This is part of the STAR WARS Blogathon at Edward Copeland on Film
If you are a certain age (mid 30’s) it is almost impossible to discuss STAR WARS on any critical level. Growing up, you saw it countless times over the years, before you were able to process it on a level other than “Wow! That movie is awesome!”
I saw the original film seven times in theatres, in its original run and in rereleases (not including the Special Editions). That is still the most I have ever seen a film in the theatre.
I loved the film. I collected the action figures, the Tie-Fighters, all the accessories. I had the book. I remember how often my friends and I debated how the picture book contained the still of Luke and Biggs talking, that wasn’t in the feature film.
I also remember, in those days long before the internet, we all knew the whole story of the series. How did we know that Darth Vader fell into lava while fighting Obi-Wan? This was common knowledge among us in the late 70’s, yet I have no idea how we found out.
You could never recreate this type of fandom today. Back then, you didn’t just wait six months after the release of the film to get the DVD. VCRs had yet to really catch on. So, to try and remember the film, we would play with the action figures, listen to the soundtrack, or the little record that told the story of the film, with dialogue and special effects. We were active in trying to remember the film, we couldn’t just put on a DVD.
I remember when STAR WARS first premiered on pay cable. It was either HBO or Spotlight, but it was a huge event. They showed it twice, and I watched it both times.
When I finally got a VCR, STAR WARS was the first film I rented. Being able to have this at home, and watch it any time you wanted? What an invention.
I was there opening day to see both EMPIRE and JEDI. Loved them both. Since JEDI opened on a Wednesday, Thursday morning I had everyone running up to me at school, asking me about it, as they weren’t able to go to see it yet.
In the years since, the film hasn’t had the impact that it originally did. Quite honestly, once the film got picked up by basic cable, and USA and other channels would show it endlessly, especially on holidays, it lost a lot of its magic. It should have stayed a special event.
Then came the Special Editions. While it was good to see the films on the big screen, they weren’t the films I remembered. Greedo DID shoot first. The big Death Star explosion at the end didn’t have that stupid fireball around it. And the Ewoks danced to the “Yub-Yub” song, not Yanni. Those new editions don’t exist for me.
The less said about the prequels the better. They came out when I was an adult, and were made for kids. I wasn’t the audience for them. While ATTACK OF THE CLONES may have been the only one I even cared for (I know many think it is the least of the series, but I actually liked it), it wasn’t the originals.
Still, STAR WARS pretty much defined movie going for a whole generation. Whether they were good films or not, whether the acting is wooden or realistic, that isn’t something that even matters. They were STAR WARS. That was it.