The Frustration With Bashing: Commentary

Maybe it’s because prequel fans are becoming more vocal (“The Prequels Strike Back” is due out soon), maybe it’s because there’s always another Star Wars movie around the corner now, but it seems to me there has been a bit more hostility toward the prequels in the media and in corresponding comments over the past few weeks.  I don’t go looking for it, if you can believe it, but I’m finding it.

I admit, it’s frustrating as all get out.  It is upsetting and discouraging to see the same tropes repeated over and over.  I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way.  I liken it to driving down the street, minding your own business, when some jerk in his Midlife Crisis or Douche-mobile cuts you off or needlessly tailgates you even though you’re going over the speed limit yourself or almost causes an accident.  Honk your horn and he flips you off, then speeds away laughing, because he knows you can’t or won’t do anything about it.  Only in this case, said jerk is a big time celebrity with his entourage following in big Escalades and they almost run you off the road trying to keep up with their boss.  To add insult to injury, the cops pull YOU over for going 37 in a 35 mph zone while they let the celebrity get away (probably because this is L.A. County and they know full well any star will get immediately released due to “overcrowding,” but I digress).  The celebrity is the popular geek site editor-in-chief, Hollywood trade or entertainment journalist, or someone else big in geek circles.  The entourage are the bashers who attack you in the comments or on Twitter for daring to stick up for the prequels.  The cops are other fans or even the powers that be.

That feeling of frustration when you’ve been on the receiving end of rude or reckless behavior on the road is the same frustration you might feel when you encounter media prequel bashing.  That feeling is powerlessness.  It’s never easy as fans to see people not only trash what you love but by extension trash you because you don’t agree with them.  It’s not easy to see how this has had effects far beyond some random guy spewing on a blog.  One can never expect everybody to love everything but as far as I’m concerned, the frustration especially comes from a lack of opportunity to give another perspective.  There have been those willing to break from the narrative but right now, there’s not only still a great deal of hostility aimed at them, I have to wonder what chances a prequel fan would have ever getting hired as some media outlet’s “geek editor” or at Entertainment Weakly, Hollyweird Report, Variety, i09, Huffington Post, Daily Dot, The Mary Sue, etc..  Not so much because that’s the first thing they’ll ask in an interview but if it were to ever come out, I think either you won’t get hired or you will never be asked to write about Star Wars.

On other sites, those with “heretical” views are punished with a bunch of flaming, trolling, and other obnoxiousness from commenters.  It doesn’t exactly encourage those to  take a stand.

At this point I don’t care what they think; what I do care about is that one, we’re not allowed to enjoy the prequels without a bunch of strangers telling us we’re wrong and dumb, and two,  the bashing continues to influence people.  The prequels are great films and they deserve to be judged fairly, not having their reputation determined by a bunch of shallow “geeks” with a big soapbox and a bizarre axe to grind.

 

 

 

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43 Responses to “The Frustration With Bashing: Commentary”

  1. Shak Ti Says:

    I’m predicting the PT bashing will cease when some of these Disney SW renditions flop and start to draw the fire from the PT. Until then, let the ignorant sit in their ignorance. The visceral response that some people may have to these films only illustrates how strong they truly are.

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      It’s the sheer endurance of that vehemence that gets to me sometimes. Sure, people can laugh at the right kind of “bad” movie for quite a while, but the thought of clinging to a sense of offended disappointment for so long is staggering. I suppose that once I’ve said that I can imagine some snapping back “it’s only because the old Star Wars movies mean so much to us,” but when all they ever seem to dwell on is them looking a certain way, and maybe some quotable lines delivered in a “cool” way…

      • Shak Ti Says:

        The endurance of the vehement mocking is due to socialized behavior that is rewarded imo. People are rewarded for mocking so they do it rather they believe it or not. It’s simply a trained response void of reason. I truly believe the root cause of the anger is Georges refusal to pander. People became upset with each passing movie that didn’t cater to their needs. Critics and “fans” banded together to punish Lucas, and anyone backing him, for following his vision instead of theirs. In other words the root cause of all of this is people pissing and moaning for not getting their way and receiving applause for it. The applause is fading.

