A Long Time Ago...In A Galaxy Far, Far Away....

A long time ago...35 years last Thursday to be exact... a movie came out that would change the world....nay dare I say it...the entire UNIVERSE!!! Okay maybe that's a little dramatic and its effect hasn't been that it changed everything in existence, but it certainly changed the world of filmmaking and has had a great impact on many people (myself included.) Well, I'll cut to the obvious chase since the title of the blog and the pictures contained therein gives it away. I realize that I have gotten into a habit of writing my intro paragraphs of my  posts in a movie trailer style, where I just reveal the title at the end after much suspense. Or maybe it's because of the college style thesis that is etched into my brain.. Oh great. Now I've done it again...left you hanging.. so... back to the point at hand, let's just say I'm talking about 1977's originally titled Star Wars (now known in the series as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.)

Watching it now it's hard to truly grasp or appreciate how different and mind blowing this movie must have been when it was released....this is BECAUSE of the impact it has had on every action or fantasy film made since. People are constantly trying to achieve its exact formula. So much of what we see today originated from Star Wars. It was really one of the first movies I can ever remember that truly had its own UNIVERSE. It was its own world and it was lived in, yet the possibilities were endless. After Star Wars, filmmakers understood this and audiences started to crave it. It had everything: Action, adventure, whimsy, great characters, cool gadgets, romance, robots, spaceships... I could go on and on. After Star Wars, the landscape film really changed. Anything could happen. Many franchises that have come since owe their success to Star Wars for paving the way in many different ways. Not only was the possibilities of storytelling in film changed but HOW you could tell a story and WHAT you could be able to show on the screen. With George Lucas, his imagination was the limit! Good or bad though some may say. But I will always thank him for giving me Star Wars. That's right. This post  is kind of like a little love letter to ole George. So maybe we should start from the beginning and flash forward twenty years after A New Hope was released..

In 1997, ten and a half-year-old Emily was invited by her brothers and older sister to go with them to see the re-release of Star Wars (the special edition) in the theaters. This wasn't the first time they tried to get little Emily to watch those movies and if they would have known what ended up happening they probably would have wished they never asked...I was always skeptical (even then I was incredibly opinionated,) but mostly because Laurie never liked them and I was into copying Laurie at the time. (Hilarious example: she was really into the Beatles and since I didn't want to DIRECTLY copy her I started claiming the Monkees as my favorite band.) But as soon as the offer was on the table to see the movie in a THEATER I was sold. How bad could it be? Well, as soon as I saw that movie up on the screen...I was in love....in love with a world inside a movie. And so it began. GEEK ALERT!! But hey it's for the love of film! All for the love of film!!

Now, storywise A New Hope has never really been my favorite of the series. It is very expository and there's not as much going on here as the other movies. It's just very straightforward and simple, whereas the story just gets so much richer and complex in the sequels. That said, I gained a much deeper love for it after the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I mean, obviously I already loved it since it did its job of drawing me into the series initially...but it had always been one of the most difficult for me to rewatch. Once all the puzzle pieces were in place though this installment became even more fascinating to me. Annnnd after the crazy fast pacing of Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope is kind of a welcome change...a nice spot to catch your breath before the craziness that ensues again storywise. Also, I know the world is full of prequel haters, but I think (and I know people will disagree..) that knowing fully the story of these characters and where they've been and what they've been through only gives the latter movies even more depth and awesomeness. So many scenes are turned on their heads as I just can't stop thinking "what must these characters be thinking??" Particularly Obi-wan. He's never been like an ultimate favorite of mine, but Episode III really makes me feel for him and as a result he just fascinates me now in A New Hope.

I haven't finished my saga rewatch yet, so unfortunately my Star Wars gushing isn't over quite yet. Still Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi to go...two of my absolute favorites. But I gotta say after watching Episode III again...I still just love it. The scene where the helmet finally gets placed on his head is absolutely iconic. There are a few lines that um....could be improved for sure. But to me, Palpatine's luring of Anakin....was just beautifully done. I was reading some facts on the IMDb and the first cut was 4 hours. Man, I would have killed to see that.  I love it. Just love it. And it, along with the rest of the movies in the series, was important to me in the time of life I saw it. I looked forward to it for years. Truly one of the first movies that got me interested in filmmaking and if it weren't for it and the others, I wouldn't be working at the job(s) I am...and this blog might not even exist! I understand the gripes, and I too wish the prequels (in general...as I said I still think ROTS is very satisfying) could be straight up masterpieces like the older films are...but they're not. That said, I still love them for what they are and as a part of the world of Star Wars they're like family! Anywho, that oughta do it for now. More Star Wars thoughts to be continued as I have the rest of the series to rewatch, but hopefully in between I will write up that 2011 list finally so we can have a bit of variety. Anyway uh....may the force be with you and Happy 35th to Star Wars!!!!


Amelia said...

I like that 10 year old Emily was still opinionated about movies!

Joey said...

Amelia, five-year-old Emily had strong opinions! :)

Okay, I saw Star Wars with Niel the summer before he left on his mission. It was at the old theater right by where The Broadway is now. I believe it was called The Center Theatre (yes, English spelling). We pulled up and there was a line outside the building and down the block. I hadn't heard a thing about it. I remember being bored out of my mind and thinking that this was just like watching a formula western, but it was set in space. I kept saying to Niel, "I can't believe you brought me to this."

Well, I had a blind date take me again later in the summer and I didn't like it any better.

After watching all of them with you, I can appreciate the imagination and straight forward message of good and evil; which by the way, is like a western. So I stand by my early opinion.

By the way, I heard on the radio today that there was a contest or something to see who could describe Star Wars in twitter-speak, using only 140 characters (I think that's the number). I think it was the New York Post. You should Google it. There were some pretty funny responses.

Sarah said...

Emily at any age has always had an opinion about everything, Amelia. :)

I definitely love Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi better than A New Hope, but I still enjoy it a lot. I just wish that the original, untouched version of the movies could be released on DVD.

And I totally forgot who I went to see it with in the theater in 1997. For some reason, I thought I went on a date...oh well! I'm glad that I went with you to see it because it spurned your love of cinema. :)

And let's just be grateful that Princess Leia's hairdo improved (pretty much from the medal ceremony at the end of A New Hope on). If she's had those cinnamon buns the whole time, the trilogy might not have worked. :)