taking us all to see Empire Strikes Back, standing in a huge line at the mall with my mom waiting for Dad to get off work and meet us for Return of the Jedi, being visited in line by a two-year-old Megan while I was waiting all day for my tickets to the midnight showing of “The Phantom Menace,” how excited Helen was when she helped me unbox and assemble my Big Millennium Falcon a couple of years ago… It started when I was five and, in many respects, has carried on to and through my kids.
But despite everything that’s great about those memories, and the thousands of other great memories that I have because of those movies, this current generation of “you will consume this garbage because it says Star Wars on it, and for literally no other reason” has just about killed it for me. It’s Chewbacca giving out a statue at the MTV Movie Awards; it’s that horrendous “Star Wars Weekends” advertisement that shows Darth Maul with a rainbow painted on his face; it’s being able to buy Darth Vader’s voice for your GPS; it’s that horrendous Clone Wars cartoon that mixes five minutes of “awesome” with 17 minutes of horrible dialogue and what feels like intentional efforts to insult and patronize anyone over the age of nine. It’s so “everywhere” that it’s hard to take pleasure in any of it.
Now, thanks to adidas, instead of taking any effort at all to explain this, I will pretty much just have to point people in the direction of this. Here, in two minutes, is why “Star Wars” feels dead to me:
“So, Andy, how can you hate Star Wars? You’ve loved it your entire life.”
“Because they replaced Luke Skywalker… with Snoop Dogg.”