Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Happy Star Wars Day

Today, May 4th, is Star Wars day supposedly because of the pun on the similarity between the phrase: "May the 4th be with you" and "May the force be with you."

That's good enough reason for me. It's clever and because our culture is ready to name a day after just about anyone or anything, I'm game for Star Wars day.

Like anyone who grew up during the Star Wars era, the first three movies to debut (A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) were influential on my imagination. I was 11 when A New Hope was released and I vaguely remember liking it, but Empire Strikes Back was the movie that affected me the most. I was awed by it because it was so different from anything I'd ever seen. I was never a real sci-fi fan, but this was a different kind of sci-fi...it was actually fun. Because I have always been a geek, when the other girls my age were drooling over the rock stars and actors in the pages of Teen Beat, my best friend and I were in love with Luke and Han. We must have seen Empire Strikes Back a dozen times in the theater, going home every time speculating on Han's fate after he was frozen in carbonite. To this day I drive my family insane quoting the movie verbatim.

I'm sorry to say I thought Return of the Jedi stunk up the big screen. Even before a degree in English and some screenwriting under my belt I realized the dialogue was childish and unnatural, the directing was stilted, and the story was melodramatic even for Star Wars. (Though I was relieved that Han was thawed and saved from Jabba the Hut.)

By the time the next three movies (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith), were released I'd grown up and had three kids. I wasn't as steeped in Star Wars. I found Anakin to be a whiny baby and although I thought the overall story was still good, I just wasn't as "into it" as I had been with the first three. I was pleased, however, to have the story complete and satisfied that most of the loose ends were tied up.

In the end, regardless of how good or bad the writing, directing, or acting was, Star Wars has touched the lives of millions, as well as influenced American culture in general. It fired up our collective (and individual) imagination and inspired writers, directors, actors, and just about everyone else to "do or do not...there is no try."

So Happy Star Wars Day and May the 4th...erm...the Force be with you!


alana said...

I love it!

Florence said...

My favorite is the introduction ...

"A long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away."

Many confuse Star Wars with a futuristic vision, when in fact Lucas was writing about the past.