You Should Watch Films

A celebration, meditation, rumination, and examination of the movie-going experience.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why The Prequel Trilogy was a Good Thing

George Lucas basically sacrificed the prequel trilogy in the name of digital filmmaking. Shooting with the Cinealtas. On-set motion capture. Fully CGI characters. Digital backlot environments (overdone, yes).

Wooden dialogue and rushed plotting aside, Lucas didn't let anyone else direct the films because, and here's what sad (very sad), the stories weren't the point. Anyone who tried to make a legitimate story out of the prequels would have only interfered with George's true aim: ushering in a new age of digital cinema.

The Star Wars films did this single-handedly. No Jar-Jar, no Gollum. No Sony F3 Cinealta, no James Cameron 3D rigs. You get the picture. The prequels are bad to the point that they make you question your own sense of taste and moral compass. Unless you look at them only as what they are: science experiments.

Granted, Lucas gave it his all on Episode III, which is still rated Fresh on RT and Metacritic (so take that, motherfuckers), going so far as to enlist Tom Stoppard on dialogue and Steven Spielberg on 2nd Unit. But by that point, Lucas had accomplished what he set out to do: allowing films to use a completely digital workflow.

So, now with effects technology having broken down all barriers (cloth, fur, hair, skin, water, fire, you name it) and possessing the ability to make ultra-realistic CGI planes or Iron man suits or whatever, George can make Red Tails or Koyaanqatsi 4 or whatever. It took tearing his Star Wars universe in two, literally, and alienating a major swath of fans, but now Lucas can do anything he wants.

Yeah, I'm pissed about the original trilogy's original versions being only available on VHS or as a bonus on the limited edition DVDs. I'm pissed that Lucas makes Vader moo at the two most important moments of his life. But whatever. Those movies are still a part of me. Watching the Special Edition in theaters with my family. Playing Super Star Wars on Saturday morning. Reading Tag & Bink, and the New Jedi Order trilogy. This is what we do.

So, either go see Red Tails, or Phantom 3D, or fucking not at all. It doesn't matter. The landscape has been changed forever. 48 frames per second, that's next. Feature films shot on iPhones and 5Ds. VFX of the same caliber on film, television and gaming. You have one man to thank for that. Okay, several. Several hundred in fact, but the point is Lucas played a big hand in that.

As for myself, I'm gonna go check out Red Tails. I'm anxious to see what a Lucasfilm production looks like without Indy or Jedi. Peace out, and stop hatin'. Jeez.

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