1 June 2015

The Reality of Nostalgia

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I started life in a particularly grotty area in which junkies roamed the streets and little children would shit on the floor in public. Some girl I knew once squat one out under a slide in the park and told me to keep it a secret. She said that I should tell people a dog had done it, which was fine because as far as I was concerned a fucking dog had done it. I was disgusted, appalled, and about five years old. Thankfully we moved away and it was only the other day, about twenty years later that I decided to return to it. I looked up the old road that had shaped my initial impression of the world when I was kicked in the balls by a wave of nostalgia. The place was exactly how I'd remembered it... the streets were paved with faeces and syringes littered the floor acting as obstacles for the children as they played their daily game of 'don't get AIDs'. What struck me the most however was how small the place now seemed. I wondered what the chap who bought our old house thought of the place, but of course I couldn't ask him. Not because I didn't have the confidence but rather that he'd made his answer quite obvious several years earlier by stringing himself up from a nearby lamppost and hanging himself. Oh well.  

I watched Star Wars: Episode II - Attack Of The Clones the other day having ignored it for years and it was this experience of revisiting my old road that jumped to mind. The film cuts to about ten years after The Phantom Menace when young Anakin has grown up into a different actor and started behaving like a prick. Both he and Obi-Wan are tasked with protecting Padme due to her stunt double being injured after farting out an explosion like a Farrelly Brothers' remake of Man On Fire. This is rightly assumed to be an assassination attempt which leads the two Jedi's to begin exploring an entire galaxy of painfully dated, computer generated environments. At one point Obi-Wan walks into a cave that looks so fake that fucking Wile E. Coyote could have done a better job with a bucket of paint and ten broken fingers. Anyway, whilst Obi-Wan is pissing about with confused and bored looking Hammer Horror actors, a forbidden romance begins to blossom between Anakin and Padme. Watching those two fall in love is about as touching as hitting a ventriloquists dummy with a wooden stick whilst a fat kid slaps his titties to the songs of Barry White. Clones are found, wars begin and huge plot holes begin to form like the great, gaping anus of an ancient Poo God. 

It's been years since I last watched this movie and so my previous viewing involved a much younger, forgiving version of myself that was currently wrapped up in an obsessive affair with the franchise. I was young enough to enjoy The Phantom Menace when it came out and so like a cheated on girlfriend, I was too stupid to realise that the object of my affection was actually a massive piece of shit. What I noticed when watching Attack Of The Clones the other day however was simply how throw-away and unimportant it suddenly seemed. Like my old road, I recognised everything as I'd remembered it but suddenly it just seemed so small an undeserving of the hype it received at the time. Where once the two had been literally 'the world' to my na├»ve eyes, I could now see them for what they were... A road of crack-heads and an average film that occasionally flirts back and forth between fun and crap. I'd like to say that this is a sign of growing up with the gap between who I was and who I am beginning to increase as the years pile on. But it was only the other year that the The Force Awakens was announced causing my brain to explode as I sat and had a little cry whilst wearing my Darth Vader voice-changer helmet. I suppose this revisiting and re-evaluation however is simply proof that the more films you see the more accurately you can judge them. It's also the reason why the 16 years old American 'film critic' Lights Camera Jackson is a charlatan and anybody that listens to him is a fucking gonk 

So on the bright side, I would say that Lucas seems to have listened to the many critics of Episode I and improved this sequel in a couple of areas. Although beyond featuring a gungan rimming session, I suppose he couldn't have done too much worse. For a start he seems to have cut down on the hokey, talky-talk bollocks that bogged down the last film and replaced them with a significant amount more action. Normally I obviously don't mind characters chatting with each other but when the dialogue sounds as though it was written by an autistic robot from the tax office then I can personally do without it. The script is equally as awful here as it was in the last movie with the film seemingly stuck and forced to tread water in the puddle of shit that The Phantom Menace set it up for. It's like it's going through the motions of simply trying to escape its immediate predecessor in order to catch up with the original trilogy. The central romance literally only exists because it has to, with actor Hayden Christian displaying all the heated passion of a shop window mannequin that's turned a pissy yellow colour in the sunlight. In many ways it's easy to make fun of Christian for his god-awful performance however I'll refrain with his subsequent illustrious career proving to be the bigger punch line. I hear that he was pretty good in the earlier film Shattered Glass and so who knows whether we should blame him or George Lucas for his performance? Although I suppose it is true that two wrongs don't make a right and both of these people seem to be more useless than a dildo shaped cactus. 

