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Metru Nui and Midichlorians

Posted by Sumiki , in Rants, Not Essays!, BIONICLE/LEGO Nov 19 2012 · 255 views

So, let's talk a little history here. Let's go back to 1977, a big year for many reasons. Apple becomes a company, Miami gets snow, Uranus's rings are discovered, MLB expands to Toronto and Seattle, Star Wars premieres, Elvis dies, smallpox is eradi-

Wait, hold on. Back up. Star Wars premiered. That was the important thing - some would argue that it has impacted the world more so than anything else that has its roots in 1977. (Apple, of course, would like a word with you if you agree.)

Star Wars - or, as it's known now, A New Hope - was the highest grossing film for the time, and its cultural impact was astounding. By the time the original trilogy was completed in 1983, the Star Wars franchise was a remarkable success. For a long time, it just sat there, continuing to pile up cash for George Lucas. Its fans thought of it very highly, and praised the series for pretty much all of its aspects.


At the same time, something was missing, though only Lucas saw it. His original vision for Star Wars involved a total of nine or even twelve films. This was repeated often enough by Lucas, and by those close to him, to be taken as credible, and now, with Disney's purchase of Lucasfilm, will become a reality. Like any other story, as it evolved, Lucas's vision changed. Instead of being the story of a group of people, Star Wars became about Anakin Skywalker: his powers, his fall, and his eventual redemption. Lucas talked of a nine-film arc as late as 1994, but it soon became clear that the "original" version of the sequel trilogy, as he envisioned it, wouldn't come to pass.

Soon enough, 1997 came along, and with it Lucas began to enrage his fans with the release of the "Special Edition" versions of the original trilogy. I've seen the changes myself, and not being a complete Star Wars nut, I can't bring myself to see what the big deal is about Han or Greedo shooting first. (I can't ever remember which one was the original, let alone why the fans got their jimmies collectively rustled.) The rest of the changes are so minor as to be unnoticeable to all but the most dedicated fans. And I'll be honest here - some of the changes improved the overall look and feel of the films, as well as correcting some errors left over from the original versions. For example, the Special Edition version of the Rebel-Empire battle in A New Hope is much cleaner and smoother than the original, and the CGI works.

Two years after this debacle, The Phantom Menace debuts.

And the fans, for the most part, think it sucks.

But ... why? The Phantom Menace isn't the best movie ever made, but there was an undue amount of hate on it. Fans pointed to many things: the de-mystifying of the Force (in an undramatic scene, no less), an awesome villain called Darth Maul that got no characterization and little screen time save for the single best swordfighting scene in all of film. But not even the fight could escape criticism; fans viewed it as unrealistic.

(Of course, "unrealistic" is a silly word to throw around when you have a universe full of laser swords, telekinesis, space stations the size of moons that can obliterate planets, and an army of overweight teddy bears taking down a fully trained - and fully armored! - army. I'm just sayin'.)

Then came Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith, and they got ripped for pretty much the same reason: Hayden Christensen.

Ever since 2005, there have been wars over the Internet, pitting the originals against the prequels. Mainly, it's the folks who outright hate the prequels with every atom of their being versus the folks who say "well gee, the prequels weren't as good as the originals but they weren't that bad."

I agree with the latter, as does TMD.

In thinking about the subject, I slogged through pro- and anti-prequel articles, videos, and comments from all over the Internet. What I tried to do with all this was to boil it down to something simple, a statement about why the prequels are so commonly despised.

Here goes:

The Star Wars prequel trilogy is disliked amongst fans because it disrupted everything about what they knew about the universe they had come to love.

Between the release of Return of the Jedi and The Phantom Menace, fans created an expanded canon that built off of where Jedi left off. They left what happened before Episode IV alone. The mystery was a part of the canon. The Force was magical; Yoda didn't mention anything about midichlorians when he was teaching Luke on Dagobah.

Now, switching gears (though not really). BIONICLE.

2001 to 2003 was the "original trilogy" of BIONICLE. There was mystery about the universe, the bad guy was bad for who knows what reasons, but we didn't care because he was awesome.

Sound familiar?

Yeah, I thought so.

This is where it gets interesting, and where there are a lot of BIONICLE-Star Wars parallels. The "prequels" of BIONICLE were 2004 and 2005, when we learned that Vakama was once a depressed and possibly emo Toa of Fire who led a motley crew to the extremes of Metru Nui to find disks and destroy an oversized weed.

Huh. Maybe we should hire the Toa Metru to clean out the Kudzu that clutters up quite a bit of North Carolina.

Most of the story parallels would be silly to make, because while they have tropes in common, for the most part they're completely different stories. (Well, aside from Teridax and Emperor Palpatine: same guy, different universe.) What I'm interested in here is the fan reaction.

