Recently, I boldly went where millions have gone before. Wait, wrong franchise. I felt the disturbance in the Force, in a galaxy far, far away. I made myself watch “Star Wars: A New Hope” – a.k.a. the original Star Wars film that started it all as I vowed to do before the end of the year. When I told my dad I planned to watch the movie, he didn’t think I would like it. I’d be more interested in the furry Ewoks that show up later in the franchise, he said. That I know is true – I really did enjoy watching “The Ewok Adventure.” I am very pro-Ewok.
I considered live-tweeting the viewing but wanted to keep my focus on the movie. Besides, I didn’t want my friends to disown me for not liking the film. (I kid, I posted my feelings about it on Twitter and my friends have decided to keep me around.)
The movie isn’t awful by any means. Sure, you look at the late-’70s special effects and think of how undeveloped they seem but at the time those were considered top of the line.
During the movie, I considered George Lucas should have made an “The Odd Couple-type of show starring C-3PO and R2-D2. I’d watch a few episodes of that because the pair was hilarious.
I was unhappy that Yoda doesn’t appear in the movie because, dude, he’s YODA. His speech pattern and advice are legendary.
But I made it through the movie even though it seemed to drag on forever. This must be what it’s like for my mom if she were forced to watch any Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings films.
While I might not be a fan of the movie, I understand how it impacted the film industry. For instance, George Lucas thought “Star Wars” was going to be a flop (I think that honor actually goes to “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”) – the movie earned more than $300 million making it the second-highest grossing film ever when inflation is considered.
It was the first science-fiction film to receive a Best Picture nomination. And “Star Wars” was at the forefront of merchandise tie-ins. I know for a fact my brother had a Star Wars playset, and there are countless people who have a lightsaber and/or Darth Vader mask. It’s a franchise that has been kept alive through a trio of prequels, cartoons, a new film set for next year, and a legion of fans who can recall the first time they watched the movie. Pretty impressive considering “Star Wars” was only scheduled to open in 40 theaters.
I also understand its cultural impact. Think about Princess Leia, who as female royalty wasn’t going to just sit by while all the males take part in saving the day. Even though she did need to be rescued.
Without Leia, we may have never seen the likes of Ellen Ripley or Buffy Summers, two characters that like Leia, showed the world females could take on the villains. Can you imagine Ripley waiting for someone else to fight the Alien?
Plus, if you want to get a bit philosophical, there’s the religion/faith aspect. Vader’s comrades scoff at the Force but he has faith that it can still work. They tell him the old religion is dead, but he knows it’s still there.
It also let science fiction fans know that they were no longer on the outskirts of popular culture, they could enjoy science fiction outside the forms of the TV series “Star Trek” and “Lost in Space” or books by Philip K. Dick among other sci-fi writers. Their favorite genre could bring excitement to the mainstream.
And when I was in high school, my orchestra played the Star Wars Suite, which gave the cellos a major section thanks to “The Imperial March” because no way would violins be able to handle those low beats.
I will finish up the original trilogy this summer simply because I don’t like to start a movie series without finishing it up. (Looking at you, Indiana Jones franchise.) But when it comes to space adventures, I’ll probably stick to “Spaceballs.” Because while the Millennium Falcon is pretty impressive, nothing beats a Winnebago with wings.