With all the accolades given to the new Star Wars film The Force Awakens I take a bit of pride in being one of the very few to point out the obvious problems with it, and the gross neglect it represents on not only American culture, but international civilization. Star Wars has a responsibility provided to it by its half century long quest to play that part with the human race, so when it takes that role for granted, it is the job of people like me to point it out. Anybody can do such a thing after others have already jumped on the bandwagon. Presently, The Force Awakens is the fastest movie to hit $1 billion in global sales and it’s still moving along at a respectable rate. By every box-office measure, The Force Awakens is a glorious success. Yet I’m saying that it’s not successful, which to some may appear baffling. Here’s why, Star Wars surrendered what it was to become something that it isn’t and that deduction can be reduced to a very simple social understanding of how things work outside of a mother’s womb. To get the gist of what’s wrong with The Force Awakens watch the very interesting reviews shown below. Watch them all, they tell the whole story. I’ll go a step further in my explanation, but it’s a good place to begin.
One of the most difficult things a job creator can do is make decisions to eliminate the jobs of the people who count on you. It is excessively hard—I think it’s one of the hardest things a human mind does in a capitalist society—because a means to a living is the sustenance used to survive from day-to-day. George Lucas wanted to retire at 70 years old but he had all these employees that he felt responsible for, so he went looking for a way to keep them all busy so that he could retire in good conscience feeling he did what was right by them. He sold his company to Disney hoping that it was the closest company to his own methods that would respect his former property and do well for an entirely new generation. I was a supporter of it, until I saw the results. It would have done more people more good to just leave Star Wars alone and laid-off all the Lucasfilm employees. Laying off 2000 Lucasfilm employees would have been painful, but the results have been worse. Because in destroying Star Wars, it has taken away the good meaning it has possessed to literally hundreds of millions of people who now consider it something of a religion.
When the sale of Lucasfilm to Disney took place, many proclaimed that it was a sale to the dark side, but they said so without really understanding why. Corporations have a tendency to be viewed as evil, while individuals are given great latitude for forgiveness. This is the heart of the problem. As a fan of unlimited capitalism, I should be very supportive of corporations—which I am in that they provide jobs and great products to a free marketplace. But, they are often very socialist in their nature and their employees bring that mentality with them to the voting booth. For instance, a worker at P&G or GE works in an environment that does not promote personal growth and individuality—they work in very team oriented environments where the greater good of the company is often the focus. This is a standard in most corporations—so when Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton expresses the values of socialism most voters are already receptive to it because they live that life within the corporate world. Corporations are collective based organizations that are often top-heavy and loaded with too much management at the back of the train defined by the Metaphysics of Quality. Not enough people at the front providing leadership, and too many in the back which slows down the train from true productivity. To hide this problem, corporations hire lobbyists to work K-Street in Washington on their behalf to prevent competition, so that the corporation can stay alive longer at the expense of more capitalist invention.
I’m not a fan of corporations, but I am a fan of the people who lead them, individuals like George Lucas, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the original Walt Disney—among many others. To me, once those strong leaders leave their corporations, everyone who follows are second handers. This is why I am a fan of people like Carl Icahn who is the original corporate raider—who defined the term, “hostile takeover” by purchasing the stock of failing corporations and inserting new management with real leadership to make a sizable profit. The introduction of competition to the corporate world makes everyone better and more honest and is needed in a capitalist society. Without that behavior, you only get degrees of socialism which is terrible because it forces people to behave as collective entities proving detrimental to individual integrity.
Star Wars was always about the power of the individual, Luke Skywalker being the only hope for the Force to overthrow the emperor, Han Solo to always be functioning just outside the organized systems of the rebellion long enough to save everyone, and Obi-Wan residing in a desert all alone as the last of his kind to preserve goodness for a new generation. Even the robot Artoo Detoo functions as a rogue individualist often breaking protocol to do what he thinks is right as C3PO representing the corporate world of doing as programmed berates him for comic relief. In The Empire Strikes Back when Luke senses that Han and Leia are being tortured on Cloud City Yoda tells the young Jedi that he must stay and not be lured into a trap if he honors what they fight for. The designation is clear, the relief of collective pain is not more important than the value of an individual who alone has the power to save the galaxy. That is powerful stuff and why I along with millions of others have been a fan of Star Wars for over three decades.
