Thursday, January 13, 2011

Link roundup

1. The lousy storytelling in the Star Wars prequels still gets a lot of press, but really, isn't that old news? What I'd like to know is why the Clone Wars cartoons are so bad (and by bad, I mean boring characters in boring plots) and bereft of fresh ideas. It doesn't even pass the laugh test that the major new villain is a Darth Maul clone named "Savage Opress." I can't believe that the problem with the show is that the people working on it have no fresh, exciting ideas. I'd definitely like to know what the problem is, though. At least at the shops I visit in LA, the pegs are absolutely clogged with Star Wars figures, while competing lines of toys fly off the shelves. So it doesn't seem like my family is alone in being unimpressed with Lucas's recent offerings.

2. Emerald City Comicon 2011 screen print poster by Dean Trippe.

3. Mike Mitchell talks about being a late bloomer as a talented artist. Relatedly, Chrissie Wellington didn't discover until her mid 20's that she was an (extremely) talented endurance athlete.


  1. I believe the problem with Lucas' offerings is, well, Lucas. I suspect that he's so 'big" - his ego so monstrously out of control - that nobody would dare speak a dissenting (much less outright negative) opinion on any of his ideas. I suppose it's better to be a credit at the end of a crappy Lucas film than unemployed.

    George is so enamored with flashy fluff that there's no need for substance. In short, stick a fork in him, he's done.

    Ditto for Spielberg, who used to understand the value of effects for moving a story forward or for supporting a vital plot element, but now is no better than Bruckheimer or Bay. "Minority Report" had some shining moments, but really, the last truly incredible movie he made was "Saving Private Ryan."

  2. Rob is 100% right--the problem is Lucas himself. If you view the copious extras on the Season 1 and Season 2 dvds you really get a strong sense that the crew on the show really, really want to elevate it--but Lucas trumps them, taking a huge hands-on part in coming up with episode plots, new characters, and new worlds, such that their ideas all but vanish. He appears to insist on having approval over every detail of each ep.
    He comes off, frankly, as a control freak (which is not always a bad thing), but he has no sense of what's "good" and what's trite and boring. And yes, no one appears able to tell him No.
    Also gleaned from viewing the extras: Lucas seems to think the show is for kids (with adult parents as an added bonus); everyone at the studio seems to think the show is for adults (with kids as a bonus viewership). That's problematic from a creative standpoint, but it also speaks to where Lucas's priorities are with the franchise. That he's failing even to engage kids very strongly is further evidence of the fork Rob mentioned.
    PS: @Rob: Um, that phrase was over in like 1996. Are you a time traveler? That would be awesome.
    PS: @John: I wish you'd write more (and longer) opinion pieces like that on the blog, sir.

  3. Yep. Lucas is to blame. He's slowly destroying his greatest work. I can't watch the new series because it's so cutesy and ridiculous. Ahsoka is the most annoying character since Jar Jar Binks.

    Star Wars worked best when he gave control to others (e.g. Empire and Jedi). It's only suffered under his tyrannical rule. Basically he's the Emperor of Lucas Film/Animation/Arts. Internally they need a Darth Vader, some long time veteran, to lift him up and throw him down a bottomless chasm. Star Wars would be better without Lucas's involvement.

  4. I don't hate Ashoka(?) as much as Jar Jar, but it's the stories that make me wince and scratch my head. The stories are bland, boring and illogical. They're supposed to be a about a war, and the way the Jedi and the Republic allies behave in this war can only lead to defeat. The military strategies are rubbish, the politics and the lives of the politicians truly boring. I didn't use to mind the myriads of SW toys, but it's obvious that this series main purpose is to make toys. Where are the Jedi heroics? Origin stories? Darth Maul had a brother? Where's the quality control? C'mon...! Guess we'll have to wait until the very last episode to see how Ashoka dies, huh?