Exhibit B: Look at the 1977 Star Wars Bantha (from Kenner) versus the 1997 Bantha from Kenner. The 1977 Bantha (above) looks like a relatively placid and happy dinosaur, whereas the more recent Bantha (below) is snarling and appears downright mean!
What's the change? Well, I don't specifically think our culture is actually meaner now (though someone may want to debate me on that...), but I do believe sincerely that childhood is shorter than it was thirty years ago. We ask our kids to grow up a lot faster, I believe now, then we did then. Just go to a department store and check out the girl's clothing section and you'll see what I mean: she's asked to be a "hottie" by age five, which is not just ridiculous, but downright creepy. I have a little boy (Joel) about to turn one year old next Tuesday, and I want him to enjoy his childhood as long as possible without being affected by negative or adult images from the culture.
And like our ever-evolving American cinema - toys have become grittier and more realistic in the last three decades. We demand accuracy for our toys today, and of course, the design of the Bantha changed after the 1997 Star Wars special edition and the advent of CGI. Also, let's face it, anything with the name Star Wars on it now has two prospective buyers: a six-year old kid and the thirty-six year old (like me!). So a balance has to be struck between the kid market and the collector's market.
Blogger's Note: My friend Chris Johnson just pointed out to me that the creature (and toy) in question is a Dewback and not a Bantha. He has revoked my geek credentials!!!! Great, now I'm on probation...