John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Star Wars Day thoughts

As previously noted, today is the thirtieth anniversary of the release of Star Wars. I am old enough to have seen it in original release, though not on opening day. Unlike many of my generation, it didn't really have much of an impact on me. Sure, I liked it, and I suppose I saw it more than once, but probably not more than twice, and despite my geekish tendencies I've never been able to summon any sort of outrage over the changes George Lucas has made to the film over the years. Nevertheless, it (and its universe) has wormed its way into my brain, and still percolates to the surface from time to time. Why, just the other day, I was able to reel off the names of every actor who portrayed Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader, even poor exiled Sebastian Shaw. And I have been known to call certain places wretched hives of scum and villainy, and tell people that these aren't the droids they're looking for. (What I say more often than either of those is "Laugh it up, fuzzball," but that's from The Empire Strikes Back.) But I don't care who shot first, or whether Greedo was speaking Rodian or Huttese, or anything like that. It's still a really entertaining film regardless.

I do sort of object to the retroactive renaming. The movie I saw back in 1977 was called Star Wars, not Star Wars Episode Four: A New Hope. That's a dumb title. For one thing, it's obviously the first movie in the series. The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith may take place before Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, but from a cinematurgical standpoint, the series doesn't work if you don't watch the latter two movies before the former three. Empire in particular is damaged if you know going into it that Darth Vader is Luke's father. My former co-worker CS and I discussed this in some detail after Sith was released, and we determined that ideally the series should be watched in this order: Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and Return of the Jedi. That order preserves the surprise at the end of Empire, and seeing how Anakin turned to the Dark Side adds resonance to his redemption at the end of Return. So mote it be.

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