  2. Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

    #1 Because I am going through a “Thomas the Tank Engine” phase at the moment, re-watching all the episodes from 80s/90s to the early 2000s, I started to read this in George Carlin’s voice.

    #2 With addition food for thought given, this accurately summarizes how Fandom is for pretty much anybody who enjoys Star Wars beyond “Empire Strikes Back”. Although hatred is dying down, nearly… there still are the commenters who can’t stand anyone praising what they dislike, so showing support is like being well-balanced on a narrow walkway with all sorts of hard fruits being tossed toward your direction, sometimes hitting perfect smack.

  3. Hoggle Says:

    It’s not about the PTs movies and their art.

    If it was we would have totally deluxe significant SE/extended editions of the PTs as good as they can be, & AotCs & RotS would be complete knock outs fully realised to their available material, easily raising the bar together as best star wars ever.

    • Logan Says:

      I wish this were so. I’d love to see the Dooku dual lightsaber fight added in. I was bummed it wasn’t available on the blu-ray deleted scenes.

      • Hoggle Says:

        Anakin vs Dooku AoTCs my second fav PT duel in feel & look although quite brief, after qui/obi/maul.

    • Hoggle Says:

      Honestly think RotS could have another between 30-40 mins in it, with just about all of it adding to narrative & character shading rhymes of it’s story – that’s how dense & under-rated GL’s PTs script writing was, along with any cool extra hi-jinx action sequences.

      Like just after greeting of Palpatine’s rescue on Coruscant, Jedi meet in Jedi chamber with obi, yoda, & Mace sensing the Dark Side around Palp – that does so many cool things. Gives alot more extra momentum to Anakin’s first nitemare, being related to Sith Master dastardliness powers, as two scenes in a row with the Dark Side stuff going on before goes to him & Padme. Introduces doubt for the viewer into everything that Palpatine is doing for rest of movie, which really would factor into all the cut intrigue scenes of Anakin’s struggle alongside being stuck in the middle of disputes with just about everyone as relates to Palpatine but can’t see it, along with Obi & Padme’s concern & confusion about his changing character. Also set’s up Mace’s more bitter Jedi for rest of movie & mis-handling of situation more. Then also sets up Yoda’s warning in OT about underestimating powers of Emperor or suffering Anakin’s fate.

      & that’s just one new scene, it’s crazy!! Rickster was onto it about the PTs being incredibly dense.

      AotCs could handle another valid 25-30 mins also just as easily i’d guess.

      • Hoggle Says:

        Although i would change the ratio between sound effects & music in music’s favor, and dial both down also, in relation to visuals and dialogue – but again that’s probably just me.

  4. fundhund Says:

    I have long ceased to be defensive about my appreciation for the prequels. I tell people upfront that they are great movies and even masterpieces (cause that´s what they are), and that I love them. No need to water down my beliefs a´ la “I know those movies have flaws but..”, “yes, some of the dialogue is cringeworthy ..”, “Lucas may not be the best when it comes to directing actors”, “they are not as good as the OT, but ..”, or whatever I keep reading again and again.

    • Žiga P. Škraba Says:

      Same here.

    • Helen Says:

      Totally agree! There are no “but this and that” they ARE great films. I am always very firm on that point when talking about them too. xx

    • Doug Brown Says:

      Very well said! I too have given up any sort of desire to apologize for the prequels in any way because our appreciation for them needs no justification. I love these movies, and though it long bothered me that the world at large seemed not to share my views, I have come to realize that the flaw lies with those whose knee-jerk reaction is hatred and not what may be supposedly “wrong” with the films themselves. The “prequels are always bad” groupthink that dominates media and fan coverage of the subject feeds on itself and is so far detached from reality that I no longer pay it any mind – even if I still long for the day when reality is given some credence again and people appreciate what should be considered great pieces of cinema.

    • Keith Palmer Says:

      I’ve become pretty unapologetic myself, but do wonder if that’s a response to the sheer effort some put into finding fault in everything about these movies… I suppose if a gun was put to my head, I’d yet say “I can understand this or that tripping some people up,” but I’d still insist on finding interpretations that don’t let them bother me.

