It’s fascinating how malleable the human mind can be. If you embed hooks deep enough in their psyche, people can be led around like bulls with a nose ring. I’ve consumed a modest allocation of WordPress’ free hosting in describing the ‘isms that can cause otherwise contemplative observers to sing like showgirls at their invocation.
But it’s not just bolts of raysis that liquefy the minds of men. There’s other more innocuous instances of social brain implants that extend even to galaxies far far away. Few of these are able to put grown men in their feet-pajamas faster than hearing the words STAR WARS. I often regret that somewhere like Angola hasn’t yet thought to brand itself as Tatooine or Dagobah in an effort to jolt tourism into hyperdrive. Imagine the fetid Luanda airpit teeming with middle-aged nerds in white plastic armor and monkey suits seeking a realistic Jakku experience for the intrepid Jedi! If only such appeals to fantasy resonated with “minorities” we could simply rename Guatemala as The Rebel Base and watch global migration flows bend toward Central America, alas.
Though it’s an easy draw to understand. Boys have been mesmerized by the original film since its 70s release, by the masculine character archetypes and story of heroism and sacrifice set in wondrous alien landscapes. None of which would likely have catapulted the movie from successful to legendary without John Williams’ masterpiece score and the novel contrivance of sword fighting with flashlights. Re-skin a classic tale, add a bauble, then put it all to great music.
An even better second installment in the Empire Strikes Back entrenched the franchise into America’s cultural firmament and created the current scenario by which re-runs of Sanford and Son could mint billions by virtue of running under the Star Wars banner.
This fact was not lost on series creator, George Lucas. I don’t know whether he intended his three prequels as honest attempts at epic filmmaking or the most cynical money suctions from a gullible public since Buzzfeed. But the movies were so uniformly, repulsively idiotic that, at their Attack of the Clones nadir, only a paltry $650 million was squeezed from the public’s wallets. Keep producing poor quality long enough, and over half a billion dollars is all you’ll have to show for it. So with his prequels trailing languidly on the heels of the Ewok toy advertisement that concluded the original series, Revenge of the Sith made for a remarkable four shit movies in a row. Disney smelled gold.
Thus in 2012 the kosher carcass of Walt Disney’s wholesome Americana enterprise purchased this rotting space fantasy franchise for four billion dollars, making Lucas the second richest man married to a
black woman on Earth. Of course Globocorp wasn’t at all interested in midi-chlorian blood counts or any other aspect of the ridiculous hash Lucas had made of his universe. They were instead purchasing the impregnable loyalty of millions of white male enthusiasts who badly needed their mythology delivered by non whites males. And enticing them to form lines for that luxury requires one thing alone: the name STAR WARS. So Disney paid two billion dollars per word. Quite a bargain as it may turn out.
Because around this time last year they released JJ Abrams’ effort into the insatiable gaping maw of fiction fandom. And the results were astonishing: rave reviews and over two billion at the box office. The cost of the word STAR recouped in one installment. That the movie was shockingly atrocious had no inhibiting effect on its performance whatsoever. The emotional hook was long since set and all the studio needed to do was cast the chum in the water.
I don’t watch movies in theaters, but did see The Force Awakens some months after its release on video. I had no expectation the film would rise to mediocrity, though given its limitless budget and impact on the corporate income statement, I assumed it would be at least a serviceable merchandise commercial. But that wasn’t the case. The movie was bad. Cosmically bad. I watched agape in admiration for its resolute wretchedness. That it could actually be worse than its prequel predecessors is something that doesn’t just ocurr in the vacuum of space. This was the work of a higher intelligence.
It doesn’t require much speculative musing to imagine the results of such content absent its titular emotional hook. If rather than running under the STAR WARS heading, the movie had been released more honestly as Emo Nazis in Space, it would have hyperdrived into the most spectacular loss supernova in Hollywood propaganda history. Instead it became the third highest-grossing movie of all time. The power of embedded triggers is strong in this one.
And so now there is the new Rogue One. I’m highly optimistic for prospects of a sixth consecutive abominable installment. And just as positive on the likelihood of 40-something fanbois to eat it up like a dish of tauntaun dung. Because no matter what CGI mishmash, derivative storyline, or wooden dialogue emerges in the film’s final 132 minutes, we’ll always have that scintillating first sixty second introduction of STAR WARS to make it all worthwhile.
Having relinquished any hope of rejuvenating my own youthful enthusiasm for the original, I’d now only ask that future cantina scenes hew to more accepted liberal orthodoxy. Do in the Republic as we do on Earth. That means Askajians furiously denouncing Sluissi privilege. In space, everyone can hear your bigotry. That’s what Rogue One should have explored: a speciest Bothan makes disparaging intergalactic comments about Mimbanites, resulting in a plucky rebel force getting him fired. This Hate is TEN TIMES the size of the last Hate! That’s the type of heroism that stirs the soul. And as long as it appears under the banner of STAR WARS we can count on a box office bonanza.