Snarcasm: ‘Star Wars’ Is Overrated

star wars overrated

Snark + Sarcasm = what’s you’re about to read. This week: the legendary saga that everyone loves is terrible unless you’ve watched it. 

Here’s the thing about Star Wars. A lot of people like these movies, while some people don’t. Another group of people are indifferent. But the people who adore Star Wars are incredibly vocal about how much they love the films, and box office records prove they represent a large slice of moviegoers.

Of course, it should be equally fine when someone is vocal about disliking Star Wars. All’s fair in love and (Star) war. But you know what isn’t equally fine? Reading a troll piece by Piers Morgan on Daily Mail about how Star Wars isn’t just bad, it sucks. Oh, and it’s overrated, too.

Here’s the link, but please don’t click. In fact, don’t even read this Snarcasm piece if you really just want to have a nice day free of hair-raising distractions. It’s not worth it. If you do want to read a contrarian piece on why Star Wars might be overrated, here is a far superior read by Devin Faraci on the subject. I disagree overall, but at least he makes a good argument.

star wars overrated

But if you love train wrecks as much as I do, then let’s get started!

HEADLINE:

The Force Awakens? Sorry, but Star Wars has sucked for 40 overrated, overhyped, preposterous years

In the words of Heath Ledger, “And here. We. Go.” 

Last night, a very strange thing happened.

You realized you had a deadline due in less than a day? That would explain a lot.

I was lying in my Los Angeles bed when the earth moved in a way I haven’t experienced since a large quake knocked me onto the floor five years ago.

I’m guessing he’s referring to the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked Baja California and killed four people (injuring at least 100 others). If that’s the case, why is he even joking about this?

Only this time not literally, more virtually.

More virtually? Come on, even Daily Mail has to have at least one editor.

I was the unwitting victim of a televisual, cyberspace phenomenon; the single most exciting thing many Americans appeared to have witnessed since the lunar landing in 1969.

This is actually happening.

A news event so vast in its magnitude that grown men wept, women shrieked and kids bounced around howling like banshees.

Go on…

Journalists whom I otherwise respect began tweeting photos of their newsrooms in a state of collective paralyzation, hordes of frozen figures standing open-mouthed, ashen-faced and quivering around their monitors.

So you don’t respect journalists for talking about a news event that everyone cares about? You don’t respect journalists for liking something a lot? Scratch that, I don’t think anyone wants to be respected by Piers Morgan.

Twitter exploded.

What a nightmare.

Facebook erupted.

Aw, man!

And a national whooping delirium filled the air.

It’s just not fair.

‘Oh my GOD!’

‘WOW!’

‘That’s INSANE, man!’

‘AWESOME!’

‘THAT. IS. THE. COOLEST. THING. LIKE. EVER!’

Five things no one has ever said about something associated with Piers Morgan. Well, maybe “Wow! I can’t believe Piers Morgan likes himself so much!” Or, “Oh my GOD! Even Piers Morgan is allowed to write for The Daily Mail!”

There’s just one problem: it wasn’t.

That’s all?

I didn’t get it.

So, there’s two problems…

Any of it.

Hm.

I watched the exact same ‘thing’ as everyone else, and it left me feeling less enthused than a Jeb Bush rally.

Sorry? Are you trying to gain sympathy or something?

The trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which aired for the first time during ESPN’s Monday Night Football show, lasted just two minutes and 23 seconds. Time that I will never now get back.

Well, you watched a trailer for something that (as you’ll reveal later) you’ve never had an interest in. Sounds like you’re the one who needs to work on time management.

At the start, a weird-headed creature appeared and a voice asked: “Who are you?’ To which my answer was: ‘I’m Piers, and I’m already bemused.’

Why? So far, you’ve spoken nothing about why this is such a big deal for you, or how the trailer is getting on your nerves.

It got worse.

Yeah? From a voice asking, “Who are you?” Why is your complaint article lacking actual complaints?

A random person walking in the desert, another weird-headed creature, a second random person walking in the desert, more weird-headed creatures, myriad flashing lights, swords and flying saucers, and then the weirdest-headed creature of them all: Harrison Ford (the great man is so facially brown and craggy now I’m only surprised Matt Damon hasn’t tried to land on him.)

This is gibberish. What constitutes random for you, Piers? Should a trading card be hovering over the head of every character with their exact plot outline so you can keep up?

