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Use the Force, Luke!
May 25, 2007 1:54 PM   Subscribe

30 years ago today
the dream of a man
named George Lucas
became a phenomenon
that changed the world.

posted by cerebus19 (135 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
I haven't read the links yet, but that is the single best-formatted FPP ever.
posted by Malor at 1:55 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


The only problem with the bunnies, and I do mean the ONLY problem in what is otherwise a perfect re-enactment of ANH, is that it is impossible to tell if Han shot first.
posted by The Bellman at 1:57 PM on May 25, 2007


What Malor said.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:57 PM on May 25, 2007


I see what you did there.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:58 PM on May 25, 2007


Yes. Bonus points if you could make it actually crawl all web 3.0-like.
posted by GuyZero at 1:59 PM on May 25, 2007


Heh, I'm sure I watched the bunnies thing a while ago but it still made me laugh.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:00 PM on May 25, 2007


And if only he'd stopped at number one (er, four, whatever), but no, he then went on to make 5 more movies that basically prove the first one was a lucky accident.
posted by doctor_negative at 2:03 PM on May 25, 2007 [6 favorites]


Star Wars! Just a movie! Empire Strikes Back! Just a movie! Return of the Jedi! Just a movie!


etc.
posted by jokeefe at 2:06 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


What EndsOfInvention said about what Malor said about your awesome formatting skills.
posted by lekvar at 2:07 PM on May 25, 2007


Ditto.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 2:08 PM on May 25, 2007


doctor_negative wrote "And if only he'd stopped at number one (er, four, whatever), but no, he then went on to make 5 more movies that basically prove the first one was a lucky accident."

I'm a massive Star Wars geek, and even I will admit that The Phantom Menace and Attack Of The Clones were pretty lame in some respects, and Return Of The Jedi and Attack Of The Clones had their lame points too. But The Empire Strikes Back? I think you'll find that's widely acknowledged to be even better than A New Hope. So I don't think you can call a film that had a sequel that improved on the original "a happy accident".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:09 PM on May 25, 2007


and Return Of The Jedi and Attack Of The Clones had their lame points too.

Whoops, I meant to say "Return Of The Jedi and Revenge Of The Sith had their lame points too".
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:11 PM on May 25, 2007


It's hard to remember what an impact Star Wars had on the industry, and our shared culture, now that it's become such a cliché and been so thoroughly tainted by Eps. I-III. The lore has become so totally entrenched that its like the background noise in the office; you actually have to concentrate to see how pervasive it is. So much of what made Star Wars so special back in '79 have become cinematic and SF tropes.
posted by lekvar at 2:13 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


So I don't think you can call a film that had a sequel that improved on the original "a happy accident".

Or even a "lucky accident". Man, I'm all about the proof reading today.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:15 PM on May 25, 2007


Actually, EndsOfInvention, another huge SW geek here (i'll go geek to geek on this one with anyone) and what Empire and Jedi prove, when compared with the "first" (most recent) trilogy, is that directing matters and George, um, can't. That ANH holds together at all really is, indeed, a happy accident as you can see if you watch any of the later "tweaks" that he made, all of which make it noticeably worse.
posted by The Bellman at 2:17 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's easy to pick on Star Wars Kid, but I think he at least deserves credit for not smashing the camera (I'm still not sure how he managed to avoid it).
posted by itchylick at 2:17 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I loved Star Wars as a kid, but I watched A New Hope fairly recently and was really let down! Maybe it's the cliché factor that lekvar was talking about, but it seems to me that the only problems the prequels had compared to the original were excessive talking and a severe deficit of Harrison Ford. Han Solo totally saves that movie for me.

Empire, on the other hand, holds up fine.
posted by brundlefly at 2:19 PM on May 25, 2007


The Bellman: Well I guess if you're talking about directing specifically, yeah, considering how the prequels turned out I guess he did fluke ANH. But I was talking more about "making" the film on a more general scale, as in he had the ideas and vision to make the whole thing happen.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:21 PM on May 25, 2007


I still think they should've had the Wookie planet. *grumble*
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:25 PM on May 25, 2007


<marquee loop="infinite" behavior="slide" direction="up" height="300" width="200" align="Top">

oughta do it.
posted by boo_radley at 2:27 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


[I centered it to make it work better]
posted by mathowie at 2:27 PM on May 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


Nicely done!
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on May 25, 2007


The cult of Star Wars sucks.

