The Force not always with Star Wars

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'Star Wars'

'Star Wars' (June 12, 2013)

Purists would say that you are merely resisting Lucas' continual tinkering with what was first put before the public.

"I finally got a chance to read your Star Wars article. It had a big splashy cover photo. Two big pages dedicated to Star Wars! I thought I was going to get some clues to the Disney plans for more movies. But noooooooooooo. You gave a long, rambling, boring, whiny story about how you don't like any of the Star Wars movies. I had to reread some of it to figure out the point you were trying to make. I determined there is none. You were asked to write something about pop culture, you don't like it, so we got this. Wow. I did like the stats at the bottom of the second page. I might save that."
— Larry Himmelblau, Lisle

Long, rambling, boring and whiny? I really think three adjectives would have sufficed. Here, to make amends, is some news about the Disney/Pixar continuation. Furthering my belief that there's no escaping Star Wars, ever, J.J. Abrams, who will be directing the next, and, in all probability, best Star Wars movie, revealed this week that it will likely shoot in England in early 2014.

"Cute story, maybe even mostly true. However, in the words of another "franchise" writer, "Methinks (thou) doth protest too much." You were 13 when the Stars Wars phenomenon broke onto public consciousness and transformed how a movie could affect the culture; I was older, and it was a game-changer despite all the pretzel-bending the critics then, and since, have gone through to explain otherwise. Why, I don't know exactly. The really great model work and motion camera work had mostly been done in "2001: A Space Odyssey" and others, but it was integral in "Star Wars."

"The studios and critics were all protesting that it was just a standard cowboy Western saga in space, but there was more than that as well. Lucas' merchandising deals have kept Star Wars-inspired toys in front of every group of kids born since 1976. The animated spinoffs were mostly junk, but the series of novels and computer games have legions of followers.

"It had only been a year since "Jaws" had been a huge hit in a different way, one that didn't last and couldn't grow as Star Wars did. So why did Star Wars spawn a legacy while other movie "universes" have failed to ride the same wave? I don't know the precise detailed answer to that, but George Lucas seems to."
— John Barker, Gurnee

In other words, alchemy. I don't disagree, but that doesn't mean I have to believe that iron has been converted into gold.

"One hundred percent in your corner. The original film was good (just good). Lucas is maybe the worst screenwriter of all time, but on the original he had input from myth expert Joseph Campbell. So that script at least had some touchstones to latch onto. Everything else was crap. Oh, and do I know about Joseph Campbell's input because I have any Star Wars geekery in me? Nope. PBS and Bill Moyers had a beautiful multipart thing with Campbell that caught my attention in the late '80s; from that and subsequent reading I picked up the film info."
— Scott Thompson, LaGrange Park

Fine point, and a further explanation for the alchemy. And a reminder that, when it comes down to it, I think I prefer the PBS form of geekery. At least that gets you a tote bag.

sajohnson@tribune.com | Twitter @StevenKJohnson

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