01/09/2019: “Star Wars was a sell-out from the start. In fact, it was Star Wars that taught us what selling out really means… And that is just about the only remarkable thing about this depressingly mediocre franchise. Its fictional world is BOTH impossibly remote, too far-distant to care about, AND too much like this world, too similar to our own to be fascinated by. The arrival of Star Wars signalled the full absorption of the former counterculture into a new mainstream which would become increasingly bland. Star Wars was a trailblazer for the kind of monumentalist pastiche which has become standard in a homogeneous Hollywood blockbuster culture that, perhaps more than any other film, Star Wars played a role in inventing. It is an example of the postmodern nostalgia film, a revival of the kind which the young could experience as if it was new, while an older audience could satisfy their desire to relive forms familiar from their own youth. All that Star Wars added to the formula was a certain spectacle — the spectacle of technology, via then state-of-the-art special effects and of course the spectacle of its own success, which became part of the experience of the film. While the emphasis on effects became a catastrophe for science fiction, it was a relief for the capitalist culture of which Star Wars became a symbol. Late capitalism can’t produce many new ideas anymore, but it can reliably deliver technical upgrades. But Star Wars didn’t really belong to the science fiction genre anyway and might as well be referred to as “hobbits in space”.”

Ryan Oomen