Stop Selling Me on 'Star Wars'

Posted: Dec 19, 2015 12:01 AM
 Stop Selling Me on 'Star Wars'

If you're a human American over the age of 2, I'm betting I know what you're doing this weekend: you're going to see "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The seventh film in the Star Wars series, it had a banner opening night, raking in as much as $60 million. Rentrak projects it will end up earning more than $3 billion.

Which is all to say, the empire surely will not miss my $20.

That's right -- I'm not seeing "Star Wars." So, fans, you don't have to worry -- there won't be any spoilers in this column. I've gone 36 years without seeing more than five collective minutes of the movies and I don't plan to start now.

I have nothing against these movies I've never seen -- although, to be honest, I've never been much of a fantasy fan. Giant glow sticks, Yoda the Hutt and talking R2-3POs aren't my bag. But who knows? Maybe I'd love them. My political friends insist I'd dig their "overtly conservative" themes. Because that's why I go to the movies: politics.

But I'll never know. Peak "Star Wars" is ruining any lingering curiosity I ever had about the movies.

I don't fancy myself a rebel. I love to go with the crowds. Yes, I saw the "Entourage" movie, even though I knew it would be garbage. I didn't just see "The Hunger Games" movies, I read the books. Of course I love Adele.

I'm not above a bandwagon. But there's a time when "buzz" reaches a tipping point, and instead of surrendering to the gravitational pull of mass obsession and joining in, you decide: Nope. Not this time, groupthink. I'm out.

I don't remember "Star Wars" ubiquity ever being this unavoidable. For movies that take place in a galaxy far, far away, they sure have managed to takeover planet Earth. "Star Wars" is stuffed into every commercial crevice of the country. It's overtaking Christmas as the most annoying part of Christmas. Visitors from whatever planet Carrie Fisher comes from would think December 25 is when we celebrate the birth of Darth Vader.

You can't go into a store -- even stores you wouldn't expect "Star Wars" to infiltrate -- without being hit over the head with branding.

CoverGirl has a line of "Star Wars" themed makeup. I know when I'm getting ready I think, How can I look like I just fended off a stormtrooper on a dusty desert planet?

Adidas and Vans, of course, have "Star Wars" sneaks. And I'd love to meet the adult men with pictures of Han Solo on their shoes.

Coffee-Mate makes "Star Wars" character creamers. Something called a Chewbacca adorns the spiced latte flavor. Because, reasons.

But by far the most obnoxious branding effort yet is "Star Wars" themed fruit and vegetables, which Disney justifies by insisting that putting Harrison Ford on a bag of apples is a good way to get kids to eat healthier. (Did you know Disney has a "licensed fruit and vegetables portfolio"? I didn't either, but it really makes you wonder what a company can't commercialize.)

Not surprisingly, "Star Wars" porn is seeing a bit of a boom. Retailer GameLink says sales of "Star Wars XXX" have surged 500 percent in the last two weeks. I guess the force really has awakened.

Aside from annoying me, it would seem like the "Star Wars" marketing machine would anger purists. And yet I don't hear anyone complaining. I asked two of my biggest "Star Wars" fan friends, whom I respect and adore and hope are still my friends after reading this, if any of this saturation bothers them. Both said not even a little.

I don't get it -- I love "Seinfeld," but I don't want to buy Kramer creamer or Elaine-inspired lipstick. Nor do I want to know that, somewhere, someone's getting turned on by a George Costanza parody porno.

On a deeper level, the best part of fandom is the immeasurable joy of feeling like you're part of a special community of brethren, with whom you speak a special language. When your secret club is the entire universe -- and it's all on sale! -- it doesn't feel much like a community anymore.

I've got nothing against "Star Wars" or its fans. Part of me really wants to experience their world. But turning mine into one giant "Star Wars" strip mall is only ensuring I never will.