By Keely Brown
I wouldn’t claim to be a literal connoisseur of film. I’ve always been more inclined to just casually watch a torrented movie or go out to the movies whenever a group of friends invite me. I don’t know the specific details or finer points of what makes a film high quality, I just happen to know what I like when it comes to film. And more importantly, I also know what I dislike.
I’m sure by now most people have heard that the Walt Disney Company has purchased the Star Wars franchise. I’ve been an avid Star Wars fan since I was very little. I watched the new movies as they came out and I literally obsessed over them. I, like many Star Wars fans, entertained the idea of taking part in imaginary light-saber battles with invisible foes. I had (and still have) a ridiculous collection of Star Wars lego and played a lot of different Star Wars video games. Naturally, you’d expect such a big fan of Star Wars and film in general to be excited by the concept of a new Star Wars trilogy, right? Well, not quite.
See, things have changed and I’m no longer the kid who loved everything under the banner of ‘Star Wars’. I’ve grown fonder of movies with depth and characters that you can actually believe and sympathize with. Which is why I now find the original trilogy to be more enjoyable than the most recent trilogy. Sure there’s some good stuff to be found in the newer trilogy, but I can’t help but wonder, if I were to see the new trilogy for the first time today, would I still enjoy them? Probably not to the same degree in the very least.
Part of the problem in my eyes that made the so-called ‘newer trilogies’ unsatisfactory is the fact that they were made on the premise of being made as a trilogy. In the original series, George Lucas and his team didn’t have any really huge successes under their belts. They really had no guarantee that they were going to be successful enough to even consider the possibility of a sequel. So they made each and every movie count where it needed to: making the characters and story memorable and enjoyable. The visuals were amazing, but that wasn’t what it was about. A younger George Lucas put it best: “Special Effects are just a tool, a means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as an ends themselves. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.”
So, where did the concept of a new trilogy begin to fall apart? In my eyes at least, it was when they decided to commit to creating an entire trilogy before gauging how well made the first episode was. They’re already jumping to the conclusion that even if the first movie is completely terrible, they’re going to go ahead with the next two movies. And that’s precisely what bothers me about Disney already committing to a trilogy rather than just one episode. Sure, it might end up being as amazing and good as the original trilogy or perhaps even better, but what happens if it ends up being terrible? They’re literally going to plop out another two as long as it’s financially feasible.
So why commit to making three of the movies before even knowing whether it’s going to be good? Well, it seems to be a common problem in Hollywood lately. Even if movies are critically torn apart and their audiences are disappointed, their franchise will continue as long as they make money at the box office. And that’s precisely where my frustration lies with modern filmmakers, especially when they just take old ideas and rehash them. How many sequels to original movies are going to be as amazing as the original? How many sequels are going to blow the minds of movie watchers the way that the original film did? A well made stand-alone movie will, for me, almost always be more satisfying than a series of sequels that just rehash old ideas.