Friday, May 25, 2012

Star Wars Turns 35

Yes I know. It's a day long remembered.

At this point it's hard to really come up with anything new to say about the original film. It's been talked about, debated and dissected ever since it came out. It has a legion of fans who adore it, and just as many detractors (especially thanks to the prequels). It has the sort of mystique that few films ever achieve and I doubt many ever will.

For me Star Wars represents my childhood and the wonders it introduced still ring through my memory. Now to be honest I didn't see it in 1977 (I was only 1 year old) so I missed that original rush of excitement that it generated. In fact I was more familiar with the Kenner action figures (I know they have official names but to me they will remain Walrusman and Hammerhead) than the moive. I finally saw it-or at least have vague memories of it-on TV around the time Return of the Jedi was coming out. Years later thanks to video I again caught up with it. It was on the USA Network every holiday in a day long trilogy showing. Even though I had missed that original date it was always there, a comforting friend when I needed an escape.

Looking at it now-even with all the changes George Lucas keeps doing-it still holds up as a fun movie. And to me that's the word: FUN. It isn't heavy or weighed down with philosphical ideas like Kubrick's 2001. The plot is straightforward and simple (though not simple minded as some critics want to dismiss it as). The characters may seem lightweight but considering their hold on pop culture they clearly have more underneath than most characters do in film today.

Probably the interesting thing looking at it now is knowing how the story ultimately turned out. Back in 1977 I'm sure Darth Vader was just a cool looking villain. Now we know more about him and that does change our perspective about him. Still he does what every great villain does-he keeps an aura of threat about him and that even with the revelation about his true past in the later films a sense of control. He doesn't mess around and makes his point concise and to the point. Of course I still love Han Solo as the best character in the original film. Maybe it's just getting older I can relate to that cynical attitude or the fact that Harrison Ford got all the funny lines.

So I'll wrap it up with a final thought-the reason that Star Wars works is that is an escape. And sometimes we need that. May the Force Be With You.


'77 - '80 Collector said...

Agree with you wholeheartedly. Star Wars will always be the ultimate escapist movie for me. Sometimes it's nice just to slip into that comforting blanket of nostalgic innocence and not worry about the problems of life for a couple of hours.

Tom Doolan said...

Saw it in the theaters twice when it debuted (I was 6, turning 7 in 1977), and it still holds a place in my top five all-time favorite movies.