Star Wars the movie rocks. It's a great movie to watch on Saturday afternoon, which is what Lucas was intending.

Empire Strikes back totally, and I mean TOTALLY, rocked, an incredibel sequel that matured from the first. It's interesting that Lucas didn't have much to do with that one.

Sadly, there were no more Star Wars films.

I've heard that some other guy tried to finish the triology and add some back story, but it's probably just a rumor and even it that guy had done those films, it would just be a hack job, right?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:30 PM on May 25, 2007 [6 favorites]


A friend and I had nothing to do that afternoon so we walked into a local theater (one of those early widescreen-and-Dolby-stereo theaters) and caught the first showing of this movie called Star Wars. We really didn't know anything about it.

Including us, there were, maybe, 30 people in the audience. We sat dead-center and it was pretty much like having a private screening.

We liked it so much, we decided to go back that evening and watch it again. We arrived for the 7pm show and the line was out the doors and snaking through the parking lot. Crazy.

But I'll never forget that first screening in an almost-empty theater.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:31 PM on May 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


Lucasfilm Launches Star Wars Mashup Tools.
posted by ericb at 2:33 PM on May 25, 2007


Star Wars! Just a movie!

Wrong.

Empire Strikes Back! Just a movie!

Totally wrong.

Return of the Jedi! Just a movie!

Uh, yeah.
posted by ImJustRick at 2:34 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Star Wars Blogathon is underway!
posted by muckster at 2:37 PM on May 25, 2007


Focus! Focus!
posted by The Straightener at 2:42 PM on May 25, 2007


Lego Star Wars II (the video game) is the best thing to come out of the Star Wars franchise in 15 years.

The first one was like chocolate and peanut butter. The second one is like really fine chocolate and peanut butter.
posted by straight at 2:43 PM on May 25, 2007


Da day start okeday wit da sunnup. Me Munchen clams. Den, Boom! Deesa post hit at me every which way, dat flyen, dat scooten... Me get bery scared. Den me grabbin' the Jedi and POW! Meesa here! Meesa no like so much George Lucas. After first movie, heesa write bad dialogue. Okeday?
posted by miss lynnster at 2:45 PM on May 25, 2007 [11 favorites]


I want to live in Brandon Blatcher's world.
And I humbly prostrate myself before the awesome formatting on FPP.
posted by Busithoth at 2:46 PM on May 25, 2007


I've got a bad feeling about this...
posted by mazola at 2:46 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Those were the days.

Space was loud, aliens were drunks, and spaceships were built like American cars.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:46 PM on May 25, 2007 [8 favorites]


The beautiful thing about the marketing of Star Wars:

This is the 30th anniversary of A New Hope. In two years it will be the 10th anniversary of The Phantom Menace (as if anyone will have a reason to celebrate that). In three years it will be the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back. Two years after that will be the 35th anniversary of A New Hope, and a year later will be the 30th anniversary of Return of the Jedi. Two years after that comes the 35th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, and, well, you get the idea. Infinite theatrical re-releases, unlimited opportunities to sell resin busts of Chewbacca, and twenty years from now George Lucas will have "fixed" so many things in the original trilogy that Luke, Han, and Leia will be entirely computer-generated with improved hairstyles applicable to the decade in which the re-release is marketed.

And that's why I stopped being a Star Wars fan. That and Jar Jar, anyway.
posted by Saellys at 2:47 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I believe he only had Star Wars, the first one, written in 1977 and turned it into a franchise after it was a huge hit. I know he claims that he had the whole saga mapped out (although I seem to recall that he originally claimed it was three trilogies), but the sloppy writing makes me think he struck gold with a one-off movie.
  1. Luke Skywalker's awkward shift from being Princess Leia's love interest in the first movie to being her brother later.
  2. The change of the Force from a mystical power in the first trilogy to something you can check for in a blood test in the second trilogy.
  3. R2D2 being able to fly and shoot laser beams during the timeframe of the second trilogy and not being able to in the first one.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:47 PM on May 25, 2007


Da day start okeday wit da sunnup. Me Munchen clams. Den, Boom! Deesa post hit at me every which way, dat flyen, dat scooten... Me get bery scared. Den me grabbin' the Jedi and POW! Meesa here! Meesa no like so much George Lucas. After first movie, heesa write bad dialogue. Okeday?
posted by miss lynnster at 5:45 PM on May 25


No, it's not okeday. It is far from okeday.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:49 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Eponysterical.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:49 PM on May 25, 2007


And awesome post, btw.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 2:49 PM on May 25, 2007


When episode I came out, everyone I know who saw it told me not to see it. And the same with II, and then III. Each time one of these movies comes out, I have some pressing reason why going to movies is the wrong idea, plus everyone telling me they sucked, and thus...

