Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Star Wars Episode III mania

Countdown to Star Wars Episode III: two days. The anticipation is reaching feverish pitch. Everywhere I look, there it is. The newspapers, television, top ten searches on the net. For goodness sakes, it’s even on the front page of the Star. One cannot hide from the Force.

Truth be told, I am not a fan and was never one.

Gasp! Yes, horror of horrors. How can I not be a fan? It’s like, the greatest story of good versus evil, ever. Perhaps the most popular sci-fi movie, set in a galaxy far, far away. The Jedis, Darth Vader, light sabers, Ewoks, how can you not like them? George Lucas?


I remember watching Episodes IV, V and VI on the small screen when I was younger. It was pretty cool, I have to admit that. But somehow it just didn’t strike a cord.

It’s not that I am not a sci-fi fan. I love Star Trek. One of my favourite movies is Contact.

That’s not my point though. I read in Malaysian Today (a new newspaper in the market) an article which echoed my sentiments. The writer said, “The anticipation for his (George Lucas) final installment is so intense that he could take a dump, film it, slap a Star Wars label on it and we would all still line up for hours, to watch it. It’s an unprecedented pop culture phenomenon”.

I couldn’t have put it better.

It’s just that I usually question the things that happen around me. Especially when the majority are doing it. Perhaps it is the rebel in me. I am not one to follow the herd mentality.

I attribute it to pop culture. One can never underestimate its power. On Saturday, my best friend called from the cinema and asked whether I wanted to get tickets for Star Wars. I replied no. Later that day, I enquired whether he got the tickets as I thought he might have invited other people. He did not get the tickets nor invited others.

He also admitted that he did not watch Episode I and II. Obviously, he is not a fan either. But while he was at Midvalley, he was tempted to watch Episode III. Which is entirely illogical. He was most probably caught up in the frenzy over Star Wars. If this isn’t an example of the influence of pop culture, I don’t know what is.

Imagine, people doing something just because almost everyone else is. Even my colleague is not spared as he planned to watch Episode III. I probed further and asked why. His reply was, “But how can you not watch it? Even if it’s bad, you have to watch it. It’s a must watch. Are you even a guy?” Or something to that effect. I don’t see how the last question was relevant.

The question though, is why. Why is it a must watch? I can understand if that person has watched all the previous episodes one hundred times each and can memorize the dialogue.

Episode III is not a standalone movie, it is part of a series. If one has not watched the earlier ones, why bother to watch the final episode? Just like I wouldn’t watch Matrix Revolutions or LOTR: The Return of the King if I hadn’t catch the prequels. So what causes non-followers to want to watch Episode III?

Blame it on the mass media and multi-million dollar promotions and advertising. The marketing machinery might have gotten people curious. Since almost everyone is watching the movie, I’ll watch too. Millions of people can’t be wrong. It has to be good.

Yes, let's be lemmings.

I know people will still go watch it. Go ahead and watch it if you want. You don’t actually need a reason.

Now, excuse me while I go hibernate, waiting for Madagascar. So sue me if I love animation movies instead.

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