Evil Walt Disney, White Slaver; and…
The Force Awakens
I think that somebody somewhere once said that the opposite of Love is not Hate. It’s Indifference. And that sounds about right to me.
It’s one of the reasons that I don’t intend to review Star Wars: The Force Awakens — quite leaving aside the fact that it’s one of those films that is critically bullet-proof. People were going to go and see it, come what may; and because of the residual love for the initial 1977 outing, and that nice glow of nostalgia that some of us of a certain age get when we remember it, there’s a vested interest in this one being more than good.
We were let down by the trilogy of prequels, which were awful; and we’ve waited a while for this one whilst the most astonishing marketing campaign has gone into overdrive and which has been so successful that fans (and even non-fans) are determined to like it whether or not it’s very good at all.
And of course, it’s not bad. It’s really quite entertaining. And that’s about it, which perhaps should have been enough. But, as I said, that vested interest in it being more than just good…
Let’s be honest: it’s nothing you haven’t seen before. There’s an even bigger Death Star with an even more irritating built-in flaw and there’s a guy who looks a bit like Darth Vader – except without the charisma and sense of danger.
Come to think of it, not at all like Vader, so.
There are a lot of enormously annoying in-jokes that the committee who wrote it threw in to keep you thinking that you’re a member of a secret tribe and that you owe it to yourself to get out there and buy some SW merchandise.
Well, like I say, I was never a huge fan of the franchise but I did like director JJ Abrams’ Mission Impossible III; I loved his Super 8; and I was frigging crazy about his Star Trek movies — so I had hopes. That didn’t work out; but that’s OK. It was entertaining enough, if you had a wet afternoon to waste a couple of hours in.
What has given me much more entertainment however is the hullaballoo that has followed George Lucas’ remarks on something called The Charlie Rose Show over the New Year.
During an hour long interview (God, can you imagine being so bored with life that you would want to hear that?) the fat, contented-looking ex-director threw out a few prize nuggets. But the one that seems to have riled the easily-offended the most was when he compared the Disney Corporation to ‘white slavers’. What he said in context was this (where George really doesn’t take his own advice on nasty break-ups):
“And it really does come down to a really simple rule of life, which is when you break up with somebody, the first rule is no phone calls. The second rule, you don’t go over to their house and drive by to see what they’re doing. The third one is you don’t show up at their coffee shop or the thing…you just say: nope, gone, history – I’m moving forward…Every time you do something like that, you’re opening the wound again; and it just makes it harder for you. You have to put it behind you, and it’s a very, very, very hard thing to do. But you have just cut it off and say okay, end of ball game. I got to move on. And everything in your body says, don’t, you can’t – and these are my kids.
“All those Star Wars films… I love them, I created them, I’m very intimately involved in them and I sold them to the white slavers that take these things and…”
Honestly, this mess of a statement and the reaction to it is better than the movie. It’s a wonderful image of this richer-than-Croesus guy selling his children into white slavery like something out of a Fu Manchu novel just because he’s been offered several billion to do so. Then when he gets his hands on the loot he goes all moral high ground on the Disney Corporation that he obviously initially thought had treated him fairly.
What happened? Did the new parents of the beloved children that he SOLD do a better job of it than he did with his woeful prequels? Had he not expected them to make quite such a barrel-load of loot out of the whole affair?
And if you thought the ‘white slavers ‘ analogy was inappropriate, what the hell did you make of a seventy-year old man going on with that crap about breaking up with your partner? Don’t drive by their house; don’t go to their coffee shop.
Good Lord, it’s like a scene from his own American Graffiti.
The thing is, though, that I don’t think that he should have apologised at all. I am sick of people making these groveling apologies (and boy was his a groveling one!). We all say daft things at times. And there will always be idiots out there who are whinging like little children of both sexes, ready to be offended by anything that is perceived as racist or sexist or ageist or – what’s that new one? – oh yeah, transgenderphobic or something.
George’s remark may have been pretty stupid but I’m reasonably certain that he didn’t mean that Evil Walt Disney was selling white women into bondage at the hands of those of a questionable skin-pigmentation. Get a grip, for heaven’s sake.
I’m happy that the genuine Star Wars fans seem in the main to have gotten a film that they’re happy with. Even though not-so-deep down I think that it’s mainly relief that Abrams didn’t mess up like George himself did last time around.
Anyway, how could he? It’s far too safe a film for that.