Friday was fun. We had a chance to look at the best 3 films from Lucas Films and Disney. Today is going to be even more fun, today we are going to look at the worst 3 Lucas and Disney films. It was harder for me to pick these 6 films, each side has some spectaculary bad movies to their credit. Only movies I’ve seen are included in these lists, so I’m sure there are some awful Disney movies I’m missing but I tried to pull from a few different genres to spice things up a bit.
This time let’s start with the Disney movies. I’ve picked 2 animated movies and one live action movie. I could easily have had all live action or all animation but this just seemed more fair to Lucas Films.
The Black Hole
A lot of people actually blame Star Wars for this awful movie. Released in 1979 it attempted to capitalize on the space adventure genre Star Wars had just revitalized, they even had droids… sort of.
I don’t remember much about this movie. What I do remember is watching it on HBO at our my neighbor Eric’s house and thinking it was stupid. If my 7 year old brain was rejecting a movie with spaceships and robots it must have really been amazingly bad. Other attempts by Disney to give us a glimpse of the future have been big misses as well. Epcot Center anyone? I visited Epcot center in Disney World as a 15 year old, about 5 years after it had opened and everything in it was already outdated. Predicting the future is hard, maybe that is why Star Wars is set in the past.
The Black Cauldron
George Lucas does not have a monopoly on ruining childhoods. My love of reading, and sci-fi/fantasy in particular started with The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. My dad read me the first book in the series, The Book of Three, and then said if I wanted to know what happened I could read the other books myself. I did so eagerly, but this same tactic didn’t work with my sister who apparently didn’t care what happened to an assistant pig-keeper named Taran because she didn’t read another book until she was 40.
Disney spent 20 years trying to buy the rights to the Lord of the Rings, failing that they bought the rights to the Chronicles of Prydain and turned the 5 book series into 1 unwatchable animated film and 1 video game that was itself a poor rip off of Kings Quest. I don’t understand why movie studios feel compelled to add comic relief to ever single sci-fi/fantasy adaptation? Even Peter Jackson did it with his otherwise masterful adaptation of the aforementioned LOTR’s. This movie was by far more disappointing to me than any of the last 3 Star Wars movies because I was still a child when my childhood was ruined. By the time Star Wars Episodes I-III came out I was an adult and better equipped to handle betrayal (more on this later).
Beauty and the Beast
I don’t have much to say about Beauty and the Beast. There are no shortage of bad Disney animated movies, and the reason for their badness is far-ranging. I picked this movie because it really is a great exemplar of what I hate about many Disney animated films. Horrible messages for children… Disney has made billions of dollars selling terrible messages to children. I’m not going to catalog all of Disney’s sins (plenty of people already have) but lets just take a quick look at this film. A violent abusive monster holds a young woman captive, but she just knows there is a nice guy in there somewhere if she just loves him enough… yeah that’s freak’n great.
Now we get to take a look at the muck from the bottom of the Lucas Films stable. This was actually harder than picking the Disney movies because expect for A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, all of the Lucas Films are bad.
Indian Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
I don’t even know if that is really the name of this movie and don’t even care enough to open a new tab to google it and find out. Was anyone in the world calling for another Indian Jones movie? I imagine exactly what Lucas was thinking when he came up with this. “We already did one with Indian’s dad, so now lets do one with Indian’s son, it will be wonderful.” No George it won’t be wonderful it will be terrible. Somehow he managed to make a movie about Nazis and aliens not funny.
Howard the Duck
Nothing to say here… widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made so let’s just move on.
Star Wars VI Return of the Jedi
This is it. In this not at all humble bloggers opinion the worst movie ever made. I’m not talking just about movies in the Star Wars franchise, I’m talking ever. The negative impact this movie has had on me and untold other millions cannot be understated. But what about Phantom Menace? What about Jar Jar Binks? This can’t be worse than that can it? Yes it can and yes it is. By the time the Star Wars prequels were released all hope should have been lost to those of us whose childhoods were shaped by Star Wars. From the second that little bastard pictured above appeared on the big screen the Star Wars saga was dead. The first 2 Star Wars films had all the comic relief we needed in R2-D2 and C-3PO, but for some reason George just couldn’t resist cramming these mini wookies down our throats. By the time Jar Jar crashed onto the screen Lucas had already subjected us to Ewoks, Space Ducks, Willows, and Han not shooting first. Anyone who thought those movies would be good was either 12 or younger when they came out, or so insanely optimistic they probably think gas prices are heading back to $2 a gallon.
Part of what makes Return of the Jedi so painful to watch, is the first part of the movie is actually really good. We get to see Luke being a bad ass Jedi Knight, and umm there is that Sarlacc thing, and Han wasn’t dead so that was good.
Lucas also mucked about with this film worse than the other ones over the last 20 years. While there may not be anything as blatantly bad as Greedo shooting first (more on this tomorrow), there are a large number of very sucky changes.
Lots and lots of little cgi effects added for no apparent reason
New catching tunes in Jabba’s palace
Bobba Fett flirting with chicks in Jabba’s palace
When shooting the Sarlacc tentacle, Han says “It’s all right, I can see a lot better now” rather than the original “It’s all right, trust me.”
Big galactic dance party added to end of the film
The crappy actor who played Anakin Skywalker replaced the old Anakin we see for the first time when Luke removes Vadar’s mask.
Vader yells “NOOOOO!” and throws the Emperor down the giant tunnel thingy. Why is that tunnel of death in the Emperor’s office anyway?
Return of the Jedi marked the beginning of the end. The other crappy Star Wars movies that followed were just logical extensions of the Return of the Jedi, so you can’t really blame them for being awful.
So what now? What does any of this have to do with why Star Wars is going to be better now that Disney bought them? For that you will have to check back tomorrow. While you wait here is some more homework for you. Watch Mr. Plinkett’s Star Wars Reviews, watch them right now! Look I’ll even embed the first part of the Phantom Menace review below, just click on the damn thing and watch it already. (by the way lots of bad words in this movie)