S.G. Browne

How Being A Writer Ruined My Favorite Childhood Movie

So I decided to give myself a break from rewrites of Lucky Bastard last night and watch a movie.

I had Rachel Getting Married from Netflix all cued up in my DVD player when I caught the end of the Family Guy episode “Something, Something, Something Dark Side” on TV, which is a parody of The Empire Strikes Back, and I decided to watch Star Wars again for the first time in nearly ten years. On VHS.

Yes, I still own a VHS. And I have a cathode ray tube television that weighs a thousand pounds. I have trouble getting rid of things that still work.

But back to Star Wars.

While I still have a soft spot for what was the most awe-inspiring and memorable movie-going experience of my life (having seen the original release at the Festival Cinemas in Hayward in 1977), I discovered that the writer in me couldn’t abide several problems in the film that I used to be able to overlook.

For one thing, the Stormtroopers need some target practice. Sure, you can argue that on the Death Star they were missing on purpose to allow the good guys to escape so they could track them to the rebel base, but throughout the film they were about as accurate as a weather forecast.

Speaking of shooting, when you have a single point of entry to defend where only one stormtrooper can come through at at time (like when the stormtroopers are coming out of the elevator into the detention block), it seems like Han and Chewbacca could have picked them off one by one as they came out. Not that I have any experience fighting with plasma bolt weapons, but it seems reasonable to me. Just sayin’.

But the part that really gets me is at the end of the movie when the Death Star approaches the planet Yavin, on the other side of which sits the moon that is home to the rebel base. With all of that “ultimate power in the universe” hyperbole, couldn’t the Death Star just blow up Yavin to get to the moon and take care of wiping out the rebellion in a matter of minutes? Instead, the Death Star goes into a leisurely orbit around the planet, which takes thirty minutes and gives the rebels plenty of time to attack the Death Star and blow it up.

Lame. Not as lame as regurgitating the same plot point in Return of the Jedi, but still lame.

If there’s one thing that irks me in films, it’s contrived or inexplicable plot points that allow the story to unfold in a manner inconsistent with the existing story elements.

But then, George Lucas has a bazillion dollar movie franchise and his own special effects company and a campus in the Presidio in San Francisco with a Yoda water fountain out in front of it, so what do I know?

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Filed under: Just Blogging,Movies and Books,The Writing Life — Tags: — S.G. Browne @ 6:10 am