Friday, May 25, 2007

A Galaxy Not So Far Away

25 May 2007

A decade ago, for STAR WARS's twentieth anniversary, I wrote my very first STAR WARS essay. The internet was a lot younger then, and a hell of a lot smaller. There weren't such things as blogs, and as such, only about four people ever saw my essay, which I worked and reworked for the month leading up to the release of the STAR WARS SPECIAL EDITION.

A lot has happened in those ten years. I now shave regularly. I am now allergic to onions and carrots. I don't buy CDs anymore. I have credit cards and a dread cellphone and a car that goes over sixty miles per hour. I no longer harbour hopes of being an actor. I read less, write less, and watch less television. My life sucks, but in a different way from 1997.

I've had many dreams, and lived to see nearly every single one dashed on hard and jagged rocks.

The Prequels came and went, and I could talk about them. At length.

But maybe I should talk about that movie that's celebrating its thirtieth birthday, just for a minute, and just enough to touch on my feelings for it.

Man, I ate up those movies. I've spent more money on George Lucas's fantasy universe than I have on crack, porn, occult Nazi memorabilia, music, baseball cards, and Satanism combined.

STAR WARS has become so much more than a movie in the decades since it opened at a handful of theatres in 1977. Movies have changed in fundamental ways. The way films are made, marketed, distributed, and seen have evolved into a very different animal today, where they say now that a "theatrical release is just a preview for the DVD."

I haven't spent anything on Star Wars memorabilia lately, but the last thing I did buy was the book "The Making of Star Wars" by J.W. Rinzler. It was really interesting and shed light on the truly gargantuan struggles Lucas went through to get his film made. I had to admire the man when the shortsightedness of others threw countless roadblocks in the path of his vision, and he had to make the kind of compromises guaranteed to make him abandon directing. It was a testament to the hundreds of people who fought and brainstormed and innovated their way into a different world.

My grouchy old film teacher really despised Lucas's film, and often pointed out that people of my generation split film history not into "Silents and Talkies" or "Colour and Black & White," but into "Before STAR WARS and After STAR WARS." The book helped justify that, no matter what Lucas has done since then.

I love STAR WARS, EMPIRE, and JEDI. I'd like to say a lot more about them. But hey, it's May 25th, so I think I ought to post this before I miss the date. Maybe I'll come back and add recollections and thoughts and humourous asides and talk about how we went out to dinner Sunday night with my sister and her fiance and her fiance's kid was talking about how scary THE WIZARD OF OZ was, but that the Witch wasn't real but just a lady with makeup on and how nothing was real in the movies. And I pointed to a picture of R2-D2 and C-3PO and asked if he had seen that movie and if they were just ladies with makeup on, and he said, "No, those are really robots. All the stuff in STAR WARS is real."

We'll see what I manage in the days ahead.

Rish MTFBWY Outfield

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