I have still not seen I-III.

My purity is total.
posted by Hildegarde at 2:50 PM on May 25, 2007


Really interesting interview with Gary Kurtz about the way Return of the Jedi should have gone
posted by Brainy at 2:50 PM on May 25, 2007 [7 favorites]


Also: yes, totally awesome post. :)
posted by Hildegarde at 2:51 PM on May 25, 2007


Me Munchen clams. Den, Boom!

Aaarggh -- shut up Jar Jar Binks.

posted by ericb at 2:52 PM on May 25, 2007


It died when yoda proclaimed "around the survivors a perimeter create!". I am firm on this.
posted by boo_radley at 2:52 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Lego Star Wars II (the video game) is the best thing to come out of the Star Wars franchise in 15 years.

X-WING!!! TIE FIGHTER!!!!!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:52 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I assume we've all seen this, but just in case: Star Wars Breakbeats.

In finding the link I see they've added a couple of Ep. I tracks... Doesn't anyone learn?
posted by rschroed at 2:54 PM on May 25, 2007


I was the perfect demographic for the first movie. I was a 13-year-old boy, and I saw it in the theater about a dozen times. The Empire Strikes Back was one of the first movies I approached on a more adult/sophisticated/educated level, instead of only expecting entertainment from movies. I skipped school during my senior year to see Return of the Jedi, and it was one of my first experiences of disillusionment that mainstream movies are more business than art. The marked contrast between the first movie's small, sinister Jawas and the cude, cuddly Ewoks (I remember being surprised they weren't selling plush toys in the lobby) was one of the markers of the end of my childhood.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:55 PM on May 25, 2007


*bows low to the FPP master*

What is thy bidding....
posted by zarq at 2:57 PM on May 25, 2007


I was such a fan of the original trilogy. It was just a huge part of my childhood. I played with the toys, I read the books, in time, I played the games, I was a loyal advocate of the franchise.

I know it's become cliché to bring it up, but when Lucas was remastering the films and he decided to make Han shoot first. That was the moment, the exact moment, that Mr. Lucas and I parted ways.

It seemed in that second, that he didn't understand the character that he himself had created. Did he think we would think less of the character for proactively taking steps to keep himself alive? Of course not. That is why we loved Han. He was a criminal, who just happened to be on the side of the guys that we liked.

All the other stuff; the midichlorians, Jar Jar, Vader going 'Nooooo!', all of it paled in comparison to the betrayal to one of his best loved characters. After that scene, I just couldn't bring myself to really give a shit about the direction he had taken the series.

/former fanboy rant
posted by quin at 3:00 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


We now return to our previously scheduled future already in progress.
posted by humannaire at 3:04 PM on May 25, 2007


As much as I've come to loathe Lucas' meddling with the original trilogy, I will say a small "thank you, Mr. Lucas," for removing all trace of the "Jub Jub" song at the end of Return of the Jedi. It struck me as horribly out of place (and just plain bad), even though I was only nine years old at the time. I mean, thousands dead, a galaxy embroiled in the flames of rebellion against the iron fist of fascism, and the end number sounds like something out of The Muppet Movie?
posted by lekvar at 3:05 PM on May 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


Cinemax is showing the whole thing in order from I-VI. They're somewhere in the middle of "Attack of the Clones" right now, so the Original Trilogy will pick up in a few hours...
posted by First Post at 3:23 PM on May 25, 2007


Never tell me the odds!
posted by Ber at 3:29 PM on May 25, 2007


The Last Guy in the World to See Star Wars
posted by gottabefunky at 3:35 PM on May 25, 2007


changed the world.

uh, not hardly.
posted by quonsar at 3:38 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


Uh, yes hardly.

