I found a fascinating clip by chance while clicking around for other things on YouTube after someone mentioned Roger Ebert. It’s an extant debate about Star Wars.
What strikes me about it is not just the fact that Siskel and Ebert really did change things for the way critics work; pay attention to how they keep going back to the context of the films they’re discussing. As in, the way you judge things needs to take into account its goal. As a nerd/geek/fanboy it’s something that we touch on in our Words With Nerds podcast from time to time.
What this clip really drove home for me though was that the film being savaged by John Simon was The Empire Strikes Back — the Holy Grail of Fandom for an entire generation of geeks.
He was dismissive of it because there were too many effects. Because the story and the acting were thin. Because Yoda was nothing more than a child’s toy marketed well.
Two decades later, these criticisms were being tossed at the prequels by the very children who were the target audience for the originals. So I ask as I often have: Isn’t it just possible that we’ve beheld the enemy and they are us?
Well really, the Haters, because I like to think I’m on the At The Movies side of the prequel debates.