Saturday, March 25, 2006

Darth Vader speaks out

Legendary "Star Wars" film creator George Lucas told a packed house the United States is a provincial country with a culture that has invaded the world via Hollywood.
Look who's talking! I agree with George Lucas, but it seems to me that he was majorly responsible for the Hollywood blockbuster phenomenon that now threatens other film industries in the rest of the world. But then he deftly dodges the issue and blames it on television:

People see shows such as "Dallas," about a wealthy Texas oil family, and decide they want the grand lifestyles portrayed, according to Lucas.

"They say that is what I want to be," Lucas said. "That destabilizes a lot of the world."

If I remember correctly, it was the whole Star Wars phenomenon (plus Jaws) that provoked the new era of Hollywood's global domination exemplified by films that felt more like roller coaster rides than stories about real humans.
I cannot begin to impress upon you how much I despise, loathe, abhor, and hate Star Wars. I hated it when it opened and I was still a very young Enchiladita. I stood two hours in sweltering heat on a line outside el Cine Hollywood in Mexico City and when I finally watched the movie, it seemed so puerile, lame, superficial and empty I could not believe it. Having been a huge fan of Kubrick's A Space Odyssey, I was not that impressed with the spaceships. Why were we exporting car chases and explosions into space? Why was Princess Leia not only ugly and wearing a bedsheet, but also the stupidest hair ever seen on screen? Mark Hamill was, as we say in Mexico, un cero a la izquierda, a zero to the left.
The only thing I liked was Harrison Ford.
Certainly, there were many stupid movies before Star Wars, but Star Wars gave Hollywood the idea to make only big, fat stupid movies with a zillion useless sequels. And that's pretty much where we are today.
However, I agree with Mr. Lucas on this issue:

Lucas endorsed US students studying abroad to help imbue them with more global perspectives.

"Study abroad is extremely important; just for kids to get outside this country and experience the fact there is a big world out there," Lucas said.

"We are a provincial country. Our president has barely been out of the country."

An onus is on film makers to be careful with the messages they send because they speak "with a very loud voice," the famed movie director said.

California congresswoman Nancy Pelosi presented Lucas his council award, likening him to renowned classical music composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

The council crowned Lucas "the father of digital film" with profound insights into the globalization of culture.

"Like Mozart, George Lucas is no ordinary genius," Pelosi said. "He is a magician. He will be remembered as a legend."

Now, I usually like spunky Nancy Pelosi, but not when she's gratuituously kissing ass. To compare Lucas with Mozart is a bit de trop. Lucas has contributed immeasurably to the technical revolution in filmmaking and that should be recognized. But
no Star Wars film is the equivalent of two notes of Mozart's music. Lucas is a technical whiz, but as an artist he doesn't show much soul.

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