Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty ... Leia?!?

We got through Hurricane Sandy.  The house survived the horrendous winds and we didn't lose power for nearly as long as some folks did -- friends in New Jersey will not have their power back for another four days.  If they can get gasoline, they might actually be able to let us put them up.  Right now, that's a pretty big "if" since gas is being rationed there -- $50 limit and odd/even day/license plate sales like we all had to deal with back in 1974.  I hope the estimates are wrong and that people can start getting back to their lives as soon as possible.

One bit of news waiting for us when the power came back on was that George Lucas is selling Lucasfilm to Disney.  Overall I have to say that I find this news to be both disturbing and disappointing.  I see it as part of an overall pattern of business acquisition in this country where companies just become absolutely, bloatedly enormous and leave us consumers with fewer and fewer choices, as well as fewer opportunities for the little guys trying to start something.  Soon we'll have just one or two giant banks, entertainment corporations, airlines, oil companies, etc., etc., etc.

Seth McFarlane, the creator of Family Guy, tweeted about the Disney/Lucasfilm deal, something to the effect that, "oh, great, Star Wars is now in the hands of the talented dream makers who gave us Mars Needs Moms."  I can't say I disagree.  And for years I have hated — hated — how Disney has to put its name on every bloody property they crop in front of us.  Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Disney's Pinocchio, Disney's The Lion King, blah, blah, blah.  Walt didn't write those stories, and his studio barely gives credit to those who did; certainly not with the prominence it gives to its own moniker.  Pixar Studio is its own entity apart from the name on the deed of the property -- they write, direct, create and produce all their brilliant stuff (like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles) in-house.  But it's all labeled "DISNEY/Pixar" above the title.  Shameless.

I was sad when Disney acquired the Muppets.  I was devastated when they acquired Marvel Comics.  But their acquisition of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars properties is absolutely devastating to me.  Yeah, George Lucas really tanked with his writing and directing of The Phantom Menace but the original Star Wars: A New Hope was a pure delight.  It's original and fresh and exciting and nobody had ever seen anything remotely like it.  It was like someone dumped The Wizard of Oz and Forbidden Planet into a blender and managed to fuse the best of both of them into something entirely new.  Disney's version is going to be slick and technically brilliant...and utterly soulless.  Now we can look forward to Princess Leia joining the ranks of Snow White, Belle, Ariel the Mermaid and Cinderella in the Disney aisle of the toy store.

No, the Disneyfication of the Star Wars universe and its characters is not something to which I'm looking forward.  At all.

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