  5. jonedney124 Says:

    Yesterday, on Roger Ebert’s review website, there was an article called ‘The Dance of the Lightsabers’ that compared the fighting styles of the two trilogies as well as the duel in Force Awakens. Needless to say, the author was hopelessly biased against the prequels, claiming that they lacked ‘thematic depth’ and praising the OT duels while claiming that the PT duels were pointless or style over substance. I commented by highlighting certain things and also told him to go and actually read some essays on the PT to show how wrong his ‘thematic depth’ comment was. Interestingly, the author wasn’t entirely complementary on the FA duel, at least from a standpoint that Rey’s sudden Force abilities undercuts Luke’s journey across the OT. It was an interesting if irritating read. I found I wasn’t the only one moaning about the prequel hate in the comments, even if another comment was slightly disturbing (although it was in quote marks so it may have been sarcastic parody of the haters, I hope so for that person’s sake).

  6. Kim Says:

    What bothers me is the constant trashing of George Lucas that goes along with the bashing. If someone doesn’t like the prequels for whatever reason, I don’t care, no one has to like a movie and their opinion doesn’t affect my love of them. But just this week in TV Guide in a blurb about TFA being on Starz, there’s a comment about Lucas “besmirching his legacy” with the prequels and it’s crap like that that makes my blood boil. Idiot.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Totally out-of-nowhere, irrelevant, gratuitous shots that reinforce the idea “you’re not supposed to like these movies because they are bad.”

      • Kim Says:

        Yes, it’s pathetic, but those losers only make me love the prequels more! And pity them and their feeble attempts to feel cool/hip/superior/whatever by spewing their vitriol. Okay, that last part isn’t true, I don’t pity them at all.

      • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

        ‘Totally out-of-nowhere, irrelevant, gratuitous shots that reinforce the idea “you’re not supposed to like these movies because they are bad”… one of the many reasons why I stopped watching Nostalgia Critic… there would always be a random jab to Lucas, the trilogy, and Mr. Binks ….

    • Helen Says:

      Yes. Yes and YES! This makes me mad too. If someone doesn’t like the movies, boo to them, it will never change how I feel. But this idea that these movies were a mistake or George got it all wrong is what makes me so mad!
      George got it right. So right.

  7. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    It’s not about the PTs movies and their art.

    If it was we would have totally deluxe significant SE/extended editions of the PTs as good as they can be, & AotCs & RotS would be complete knock outs fully realised to their available material, easily raising the bar together as best star wars ever.

    We don’t really know that. This sounds like an assumption. And what if AOTC and ROTS had extended versions? Do you honestly think this would stop the bashing? Why not allow the Original movies to be extended as well? Or are they “perfect”?

    • lazypadawan Says:

      Yeah, I’m not buying it either.

    • Hoggle Says:

      the OTs have their SEs & isn’t alot else or much at all that i know of, which would add much. The process of the PTs, particularly the last two, was increasingly different in how the movies came together and there is alot of extra stuff not in the movies that would be no less relevant in them than stuff in the general theatrical/home release cuts.

      That may not be right, but if it is, it implies the standard PTs releases are not as whole as the OTs.

      So we all like the PTs very much as is, what i’m alluding to is imagine if they got significantly better, which if nothing else is a nice bit of wishful thinking if familiar with the material & a big fan.

  8. Mike Jones Says:

    I do understand the frustration of the Prequel bashing from various media outlets and geek culture celebs and the fear that films may lose their creative vision and become crowd-pleasing products. I really and honestly do. That said, we should give the new movies a chance and not have a knee-jerk reaction just yet. One reason why is because, while Rogue One has various OT ships and miscellaneous stuff in it, it will still have a completely different original story with a completely different tone, completely new characters, new vehicles appearing, Clone Wars series and Prequel Trilogy characters appearing, and a fresh new perspective on the Star Wars universe, which Gareth Edwards made dead sure of in the BTS-reel for Rogue One when he says that while there is pressure on him since he’s making a film that touches down on his favorite film of all-time, he also says “that if you’re too respectful of it and you dare not try anything new or different or take a risk”, then you’re not bringing anything new to the table. So, that’s my reasonable reason for why we should withhold any final judgement on Rogue One until the movie comes out.

