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Imagination Connoisseur, Victor Rosario-Fermaint, confesses that his relationship with the Star Wars franchise has soured over the years. Let us know how you feel in the comments section, below …
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In my previous letter I talked about the life-changing influence “Star Wars” had on me when I was 15. Despite the devotion I will always feel for that film, my relationship with the franchise has soured over the years. Since 1980, only the magnificent “Rogue One” and the very decent “Solo” have not been a source of frustration and sometimes roll your eyes embarrassment (meesa meesa Jar Jar Binks anyone?)
Months ago, I was watching The John Campea Show while you guys were ranking all the films of the franchise. What is now titled “SW- A New Hope” was not just a groundbreaking film, it was a Best Picture Oscar Nominee. Nonetheless, you and I agree that the sequel is the superior film. “The Empire Strikes Back” raised the bar to a still unmatched level, even though plot-wise it is a more personal story than the original. No exploding planets here. Only exploding expectations. Every minute of Lucas & Kershner’s masterpiece seemed planned and designed. Campea on the other hand, picked “Return Of The Jedi” as his favorite. I like John. We even orbit the same ringed planet, but I know he parks his shuttlecraft elsewhere.
My guess is that for him nostalgia is the deciding factor, but that movie directed by Richard Marquand was my first major theatrical letdown. “Empire” was not as kid friendly as “Star Wars”. It made less money too. So I guess they decided to switch gears and dial down the doom and gloom.
The problem is that “Jedi” is so jolly that it seemed to be only about selling toys, instead of closing the trilogy in dramatic fashion. There were stretches between the action scenes that felt pointless and lackadaisical, as if they were killing screen time. The beautiful cinematography, shot composition and lighting was also lost.
Take the Sarlacc pit scene. It looks cheap and uninspired. Jabba The Hutt may have looked like a bloated H.R. Pufnstuf in dire need of a AA & drug rehab program, but at least, he was fun. I would have preferred a longer stay in Tatooine to give room for him and Boba Fett to dance their bad boy boogaloo, instead of rushing to a planet of allegedly man-eating teddy bears.
George Lucas discarded the planet of Wookies for that?
Only Ian McDiarmid’s performance as the Emperor and the final 15 minutes of footage saved the film. The rest is… garbage. When I came out of the theatre, I was livid, I even felt betrayed. “Empire” had made a promise of upcoming greatness that “Jedi” did not even try to keep.
Boba Fett was one of the coolest looking villains ever, but all he contributed to the movie was to the Sarlacc’s diet. He had little to do and nothing to say. We could have used a scene like this:
Boba Fett stands amid a maelstrom of partying creatures. A drunken OCTOPOD bumps him. Boba turns his head MENACINGLY. His hand on his BLASTER. The creature’s face bleaches out, his tentacles DROOP in hurried apology. A disdainful Boba marches away toward the carbon-frozen Han Solo.
I didn’t know you had ANY friends besides the WOOKIE. Did
you know that the PRIZE on SKYWALKER’S head is THIRTY
times larger than yours? I could RETIRE with that. VADER
and the EMPIRE want him ALIVE. Can’t imagine why… Alive.
How INCONVENIENT, now that he is COMING our way
The face of HAN SOLO is still frozen in an agonized expression.
How could a LOCAL FARMBOY destroy THAT
imperial PLANET blaster? Unbelievable. But then,
no one would believe in the DEATH STAR, if Alderaan
were still around. No wonder your FRIEND found RELIGION.
Boba studies the VITAL signs electronic panel on the edge of the carbonite slab. It glows electric green. A smiling Jabba The Hutt notices. The smile fades.
NOT that I care, but I wonder how LONG you can stay
in HIBERNATION without becoming SPOILED meat…
Fett feels the weight of Jabba’s glare. he steps back from the panel.
(pointing at Han’s face)
Thank you for listening. I LIKE you better this way.
Fett walks away. He raises two fingers as a farewell gesture, without looking back.
It looks like I’ll have to wait some more.
As you know Captain Solo, SMUGGLERS and BOUNTY
HUNTERS always get paid LAST in these parts.
In “Empire” everything that clicked the first time around, clunked. Luke hanging upside down in a cave, with his weapon stuck in the ice and out of reach, was symbolic. Our heroes’ lives were about to get upended. Of course, that tip-off was forgotten when his eyes went blank, he extended his hand and the lightsaber began to shake. When it flew toward his hand, I gasped.
The Force had grown stronger inside Luke between movies! That’s why it was so exasperating to see him regress in “Jedi”. C-3PO yells a warning. but he still falls to Hollywood’s oldest trick, the collapsing floor trap, after being trained by freaking Yoda. Didn’t the Jedi master teach him to levitate objects? Here’s what should have happened:
LUKE tries to bargain with Jabba. 3PO yells a warning. The floor drops away. The creatures in Jabba’s court gasp. Luke’s CLOAK billows as air rises from below. He has NOT dropped an inch. The crowd screams in terror as the claw of the RANCOR below swipes out of reach. Yellow eyes peer from the darkness of the pit.
Still levitating, Luke now COMMANDS Jabba to free Han. His face is beaded with sweat. The Force is strong in him, but he is NOT YET a Jedi master. Jabba downplays Luke’s feat, and orders the GAMORREAN guards to attack. Their spikes can’t reach him.
So, Bib Fortuna shoves a guard toward Luke. He dodges the hulking pig-man, who breaks his fall by grabbing Luke’s foot. Luke’s concentration is broken. Gravity takes over. Jabba laughs malevolently.
In Dagobah, Yoda mentions “another” to Obi-Wan’s ghost. For months many speculated that Han’s time frozen in carbonite could bring about some sort of Force-related spiritual awakening.
I’m glad it didn’t, but by making his return a near religious experience the mystery could have lasted longer. How? Remember when Indiana Jones holds the staff of Ra to find the Well Of Souls? How the chamber filled up with light. The carbonite thawing could have been similar, instead that scene was very underwhelming. This would have worked best after Luke’s capture, so slave girl Leia would have to wait till the Sail-Barge scene.
Well, that plot rewrite is only 37 years too late, but I always wanted to get it out there. I left out the torching Ewoks with flamethrowers bit, because this letter is already way too long, and there are gentler more sensitive souls in the Post Geek Singularity than me. Hahaha, Love you all. As always happy to be a connoisseur crewman in the Starship USS Imagination, Captain Burnett.
Bayamón, PR, USA
PS: This SUNDAY, my Dallas gunslingers go to the West Coast to face your Seattle Hawks from the Sea (Conan #19, baby!). Two great QBs and two great RBs. The shootout will be glorious. Good Luck Rob. Go Cowboys. Btw, Claudia is glad that you will redesign your coffee cup. Give me an address and we’ll send you some world class Puerto Rican coffee to brew and pour in it.