The Force Awakens is a corporate movie made by the second handers of George Lucas and Walt Disney. They are corporate minds who think in terms of sacrifice and the greater good before individual integrity, just as any corporation resents the individualist–those who do what they want in the corner cubical, and does not socialize during lunch with others and doesn’t follow orders from their superiors. Rey the strong female who is obviously Jaina Solo from the Expanded Universe miraculously knows how to do everything which is a problem that many people have with the film upon viewing. Many are willing to suspend their disbelief because the female hero is such a strong and compelling character that viewers are willing to overlook the problem initially. The dilemma is that the characters in The Force Awakens are just along for the ride. The Force is the hero of this movie and all the characters are subservient to it. Rey is the victim of the sword that finds her, not because she finds it—her role is a passive participation in the adventure which is a direct violation of the “Hero’s Journey” that all Star Wars movies embody to some degree. The Force uses her to get through impossible situations like flying the Falcon and fighting Kylo Ren at the end of the film. She doesn’t survive them because she is an active participant. She’s just “going with the flow,” and yielding to a mysterious Force that is guiding her actions. Those are aspects of Star Wars that have always been weak, easily overshadowed by the efforts of Han Solo.
In the original films The Force was something to be listened to, but according to Obi-Wan, it also obeyed your commands—as an individual. In The Force Awakens The Force is doing all the heavy lifting which is a corporate view of what Obi-Wan said in the film A New Hope, “there is no such thing as luck.” This indicates that all the heroics of Han Solo in the past movies were not because of his skill as an individual pilot, or a decision that was made at a key time, but was due to The Force working through him. This cheapens Star Wars considerably into a religion instead of a myth building tool to encourage people to follow their personal bliss. It is the difference between a company run by a strong individual, and a corporation ran by a board of directors and a CEO as their representative. One is an individual enterprise; the other is a collective based entity.
In time, once the fun of a new Star Wars movie fades, the impact that the films had will fade considerably as they will lose their meaning due to this corporate interpretation of The Force as opposed to the one that George Lucas nurtured. The corporation puts up memos on a bulletin board and expects everyone to be appeased and to serve the needs of the collective entity—no matter who it is. A company ran by a strong individual personally speaks to everyone and gives them guidance in developing their own individuality for the good of the company. It is a slight distinction that makes all the difference in the world regarding the end result. Clearly George Lucas understands that distinction, and Disney as an organization collectively based, does not. That is why The Force Awakens is a failure even though on paper immediately it appears successful. Its mythology has been tampered with and is now changed forever—for the worse. The message is one now of collectivism as opposed to individuality and that makes it very dangerous—and vile.
Now you should understand dear reader why you felt that The Force Awakens was a bad movie, but didn’t quite know how or why. It looked like Star Wars, sounded like Star Wars, had the same characters as the original Star Wars—but it wasn’t Star Wars. It turned the overall message away from the rebellion of freedom fighters fighting for an individualized galactic republic and put the emphasis on collectivism and the reach and authority of corporations and the eventual tenacity to grind away everything that stands in their way. And there isn’t much anybody can do about it but wait for some unseen Force to tell us what to do. To those broken by corporate socialism into waiting for permission to use the rest room or get their vacations approved by a superior, they love Rey in the film because it’s all they can hope for in their lives after being beaten by collectivism for many years into no other option but to hope that they’ll win the lottery or gain an inheritance to earn their freedom from the grind. But for hard-core Star Wars fans, Han Solo was the self-determined individual who functioned heroically not due to special powers or hooky religions—but by his own actions. And in The Force Awakens, they killed off that character—for the “greater good.” The message couldn’t have been clearer from the corporation known as Disney.
Rich “Cliffhanger” Hoffman
CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT
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