‘Star Wars’ YouTube Sensation Explains Videos’ Popularity

Red Letter Media's Mike Stoklasa says scathing reviews caught on because the 'Star Wars' universe is 'devolving.'

Among the most popular videos in cyberspace right now, Red Letter Media’s massive, hilarious takedowns of “The Phantom Menace” and “Attack of the Clones” have to stand out as two of the oddest. It’s not just because of their length (a combined two and a half hours) or because the reviews are narrated by the fictional Mr. Plinkett, a serial killer in self-admitted need of serious medication, but mostly because, well, “Star Wars”? Are we still talking about “Star Wars?”

But if you find it strange that these videos caught on a decade after the movies they criticize were released, that’s nothing compared to how the man behind the videos feels.

“I find the whole fact that I’m talking about ‘Star Wars’ now bizarre,” Mike Stoklasa, the writer and editor behind the YouTube sensation, told MTV News. “I really don’t care all that much, to be honest with you. I’m not a huge ‘Star Wars’ fan. I never played the video games, I never read the books, I never did the expanded-universe stuff — I don’t have any interest in that. I didn’t really have a strong desire to make fun of the prequels.”

And yet he did, in a series of critiques so thorough and unexpected they have garnered millions of views and probably just as many supporters, ranging from fanboys still upset over how the flicks didn’t match their expectations to high-profile science-fiction aficionados like “Lost” creator Damon Lindelof and actor Simon Pegg, both of whom tweeted links to Red Letter Media’s YouTube channel.

For Staklasa, who posted an equally thorough review of “Star Trek” and a mini-review of “Avatar” as well, the popularity of his “Star Wars” videos lies in the fact that, even though the movies themselves came out at least half a decade ago, the universe continues to be redefined by George Lucas. And not in a good way.

“It’s devolving. They’re now doing a show with Seth Green. And then I heard rumors that they’re doing a show for, like, pre-schoolers. A cartoon for babies!” Stoklasa exclaimed. “It just seems like it’s sputtering out of gas.”

The period between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” in particular is redefined nearly every week, he pointed out, thanks to the animated series “The Clone Wars” on Cartoon Network, a program Stoklasa called “The history of the original characters done with the writing of a Saturday morning cartoon show.”

” ‘Star Wars’ is constantly getting worse and worse and aiming towards younger and younger audiences. It’s now being marketed towards pre-schoolers. You have that audience, the babies, who just recognize Darth Vader or Yoda who don’t know anything,” he said. “When you have to do that with your series, it no longer has a realistic element to it.”

He argued that, despite what Lucas himself might claim, the series didn’t always skew that young. “I saw that Lucas interview on ‘The Daily Show’ where he said something about how people who don’t like the prequels, it’s just because they didn’t grow up with them and they can’t get over their childhood,” he said. “But you can’t deny the fact that the original films are movies that everyone can enjoy from little kids to grown-ups. They are very balanced.

“You wait: When kids that watch the prequels now grow up, they won’t like them,” he said. “It’ll be different.”

What do you think of the “Star Wars” videos? Let us know in the comments below!

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