More than you could understand, quonsar.
posted by squidfartz at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


The dream died for me on November 17, 1978. Ewok, schmewok.
posted by mwhybark at 3:40 PM on May 25, 2007


Oop, and double-plus good post, like.
posted by mwhybark at 3:41 PM on May 25, 2007


It changed the world of film industry marketing.

It's a good movie, especially for kids. The disturbing thing is too many older people take it way too seriously.
posted by wfc123 at 3:45 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The formatting of this post may be more entertaining than the movie it lauds.
posted by dejah420 at 3:48 PM on May 25, 2007


and the end number sounds like something out of The Muppet Movie

Well -- Frank Oz was/is the voice of both Miss Piggy and Yoda!
posted by ericb at 3:48 PM on May 25, 2007


gottabefunky, the comments on that article are hilarious.
posted by Grod at 3:49 PM on May 25, 2007


Frank Oz was also the corrections oficer that gives Jake Ellwood his posessions back at the beginning of The Blues Brothers. That doesn't mean he gets to do a song-and-dance.
posted by lekvar at 3:51 PM on May 25, 2007


I know it's become cliché to bring it up, but when Lucas was remastering the films and he decided to make Han shoot first. That was the moment, the exact moment, that Mr. Lucas and I parted ways.

Um, although your post expands upon this point, might I hesitatingly point out that this is inverted in your recounting? The film was first released with Han firing before Greedo and revised to make Solo less of a rogue, undercutting the character's original depiction as an antihero.

Wikipedia: 'In the original version, Solo shoots Greedo under the table after uttering the line "Yes, I'll bet you have." '
posted by mwhybark at 3:58 PM on May 25, 2007


The funny thing is that even though Lucas didn't know anything about martial arts, he gets a lot of the stuff right. Some of those old chestnuts like "feel the force flowing through your body" really do work. The trick is finding someone to teach you the process that creates that feeling.
posted by wuwei at 4:00 PM on May 25, 2007


Thanks to this, I knew to be in the first theaterful of people at Eastland Mall Cinema in Flint, Mich. when Star Wars came out (and like Thozdad, I remember it wasn't all that heavily attended; word of mouth had yet to kick in). Seeing as it's only worth $35 and I'm not terribly nostalgic about the movie or my youth, I'm not all that sorry I didn't save it, though.

As much as I was into it for the first year or two afterward -- my parents were getting worried, as though I'd joined a cult or something -- by the time Revenge of the Sith came out, I'd grown heartily sick of it.
posted by pax digita at 4:02 PM on May 25, 2007


Am I the only one here to play Knights of the Old Republic and think, "hey, that's totally what the the second trilogy should have been"?
posted by Rangeboy at 4:06 PM on May 25, 2007


mwhybark, you are, of course, correct. I mistyped. Greedo shooting first was the result of the remastering. I was so incensed at the very idea that I got it all tangled up in my head.

I was arguing this point with a co-worker earlier so I had a lot hostility in my soul when I composed my comment. Good eye catching that. Thanks.

posted by quin at 4:11 PM on May 25, 2007


When I was in 5th or 6th grade I stood in line for about 2 hours to watch STAR WARS. Havn't done that again.
posted by snsranch at 4:12 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The other last guy to see Star Wars.
posted by imperium at 4:28 PM on May 25, 2007


Let me dispel some movie rumors to help keep people sane:

1) There were only two Godfather films
2) There were only two Alien films
3) There were only three Star Wars films
4) Greedo didn't shoot first.
5) John Constantine is English and there is no movie in production where he is an American played by Nicolas Cage Keanu Reeves.

Just keep chanting that every morning like I do and you will be fine.


I needed to update that.
posted by eyeballkid at 4:30 PM on May 25, 2007 [4 favorites]


I haven't read the links yet, but that is the single best-formatted FPP ever.

I take exception to that.
posted by pruner at 4:31 PM on May 25, 2007


holy fuck, did i really make that comment five years ago and still remember it???
posted by eyeballkid at 4:35 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


The last time Lucas was on TV (on "60 minutes" I believe), they asked him about critics, and he scoffed that critics hadn't liked "any" of the Star Wars movies, which struck me as particularly out of touch.

Ebert gave it 4 stars in his original 1977 review. I also have an old newspaper ad (sorry, no scan) from the summer of 1977 that is full of positive quotes from critics, talking about how it's good old fashioned fun, great movie magic, and so on.

