Today, Stars Wars (or as some like to say A New Hope), turns 35… which means officially I am old.
To celebrate this cultural milestone (and personal success for seeing this day. Woohoo! Survival!), I thought I would share excerpts and links from two editorials I wrote about Star Wars over the last few months.
The first one was my reaction to the blu-ray release of the series. To say, I was a little annoyed that the original trilogy without Lucas’ changes is not included is put it mildly (Han shoots first!). Still I decided to share my own personal memories around each of the films. It is called “Goodbye to a Galaxy Far, Far Away.” It can be found on GreenSpotBlue.com here. Here is the beginning:
Soon the Complete Star Wars Saga will be hitting on blu-ray, and for a member of Generation X, it can’t help but make me stop and take pause over this creation and its influence. For my generation, this is our Beatles, this is our man on the moon, this is our disco. We wear the t-shirts, we recite the lines at random times:
Like Beggar’s canyon back home.
That’s no moon, it’s a space station.
Heck, I have even met someone once who had turned his Mini-Cooper into an X-Wing! But beyond the extremes like that, it has shaped for many of us how we look at the world, and how we see our place in it… for good or bad.
The Original Trilogy
My first ever memory is seeing Star Wars in the theater.
I was 3, and my parents took me to see it in our local theater. The theater was packed and people cheered and clapped throughout it. I remember seeing Artoo on the screen and thinking that is cool. It had a profound impact on my entire life (and probably on my parents’ checkbook).
I remember begging my folks to take me to see The Empire Strikes Back and that Christmas I got an AT-AT and it was awesome.
Now my bad story, I remember convincing a kid in fourth grade, who I didn’t particularly like, that he should include me in his birthday gathering because they were all going to see Return of the Jedi that opening night. After the movie, I made some excuse and went home, my task completed. I know, I know, ouch.
The editorial goes on into more detail about the prequels and my own feelings around the series. I really like the piece. You can read it here.
The second editorial was about the release of The Phantom Menace in 3D. I tried, seriously, Mr. Lucas, I tried to like this film. I really did. Anyway, in this editorial (“Why I Am Stuck Seeing The Phantom Menace Again” which you can read here.) I discuss my issues with the film and script… Okay, it is a rant, I know that, but I like to think I make some good points in it. Here is the introduction to it:
They say that being a parent is all about making sacrifices. I had already understood that but I never thought it was something concrete, I thought it would mean I was like The Giving Tree, but in spirit … But because my son is four, and he is the right age for it, I’m about to make another sacrifice, one to hang on the wall of parenthood next to my broken DVD of the first The Pirates of the Caribbean and the torn cover of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles.
I am going to take him to see Star Wars: The Phantom Menace on Imax, 3D in February.
Godfather 3 is far too over quoted by people, but seriously, I was out! Lucas and his mad skills at getting to my checkbook has pulled me back in.
Now I grew up with Star Wars (the first movie came out when I was three which was the perfect age for warping my little mind), but after all of his changes to the original trilogy he had lost me. I was free! I didn’t buy the last set of DVDs, I didn’t buy the Blu-Rays. Oh, I held them in the store, but more to study the ugly cover art on the front (and really it is bad).
One of the complaints people make about Phantom Menace is that it was aimed more at younger viewers and they are right. Jar Jar is comic relief like you would see in one of those old movie serials Lucas was ripping off from, not in a serious space saga. He is NOT Sam the sidekick from The Lord of the Rings that is for certain. There is a lot that points the film to a kids’ story from the hero child (Who flys a spaceship, shouts yippee!, and saves the day) to Jar Jar dealing with farts and alien poo. And, lets be honest, it looks like a freaking cartoon. In other words, this is perfect for my four-year old son to see and chances are he will probably… sigh… I can’t say it… argh… love it.
I break down my issues point by point later (Check it out here and tell me if you agree below)… and as a post script, we didn’t end up seeing the film. My son was too scared by Darth Maul during the trailer. Strangely, I felt a little sad about that.
Overall, it sounds like I am complaining a lot. Maybe. But like any relationship, over time it changes, and I (like everyone reading) has had this one with the galaxy far, far away for 35 years now. I will say that for all that complaining today I am wearing my Star Wars Adidas shoes and I have made Star Wars sugar cookies. Go figure.
May the force be with you.