As I was saying about the movie math of The Last Jedi before the Christmas holiday weekend—they are in trouble. And it doesn’t make me happy to say it, because something like this has massive cultural ramifications for the future—and its clear that people were front loaded on the film. They went to see it when it first came out. But as Luke faded away at the end of the film, so did the fan base. You can’t go kill off all the original characters and expect to keep this thing alive unless the new characters are every bit as charismatic—and they clearly aren’t. Kylo Ren is the most exciting character and he’s the bad guy—everyone else is just wall paste and that’s a real problem. The movie will make its money, but the problem is, will people still love this film in 2040—like they do the originals? No. Even in the year of 2050 people will still love the original films, but will be indifferent of the prequels and the sequels—and that is truly sad.
I made a decision not too long ago that I would support the Star Wars franchise mainly because of my grandchildren and children. After The Force Awakens I didn’t want to talk about Star Wars for an entire year, and my kids missed it. They like to bounce morality themes off me decorated with Star Wars plots and not having the ability to do that wore on their minds. So it is more destructive to say no to it than to accept what good does come from it. When the new Star Wars land opens in Disney World we’ll go to it, and I’m sure we’ll love it. But as far as enthusiasm for what comes next from the Lucasfilm group—the magic is clearly gone and that was an avoidable circumstance. It was a bad idea to assume that Star Wars stories could be created in group think instead of that classical way Lucas used which was just a piece of paper and a pencil—and one human mind.
I recently reread the book by Norman Vincent Peale The Power of Positive Thinking. I was provoked into this endeavor by watching recently The Founder, the story of Ray Kroc who started the McDonald’s franchise. When he was an up and coming traveling salesman, he listened to a book version of the Peale book to motivate him each day. The book was very popular in that late 50s early 60s period and I can imagine George Lucas having access to it, because a lot of what is in that book are some of the best lines of dialogue from the Star Wars movie The Empire Strikes Back. I do know something about George Lucas as he was on the board of The Joseph Campbell Foundation when I was a member—and I’m sure that Peale played a part of influence on the young George Lucas. He may not admit to it today as all his liberal friends would likely berate him for it, but The Power of Positive Thinking is every bit as strong in the core of American value as it was when it was written. That kind of element is what’s missing from these new Star Wars movies—Luke being the pessimist, the lack of an eternally optimistic Han Solo character who doesn’t get pushed around by the girls in the movies. Star Wars was and always will be a throwback film to the kind of America that was the 1940s through the 1950s—just as Disney World reflects that same optimism from its founder in its amusement parks. People aren’t going to pay good money and buy lots of merchandise for something that makes them depressed and all these new Star Wars films have a premise set in sacrifice, not in proactive action.
I had a reading marathon over the Christmas break, I read three books in three days and I utilized the entire clock to do so—and I loved it. The Power of Positive Thinking was an easy read for me, but it took some time, around 10 hours, and I had it timed to the arrival of my next book, The 15:17 to Paris, which is about the terrorist attack that was stopped by three heroes riding a train from Amsterdam to Paris when an ISIS sympathizer launched an attack with 500 people on board. As I was finishing Peale’s book at 1:57 PM on December 26th, 2017 a notification came up on my computer saying that The 15:17 to Paris had arrived at my house. So I closed the Peale book just as the dogs were barking and noticed a mail truck stuffing the book into my mailbox as the snow was falling. I walked out in my bare feet to retrieve the book as snow blew across our driveway. I grabbed the book and went back to my chair and opened it up—only about five minutes transpired, and I started reading that book and within 6 pages the mother of Spencer Stone was praying for her child to be safe in France ahead of the terrorist attack. I knew as I read that under Clint Eastwood’s direction that this movie was going to be a hit, because America is still that hopeful and faithful nation. Disney has decided to go against that traditional message and it is hurting them—unnecessarily. After all, wasn’t that the whole point of the movie Dumbo—believing in yourself even when your symbols have been striped away?
The original Star Wars movies were very much about hope, and how positive thinking could overcome anything—no matter the odds. These new films are very progressive and clearly about sacrifice. Who wants to go to the movies to hear a fat Asian girl rattle on about animal rights? If Disney wants to show that average people can be heroes too, there are other ways to do that, but Star Wars is not about those kinds of people. The characters of Star Wars are about the exceptional, not the bland. I bet there will be lots of Rose Star Wars figures on clearance this summer at Target. Who will want that one for their collection? At the end of The Last Jedi the new girl power had pretty much destroyed their resistance showing themselves to be completely incompetent. It’s one thing to be outmatched as the Rebellion always was, but this Resistance is an official branch of the governing power. How could the female generals screw it up so bad? Those are the kinds of questions that people left the theater thinking. They certainly weren’t passionate enough about the film to go see it a second time, or a third—which is what it needed.
This is all important because it says much more about our culture overall. Star Wars is a big part of that culture and now we can see that the magic that made the originals good, just isn’t there in the modern sense and that can be traced back to our divided country politically and on matters of religion. Hollywood is a depressed culture full of losers, drug addicts, promiscuous cape riders, cheats, low-life’s and hopeless degenerates. I noticed that my copy of The 15:17 to Paris shipped from a book store in Van Nuys, California since it was out of print awaiting the updated version that is set to come out with the release of the Eastwood movie in early February. But I didn’t want to wait so I found a new copy of the book in that little town which is a suburb of Los Angeles essentially—just a few miles down the road from where Star Wars was originally partially filmed, where Industrial Light and Magic started as a special effects company for the Star Wars movies. As I watched my package move across the country I thought about how different California was from when Star Wars was first made. The hints of progressivism were already there, but there were enough people not yet corrupted that it wasn’t noticeable unless you really picked up the curtain. Now, it’s a very different place and the people who have helped make it so progressive are now the people making Star Wars movies, and they don’t get it. They don’t understand what made Star Wars great in the first place and they don’t understand American audiences—at all. And that is a damn shame. Nothing against fat Asian chicks—there is a place for them in the world—but forcing them into a plot just to do it says that the filmmakers have no idea what they are doing. Which is directly reflected by the box office numbers.
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