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Most expensive meme

The Star Wars prequels were terrible and produced only one redemptive thing: the above meme. Since the prequels cost $345M in total, this makes the above meme the most expensive meme in world history. The Star Wars prequels were not terrible due to greed—humans always reach for greed to smear people, especially rich people. Lucas was not motivated by greed when he made the prequels, just arrogance and vanity. He had spent two decades being lauded as the world’s superlative storyteller; hence the temptation to “fill in the gaps” in the original Star Wars films became irresistible—ironically, the original films worked so well because they featured deliberate gaps, started in media res, and so created mythic mystery. However, by that time Lucas was surrounded by sycophantic yes-men who acquiesced to his every whim; so he set about to destroy the very property that made him a success—almost a genuine tragedy.

In a further irony, this meme only works because Natalie Portman and Hayden Christensen are such bad actors. They are so unbelievably wooden in this film that—well, not exactly wooden, perhaps plastic is more like it (just like a Han Solo action figure). There is something malleable and ductile about their faces—you could squeeze them into new shapes. Anyway, the meme works because Portman decides to gurn in this exaggerated way to express happiness, and then collapses in an equally exaggerated way to express her dumbfoundment. Meanwhile, Christensen just frowns a lot—to express the ineffable burden he lives with as the galactic monster-to-be; and then he does, in a pantomime villain way, flash his evil intent at Portman with his eyes. “Did I shock you, m’lady?”. I only saw these films once and twenty years later I can still recall the acute disappointment—since Star Wars has a cult element to it, whether or not people say these films were good is a useful test for how realistic they are and how far they indulge in narcissism.


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