Since yesterday’s post was about cultural reference points, I’m perfectly happy to do it again. I just booked for Star Wars. I’ll need to see it quickly so nobody spoils it, which they inevitably will, as quickly as they can, in some sort of power-quest to use their specialist knowledge. Never underestimate the ability of powerless people to wield the idea of power when they have it.
I should probably have stopped caring about Star Wars a long long time ago. The original trilogy had Joseph Campbell in a direct relationship with George Lucas. It was the hero’s journey. Campbell died around Return of the Jedi time. His advice carried through the first three films. It is conspicuously absent thereafter.
The next three were Lucas alone without the guidance of that master of myth, at a time when CGI was new in movies. In many ways those three detested films were bellwethers of technology, if for no other reason than to teach us how far you can push it before people instinctively know it’s bullshit. The “uncanny valley” is the phrase I understand was created to talk about the bit where our imagination stops believing in the CGI and starts thinking about the array of artists sitting in an office with managers and employee of the month and high end laptops, drawing and animating and colouring not only the obvious bits, but the drearily boring but constant background.
I still miss puppets. It all looks like bullshit to me. Give me Jabba the Hutt. The Alien. Fuck yes.
Most people still know the name of Jim Henson. Many know the name HR Geiger. Point me towards the CGI masters in the same frame?
Maybe it’s just that I’m not aware of them.
More likely it’s because we have heard of the old masters in the old idiom. The money men have found a way to divert us from knowing the names of the changing artists in the new. If it can be made in an animation sweatshop where everybody is told they’re even, then nobody has to be paid royalties and if there’s someone particularly changing and unusual and positive then they’re just part of the team, ya, and there’s no “I” in team ya ya? And if the team disagrees then the artist just loses their job.
I’m in to watch Star Wars tomorrow at noon. It all happened pretty suddenly. I was thinking I’d just get to hang out and have a nice relaxing morning. But my friends are going full Star Wars, and I can’t ignore that. I’ll go. My lightsaber was broken by a friend forgetting that it was actually plastic not genuine hardened light. Despite my saying “Go easy on it,” they whacked it full force into a stick that another friend was holding. I’m not one to confiscate beforehand, but I saw it coming. It was irrevocably fucked. I’m still good friends with him but I’m not square about it, and it was about seven years ago. I love him. But grrrrr, blundering with his “I’ll replace it,” and both of us knowing he never would. He’s been too busy pretending to be Irish lately. Friends, eh? We love ’em. They piss us off. I have no doubt I’m just as frustrating to many of my old mates. I certainly don’t mind if I am. But I miss my old lightsaber.