Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Analysis of Star Wars as "entertainment"

I've read John Scalzi's Whatever blog on and off for probably a year. He's a professional writer with fiction and nonfiction books to his credit, among many other things. He's also the Chief Entertainment Media Critic for Official US Playstation Magazine -- who knew? His fiction is mainly sci fi stuff, and an online discussion of science fiction and "entertainment" spurred quite an explosion of prose on his part in today's post.

It's quite long at 7 "Page Down"s till one reaches the end, but it doesn't feel like 7 "Page Down"s because it's structured well, is interesting and entertaining and is also just plain right. The meat of the post is that Star Wars as an entity, as a series of movies and as a mythology, is merely a vehicle for George Lucas to entertain himself. Since entertainment as a concept involves caring about and engaging an audience there is no way Star Wars can be considered entertainment.

It's all in the post: Joseph Campbell, mythology, incredible special effects, bad dialogue, the occasional acclaimed actors. You really should go read it. I'm a huge Star Wars fan and haven't wanted to admit the weaknesses of Episodes I, II and III, but there they are in all of their shame, pointed out to me and now undeniable. He gives reprieve to Episodes IV and V because they occurred at the right time in cinematic sci fi history, and were actually well-written (i.e., not by Lucas), respectively.

Then keep up with Whatever for awhile. In addition to sci fi he writes about politics, current events, goings-on with his family and occasionally, writing itself. His insight is sharp and writing clear and concise. He also actively participates in comments discussions. You'll like it.

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