And using “weird” over and over again doesn’t do much to explain what makes them weird, or why you think it’s weird. Myriad flashing lights? Seriously? That’s the best you can poke holes at? Even CinemaSins did a better job trolling this trailer than you.

Not swords! Not…flying saucers? Where did those show up? Harrison Ford got old, so that’s bad? WHAT’S HAPPENING?

‘THE FORCE! IT’S CALLING YOU!’ commanded the announcer. Well, I’m not in, sorry.

Well, I don’t think the “announcer” was talking to you. So, apology rejected.

In fact, I’ve never been in when The Force has called. 

Ah, OK. So you just don’t like the movies. That’s fine—

I’m 50 years old and I’ve not watched a single one of the six Star Wars movies.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

Don’t get me wrong. No one really cares. But…WHY ARE YOU WRITING ABOUT THIS? It’s one thing to criticize a franchise you don’t like. It’s another to poorly whine about a franchise you’ve never watched.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve tried.

Clearly.

But I’ve never got further than five minutes with any of them before hitting the STOP button, shaking the cascading cheese out of my TV set and going for a recuperative neck massage.

So, you tried to watch the sequels/prequels without any context? Why should we trust anything you say about anything?

As the decades have passed by, my distaste for all things Star Wars has developed into an oddly visceral loathing.

WHY? You’ve never watched the movies. Why do you care at all about any of this? Are you that offended by the fact that you don’t like something that’s popular? They teach you how to control emotions like this in preschool.

I only have to hear that dreaded theme music to feel the skin begin to peel itself off my flesh.

Now you’re bringing John Williams into this? One of the most celebrated composers of our time?

And don’t even get me started with the ghastly merchandise, which seems to pervade every store in the United States.

OK, I guess retailers should think twice before capitalizing on high demand because one guy is mildly annoyed when he strolls into the toy aisle for inexplicable reasons.

So I wouldn’t, frankly, know one end of a Yoda from a Jedi. The only Chewbacca I’ve experienced is the kind that I perform when someone treats me to a Monte Cristo No2. And Hans Solo sounds like something best reserved for the kind of Vegas bordellos we’ve been reading rather too much about in the last few days.

He’s still talking. Somehow, he thinks his opinion is so important, everyone needs to glean his ignorance of a pop culture franchise. To be clear, I’m sharing this more as a PSA of how not to write something for the Internet. For the world, really.

This, I realise, parks me firmly in the minority.

Trust me, we know how excited this makes you.

Online ticket sales of this 7th Star Wars epic crashed huge movie-goer websites like Fandango. It’s probably going to be a massive hit, regardless of what I think.

Yeah, maybe that should tell you something.

But, as with that pseudo-intellectual load of old thespian codswallop, Birdman, that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Star Wars sucks.

Actually, that’s exactly what makes you wrong. I also don’t like Birdman, but you know what? That actually doesn’t mean it sucks. Because far more people love it, and for good reason. I’m starting to think Piers Morgan is just channeling Anton Ego for kicks right now.

Also, we’re about 1000 words in, and Piers is yet to explain why Star Wars sucks. You know, the headline. Apparently, it just sucks because he hasn’t watched it. Compelling stuff, Daily Mail.

Don’t take my word for it,

Way ahead of you.

take the words of almost everyone involved in its very first incarnation back in 1977. Legend has it that when producer George Lucas first showed a rough cut of the original Star Wars to Hollywood associates and chums, hardly any of them liked it.

Because if there’s one thing we know about Hollywood, it’s that they’re never wrong.

They thought the plot was preposterous, the characters’ names utterly absurd, and as for the writing, this is what Sir Alec Guinness wrote to a friend from the set during filming: ‘New rubbish dialogue reaches me every day and none of it makes my character clear or even bearable.’

What Piers is forgetting, obviously, is that people didn’t know what to make of this movie when it first came out, as it was the first science fiction space opera to gain some traction with audiences. While Star Wars is nowhere near perfect, it was also dramatically different from anything else coming out at the time.

star wars overrated
Crowds gathering around the 1977 release of “Star Wars”

Sure, the dialogue was strange and the adventures were hammy. But this is a movie that is mostly praised for how it captivated our imaginations. And it was a great first attempt in its own right.

The critics, when it was released, agreed. ‘What’s stunning about it is simply how bad it is,’ wrote Salon’s Charles Taylor. Others damned it as lazy, cliché-d and tortured. At least that first movie had the benefit of novelty.

