Friday, May 20, 2005

A Galaxy Far, Far Away

Darth Vader, hot babe
A Star Wars freak in my husband's office ("freak" is not used negatively) says that everybody over 30 hates the new Star Wars series, and people 30 and under prefer the later-made series, some even think they should remake eps 4-6. I shudder at the thought of that. Actually George Lucas could just digitize the actors from eps 4-6 and do just that, he'd probably coax better acting out of a digital Alec Guinness or Harrison Ford than he has managed to do with this crew. Maybe a digital Harrison could even come up with a few memorable lines.

OK, I will say that ep 3 is much better than 1 or 2, but to me, Return of the Jedi with its cookie-cutter elements and formulaic approach still towers over Revenge of the Sith. ROTS is extremely good-looking. Anakin/Vader is extremely good-looking (now that's a little disturbing... I'm not supposed to be thinking of what's under those robes in that way...oh yeah, it's a little more crusty than Anakin, but...). I thought the good performances were from Ewan McGregor and Ian McDiarmid. The others were pretty lackluster. I am blaming Lucas for this, he must be getting like Ed Wood with good special effects. “That’s GREAT!! PERFECT!! CUT!!”

Even though the puppets in the older eps were a little lacking in believability, the fantastic story and character development more than makes up for it. Also, in the older flesh and blood eps, the action was more exciting because it happens at a speed that your eyes and brain can register and react to, whereas the digital technology can speed things up to how they might actually be in reality (if there really were Jedis and light-sabers), but so fast it tends to become a blur and leave me wondering what-all just happened.

This is important to me because Star Wars was once one of my obsessions. Back in 1977 when I saw A New Hope, I was absolutely amazed at everything about it. I tried to think of it as only a movie, but as time went on I was unable to resist the desire to immerse myself in that fantasy. I had fallen in love… not with a “person” but with that whole galaxy (not so far away). It was irresistible. I should add that I was 24 when that one came out (not a kid!), and by 1980 when Empire was released I was a full-on goner for it all. I collected stuff too. I’m a pack-rat by nature and when I am a fan of something I tend to collect stuff that relates to it. It’s a trait I have been trying to discipline all my life, with a certain measure of success (well, not with TOTAL failure anyway). Star Wars added some meaning to my otherwise dismal existence of working long hours, taking a lot of classes, and trying to manage in a loveless marriage to a man who worked about 70 hours a week. It’s one of the only things that kept me from being a COMPLETE workaholic, another trait I am still training to minimize. Also, I do tend to obsess over things I love. I go out there to the edge, but I always know where the edge is and try to make sure I don’t cross it. Generally the obsessions have a shelf-life, and when they die down I usually move on to something else, just a natural part of the evolution of it. I don’t think it’s unhealthy, not for me. I fly out there and reel myself back in.

I got away from Star Wars because of lots of life demands, my marriage eventually failed, my Mother became chronically, then terminally ill, and my career went through a hard transition. After spending all my time trying to keep my head above water and sanity in my head, I found that I no longer even visited that old familiar galaxy. Eps 1 and 2 were extremely disappointing, Lucas was unable to coax good performances out of some of the best actors possible. I just wasn’t buying it. Where was the soul? Lucas was fallen to earth. His contributions to technology are undeniable, he helped change the world. I have no doubt about that, it should be undisputed.

Do I recommend Ep 3? If you’ve seen the others, definitely go and see it. Go right now. Stick the last pieces in the puzzle. You already know to some extent who lives and dies, and what’s going to happen, so with that bit of magical mystery removed it’s nice to just finish it all up. THE END. Stay tuned for the TV series… well, maybe I will. TV has done a lot worse.

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