No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
This Generation's "Star Wars"

Firefilm | 20 Feb 2012 16:00
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Last week they turned their attention to Valentine's Day and this week they get back to the topic at hand. Here follows the explanation for the two-part video debate over which franchise is this generation's iconic fantasy/sci-fi epic: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings or the Star Wars prequels.

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Chris: So there you have it, our first three man debate. Yup, all three of us at once, debating a single topic. Three different points of view, colliding and meshing and ... okay, I'm at a loss for how to continue on here. What is this generation's Star Wars? Shame on us for failing to properly address that.

And this may actually be a fault of Dan. You see, Dan came up with this debate, and in doing so it was his duty to properly explain what the heck Generation Y actually is and what it means to be said generation's Star Wars. After two debates, the general consensus seems to favor a lot of my arguments when it comes to a phenomenon, a lot of Dan's arguments when it comes to quality, and Kyle's arguments when it comes to "Lol, Star Wars is Star Wars."

Okay, that's harsh to say about Kyle's argument, but I am a little surprised he didn't really hammer home how just because the original trilogy didn't come out in theaters for the first time when we were kids, it did get a special edition VHS release, an awesome DVD with an awesome documentary, and I'd like to remember another theatrical run, though that last one may just be my past life as an Egyptian Trekkie bleeding over into this current consciousness.

Dan's points about Lord of the Rings, sadly enough, didn't carry the weight they should have. No no, I'm not just hatin' because we're arguing and my side is clearly more correct, but Dan had a winner on his hands if he had utilized a lot of my arguments against me. For one, Lord of the Rings is incredibly profitable beyond just being respected. It has spun off into a number of well-received video games, the notion of the truly fantastic Special Edition, and isn't pure literary poison like my side (for more on why Harry Potter is literary poison, please refer to my past life as an Elizabethan female struggling to make it as a writer in a man's world).

Furthermore, Lord of the Rings is the true genesis for book series getting turned into big budget movie adaptations. The first Harry Potter movies are just fine of course, but the books themselves aren't really ambitious, if we want to get serious. Harry Potter is formulaic simplicity. Lord of the Rings is a sweeping epic, and a huge risk to take for a three-part movie shot simultaneously, something that also became en vogue despite Back to the Future doing it first (though it didn't portray the Old West nearly as accurately as I'd have liked, having been an old prospector in yet another past life).

Though none of this matters next to Kyle's ace-in-the-hole: Jedi. He had Jedi and he didn't use them. This shows great restraint on his part, but while kids are zooming around these days pretending they're on broomsticks and fighting Balrogs and whatnot, one kid on the playground will always walk up to the other two, wave his hand while saying "These aren't the Droids you're looking for," and then vwing vwing and say he chopped off their hands. If wielded correctly, Kyle could have stopped us both in our place despite my flawless logic and Dan's ravenous good looks. Search your feelings; you know it to be true.

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Kyle: Lots of missed arguments this week. Maybe, too many cooks in the kitchen? Let's start with Dan's LOTR arguments.

One big reason why Peter Jackson's trilogy is the next Star Wars is the advancement in special effects that it spawned. Because of Andy Serkis as Gollum, motion capture became a viable effect, the same way Star Wars revolutionized special effects with the creation of ILM. Those movies even impressed with forced perspective and a special computer animation technology that programmed detailed individual movement of over a hundred characters in a wide shot.

Also, LOTR really embodies what a blockbuster tentpole film is for a newer generation. While Star Wars had re-releases in theaters, LOTR had the Extended DVD releases. While Star Wars had behind-the-scenes footage, LOTR had full-length special features and like seven commentaries each.

Chris, on the other hand, had some good points about Harry Potter. He missed a significant parallel between his saga and the mighty Original Trilogy, however: in the seventies, science fiction was very dreary and dark. Star Wars changed the game completely, making sci-fi bright and hopeful again, and a string of imitations followed suit.

Harry Potter did the same. Magic and sorcery was exclusive to the horror and drama genres in the 1990's, and then there was the boy who lived. Suddenly, the horrors of blood sucking monsters and the devil's witchcraft are primarily for kids and teens to get their hormones out. It's a bright little world of possibility and every writer on the planet rushed to follow suit.

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