I’m not really sure what category this belongs to, but Star Wars has once again appeared on my radar so here goes.
A while ago, a colleague introduced me to the strange world of Mr. Plinkett, a deranged pizza-roll-eating movie reviewer with a hilarious habit of “taping” his reviews over the top of kidnapping, rape, torture and bestiality footage featuring his cat and various abducted women.
Among his film reviews are some extremely long-winded and highly entertaining critiques of Episode I, Episode II and Episode III, which are cruel and unusual in just about every sense of the term. Well recommended to anyone with a bit of time or the opportunity to leave them playing in the background while you work. Not exactly the sort of footage you want to accidentally share on your desktop during a meeting, of course. But what is, these days?
The reviews so entertained some people, and so enlivened the Anti Prequel Party, that one loyal Star Wars enthusiast took it on himself to write a hundred-odd page rebuttal to Plinkett’s review of The Phantom Menace – a review of the review, to which Plinkett filmed a brief counter-rebuttal.
Now, I didn’t care much for the Prequel Trilogy. It was full of BSTs and action and that was a lot of fun for a shallow and tacky film-viewer such as myself … but I guess I, like so many other Star Wars fans, had been waiting so long to see new movies that my expectations were just way too high.
As discussed elsewhere here, it’s really dubious to pin down exactly where the old movies “won” and the new movies “lost”. Annoying-arse kid, even-more-annoying-arse teenager, annoying-arse Jar Jar Binks and rather too much CGI fakery, sure. Those are easy, sweeping, subjective remarks to make.
But I was swayed by the reasonableness in the meta-review. It still got a bit ad hominem, and I rather think it was the work of a true fanboy. A new age fanboy, perhaps, while Plinkett’s reviews may be more accurately described as the work of an old school fanboy, but it stuck to its guns and it stuck to the facts.
Plinkett’s reviews do fub some points, focus on others way too much, create more confusion than needed and ignore some things entirely. Some of his objections and criticisms were actually made up, and it’s not exactly an intellectually enriching piece. A bit of fact-checking – which our new age fanboy did in spades – shed a lot of light on what initially looks like a multitude of sins, but turns out in fact to just be an average movie that could never live up to its legend.
As the disgruntled rumblings of a disenchanted old school fanboy, Plinkett’s review sums up the confusion and disappointment I know a lot of people felt on seeing these films. I felt it myself, to some degree or another, in between going “oooh, look at the shinies.” So it’s not an objective and intellectually honest piece of critique … fine. As long as I’m not thinking of it that way, I don’t mind if other people do. Our new age fanboy obviously minds.
Plinkett also preferred the older Star Trek movies to the Next Generation ones, although his review of the Trek prequel film was pretty reasonable and positive for someone the new age fanboy meta-reviewer calls so many nasty names. And a lot of Plinkett’s criticisms of the Next Generation films seemed pretty clear, as opposed to his more vague and rambling objections to the Prequel Trilogy’s plot minutiae.
His use of the puzzled Trek officer in pointing out flaws, incidentally, was also nothing short of brilliant.
Points to the new age fanboy and his meta-review, though, overall. His work may not have been as funny or elaborate, but it was closer to an actual review and it showed he’d done his homework. And Plinkett’s homework, too. I’m going to pay Plinkett’s reviews as hilarious, clever and well done, but the meta-review still whips them on facts.
New age fanboy could have been nicer about it, but hey. Plinkett wasn’t very nice, and that was one of the things that made his review so damn funny. That meta-review was obviously the work of many months and a lot of frustrating conversations about Plinkett’s films, so I can’t begrudge him a little snarkiness. And Plinkett’s meta-meta-review was way off base, since that was not what new age fanboy’s meta-review was all about (but again, can’t really blame him because his actual reviews were even more work, and it’s very easy for someone to just come along and criticise … which is just what Plinkett did to Lucas, who put even more work into his films … whoa, I am falling into a meta-hole).
I have a feeling Plinkett read the meta-review in spite of his dubious response to it. I know I would, if our situations were reversed and someone put that much effort into destroying something I’d made – if only on academic grounds.
But it all comes down to one thing: do you like the three-movie Star Wars saga, or the six-movie Star Wars saga? There are people who refuse to acknowledge that the Prequel Trilogy even happened, and that’s their right. There are people who refuse to acknowledge that the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, and that doesn’t affect my life in any concrete way.
Personally, my conclusion about the Original Trilogy vs. the Prequel Trilogy is summed up by one thing: the Lego.
The old movies had droids and machines and ships and things that already looked like they were made of Lego. You could make most of the things out of grey Lego pieces without much need for special packs, and when you wanted to get creative, you could make all sorts of hybrids and other stuff as well. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone of a certain age: this is what Lego is meant to be for.
The new movies’ props, however, are very much what I call “new Lego”: you get a packet with about six pieces of Lego in it, each piece can attach in exactly one way, to make exactly one thing: the prop from the movie, all cartoony and slick. You can’t use the top half of a Naboo fighter ship to make anything else (except possibly a Battle Droid with a hilarious head). It spoils your imagination.
The Prequel Trilogy in a nutshell? You decide.