Star Wars and Risk Taking
This week, I finally got around to see the latest Star Wars film. When it came out in December, I was sick with a winter cold that took forever to clear out. And then I just never got to it.
Took me a while to understand why.
I know this dates me, I saw Star Wars when it was originally released, and it was something new and unexpected that no one had ever seen before. Up until then, science fiction movies had been about monsters created by atomic radiation (Godzilla, Them), or our astronauts visiting another planet and finding monsters. They were often lessons warning us that if we didn’t shape up, this would happen.
Star Wars made science fiction fun.
And people lined up to see at the movie theaters. The news reports showed these lines wrapped around the block. People bragged that they were on their 17th viewing of the movie. It was a film that was eminently satisfied and made you feel good when you went home.
Anyone who saw it then remembers that magic.
But all the writers of this new film did was rewrite the first movie. The writers even used some of the same dialogue, and this made it predictable rather than surprising. I knew that Han Solo was going to die because the same scene was in the original film with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
The result was that it was an okay film. I liked Rae and was happy to see a woman character getting an action role. But it wasn’t a film that would make me go back and rewatch it to get immersed in the story all over again.
Unfortunately, the studios have become extremely risk adverse. They spend a lot of money on films and want to guarantee success. So it’s easier to revise an old script or remake an existing project that was successful then it is to come up with a fresh film.
I grew up in the Hollywood area. A film crew filmed in a house down the street from my house. I spotted a grocery store we shopped at on Hunter, and another (now a Target) on Scarecrow and Mrs. King. I saw Martin E. Brooks (Bionic Woman) in a local restaurant. I’ve been to conventions, where all the fans enjoy the stories that made them excited.
And I want studios to take a risk and be more creative. Is that too much to ask?