Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Choosing Star Wars

Kristin Nelson just blogged about The People Versus George Lucas - an independent documentary by and about fans (and ex-fans) of Lucas and the Star Wars movies. Like many who grew up with Star Wars, I was disappointed by the sequels. As the opening crawl of Episode 1 began, I held my breath at the words "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..." only to feel my jaw drop in dismay when I read about the "alarming chain of events" with regard to taxation disputes.

I saw the second movie with low hopes but was let down nevertheless. I wrote a scathing review for the screenwriting class I was taking at the time. I remember scribbling on a notepad in the dark, wishing I knew shorthand, so I could later quote some of the awful dialogue between the lovebirds.

As for Episode 3, I've seen bits of it on TV but never paid enough attention to follow the plot.

Flashback to happier times... My dad took me and my brother to see the original movie in 1978. We children were given the choice - Star Wars with dad, or International Velvet with mum. My two sisters chose the latter - a "sequel" to the 1944 Elizabeth Taylor movie National Velvet. For some reason I picked Star Wars - perhaps because I wasn't quite old enough to have entered the "horse-mad" stage that many young girls go through.

We arrived 20 minutes late and sat in the front row behind a solid white barricade. Every time I rewatch the movie, I'm always surprised by the first few minutes that we missed, because my brain doesn't include them in my memory of the film. (Fortunately, in those days the movie ran in a continuous loop and you could stay as long as you liked, so we watched the start of the next showing to see the opening.)

We didn't go to the cinema much as children. I don't remember the movie having a huge effect on me (I don't think I even saw the next two at the cinema) but it's the only movie where I can recall exactly where I sat and exactly what the cinema looked like.

My favorite character was R2-D2. I had a tiny wind-up R2-D2 that may also have been a pencil sharpener. If only I'd anticipated e-Bay when I was ten years old, I would have held onto it...

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