    Also, more reason to believe films will still have creative visions in them and not be seen as fan-pleasing products is because of what’s happening with Marvel Studios and their slate for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since Kevin Feige managed to break himself and Marvel Studios free of his ex-boss and have Marvel Studios integrated with Disney, we soon will see Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe be given a more creative and artistic style to it that will have itself removed from the studio system and have the films in Phase Three be filmmaker-driven, as the writers of Civil War claim. Examples of that is that Doctor Strange will feel like a Scott Derrickson-directed movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming will feel like a John Hughes movie directed by Jon Watts, Thor: Ragnarok will feel like a Taika Watiti-directed movie and Black Panther will feel like a Ryan Coogler movie just like Guardians of the Galaxy and it’s upcoming sequel will feel like James Gunn movies. So, don’t lose hope on creative’s visions being lost yet. Also, here’s the site for where the Civil War writers said that Marvel Studios would be moving away from the studio system: moviepilot.com/posts/3944590

    • lazypadawan Says:

      That’s fine and good for people who love the MCU but to me, real creativity today is in cable t.v. and streaming content. (I just think there needs to be more that’s not R-rated.) The irony in your last paragraph is how the plans are for imitations of other directors instead of letting another generation of film directors try to make their own unique mark.

      • Mike Jones Says:

        I understand what you’re saying and where you’re coming from, and maybe that is what I’m trying to say, but, I guess maybe I was confused by what is or isn’t a director-driven film. Going back to what you said, I think Ant-Man would’ve been the first film where Edgar Wright would’ve given his own unique MCU-centered mark, had he not been fired by Feige’s ex-boss and his creative committee. But, maybe now with Feige’s ex-boss and his ex-boss’s creative committee out of the way, we will see in Phase Three’s films their directors making their own mark like with Derrickson, Watiti, Coogler and whoever female director they choose to direct Captain Marvel, Marvel’s first super-heroine film (kind of like an arthouse system). So yeah, hopefully these new MCU films prove this and won’t have that “studio-meddling films” films as past MCU films may have felt like (ex: Avengers: AOU, Ironman 2, Thor: The Dark World).

      • Mike Jones Says:

        Forgot to add this: while yes, this scenario is specific to the MCU, conceptionally, it can be applicable to other IP’s as well (in movies and/or television) and could work out and be beneficial for all parties (filmmakers and fans).

  9. Keith Palmer Says:

    I suppose the first thing I want to say is “please don’t burn out; we all need this space.”

    With that said, I have my own understanding of just how aggravating it gets. I drew back from “Star Wars-specific” discussions a few months before TPM opened, but that just seemed to leave the gratuitous jabs altogether unchallenged… but I seem to have moved from being afraid to watch just about anything else for fear it would “show things up” to open disinterest and a general dislike for the term “geek” all by itself, along with the enforced opinions that seem wrapped up in it… If I’ve found one peculiar way out, though, it might be watching anime and reading manga. I know it’s not for everyone, but I’ve come to think the way it’s still a dim blip on the fringes of pop radar somehow helps me. As well, while English-speaking anime fans may be no better at insightful positivity towards Star Wars than anyone else, they don’t seem to bring it up quite as often.

  10. Dawn Richardson Says:

    FWIW, you don’t quite have the right way of it, Mike, when it comes to what happened with Edgar Wright’s exit from the “Ant-Man” project and his exit from involvement with Marvel. Understand that it was Edgar Wright who couldn’t play nicely with others, and *he* was the one who stubbornly refused to understand that there had to be a certain degree of collaboration on the project by the simple necessity that it must needs fit into the greater, overarching scheme of things for storytelling and character arcs within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

    It was Edgar Wright who refused to cooperate, and so was justly and deservedly booted from the project, because the MCU is too important, and preserving that artistic vision of its creators is too essential, to have something within that which does not fit and which only ends up detracting instead of serving the greater story as an ultimate whole.

