I guess if you haven't seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens then this counts as a spoiler.
Anyhoo, near the end of the film, Harrison Ford's legendary Han Solo gets up close and personal with a lightsaber as it pushes through his chest. At the showing I attended, you could hear audible gasps in the packed theater. I recall my vision being temporarily clouded by a watery thing. I think it was called a tear? It was a significant moment for the series and it tapped into that rare feeling of existential loss we feel when a character has left us for good.
Later that day, my thoughts went to a twisted meta place. I imagined Harrison Ford thinking, "Thank god I'm finally done with this shit!"
- Images courtesy Disney
Whether he really thought that or not, I don't know. I do know my cynical notion was based on the non-secret that Harrison Ford had become, at the very least, ambivalent about Han Solo and the series itself.
He surprised Alden Ehenreich, the young Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, during an interview with Entertainment Tonight. My cynicism immediately kicked in. I'm guessing it wasn't an impromptu surprise but an annoying ploy used to defuse the rumors of Ehenreich needing an acting coach. I could be very wrong and am just seeking out the worst in a genuine moment. I know my grumpy cat-esque thinking is based on a weariness surrounding the series in general. I guess this is the part where I break out the cane and dentures to pointlessly complain.
You see, back in my day, there was a time when Star Wars was merely a very successful film trilogy that existed as movies that came to town then left the theaters with an indelible memory. The original film tapped into mythology, old space serials, and spirituality. It was a notoriously difficult production that came together via special effects and in the editing room. Some of us were enthralled by the film and equally as enthralled by Kenner's toy line. Some of us may have even soaked their X-Wing fighter in a mud puddle in his parent's backward so he could recreate the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Yoda lifts Luke's space plane out of the swamps of Degobah. That was then and this is now.
- Images courtesy Disney
- Was Harrison Ford thinking “Thank god I’m finally done with this shit!”?
When I heard about Rogue One A Star Wars Story, I was excited to see it. When I finally saw it, 20 minutes in, I became cognizant of how it was a space version of films like The Magnificent Seven and The Dirty Dozen. I really liked that idea but then I smiled while my brain decided to fart, thinking of the endless narrative possibilities. I liked the idea of different genres of films based purely in the Star Wars universe. I thought: There should be an art film, maybe a one location-based film about a former Bespin guard getting space lattes with his former co-worker Lobo after returning from a mutual friend's funeral. Maybe Lando? They could call it "My Dinner With Lobo"!!! That'd be awesome! I need to write this one down! Oh damn, I forgot about this movie playing in front of me. Oops! I guess should be paying attention...
I left that film irritated by all the nostalgia fumes it was huffing. Not long after I began to feel that way about the series itself. Star Wars has lost the event status that it once had. It's everywhere. Every damn where. Star Wars! Nothing but Star Wars! It's used to sell, not just toys and books but, everything. Every damn thing.
Even if others don't agree with negative assessments of the Disney films or even the prequels, it has to be conceded that the unique nature of a new Star Wars film has diminished considerably. Nowadays we aren't even given a chance to miss it ... It now overstays its welcome when it should've left on a high note like George Costanza. It may be naive idealism but wasn't there was a time when Star Wars was magical? Now Star Wars has become the dead horse that Mickey Mouse is joyously beating. It used to be three years between each film. Now we get four films in three years. This Friday, Solo: A Star Wars Story comes to theaters and for the first time ever, I've found myself feeling completely ambivalent. It, along with the recently announced TV series and the new Rian Johnson trilogy, feel more like a product used to sell more product than a movie. It also doesn't help when half the reviews pouring in are of the "it's not that bad" nature.
As a kid, I loved the crass misadventures of Carey Mahoney in the first Police Academy movie but the diminished returns kicked in after the second one. Even though I knew Police Academy 5: Assignment Miami Beach would likely suck, I still went out of boredom and an odd sense of "well I've seen the others so I may as well see this one too" obligation. Thanks to Disney, Star Wars is starting to remind me of that old feeling.