That’s No Moon: Confessions Of A Star Wars Addict.
So on May, 28 1977 a friend and I packed a lunch and walked to one of our local movie theaters, The Showcase Cinema 1-5 in Orange CT. It was a trip of about three and one half miles, and since we were walking so slowly it took us forever. It was all worth it though, because on that day we were going to see this new movie we had seen advertised that looked like it might be pretty cool. It was called Star Wars, that’s all no Episode anything, no subtitle, Just Star Wars. It was the single defining theater going experience of my life. I had already had the defining moment that propelled me into the world of cinema about a year earlier when I first saw Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. I am not ashamed to say that for all its artful cinematography, and hypnotizing surrealism it was like nothing, compared to the jaw dropping excitement that my 12-year-old self experienced that day.
It was love at first sight. For the next one hundred and twenty-five minutes my life was fundamentally altered, because like my last great love, Star Trek, it was about hope, and how the human spirit can triumph over those whom would enslave it. I knew I would see it again, and I did. One hundred and fifty more times in the first year of its release alone. I have since stopped counted, and would not even hazard a guess about how many times I have seen it since the spring of 1978. My point here is that I am a die-hard Star Wars fan, not exactly a fanboy but pretty damn close.
Flash-forward 22 years and there I am at a different Showcase Cinema (this one in Milford CT, since that is where they moved when they closed in Orange). There is a palpable excitement in the air as I, and a theater full of patrons breathlessly await the beginning of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Finally it starts, and a cheer sweeps through the audience, as the film progresses there is a gnawing, heartbreaking suspicion growing. I begin to shift nervously in my seat. “Wait a minute” I say to myself “You mean It actually is going to suck.” As if confirming my worst fears Jar Jar shows up, then the Gungun’s in general, Watto, little Anakin “gee-whiz” Skywalker, and for the final nail in the coffin, Midi-Chlorians (wait, now The Force is a measurable something is in my blood, I thought it was “an energy field created by living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.”) One hundred and thirty-six minutes later I leave the theater, dejected, ill, and a little angry. And I have held that anger, like a badge of honor, for almost fourteen years. In Fact, I did not even bother to see the other prequels films until they came out on DVD and I could rent them for a few bucks. Now, it is time to look at that anger, and let it go. Yes even including Jar-Jar Binks, and Han shooting first.
You see boys and girls George Lucas is just a man, a flawed albeit incredibly rich one. I think that we expect too much from him because this film had such a tremendous impact, it was like nothing ever seen before. We are the one’s that built him and the franchise up into some kind of all seeing, all knowing, infallible, masterpiece. We convinced ourselves that the prequels couldn’t possibly suck, because it was George. Really, does The Star Wars Christmas special ring any bells, how about The Ewok Adventure? What exactly was in Phantom Menace that was any crappier than Return of the Jedi? Instead of one Jar Jar we had 37 furry little ones. So Yub Nub motherfucker.
Don’t get me wrong I love George but for every gem like
There is a:
So explain that. I mean let’s look at Jedi beyond the Ewoks. It’s full of fucking puppets, Lapti Nek, and bad-ass Boba Fett being summarily (and inadvertently) killed by a blind Han Solo. There is an offhanded revelation that Leia is Luke’s sister (rendering his lusting after her in the original film, and The Empire kiss cringe worthy.), oh and did I mention Lapti Nek.
I mean, quite frankly, if I were him I’d be trying to wipe The Star Wars Christmas Special out of existence as well. If you are one of the people who think there is something wrong with it, then make sure you never delete a dumb-ass comment you make on Facebook, or in a Forum. Don’t delete that embarrassing picture from you cell phone either, cuz if you do and still bitch about this it makes you, apart from someone who should really reconsider their priorities, a hypocrite.
Now some people say “He owes me.” Why? What does he owe us? Star Wars and all its merchandise is exactly that, a product. We either buy it or like it, or don’t. No one actually owes you or me anything. That kind of thinking has a name, it is called entitlement and it is an ugly little beast. I mean did anyone hold a gun to our collective heads and make us see the films, or buy the Star Wars condoms? No, that was OUR choice. I mean what kind of fucking retards buy an empty box on the promise that they will get some toys later, or keep buying the same movies over and over? Besides as long as you don’t try to make money from it, Lucas has embraced the fan community. Go make a fan film with Mickey Mouse, or re-cut Cinderella and put it on your YouTube account and see how fast Disney sues the shit out of you.
You want to know who made the Star Wars prequels really suck (not including Hayden Christensen), you and me. We couldn’t leave well enough alone. We are the dumb bastards who hounded the man into making more films, when all he really wanted to do was go back to his small drama’s and visual tone poems, that he incidentally knocks out of the park every time. We’re the ones who thought it would be some profound life altering film like Star Wars was. But the fact is it wasn’t We aren’t twelve anymore so it fell flat for us. Show it to kid though, and they are over the moon, kind of like we were when we first saw it. In the end, he made films for kids since kids are the one’s who made it popular in the first place. And before you complain “If it’s for kids what’s with all the Senate intrigue” I say if Pixar films are for kids what is with all the subtext, and jokes that they can’t possibly get. It is there for mom and dad, so they may have a shot at sitting through the whole fucking fiasco.
So, I still hate the prequels, and I am glad he sold it all off. I don’t know why he did that, but in my head I imagine that Francis Coppola had a nice long chat with him about how talented he actually is, and how his forte is the small ballsy seventies style guerrilla picture (you know kind of what Star Wars originally was). I’m sure the price tag didn’t hurt either. Oh, and by the way why are we so bitter we blame him for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. I seem to recall that Spielberg (You know the guy who made Hook and The War of the Worlds) had something to do with it
So here are my suggestions. If you don’t like Phantom Menace, The Special Editions etc. then don’t watch them. In fact, pretend they don’t exist. It is a valuable lesson I learned from Crow T. Robot (see The Girl in Lover’s Lane), if you don’t like the way it turned out than makeup something of your own, and stop bitching about how Lucas raped your childhood. Was going to see Star Wars exciting when you were 12? Then hold on to that, everything that came after that doesn’t change the way it felt then. Besides all these great films of that time by directors like Lucas and Spielberg, are all about holding on to the ability to see the world through a child’s eyes. For my part, I have come to realize that I if I lose that sense of awe and wonder and let it taint my memories than I am the one raping my childhood. So instead I will look forward to the day I can share it with my son. Yes even the prequels, because he’s going to think Jar Jar is hilarious.