30 April 1999

My Lolita Complex

When the Greatest Movie Franchise of all Time® opens up again in June, well here, anyway, I aim to be one of the first in the door.

Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace will gross more than Episode 4 - A New Hope, Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back and Episode 6 - Return of the Jedi put together. Bet your superannuation on it.

And when it does, we (being me and a select group of my mates) will triumphantly traipse down to Village's Gold Class cinemas in the Crown Casino complex to partake of this piece of movie history, from the convenience of fully wound back Jason recliners.

Yes folks. This year, Star Wars is back, and I, for one, am most pleased. It seems that this year is The International Year of the Movie, with the return of, not only George Lucas and Co, but also, Terrence Malick (whose The Thin Red Line is apparently the character piece of the year. I say 'apparently', as I haven't even had a chance to see it, yet) and Stanley Kubrick (Eyes Wide Shut), as well as a new Bond flick (come to think of it, wouldn't this be the Greatest Movie Franchise of all Time ®?) and the most cool The Matrix, which I saw recently, and I dug immensely.

But back to Star Wars. Instead of Luke, Leia, Han etc, we get a young Obi-Wan, and a younger Anakin Skywalker as well as guys with the names of Qui-Gon Jinn and Darth Maul. Highly entertaining, and most exciting.

I grew up with Star Wars. My family and I went to the old Skyline Drive-In in Frenchs Forest to see this movie, not long before they pulled it down to build an industrial park. I had a Star Wars figurine - the inimitable wookiee Chewbacca (one of the funniest names for a character in movie history, methinks), and was in to see the other Star Wars pictures with my family, but both at the Hoyts Twin (now a 7 cinema multiplex, but becoming a 200 cinema megaplex or something in the not too distant future) down at Warringah Mall. I wasn't obsessive, or anything, hell no. I didn't fork out for one of those way cool Darth Vader costumes, for instance, or read those books regarding what Han Solo did in his subsequent life after he and Leia lived happily ever after, but I still regard with some interest, all goings on in that galaxy far, far away, and I like asking questions regarding the whole thing, like:

What game, for instance, were Han and Lando playing the night that Lando lost the Millennium Falcon? Was it, as I have long suspected, Manila? What made Boba Fett such a damn good bounty hunter, and why did he fly around in a spaceship that looked sorta like the head of an elephant? Why was Darth Vader such a bad bloke? Who was more evil: Darth Vader, or Ernst Stavro Blofeld? Was Blofeld, as some have speculated, James Bond's father? When will they make a Bond film with Salacious Crumb as a baddie?

[Now if you want it to be a total surprise, (and I direct my comments here to a certain old school friend of mine who is now art director at a prominent Australian music monthly) don't read any of the hype, and don't watch the trailer. Just go in there and be impressed at the sheer extravagance of the budget that has been spent.]

Only one month to go. Sigh.

Mind you, you wouldn't know it, with the stink over Lolita having not died down yet.

This has brought out political opportunism from all sides of Parliament. Politicians called for Lolita to be banned, thus ensuring that the movie was seen by more than who would have originally given the film more than a passing glance, not to mention, bringing it to the full attention of the yellow-plastic-raincoat-brigade.

But what these people don't seem to realise, is that if you were to ban Lolita, you would have to ban Nabokov's book, and Kubrick's movie of the same name. As well as Frank Moorhouse's novel The Everlasting Secret Family, a sordid tale involving a club that little boys joined in order to pick up old sleazebags, and then become paedophiles themselves. This suspect tale, incidentally, became a very weird movie with Mark Lee and John Meillon in, and it goes without saying that this particular movie would have to be banned as well.

I'm not siding with the movie. I do not support paedophilia. I have it on very good authority that this movie is about as boring as urinating in the Tanami desert and waiting around for a Grand Canyon to form. Or listening to a whole Backstreet Boys album.

What I'm saying is that politicians in Canberra are a shameful bunch of political opportunists who scramble over one another to secure votes when opportunities like Lolita arise, and ignore the fact that there is true evil out there that needs to be dealt with, like heroin addiction.

Unlike, of course, our heroes in Star Wars, who do it because it's right, not necessarily popular.

Sometimes fantasy is better than reality. I wonder if Helena Christensen or Christy Turlington would be interested in making a movie with me?