Acknowledging that these are just stupid space wizard movies and not some “high art auteurship” would make the fandom a much less intense place.
Why can’t it be both at the same time? A story for children with deeper nuances beneath the surface that borrows from Canyon Cinema, Japanese cinema, silent films, Republic Serials, art house cinema, anthropology, history, psychology, mythology, comic books, sword and sorcery literature, and countless other things. George’s six films and really The Clone Wars series drew from many sources and are very much akin to art house cinema at the same time. The only real differences are they have an equal amount of what many consider to be mainstream qualities to go alongside being designed to be made for kids yet can be appealing cross generations and be deeply studied. This isn’t a contradiction but merely George respecting his audience and paying homage to the things he loves. Star Wars can satisfy both camps. The camp where kids tend to align that just wants to shut their brain off and then the one that likes to discover the interwoven and deeper meanings with the juxtapositions and poetry that I think personally make for an even more profound experience. However nothing will take away the pure joy of watching Star Wars as a kid and trying to like a kid would now as an adult.
His films are more than your typical popcorn flicks you find in Marvel and the majority of the Disney era of Star Wars.
If it were easy to make stories like the original six Star Wars films or books like Lord of the Rings or music like The Beatles everybody would be doing it. George deserves some credit for having some authorship instead of just playing to nostalgia but I guess it’s too much for some to make the jump that he’s just as talented as his collaborators he assembled to bring his vision to life.
I have come to the point where I am more interested and fascinated by the train wreck nature of this franchise and by the toxic battles within its own fandom then the actual material.
That mindset haunts me too in terms of the Prequels. I can’t enjoy Episode I - III as movies anymore. I guess i watched the Making Ofs & Web-Docs (The Beginning, From Puppets to Pixels, etc.) more often than the movies itself. And when i watch them occasionally, i just watch them with audio commentary. I wanted to enjoy those movies so many times, but it always comes down to: trying to understand George Lucas’ awkward decision making and neverending ‘it-always-meant-to-be’ justifications. It is a puzzle i can’t solve. The OT is not tainted for me, but the PT is.
I find it helps to ask why with the poetry and juxtapositions instead of going in with reinforced beliefs of how something doesn’t fit into the Originals but more how the Prequels add new meaning to what something may have meant originally or may have been expanded upon. The Prequels are meant to give us another side to the story. Anakin’s side. The Originals are telling us second hand information with him and of the events we saw in the previous trilogy. It’s the history versus the more fable quality of the Original Trilogy.
The films according to George are meant to be seen I-VI for a reason. Some things work better when viewed from his gaze instead of how some fans may have experienced it initially. However it’s understandable it’s personal at the same time.