And to be fair, even if they have replaced most of the shit talk about tax and such bollocks with action, it still only lightly skips the surface of being exciting. The problem really is that Lucas has put so much emphasis on CG that it's hard to give a shit about anything. Yoda versus Christopher Lee should be cool but I'm pretty sure that Lee is the only real thing in that room. So essentially all you're getting is an old man waving his arms around whilst imagining what it'd be like to be attacked by a Gremlin. If I found that exciting then I'd visit my Nan in the nursing home more often. Nor does it make any sense as to why Yoda needs that little walking stick when a few seconds later he's bouncing around the walls like he's popped some pills at a 90's rave. I can therefore only assume that the little green fraudster is claiming disability and the stick helps to get him that badge that allows use of the disabled parking spaces in supermarkets. By the time this film reaches its third act it seems we're finally going to get those clone wars we were tantalised with back in 1977.. and yet the whole thing ends up looking like a cut scene from a shit PS2 game. Oh well, maybe we'll get the proper thing in the next film in which the long awaited Clone Wars will be allowed to play out.. Except we won't because the next movie starts as the fucking thing ends. If this is anything to go by I can only assume that if George Lucas was a prostitute then not only would he make you pull out before you finish but he's also punch you in the dick as you're about to.   

The other aspect of this film that Lucas has improved which is presumably in response to public outcry is his sidelining of Jar Jar Binks. Whereas he thought that character would add a few light chuckles to the first movie, the world instead responded with such uncontrollable rage that you'd think somebody had just legalised paedophilia. Here, Binks has become a prominent political figure and actually unwittingly puts in motion a plan that will lead directly to the creation of the Empire. I think Binks being a stupid politician is meant to be an attempt at satire however it just ends up feeling like Lucas is making shit up as he goes along again. Kind of like he did when he had Luke and Leia necking each other like a couple of wet-knickered lovers before admitting that they were brother and sister. There's also the mystery of this entire clone army having been commissioned by a guy called Sifo-Dyas who literally we've never previously or subsequently heard of! I mean seriously who the fuck was he and how did he know to do it? Maybe a decent writer would have somehow worked Qui-Gon in here to make a little more sense. Alas we get a clunky example of a deus ex machina in the form of some miscellaneous dead jedi who presumably had an addiction to buying armies. 

However at the end of the day, I really do have to keep coming back to the thoughts of my old road and how it really wasn't as special as I once thought it was. Now that it's been some time since I last saw these films, I'm not left with a sense of disappointment because I wasn't expecting much in the first place. Free from the hype of being a new Star Wars film, Attack Of The Clones has enough amusement to pass a couple of hours whilst distracting me from my ever present thoughts of suicide. Yes it's still kind of crap but it's really not worth hating because it really doesn't feel important enough to justify such an emotion. Kind of like finding out that they've cancelled your third favourite flavour of crisp or your least favourite child has died. It's a bit disappointing but it's just not worth getting upset about. Maybe the announcement of more films in the franchise has lessened the impact of these films too. Right now they add up to fifty percent of the saga but as Disney starts churning more out then it'll dilute the prequels to the point that they really aren't very important at all. To put it in a language that the alcoholics in my old road will understand, it's kind of like having hair of the dog in which the only way to avoid the pain of yesterday's Star Wars is to get cracking on a nice new fresh one. Thank for reading motherfuckers and see you next time.

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