It’s a strange point in a man’s life when after watching episodes 1 through 3 of Star Wars that he thinks to himself that Lord of the Rings really is a better set of films. For someone that is also a registered Jedi Knight on the 2000-and-whatever-it-was census, it’s quite scary.
I think the main reason that something like this didn’t occur to me sooner is that I’ve always been a keen follower of Star Wars games. Games like Jedi Knight (1, 2 and Academy) and Knight of the Old Republic are totally engaging and their respective makers have gone to extreme lengths to make you really feel like you’re making a difference in that world. I cannot comment on Galaxies for having not played it (or wanting to, having heard that the internal mechanisms keep getting overhauled to attract new users but scaring off old ones).
By comparison Lord of the Rings has a pretty shabby selection of modern games. The only one really worth mentioning is the Battle For Middle Earth series. They are fantastic real time strategy games although the first one has a much better story mode, and the second has much better RTS elements. Either way they make for fairly good multiplayer goblin-slaughter.
Back to the parts up for discussion — namely the films. The Star Wars franchise has come to us over many many years and in the wrong order. I feel that’s part of the problem. When the first films were coming out, they were totally revolutionary in their CGI techniques and people were completely awed by their special effects. I guess the modern ones are partially to blame for this as George Lucas (maybe referred to as Big G onwards) somehow decided that it would be a cool idea to put a spacktard-wagon of a character in — namely Jar Jar.
I’m not trying to fool anyone here… I’m an ubergeek. I think that’s why the “humorous” elements of Star Wars have finally gotten to me and I can see that the film I would have rather have seen be made would be a very sober version that took itself seriously — something that LotR manages to do very well. As extra proof of this, I was very happy with the animated bridge between episodes 2 and 3 called Clone Wars for the very fact that even though they were a children’s’ cartoon, they were serious (albeit a little over the top at times) and this was the element of drama that I thought Episodes 1 and 2 really tried to smooth over for the under 12s with — again in quotations — “funny” characters like Jar Jar.
Incidentally, exactly the same could be said for C3P0 and R2D2. Their main “thing” was bringing down the levels of drama and adding a comedy element to the film. Not needed and not wanted in my humblest of opinions.
I’m still a Jedi at the end of the day and I won’t be able to change that to wood-elf until the next census. Until then, I’ll be feeling guilty for preferring the LotR film genre to the Star Wars one.
If you’ve been affected by any of the issues raised in this post, please feel free to ring the freephone… erm… well just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.