    Consider, too, that there are many, *many* others working within the MCU – notably, such as James Gunn and the Russo brothers, etc. – who clearly don’t have *any* problems whatsoever in collaboration and in not only telling their own cinematic stories in their own way, but in also ensuring that it fits into the cohesive whole of the greater, overarcing story being told. It is exactly the same approach as George Lucas, for example, took with his creation of the PT; he collaborated intensely with all his departments, of course, and *always* encouraged just endless, bountiful creativity and imagination from concept designs onward, and sometimes they worked for what he had in mind and he gladly made use of those ideas and inspirations….sometimes they didn’t work for the story he was trying to tell and his movies as he was making them, but that was *alright*, because that was the very nature of it as a collaborative project (and he would tell the concept artists, etc., exactly as much – constantly encouraging them to come up with new and intriguing notions and curious ideas, some of which may ultimately make it in, some of which of course might not, but it was always encouraged regardless!). The MCU is the exact same way.

    Edgar Wright, as an example, and Joss Whedon, these unfortunately are two individuals who proved that they couldn’t play nicely with others when it came to being mindful of the telling of a single story but *also* how that single story must itself fit into the greater cinematic universe. Their constant whining and bemoaning over it, however, and them seeking to ever play the victim, crying “poor me” and acting so hard-put-upon and taken-advantage-of, generally – it reflects *very* ill and unfavourably upon them.

    Again, note that others such as James Gunn and the Russos, and Taika Waikiti who is currently working on “Ragnarok”, and Ryan Coogler who will be helming the “Black Panther” stand-alone, have *no* problems, no issues whatsoever when it comes to collaboration and the intricacies of storytelling in such a vast and comprehensive cinematic universe. This, in turn, proves that it’s not the Cinematic Universe itself which has ever been the problem; instead it is rather more those certain individuals who clearly couldn’t play nicely with others, who got rather too high-and-mighty on themselves, and who whined and stamped their feet when they didn’t get what they want….*they*, as ever, are the issue. Again, as an MCU fan, I felt that these certain things merited clarification.

  11. Sergey Holod Says:

    It all boils down to Lucas’ independence. Hollywood allowed artistic freedom as long as all those directors and writers were financially dependent from studios’ money. And suddenly Lucas became more rich and successful than any of them. And what’s more – he invested his riches and success not in yachts and prostitutes but in work. He built a studio of his own. He changed the industry itself. Of course all those Hollywood studios’ executives were hurt.

    Lucas bashing is a well paid and well organized thing. A spontaneous company against a man can’t survive without an outside subsidy for so long and on such a scale. It is the only reasonable explanation why it still lives after so many years. Media people get paid to say all those lies. And Lucas won’t be the first man who became a target for baseless accusations. Lucas’ fame made him a more noticeable figure but there were others in history of cinema.

    The task of honest people is to preserve the truth in spite of propaganda. As Michal Rubin wrote in the preface to his “Droidmaker” book, we live in the world created largely because of Lucas’ initiatives: “Everywhere I turned were reminders of those days – Pixar movies, THX logos, epic blockbusters with computer-generated characters, immersive multi-user videogames, a host of consumer software for editing, sound and graphics – but few people I spoke with realized how much had come directly from Lucasfilm research”. One can add here digital screening and digital shooting of movies initiated by Lucas during Prequels’ work.

    Our task is to safe not only the reputation of Prequels but the reputation of the man who created them. All those facts are there – available in books and documentaries. Very few people read them and watch them. Even amongst fans there are plenty of people who are ignorant about how Star Wars were created. People prefer funny stories on sets. And these ignorant people became very excited when “digital versus practical” conflict is igniting before their eyes as a sensational revelation of hidden truth, because they simply don’t understand the nature of cinema.

    Our task is to preserve true knowledge about Lucasfilm in all our activities – in our memory, in our writings, in our conversations. I think it will be enough to withstand the tide of lies.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      “Droidmaker” is such a terrific book. Not only is it a must-read for anyone interested in Star Wars, it’s also a fascinating history of American Zoetrope and the birth of Pixar. It’s really long–the digital version is over 900 pages–but it’s fascinating. So many genius people involved.

  12. Captain Fordo Says:

    Of course those baffons/SJWs are still bashing the PT. There a vocal minority who’s only way of feeling better about themselves is to hate on the PT. There too blinded to nostalgia, just as $hillary is delusional.

    • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

      That’s sadly how life works… not just for fan culture, but in all other areas in life… Buffoons and SJW are nothing new, which is sad because as for long as time goes, there will be more harsh and unhappy immature people who’ll attack anything and anyone to build themselves up 😦

  13. ladylavinia1932 Says:

    Going back to what you said, I think Ant-Man would’ve been the first film where Edgar Wright would’ve given his own unique MCU-centered mark, had he not been fired by Feige’s ex-boss and his creative committee.

    One, we don’t know how good “Ant-Man” would have been if Edgar Wright had directed. There is only one movie of his that I have really enjoyed and that was 2007’s “Hot Fuzz”. Two, “Ant-Man” still proved to be one of the more unique MCU movies I have ever seen, even with Peyton Reed in the director’s chair.

    As for “Rogue One”, it looks very interesting to me, despite it being set just before “A New Hope”. In fact, I’m looking forward to it. The movie’s style seems different from Lucas’ films (which is good, because the last thing I need to see is some director trying to copy Lucas’ style) and “The Force Awakens”, which did not impress me that much.

  14. bpmisqueegan Says:

    Im not the most “tuned in” person regarding popular culture.. but overall ive noticed a downswing in anti-PT babble since TFA. It’s still there, but nothing even remotely close to the fever pitch it was a year ago.

  15. andywylde77 Says:

    The reason why the PT hate seems to be amplified is in light of the new SW film. Because rabid TFA fan bois are like dealing with your typical ignorant street criminal. No matter how much evidence one can stack up to show why TFA was a crap film, they will just deny, deny, deny. And they do this because they have zero, zilch, nadda to counter the criticisms.

    So they have to play the “PT SUXX” card. When people start resorting to the PT during a TFA discussion. it just wreaks of desperation. That is the go-to excuse they use to try and distract from how bad TFA really is. Because when one analyzes TFA, it really shows its weaknesses as a film. And especially a 7th part of an ongoing saga. This film was poorly thought out and put together. If anything these fan bois need to turn there hate on to Disney and Lucasfilm. They promised them the world but delivered a sham, generic product.

    I happened upon a comment a while back on the subject of TFA, and this comment really struck me sideways and I was in disbelief. The comment was something along the lines of,
    “screw that creativity crap”

    Well that is from somebody defending TFA and it being a rehash. To me that one comment really sums up the new era of SW to me. TFA fan bois/girls should adapt that as their new slogan. If one person thinks like this, there are bound to be more. No doubt. It also shows what kind of people this new era SW is attracting. I have no doubt that if they rehash more OT stuff into the new movies, these folks will be content with an inferior product that does its best not to go against the status quo. How anyone sane can say “screw creativity” absolutely blows my mind. Because with TFA, it was all the OT stuff that was the biggest selling point and where most of the $$$$ came from. When Lucas was in charge, you knew you would get creativity and imagination in spades and then some. With the PT it brought a whole new universe into an already existing one. That is indisputable.

    For the new era of SW, the only person I respect(alot) is Dave Feloni. This man truly cares fro the the ENTIRE SW universe. In essence he is the one carrying on Lucas’ vision. Unlike his film making counterparts that only seem to care just about the OT and the OT only. Feloni really should be in charge of the story and character side of it.

    But seriously, “screw creativity?” Something went severely wrong in fandom land 😦

    • Noah Evans (The Artist) Says:

      “Screw creativity”… I’m trying to wrap my mind around that… I can understand how one can be ignorant of originality by watching bland recent movies and having a generic viewpoint… but to just hate on new ideas and diverse creations…. … . .. . . I can’t even finish this sentence…

      Oh, and the hypocrisy of it all is that Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi WERE NEW at their time, each adding a new “creative” element as the trilogy progressed. Even games from BioWare would do something new.

    • buick runner Says:

      Even Filoni has issues, such as shoehorning every SW character ever created into Rebels, as well as contradicting and “fixing” the PT. I remember Dave once stated he was having a hard time correcting Lucas’ f@#* ups in the PT, yes he did use the f word.

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