Well if you can mess up a Han Solo movie you can mess up anything. Solo is a complete disaster it isn’t as good as mediocre Rogue 1 or close to Revenge of the Sith. In general the movies are trending down. I have a few theories about exactly why this is happening.
UPDATE – THE LAST JEDI AND RISE OF SKYWALKER HAVE INCREASED THE ISSUES – a new post is in the works.
Here’s my take on how these movies have gotten to the point making a good one is not likely at all-
The Wrong Movies Made MUCH More Money
Biggest Single Problem – The Phantom Menace is the highest grossing movie. That means every movie since has had elements of this huge fail thrown in. They think their giving the people what they want. It’s just because the price of movie tickets had hit an all time high (and has not gone up much since) around the time the movie came out AND the Star Wars Mandela Effect (more on that later)
Update- Terrible Last Jedi made a bunch of money and has solid rotten tomato numbers. Meanwhile people regard The Rise of Skywalker as a Botched Apology that derails immediately into a Rocky Horror-type view with a far less impressive box office.
Return of the Jedi is probably the highest grossing of the original trilogy in initial releases for all the obvious reasons. ROTJ is so flawed the Ret-Conning starts pretty quickly. Its probably the most re-made of the original movies too. This leads to a lot of problems. Lucas keeps helicoptering back to do a little more here and there.
One of the now recurring problems starting with ROTJ is “Unfrozen Han Solo” is a hit as a giddy comic relief type with no remaining darkness. It completes the characters journey from hard bitten cynic and works only in that sense. Sadly that version of Solo was the one we get in the Solo origin movie. It hamstrung the movie and the character.
Un-Failing Through Sheer Profitability has made the movies bomb proof and review-proof. How do you get a read on a franchise when your most flawed movie is highest grossing and you discount pent up demand?
Tech Crazy Money Hungry Mistakes and Purple Shift Compromise Originals
Along the way Lucas really fucks up and ‘Purple Shifts’ the prints of the original movies. In other words he was too quick to digitize the movies and they suffer from a then unnoticed flaw in technology. All colors pulled towards purple. Only a few people notice, until everyone does. Then you see it to the point its distracting. Its likely the original color scheme is gone forever.
Star Wars Stockholm Syndrome- Mandela Effect
People just seem to blame themselves when they see a multi-billion dollar grossing movie that they know sucks. Herd Mentality and groupthink kick in. You see the same thing with badly designed cell phones.
Apple especially has introduced flawed phones and blamed the user. One time they convinced everyone they just couldn’t take a picture right. Hey it worked, right? Forget that they hadn’t worked out a huge bug and just patched it. The story held up.
In the Galaxy Far, Far Away Stockholm Syndrome, where we sympathize with our captors, and the Mandela Effect; which is a phenomena whereby we create a false memory, meet. The bottom line is people convince themselves that the Star Wars writers can do no wrong and then recall their trip to the theater as better than it was. It’s not crazy, its probably the only way to rationalize the cash massacre of a trip to the theater with a family. Youre out a hundred bucks! “It wasn’t that bad” is actually a very normal compensation.
No one has benefited from this more than Rian Johnson – who made it interesting the way a car wreck interests people. Through brutal and bizarre subversion. If this becomes a classic Im OUT!
Most people think they enjoyed the movies no matter what. It’s like a lot of people are inoculated ahead of time against believing the movie could be bad.
There’s a harsh group of fans who also just hate every movie and at one time they were cranks. No one wants these cynics to win. It’s self spite-ing denial that the doomsayers ended up being right. People HATE being wrong as much as they hate being conned. They will often Con themselves as a self defense mechanism.
This means no one’s Word of Mouth Testimonials about the movies can really be believed. They’re lying to themselves and will try to get you to validate it for them by telling you it was good or that it was worth seeing.
The toy money is just as green as the movie money. So if the movie is a little off the mark more toys can be released and people will buy them no matter what. So you can ‘save’ movies with toys
The cruel Paradox; Toys are for Children; doesnt happen exactly like you might think, but it affects the movies.
Everyone collects the toys, including me. The problem isnt that adults wont buy them, they do. It’s making a movie too dark and scary for children at all is now off the table.
As proof I offer this- the best movie outside the original series is still Revenge of the Sith, the only PG-13 Star Wars movie ever. It was not considered profitable and its the “Temple of Doom” of the franchise. Different and interesting but not as successful and much ignored.
So you don’t really learn anything from making a chance-y but good movie. Another way to fairly assess the movies also gets closed off.
No chances are taken with Star Wars movies at all. The spark is gone. The New York Times accused the Solo movie of being a movie about a Wikipedia page. Its not unfair at all. There were few surprises in Solo.
Feedback Loop of Yes-Men
The Phantom Menace was terrible because NO ONE could criticize George Lucas to his face. The Internet made him anonymous again. He has never spoken of it but he was definitely going online like everyone else and he saw some biting criticisms. To his credit he seems to have listened. Im sure the first few hours were horrible for him though.