The original was a hit not only with audiences, but with reviewers.
posted by Potsy at 4:44 PM on May 25, 2007


But The Empire Strikes Back? I think you'll find that's widely acknowledged to be even better than A New Hope.

I'm with doctor_negative on this one. The first one was a rollercoaster, with a hugely satisfying ending - it had structural integrity but still paid homage to the cliffhanger space yarns of the past with Vader's fate left undetermined. The second one, better made though it may have been, had the narrative impact of a wet bus ticket. "Luke, I am your father" as the big reveal (with no real other narrative payoff) was the first sign that things were sucky in the state of Lucas - that Luke and Leia were bro and sis AS WELL, that was just further proof that Lucas had only ever had one rabbit in his hat, and was now only interested in ticking off plot coupons in the supermarket of Campbell's hero's journey.

Empire left me disappointed (6 years for that?). Star Wars left me feeling the universe was constructed out of awesome. No contest.
posted by Sparx at 4:49 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I guess of all people you should know your George Lucas, potsy.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:54 PM on May 25, 2007


Am I the only one here to play Knights of the Old Republic and think, "hey, that's totally what the the second trilogy should have been"?

Nope, I thought the same thing. KOTOR was the first game I played where I appreciated how cinematic video games could be.
posted by pombe at 5:00 PM on May 25, 2007


The last time Lucas was on TV ... he scoffed that critics hadn't liked "any" of the Star Wars movies, which struck me as particularly out of touch.

Agreed; I remember a multi-pageNewsweek article from later that spring/summer that was pretty favorable.

Speaking of reviews, I went looking for Roger Ebert's initial review -- note the date, presumably added well after the fact.
posted by pax digita at 5:11 PM on May 25, 2007


Goddamn eyeballkid, you've summed up pretty much all my pop culture denials except for "U2 didn't make any albums after Pop."
posted by Saellys at 5:15 PM on May 25, 2007


.
posted by DU at 5:17 PM on May 25, 2007


I've never quite understood the "Empire is better" position, although it is very common amongst fans. And I stand by the fact that Jedi could have been utterly superb simply by replacing all the Ewoks with Wookies (which I seem to remember hearing was the original plan).
posted by markr at 5:19 PM on May 25, 2007


I was in Sydney when Episode I came out and, like others, had grown up a fan of the original series. I was so excited the day the first of the new film was to be released and went to one of the first screenings.

The cinema was packed, you could feel the tension in the movie theatre - the whole audience eager for the movie to start. The lights dimmed and blue writing appeared on the black screen, A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…

Someone yells in a strong Aussie accent “Awww, I have seen this one!”

Everyone in the movie theatre starts laughing.

That was the high point of that movie.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 5:29 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


"U2 didn't make any albums after Pop."

Pop? What's that, some sort of compilation of outtracks from their last album, Joshua Tree?
posted by bondcliff at 5:33 PM on May 25, 2007


All I remember is I wouldn't take my cheap Halloween-costume Darth Vader mask off for a looooong time. That, and the Halloween where I wanted to be a Stormtrooper so my dad rigged an outfit with, I shit you not:

* Thermal underwear, with black electrical tape for the joints;
* A cut-out milk jug with electrical tape cunningly deployed for the helmet;
* A caulking gun for the blaster.

I was in kindergarten. A certain klatsch of unhelpful older girls very vocally pointed out that "He in his UNDERwear!".

Thanks, Dad.
posted by everichon at 5:37 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


hey, pruner, that was a lovely FPP you did, but wouldn't it have seemed a bit less, y'know, egomaniacal, to wait for someone else to praise you?
posted by imperium at 6:00 PM on May 25, 2007


Star Wars led to the creation of Jedi Knight II, Jedi Academy, and KOTOR.

Thanks, George.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:02 PM on May 25, 2007


Awesome post - thanks. Well done!

I still watch the original trilogy all the time. Some of the best stories ever retold, and I've loved them from the first day I saw the first one back in 1977 on Main Street in Flushing, Queens.

