Sunday, May 4, 2014

May the Fourth Be With You - Happy Star Wars Day

A treasure from Cover Art Gallery
I gladly accept and admit my deep-seated nerdery when it comes to Star Wars. I still get shivers at the score; will still drop everything if I see any of the films on cable; will secretly pine for the Lego Death Star, which costs four times more than the Blu-Ray filmography

When the original trilogy was re-released with all the improvements and enhancements, my friend Andy and I went to opening night for all three. After one we went to Toys R Us and bought light sabers and proceeded to have a light saber battle in the parking lot. I won't tell you how old we were, but suffice to say we drove ourselves there. In all honesty, I would probably do it again today. 

I also attended opening night over each film of the "new" trilogy. Each time it was an internal struggle. It was like watching Michael Jordan play for the Wizards. There were hints of former greatness, but everyone knew in his or her heart that time had compromised the magic. I saw "Episode I" five times. Each time I hoped that maybe it would change. Maybe I would understand why Jar-Jar Binks existed, or I would learn to accept young Anikan's wooden dialogue and abominable delivery. But I never did; at least there was a great fight scene at the end. 

Dwindling quality aside, Star Wars is still canon in American film and in American culture. Why else would J.J. Abrams decide to make three new films? Why else would the original cast decided to revive their characters thirty years later? Why would Disney spend the GDP of a small country to buy the rights? Because people love it, and they can't get enough of it. 

Another find from the
Cover Art Gallery
Any why do people love it? Why do they want more and more? Because it's the oldest form of story telling. Joseph Campbell knew this; Lucas knew it. Star Wars is myth. The growth of a boy to a man. The conflicts of parents and their children. The old vs. the new. Freedom vs oppression. The spiritual vs. the mechanical. Honor, glory, betrayal, vengeance, regret, forgiveness, hope. Old wine in new bottles, but oh how we love the bottles. 

We love Star Wars for the same reasons people love Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. They all tell the most basic story: the human story. But to tell that story with a touch of fantasy, that's when it's something special. 

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