Yesterday, for the very first time in my life, I stared at the title “Star Wars” long enough to break it away from all childhood and cognitive associations to see it for what it really is:
I broke it down for you in the title of this post. It’s a war–in the stars! Imagine seeing that title for the very first time in 1977, before you knew anything else about the movie. You’d laugh. You’d just have to laugh. It’s Snakes on a Plane obvious. It’s a title and a plot summary all in one. Try applying that title logic to other films and see how far you get before cracking up.
The Godfather? Mob Wars. Citizen Kane? Man Rich and Sad. Lawrence of Arabia? White Man Saves Dark Men. Armageddon?Michael Bay Makes You Cry and Hate Yourself for Being a Sap.
I take it back. Star Wars is not a stupid title at all. It’s just good ol’ truth in advertising.
With the release of the entire Star Wars saga (And it really does get to be called a “saga”–which is defined as a “cross-generational story” Sorry, Twilight. You don’t count. Stop trying.) on Blu-ray next week, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my relationship with Star Wars has changed over the years and why in the world I put $100 down on a movie series I’ve already purchased at least three times.
My earliest Star Wars memory? Begging my father to leave the theater becauseEmpire Strikes Back was too scary. I was 3-years old. That’s my first memory–a negative one. I was born the year A New Hope came out, so I didn’t see it in the theater, only on VHS. My favorite Star Wars movie has always been Return of the Jedi, which, I know, is blasphemy. I mean, Ewoks. But I saw Jedi five times in the theater in 1983. And my dad took me each and every time, the last after I’d been stung by a bee on my thumb. I’m allergic to bees. We sat, in order from left to right–my dad, me, and my giant thumb on a pillow in the seat next to me. For those two and a half hours, it didn’t hurt.
Flash forward to 1997 and the Special Editions come out. I’m on a mission, so I can’t see ’em. So, no, I’ve never, ever seen A New Hope on the big screen. I get home a year later and I see the weird new stuff, but it’s still Star Wars.
You all know what happened after that with the prequels and the disappointment that was. It seemed the older I got, the younger Star Wars got. I guess that makes sense when you’re talking about a space adventure aimed at kids, but the prequels aged me faster than necessary. By which I mean, Jar Jar.
So, I kind of fell out of love with Star Wars. A lot of us did. There’s still a lot to like there and I will always think the aesthetic of it is BRILLIANT (I even own a custom made storm trooper suit–good luck telling me apart from the real deal when I wear it), but the bloom is off the onion at this point.
And still I pre-ordered the Blu-rays to the tune of $100. (Mind you, it was $100 entirely financed by the sale of a bunch of my old DVDs–I’m neither rich nor loco.) And, I think, the simplest explanation as to why is this: my kids.
I have three little girls and a couple of them have seen all six movies many times, but it’s been a while. They don’t remember them all that well. And they LOVE Blu-ray as much as I do. (Seriously–Cami, who is six but developmentally delayed, can say all of six words and one of them is “Blu-ray.”) They see with very different eyes than I do and through their eyes I can watch the movies again, fresh.
I’ve heard about the changes. The Yoda puppet in The Phantom Menace is gone and replaced with the CGI Yoda (good). A lot of the lightsabers have been color corrected (good), but not all of them (whatever). The Ewoks have pupils and can blink now (fine). Darth Vader says “No. Noooooo!!” before tossing The Emperor (very bad).
I can live with all of that. More importantly, my kids aren’t going to care and won’t know it’s any different. They’ll watch the movies in wonder and awe and the new stuff will just fly right by. I wonder if they’ll enjoy the movies. I think they will. I hope they will.
And if they don’t?
Well, then, of course it’s all George Lucas’ fault for adding “Jedi Rocks” and taking away “Yub Nub.” Seriously, never let George Lucas DJ your party. His taste is just the worst.