Ah yes, Charles Taylor, the same critic who hated Million Dollar Baby and loved Mission to Mars. Piers is clearly forgetting that Taylor is well-known for being against the consensus. That said, many, many more critics praised Star Wars than Piers is letting on, and I’ll actually provide links!

Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars

Hollywood Reporter‘s Ron Pennington predicted it would emerge as a true classic of science fiction.

Jeff Millar called it an immensely entertaining film.

Kathleen Carroll praised it as a mind-blowing spectacle.

Gene Siskel gave it 3.5/4 stars and said it had the best visual effects since Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

I have about 70 other critics I can cite, but I think you get it.

The sequels have got increasingly worse (according to those who’ve actually endured them).

Piers, if you’re going to base your arguments around anecdotes because you don’t know what you’re talking about, can you at least spell them out?

Now, as we brace ourselves for the 7th instalment, the whole Star Wars genre has become synonymous with one gloriously British word: ‘Naff’. Naff, for my American friends, is a derogatory term deployed by rich, privileged people (think those who live upstairs at Downton Abbey) when they wish to convey a sense of something being stupid, lame, unpalatable, and quite shudderingly uncool.

What’s really funny about this is that Piers Morgan thinks people who love Star Wars are doing it to be “cool.” Also, Piers Morgan is implying he knows what’s cool.

Let’s be honest here: did anyone watch that Star Wars trailer last night and genuinely think it was fantastic?

Personally? I thought it was good. Though I liked the last trailer better.

Or were you all just caught up in a very clever, very cynical piece of marketing brilliance by Disney?

Which is…what, exactly? Showing us parts of a movie that look fantastic? Those masterminds.

One based on the old Tinsel Town maxim of: ‘If it worked 40 years ago, let’s just repackage it, pretend it’s brand new, and do it all over again.’

How would you know if it’s repackaged if you haven’t seen it? In fact, no one seems to really know what this movie is actually about yet, so it’s nonsense to make this accusation.

I, peering through my dispassionate, uncontaminated eyes, laughed out loud during the trailer and not for any good reasons.

Wait, that’s it? You just asserted that this trailer is just a repackaged version of A New Hope without any support or examples…just so you could sooner get to your weird, repetitive anecdote no one cares about?

The only Force it reawakened in me is one of even firmer resolution not to go and see this latest diabolical affront to my sophisticated celluloid senses.

Oh, I’m wildly thankful this trailer wasn’t catered to the senses of Piers Morgan.

You can stick this over-rated, over-hyped, fantastically silly nonsense up your R2-D2.

I guess it’s unsurprising that even his put-downs make zero sense.

Well, that was bizarre. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone do such a bad job at purposefully trolling something, save for every public appearance of Donald Trump. After reading all of this, does anyone really believe the guy wrote this because he actually believes a word he’s writing?

Morgan didn’t really criticize anything. Throughout, his disliking of Star Wars seems to be completely arbitrary and based on everything about the love for the movies, instead of the movies themselves. It’s clear he’s looking for attention, but is it too much to ask for at least a little effort when you want people to notice you?

star wars overrated

Ultimately, I disagree with the notion that anything is “overrated.” I think it’s a false criticism that boils down to disliking how much attention something has gotten. What you’re really saying is that the emotional response someone had while watching The Empire Strikes Back is invalid because you got hung up on technical flaws, despite the fact that landing an aesthetic that connects with audiences is the primary job of the filmmaker.

But saying something is overrated makes the person with said opinion feel better about their opinion, and they love that feeling of getting inside someone’s head and making them feel guilty for having a sincere, even giddy reaction to a movie trailer they desperately want to see.

No thanks.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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7 thoughts

  1. Mr. Negroni,

    Fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be a bumpy comment…

    Contrary to what many think, the words “overrated” and “underrated” do have their place in film discussion. Not about the quality of the film(s) by themselves, mind you, but about the disconnect between the quality and the public/critical perception of the film(s) in question. Certain films are just overrated, whether it’s because the film was hyped up to unrealistic expectations that ended up barely meeting expectations or not at all (even to the point of being crap), or the film is indie fare and thus violently loved by a niche audiences, or simply a film that was anticipated to be great and just ended up being okay. Even a film that earned a pass from critics and a buttload of cash from oblivious moviegoers can qualify as “overrated”. Likewise for “underrated”: a film could be regarded as straight crap but actually has some redeeming elements in it, or a largely ignored hidden gem, or even a film that’s perceived as good but many take for granted how good it really is. Those two words concern what is said of the thing, not the thing itself, to reference Birdman, my favorite film of 2014 (no regrets, Mr. Negroni :).