You can see Lucas’ effort to literally Un-Fuck the problems of Episode 1 in Episode 2. By Episode 3 he had re-set the stage for a truly good movie in Return of the Sith. I think Lucas absolutely was letting the fans have their way and its probably out of shame when he himself realizes he screwed the pooch with Episode 1.
Once Lucas is gone this lesson leaves with him.
No Failure Analysis
The fans are not honest with themselves when the movie is bad. this stops anyone from killing things that don’t work because most people are followers.
Don’t be a Follower. Solo, for example, has so many problems that exist outside center screen that it’ll be analyzed to death. They’re real.
Pure CGI Infatuation
CGI has been a blessing and a curse for the movie industry. In one sense wow, we can have a city wiped out by a flood or a snowstorm. Its freeing but in Sci-Fi its cut both ways and led some aspects of movie making right off a cliff creatively.
Its a lot of power to be able to use a CGI spectacle to bail out a medicore movie. That means movies that once wouldnt get made at all get made anyway with big special effects budget. Overall the worst thing its done its made for a lot of lazy shortcuts in otherwise good movies.
Star Wars goes through the same temptations and issues. And In the Galaxy Far, Far Away the problems also existed because, after all, its in Hollywood.
While Lucas got KILLED for the problems of the character Jar Jar Binks, the critics deem him as an ‘acceptable” effect and it starts us down a path of Pure CGI creatures. Most of the time the Pure CGI creature is simply too easy to create and ends up being mediocre.
They just never reach the level of believeability that Peter Jackson consistently manages to achieve.
Lazy Alien, Ship and Weapon Creation & the Tragedy of the Golden Army
A few scars, a helmet and some breathing issues and you’ve got yourself a bad guy. There no more to it than that. Technology may have simply enabled the developers to the point where they became the opposite of Creative.
Should the Alien Invasion ever occur we will all be shocked and angry if the alien race isn’t essentially the aliens from Hellboy, Hellboy 2: the Golden Army. and Pan’s Labyrinth. These aliens were simply Reused in the Avengers. They pull all aliens is a similar direction.
What we are now confronted with is the proto-type aliens we see a lot now were created by Guillermo Del Toro. They are/were great, but this vision has now made the rounds Lets face it, refugees from Pans Labyrinth and deserters from the Golden Army show up all over the place. They’ve inspired a lot of “Boss” Aliens. The thing is both Hellboy movies and Pans Labyrinth are populated with things like actual, working gags. The Star Wars movies really can’t boast this of late. In fact Last Jedi misfired 2 jokes in a row (to start BOTH Storylines) in the most ramshackle movie yet.
The Golden Army has no apparent Veterans Administration or benefits. Seems they all became Intergalactic Blackwater guys when the Golden Army lets them go. I dont know but lets maybe get them their own movie again and move on in other franchises? This is a whole post of its own one day.
The laziness and enablement that gets us so many dull aliens spills over to affect all aspects of production. Starships and aliens also too often get short creative shrift.
It’s a real issue in Solo, outside the Heroes Weapons and Starships are Under-Developed. Again its due to the ease of which any vision can be created.
Think of it this way – when the original movie opens in 1977 every single weapon was awesome and had a great sound to it. Han’s blaster, the storm trooper rifles, the Death Star’s main weapon. All wins. This starts to go away slowly in the prequels, but the guns still reflect the characters and the sounds of the weapons remains excellent. Not so much anymore.
In the SOLO Movie every weapon but the main characters, which were leftover from Lucas, was bland and boring. Only ships like the Falcon and TIE fighters are actually good. Most obviously- Beckett’s ship was just 3 rectangles!
Because they’ve developed so many aliens theres a point where Aliens are no longer Alien. We’re just too familiar with Galaxies Far, Far Away.
Many Successful Parodies
After Spaceballs the Star Wars Parodies kept coming. Most were good and that just makes it harder then ever to make a serious Star Wars movie. Basically the open of The Last Jedi is so awful it seems like a moment from Spaceballs because any attempt at humor will evoke the parodies.
A similar thing happens to a lesser degree when Star Trek was confronted with Galaxy Quest. For some reason the effects arent as bad. This might because Galaxy Quest was actually a pretty respectful parody.
Last- I have a prediction.
Marvel and Star Wars Look The Same and WILL Crossover
Yup. I said it. I do not think the people involved can ignore the fact that theres a crossover between these universes that will result in the Hugest Box Office take of All Time when “Star Wars Meets the Avengers”. It CAN NOT NOT HAPPEN. It WILL eventually be made. The SOLO movie made for 3 of the last 4 releases simply being bad. So the franchise is a tad desperate too. They may welcome Tony Stark or one of his buddies.
When the franchise is finally deemed to be Underperforming they will crossover the Universes. Don’t believe me” Marvel has had Star Wars rights since 1977. No one will be able to handle this fact. Consider Thor- Ragnorak a test balloon for the Marvel – Star Wars Crossover