Thursday, May 26, 2005

Great Star Wars Review/Commentary

As I was considering writing up my personal thoughts about Episode III a friend of mine sent me a link to this commentary and I have to say it sums up my feelings about things almost perfectly.

Now before I get branded a Star Wars hater, let's get some history on my experience with Star Wars. When Episode IV first came out in 1977 I was 7 years old, and you couldn't find a bigger Star Wars fan on the planet. My neighbors down the street owned the movie theater where it was playing, so I literally saw Episode IV multiple times a day all summer. I had Star Wars clothes, pajamas, bed sheets, wallpaper, more toys than would fit in my room, all the action figures, all the trading cards, posters, blueprints, movie stills, glossy movie conceptual art done by the art director ... you name it, I had it.

1980 rolls around and Empire comes out. Same excitement, same pumping of ungodly amounts of my parents money into the franchise, same friends down the street who owned the theater.

By 1983 I'm 13 and even at that age when I saw the Ewoks in Jedi I was thinking, "this is decidedly lame." But hey, it was cool, saw it a bunch of times, but I wasn't *that* into it and the toy and miscellaneous Star Wars junk collection started to dwindle. I didn't even really care if I got all the trading cards at that point, but I went through the motions anyway.

Fast forward to 1999. I'm now 29 years old and I love good movies. You know, the kind with real acting and real story lines that don't rely on explosions, screaming, effects, and mayhem as the entire substance of the film. When I saw Phantom Menace I, as many former fans were, was pretty disappointed. I left the theater not sure whether I changed or the movies did (kind of irrelevant I suppose), but this feeling only got worse with Attack of the Clones.

Now we reach 2005 and Sith. All the cool back story that was left off-screen in the original three movies comes to life, and I have to say that the versions of the Clone Wars, Obi-Wan's showdown with Anakin, and the creation of Darth Vader that existed in my imagination from when I was 7 years old kid are (in my memory at any rate) far better than the reality put forth on the screen in Episode III.

Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate Star Wars nowadays, but to me, Star Wars has become no better than movies like "Independence Day," "The Rock," or any number of other Jerry Bruckheimer-esque flicks that are big on action and effects but have zero substance.

Two days after I saw Sith (in a half-empty theater at the 7 pm showing on the Friday of opening week, oddly enough), I saw the new film "Crash." What a difference a story, script, and good acting make.

So to Star Wars, I say this: thanks for the memories. I had a blast with this stuff as a kid, but I'm an adult now so I'll leave any future Star Wars TV shows or whatever else they have in the works to kids who might be able to continue to enjoy it.


Ugh. Looks like it might drag on for a while.

Star Wars memories,
In the summer of 1977,we were all taken on an adventure of a lifetime. We went to a Galaxy far, far, away... We had never seen anything like it. I was 14, that year and I remember going out and getting everything I could star wars. I even had a music box with the theme song.

We loved the story, the look of the places in the film, the music, the people, just everything. I was so excieted when 1980 came, and we found out "Vader" was Lukes father. That was a talked about event that year.

By the time 1983,came we were so happy that episode VI, had finally come, it took a moment to realize the ewoks were cute little mini wookies. To have been stuck on that out of everything in the story itself, was to loose the story, and the magic.

Darth Vader was dead, and we wre to wait to long to find out why he had become Darth Vader. I think if we were disapointed with the next and final films we must blame ourselves, like Wendy and the lost boys, we grewup and became jaded.

Ah yes, I remember the summers of 1977, '80, and '83 spent inside a movie theatre... although I believe 1981 (Raiders of the Lost Ark) was the best/worst.

How did you imagine the creation of Darth Vader?

Hi Trudy! I suppose I can't probably really explain how I imagined all the stuff that was referenced in the older films. It's kind of like when you read a book I guess--you build a picture in your mind and then if you go see a movie made from the book and it doesn't match, it's a bit off-putting. Plus my imagination when I was young was probably a bit more crazy than it is now. ;-)

It's not that it wasn't done well I suppose; seeing Darth Vader rise up on the table where they assembled him (which was visually reminiscent of when Han Solo was encased in carbonite to me), hearing the first instance of the infamous breathing, all this was cool, but it just didn't live up to the expectations I created in my mind as a kid I guess. Then again, nothing probably would!

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