Top Film Industry Stories of 2015:
#1 The Force Awakens Is the One

By David Mumpower

January 22, 2016

Olan Mills did a great job with this pic.

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During the 1970s, George Lucas introduced the public to something that they immediately loved. During the 1980s, he introduced them to something they loved even more. Three years later, a new manifestation of the same principles wasn’t quite as lovingly received. People were a bit ambivalent about Ewoks, but they felt satisfied with the ending of what has come to be called the Holy Trilogy.

Sixteen years later, Lucas returned to the scene of his greatest triumph, delivering new ideas in the first of an anticipated prequel trilogy. At first, audience members were receptive to this reinvention of the origins of Darth Vader, arguably the greatest villain of all-time. People fondly remembered the magic of Lucas-ian storytelling from their childhood. A treatise on economic and political maneuvering didn’t quite match their recollections of their youth. Also, Jar Jar Binks seemed to shamelessly pander to the next generation of movie-goers.

Still, this was a George Lucas movie, a Star Wars movie, no less. He had earned the benefit of the doubt from cinephiles, even if he was showing signs of being past his prime. This required a lot of forgiveness. The film that they’d anticipated for 16 years included dialogue as staggeringly awful as “Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo.”


Three years later, Lucas returned with what many, including myself, argued to be his make or break project. Sure, Lucas was a billionaire with one of the largest legions of fans on the planet, but a second lousy prequel would be hard to ignore. It would reinforce the belief that Lucas had lost his touch. Suffice to say that the second prequel stands as the worst reviewed film AND the worst box office performer in the franchise.
By 2005, the perception of George Lucas fundamentally changed. He no longer stood tall as the godfather of science fiction cinema. His formerly ardent fans now looked on him with a strange combination of pity and disgust. The man who built Star Wars from nothing delivered the conclusion to his meticulously planned prequels, and audiences collectively said, “Eh, that’s good enough.” Their opinions of Star Wars had lowered so much by that point that a movie that didn’t actively disgust them qualified as a modern success in terms of film quality.

That’s how far and how quickly Lucas fell from his Hollywood throne. In only six years, he flipped from conquering hero returning to the glory of battle to antiquated storyteller incapable of understanding the needs of smarter movie fans. The entire turn of events was brutal. Many people who followed Lucas shamelessly ripped off his ideas, adapting and modernizing them. By the time Lucas returned, his less artful imitators became the measuring stick against which his films were compared and found lacking.

The early days of the internet and social media involved innumerable outcries against the most popular film franchise in North America. Its inventor absorbed much of the criticism. The best comparison for the entire turn of events in today’s terms is if people suddenly started an uprising against George RR Martin, attempting to bully him out of Game of Thrones. That’s how unimaginable the situation is, and yet that’s exactly what transpired.

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