Nostalgia vs. Objectivity – Why I don’t think Star Wars is all that good

I am a child of the 90s, and thus apart from Saturday morning cartoons and early video game consoles, I really don’t have anything worth getting nostalgic over.  As I become increasingly ingratiated into the realm of internet film criticism, I learn more and more of the at times insidious role nostalgia can play in a world that markets itself as completely objective.

Cards on the table, I don’t like Star Wars.  Having watched the films for the first time when I was 15 or 16, with revisits once every three years or so, I can say with complete objective honesty that I don’t think they’re all their cracked up to be.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re good films:  The heroes journey, revolutionized special effects, revolutionized the idea of a trilogy, yada yada yada.  But the internet has made the Star Wars films, and other films of it’s ilk (Indiana Jones trilogy, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future) out to be these classic films the likes of which we’ll never again see on the big screen, and I just don’t buy that.

For a lot of movie lovers, movies like Star Wars were the first films where they can recall the movie going experience being just that: an experience.  For the first time, a movie wasn’t just a movie, it was something else entirely.  At a young age, a film like Star Wars completely transcends and destroys every notion of “good filmmaking” you previously had.  I’m not trying to begrudge people of that experience, I’m simply saying it isn’t something that one should let cloud their judgement.

I feel like there’s this reluctance to hail anything new or modern as being truly great.  If I were to say that I think The Social Network was one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen among a group of movie nerds, I’d be ridiculed.  It’s almost as if people can’t appreciate a film to the greatest extent one can appreciate a film without nostalgia factoring into the equation.  As if a film can only be considered a masterpiece if it mixes both nostalgia and artistic integrity.  I think that’s bullshit.

A film is a film, regardless of the circumstances in which you saw it.  Call me cynical, jaded, or pretentious, but it frustrates me beyond belief that mediocre films like Star Wars are considered great for no reason other than nostalgia.

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Categories: Editorials

Author:Ryan Crockett

Super-geek and cinephile, artist and writer, Ryan Crockett knows way too much about the French Revolution.

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One Comment on “Nostalgia vs. Objectivity – Why I don’t think Star Wars is all that good”

  1. October 19, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    Oh boy. Just popping in and checking stuff out before I head out to eat, dont know if I can do this justice.

    The Star Wars films were great even without Nostalgia. They’re historically significant in their impact on movies and special effects, they tell stories that are rooted in classic themes, and even though they borrow tremendously from other works, it all feels new and fresh to the viewer. Time honored, but not worn out.

    They created an entirely fictional universe… something that gets taken for granted nowadays.

    But they still have great characters, a classic story through line, wonderful sets and costumes, phenomenal action sequences and of course, the greatest scores ever. Incredible movies.

    While everyone is entitled to their opinions, and certainly you’re well within rights to call a film mediocre if thats how you see it… I would be cautious about assuming why people feel something is great. I feel the original Star Wars trilogy is great REGARDLESS of nostalgia. Even though, certainly, I’m of age to wax nostalgic about being there, seeing the cultural impact etc etc…

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