|Lucas, left, with that other permanent adolescent, Spielberg|
The mind of movie guru George Lucas, a mind permanently fixed in a state of adolescence, will give birth in a few weeks to yet another rehash of his "Star Wars" obsession. Though he is not as "hands-on" in this latest production his rapidly greying eminence hangs over it like a pall.
Amused, we glance over the cast list, the likes of which I shall not dwell upon. The worst of it is to see so fine an actor as Max von Sydow wasting himself in such trivialities.
To say that we are being bombarded and bamboozled by the hype over this never-ending saga is to put it mildly. The hoopla to date would give one the impression that what we are witnessing is more important than the Second Coming. Such is the power of PR.
And such is the state of mind of the average person that the release of more junk like this is greeted as something almost holy. A glance at the average news outlet tells the story plainly: another helping of Lucas-bloated pabulum with mayonnaise is what the world is waiting to have poured over them.
And it is impossible to escape this. The upcoming release is drummed into our heads like a voodoo mantra, complete with drums and gyrating adherents, displayed everywhere we walk, work or (try to) relax. Am I the only person, film aficionado that I am, that finds this disturbing? Young people, our precious young people, are allowed by their parents to feed on this over-cooked and tasteless stew on a regular basis. "It's only a movie. Relax", they say. My answer to that would be, garbage in, garbage out.
Young people are having their own precious brains - not to mention, souls - addled by the addled brains in Hollywood. That is really what is going on here. Their young lives are being filled with eye-catching nonsense daily. Hourly. They are not allowed to develop either intellectually, emotionally or spiritually. They become obsessed with mere entertainments, so obsessed that the practical living of their lives is being adversely affected. Will they ever get serious about life? Plan for the future? Begin to realize that they will have to make it though life on their own without a light sabre or the help of The Force...or their parents?
To say they are being dumbed down would be a compliment. I vividly recall several occasions when I attended the screenings of some classic films of the past at a theatre that once specialized in these types of movies. The film(s) being shown were intelligently written and made, quite witty and in many cases edifying. During several particularly amusing moments which would draw laughs from those of us seasoned in the world of great films the baseball cap-wearing young people who normally feasted on modern movies, and who thought it might be nice to sample an "old film" for a change, would sit there in a dazed stupor, obviously too dull to appreciate examples of real humor. Tragic, really. When even a simple sense of humor is no longer being developed in our young folk we are edging closer to disaster.
A similar experience occurred when after recommending P.G. Wodehouse to an acquaintance who still enjoyed reading I was amazed at his reaction. He found the books boring and unfunny. I would suggest that anyone who finds Wodehouse unfunny is already deceased. Yet this fellow could not find a single story about Jeeves or Ukridge that amused him. In my own case this I can attest: that Mr Wodehouse is perhaps the only author I have ever read who makes me laugh literally out loud. Not my friend, though. But we must be tolerant and patient of such souls; I suppose anyone who finds the Junior High-level humor of The Simpsons funny, as he does, has already had his comic sensibilities bludgeoned out of him and would find reading Wodehouse similar in enjoyment to a journey to the Arctic without taking along a winter coat.
But to return to the infantilism that now characterizes the entertainment industry, and the forced-fed phenomena that is the release of the newest Lucas effort, it tells this writer how difficult a job it would be to help these dazed movie-goers get control of their lives and their futures. Too many times have I seen potential in young people being left to rot in the rain as their attention is drawn to these special effect baubles that dance on movie screens and televisions.
Would they tolerate a warning from someone who knows what he's talking about?
The late, great Sir Alec Guiness, who appeared (somewhat reluctantly) in the original "Star Wars" has some advice for young people who look upon these movies as idols:
I believe that Sir Alec has pronounced the final word on this obsession. Once and for all.
This coming Advent and Christmas Seasons will be better spent ignoring Hollywood. An antidote to the general hysteria over the release of the latest big screen rubbish? Wodehouse?Chesterton? Dickens? Maybe a Christmas concert? Whatever you choose, keep them out of the movie theatres.
And may The Force go away.