Darth Lucas is an oddly-coiffed buttsteak.
posted by perilous at 6:04 PM on May 25, 2007


Everichon

I had a similar costume malfunction going as R2D2 for Halloween during the initial frenzy. For some reason my Mom didn't have the time to manufacture a round body so i went as a cubelike R2 fashioned from a cardboard box covered with construction paper and markered details taken from my toys. No referencing the DVD extras back then. At least my R2 head was round; probably a colander covered with tinfoil. < insert deity of choice > bless my parents. That costume was teh awesome.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 6:05 PM on May 25, 2007


Another FPP right now mentions the impending 40th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper's.

There are a million comments I'd like to leave in response to almost every other comment here, but I'll just ask you one question:

Can you make it through an entire day without hearing a reference to either the Beatles or Star Wars?

I think you'll find that you cannot. One time I made it all the way to just after The Tonight Show's monologue and then Jay said something about John during an interview with the first guest. Usually I can't make it past about 10 am.
posted by GatorDavid at 6:12 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


okayIcan'thelpmyself:hanshotfirstandjarjarsucked
posted by GatorDavid at 6:15 PM on May 25, 2007


I've never quite understood the "Empire is better" position, although it is very common amongst fans.

It has most of the same characters, but with real acting and direction this time. You can only recreate the cheesy Saturday afternoon scifi flick so many times
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:16 PM on May 25, 2007


Imperium - hey, pruner, that was a lovely FPP you did, but wouldn't it have seemed a bit less, y'know, egomaniacal, to wait for someone else to praise you?

LOL... I waited 70+ comments... it was beginning to feel like I was waiting for Godot.
posted by pruner at 6:32 PM on May 25, 2007


Beautifully formatted post.

Awful movies. They make me embarrassed to be human.
posted by spitbull at 7:10 PM on May 25, 2007


Don't care much for those movies, but damn if that isn't well-presented.

Tangentially-related link to justify comment: 'Spider-Man 3' Is "Silly," Says Lucas
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:13 PM on May 25, 2007


On the way home from seeing Star Wars in 1977 I was hopping around with unbridled excitement in the back seat of the car like a 6 year old, despite being too-cool-for-school 12.
Dad was veering the wheel left and right across the road making "ptew! ptew!" blaster noises.
Mom was just staring out the passenger window with a bemused grin.
posted by CynicalKnight at 7:25 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


My Star Wars story:

Our family was finally going to go out to see a film and I wanted to see... "The Boatniks". It had Phil Silvers in it. It looked zany. They shot salamis out of the torpedo tubes of a submarine in an ad I think.

When I found out we were going to see Star Wars instead I had a tantrum.

After the movie I forgot all about The Boatniks.
posted by mazola at 7:51 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I only have vague recollections of seeing any of the first three movies (I was an infant when Star Wars came out), but I do remember expecting to go see Empire, but my mom (who hates seeing movies out of order) took me to the first Star Wars instead. I was pissed. Then I wasn't.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:23 PM on May 25, 2007


The second one, better made though it may have been, had the narrative impact of a wet bus ticket. "Luke, I am your father" as the big reveal

SPOILER TAGS?!?!?
posted by inigo2 at 8:37 PM on May 25, 2007 [2 favorites]


I also call bullshit on "Empire" - even by then, Georgie-boy was taking himself WAY too seriously, believing the hype, or something. Star Wars rocked - and still does - sure, there are times when the acting sucks, but it was a genre-defining film. Everything afterwards was lame.


(saw the film upwards of two dozen times in the theaters in 1977)
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:49 PM on May 25, 2007


All I ever wanted growing up was to be Princess Leia.

I did see the first one in the theater, but I don't remember much about it. I do, however, remember seeing the second one in the theater, and was devastated by the loss of Han, and convinced that Lando looked just like my Uncle Marc (they both had mustaches).

You know, it's almost scary to think about just how many times I've seen the original trilogy movies. I don't think that I can even guess at a number.
posted by MsVader at 9:09 PM on May 25, 2007


Fun Fact about George Lucas: He was hired to film the Rolling Stones at Altamont, but none of the footage he shot made it into Gimme Shelter.
posted by pruner at 9:18 PM on May 25, 2007


Don't forget that if you use Photoshop and any of the products that have sprung from it directly or indirectly, George Lucas is very much in the core group of people you should thank. John Knoll, who was the visual effects supervisor on Star Wars, is one of the guys who started Adobe. There has been a HUGE ripple effect out into the entire world from the Star Wars pebble.