    To speak on Star Wars as a whole…I’m a strictly film person, so I approach the space opera saga as films first. And I’d say that if you take the iconic yet imperfect Episode IV, the perfect-to-the-point-that-complaining-about-an-element-is-stretching Episode V, the 2/3 of Episode VI that work, and the 1/3 of Episode III that works…you really only have half of a great film franchise. I’d argue that those who have a particular affinity for the prequels are actually more in love with the ideas and potential it presented, not the actual execution of them, because all three (well, mostly the first two) are atrocious works of cinema. (Episode III is…functional and has a few moments, but that’s pretty much it. It had the easiest job of all the Star Wars films and it just barely passed.)

    It’s strange to me how Star Wars has become the most entrenched film franchise in pop culture despite being undeniably imperfect. I’d even go so far as to say if you take away John Williams, Star Wars would fall flat on its face from the get-go. All the imperfections of the franchise fall upon George Lucas, whose visual expertise and narrative scope is overwhelmed by an utter incompetence in screenwriting the little things. People who are in love with Star Wars as a universe not just of the soon-to-be 7 films, but all sorts of spinoffs in all sorts of media, many of which elaborated different parts of the universe’s history quite well…those people can sometimes forget of the diseases that plagued about half of the first six trees of the forest. And people who are not George Lucas planted most of the other trees of the forest that is Star Wars, whereas J.R.R. Tolkien constructed Middle Earth (which is the highest standard for fictional universes there could ever be) solo for the most part. Even the films by themselves (specifically Episode V of course) excelled when Lucas focused on story scope and visuals and delegated all else to other filmmakers.

    Pop culture reveres Star Wars. As films, however, they do have their issues, and that’s completely fine. Culturally-important, sure. Setting the standard for Hollywood for better or worse (i.e. directors ceding most control back to the studios), yes. (1967-76 is the greatest streak of years in cinema history.) But masterpieces of cinema? Not all of them. But it’s a beautiful thing for most films to have flaws, no?

    As for me, I really like the franchise for the most part. But I just don’t love it enough to put even Episode V into a list of my all-time top 50, maybe even top 75 films. There should be nothing wrong with that. International cinema has made enough films for a person to love 100 or even 200 other films over a Star Wars film. And if Star Wars is the reason for some of that, then that’s a mighty beautiful thing that ought to be appreciated more, for cinema is more than just Star Wars and other big Hollywood franchises.

    What that “more” is will be up to each aspiring film buff, film critic, and filmmaker to figure out for themselves.

    “More” is out there, towards the future, for ages and ages, until the end of time and space itself. And when that hour comes, what a legacy that “more” will be for the world which, for us, is right here and now, but for those still to come and live at that end of time and space, shall be remembered simply as a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

    Let’s all have (a new) hope that Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will shine and dazzle for the closing of 2015 in film. I can’t wait!

    Peace and God bless,
    BlueFox94

    Like

  2. Yeah, I too thought that he should have at least watched the movies before making a verdict. Perennially I’ve never been a Star Wars fan: the very first movies (dating back from the 70s) were pretty good, but I don’t love sci-fi enough to fully appreciate them. Lord of the Rings is my Star wars.
    Is the franchise over-rated and over-hyped? I don’t think so… It does have a huge fandom but the same thing can be said about The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, LOTR, Twilight… Some will find it painfully over-hyped while for other these series define their lives and who they are. So at the end of the day it’s all a matter of perspective. Just because you don’t get something doesn’t mean it’s bad or not a masterpiece.

    Like

  3. Hah, thanks. I have liked Piers Morgan because he seemed snarky (is that right?), but maybe there are better people out there that do this and also have a British accent. 😉 It does seems that this piece (which I only read via your article) is as baseless and empty as he accuses SW of being. lol. You have to see a movie before you can criticize it. If you’re not willing to do that then just say that you hate that people like things that you are unwilling to check out yourself and leave it at that. I definitely lost a lot of respect for him.

    Thanks for breaking it down, with sources and everything. Obviously we’re gonna trust film critics more than general curmudgeons. hah.

    A little bit of correction, but SW is in places nowhere close to a toy aisle. He might have been grocery shopping.

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