2004 was greeted by the BIONICLE community as being fresh, exciting, and so wonderfully new ... the sets had new molds, new colors, and more articulation than you could shake your blocky bley fist at.

As the years have dragged on, though, the distaste for '04 (and '05, to a greater extent) has grown. '01-'03 were nostalgic, simple in some ways, complex in others. The entire story was like a riddle wrapped around an enigma fried up in a conundrum with Chinese mustard dipping sauce, and there were no complaints about this, just as there were none when old Ben Kenobi taught Luke about the ways of the Force. No one asked "why are there masks on this island and why did the Toa get there?" just as no one asked "why can that wrinkled muppet lift a starfighter?"

You can see where I'm going from here. George Lucas and Greg Farshtey both have almost singlehandedly developed entire universes. In each case, their stories start out in the middle of things, and when the backstory is revealed, the fans have mixed reactions, at best.

In each case, it is due to the fact that the fan bases generate a collective idea about what came before. Each fan base has a different take - BIONICLE's is one of theorizing and speculation, while Star Wars's was one of apathy towards what begot their beloved movies. Demystification doesn't make the originals less enjoyable, but no Star Wars fan can watch any of the original movies without the voice of Jar Jar Binks taking a cheese grater to their cerebral cortex.

In each case, the "magic of the original" was lost. Metru Nui felt different from Mata Nui for the same reasons as the prequels felt different from the originals. They both couldn't have been more different from their predecessors.

In each case, the main architect of the series was vilified for changing too much original material. Greg got serious heat for revealing Makuta's real name, retconning the '01-'02 flirting, etc. This is not much different from Lucas tinkering with the movies, or informing us that midichlorians exist.

And in each case, the ones who criticize the harshest are often the ones who are most passionate about what they criticize.

NEXT TIME: SUMIKI TESTS POSITIVE FOR MIDICHLORIANS AND GETS A PHONE CALL FROM LANCE ARMSTRONG.

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"riddle wrapped around an enigma fried up in a conundrum with Chinese mustard dipping sauce"

That is my new favorite metaphor. Ever.
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Obsessionist
Nov 19 2012 04:10 PM
So true.
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Bravo, Sumuki, bravo! You pretty much summed up in one long (but very funny) blog entry my entire viewpoint on Star Wars -- why I actually liked the prequels, and why I'm actually excited about Episodes 7-9. I also love the first Special Edition of the original trilogy, which I proudly own. (The FIRST Special Edition, mind you, not this most-recent garbage with Hayden Christiansen being egregiously added. <_<)

For the record, I always liked 2004 and 2005; in my opinion, the story got better and more fleshed out as it went on. It hit a high point in 2006, which was utterly awesome (and not just due to the Piraka, although they helped a lot :D) and then only gradually petered out. Late 2008 onward -- you know, when the serials started -- might as well not have existed for me. And Makuta's name being revealed? Not nearly as bad as some other things Greg revealed. *cough Bohrok are actually Matoran; how does this even work cough*

~B~
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I'm still no big fan of 2005, but especially in retrospect, I love 2004. Personally, it's never been a hindrance to enjoying 2001 to 2003 for me even now, although I like 2004 more than 2003, which has never been one of my favourite years. Still, nothing beats 2001 for me. ^_^

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He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life

How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six

[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker

Sumiki is magic. - Cholie

Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles

Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo


"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker


LISTEN TO SUMIKI - Cholie


Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva


BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex


What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus


I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh


EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH - Kakaru


Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok


Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker


He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist


I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens


I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig


I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk


I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome


Note to future self: don’t try to predict Sumiki, he’s unpredictable. - Voltex


Let's be honest, I would totally have picked my main man Sumiki to lead my goose-stepping night killers anyway. We tight like that, yo. - Xaeraz


10/10, would Sumiki again. - Bfahome

     

Sumiki
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Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.

10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith

11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)

    

1/3/12 - Daiker
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/13 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
8/27/13 - 8/5/14 - None
8/12/14 - Another Chro Original
8/19/14 - Kanohi Zatth
8/26/14 - Miniland Hatpile

    

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Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.

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Sumiki
Waffles

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If you learn one thing in life, learn this:

You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.

just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle

so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay

nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION

[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange

Sumiki -- nice try but we all know Toa Mata Nui stuffs its bra




You have a great understanding of history, but don't forget, war, murder and other poor decisions are also huge characteristics.

Also a long line of really great hats.

Shhh, I'm trying to focus on the negative to justify my dislike of history.

have we mentioned hats

To be fair, I am the one responsible for the invention of Mafia in the 1320s by seventeen bored italians locked in a mine shaft.

It's a long story.

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