This post contains (30-year-old) spoilers!
It’s May the 4th, so here’s some thoughts on my memories of Star Wars.
Return of the Jedi is the first film I can remember watching. Every year in the late ’80s, UTV showed a Star Wars film on Christmas Day, and my older brother recorded it one year. I think that tape was watched so much, the 20th century fox fanfare at the start became distorted over time to the extent that it became comical.
I had more than a few problems with it- if the empire was so great, how on earth did highly-trained stormtroopers get beaten by a bunch of teddy bears?
My cousin had an action figure of a character known as Ree-Yees, and I was looking forward to seeing his role in things. It turned out he was just some dude on Jabba’s barge at the start of the film who has no lines (despite what that article tells you, he does nothing in the film).
Watching that one first presented many spoiler-ific problems, notably when I watched episode IV a couple of years later. Why is Darth Vader trying to kill his son? Why is Leia kissing Luke if she is his sister (revisited in Episode V)? Why doesn’t the Cantina Band know more than one song? Did the goodies kill TK-421?
I worked out that I’d unwittingly been robbed of one of the great revelations of cinema history (as had my brothers), and by the time I watched Episode V (after passing up several opportunities to watch it before) I was kind of underwhelmed.
When the special editions were re-released in the mid-90s, we went to see them all and I began to see why people enjoyed it (though, I was surprised to find out the die-hard fans didn’t like the special editions, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for not), and why it had become the cultural phenomenon it had done. During this time, I really enjoy the X-Wing and Tie Fighter computer games that were about (available on MS DOS).
We were on holiday in the states in ’99 and were dead excited to go and see Star Wars Episode I in the cinema in New York, before it was out in the UK. I was looking forward to bragging about this when I got home, but it emerged that I just got a whole lot disappointed before anyone else did. It was hard to be sympathetic towards characters who were really annoying amid a boring plot and a baddie who looked really cool but wasn’t in it for long enough to be any use.
Episode 2 I did not even see in the cinema. I had A-Levels and the World Cup was on, which was more than enough reason to give it a miss. I ended up watching it on DVD the next summer and decided it would be the only time I’d ever watch it. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for a tedious love story with terrible dialogue, but there you go. At least Episode III would tie up the loose ends…
We went to see Episode III after the third year exams were done with. I went in with low expectations, and apart from the NOOOOOOO scene at the end and the line “Hold me like you did by the lake on Naboo”, I actually really liked it (and it is the only Star Wars film I own on DVD) and the scene with Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru holding baby Luke and looking at Tatooine’s twin suns was a fitting end.
I’m cautiously optimistic about Episode VII, even if I think it’s a bit unnecessary, but if it generates more Robot Chicken parodies I am all for it. Now if you will excuse me, I have to go bullseye some Wamp Rats in my T-16 back home.