No matter how I might disagree with George about what he did with the films of the franchise, I basically owe the man my entire way of life and my career. I'm a concept artist at a video game company; my job simply would not exist without Star Wars.

In fact, I was first inspired to draw the way I do by The Star Wars Sketchbook, with all that great Joe Johnston industrial design art. I still have paper models of various SW vehicles built from those drawings; one of the guys I took classes from wound up working on the prequels. Friends of mine are working at Lucasfilm and LucasArts now, and I'd love to work there (tho I don't so much want to move to San Fran... sigh).

So my life is inextricably entwined with George Lucas and Star Wars (and so is yours, I'd bet). I'm rather grateful to the guy, and I'll thank him warmly if I ever get the chance.

(Others in that core group are Jobs & Woz, Bill Gates, Ralph Baer and Shigeru Miyamoto, just fyi)
posted by zoogleplex at 9:21 PM on May 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


I know I logged 45+ on New Hope. It pretty much goes down from there.
posted by Samizdata at 9:25 PM on May 25, 2007


Not all the pages are there, but enough is there to get the gist of the story:

Behold, the tragic story of GEORGE R. BINKS, Jar Jar's illustrous father, written and drawn by Tony Millionaire!
posted by JHarris at 9:54 PM on May 25, 2007


Wikipedia: 'In the original version, Solo shoots Greedo under the table after uttering the line "Yes, I'll bet you have." '

I've seen that film, and I'm positive it's "I'll tell you about my mother."
posted by dreamsign at 10:09 PM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]


I still like trying to figure out what R2D2 was saying. I presume it was laced with profanity and insulted C3P0 a whole helluvalot. Makes the movies funnier when you write your own dialogue for Artoo.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:18 PM on May 25, 2007


John Knoll, who was the visual effects supervisor on Star Wars, is one of the guys who started Adobe. There has been a HUGE ripple effect out into the entire world from the Star Wars pebble.

Ripple, shmipple. There were graphics programs before Photoshop, some of 'em not bad. If Adobe hadn't made Photoshop someone else would've, they probably wouldn't change the usurious fees Adobe does, and tht hypothetical program probably wouldn't have all those damnable patents on its splash screen.

(Yeah I know, grouse and gripe.)
posted by JHarris at 10:31 PM on May 25, 2007


All the sequel/prequel hate gets awfully dull. Can you really not find anything to like about those movies? I'm old enough to have seen all the original movies in the theater, but my favorite of the cycle is Revenge of the Sith.
posted by muckster at 10:57 PM on May 25, 2007


But The Empire Strikes Back? I think you'll find that's widely acknowledged to be even better than A New Hope. So I don't think you can call a film that had a sequel that improved on the original "a happy accident".

I actually don't count ESB because Lucas didn't direct or write the screenplay. His dialog is his worst enemy, but his directing in general is the death of the final four films. Somebody could have made those at least good, watchable films. I think that's what so annoying to me about the final four, they are a wasted opportunity
posted by doctor_negative at 11:35 PM on May 25, 2007


But The Empire Strikes Back? I think you'll find that's widely acknowledged to be even better than A New Hope

It actually had the worst dialogue and acting of the three, and that's a real achievement.
"I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight."
"I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain."
That is some serious walk out of the theatre and demand your money back material.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:01 AM on May 26, 2007


I still like trying to figure out what R2D2 was saying. I presume it was laced with profanity and insulted C3P0 a whole helluvalot.

It was all variations on "Smack my ass, Threepio, I'm a naughty, naughty bitch." Apologies to Wil
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:32 AM on May 26, 2007


hi,

In 1995, I was teaching in an airforce base in France, where there were classes for African pilots who were trained by French Army. Each of the pupils had already an university degree, many were from wealthy families in their own country. Since I was to teach them many things about french culture and literature, I was at some point led to mention Chrétien de Troyes and the Arthurian stories. I assumed that they all knew star wars, so I told them that these stories were a huge influence of the Star wars trilogy. Well, they didn't know what Star Wars was. Never heard about it. Didn't even care. But anyway, by that time, I wasn't aware of much african literature, I didn't even know Sunjata.
posted by nicolin at 2:57 AM on May 26, 2007


""I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your sight."

"I don't know where you get your delusions, laser brain.""


Compared to:

"Where is your ship?"

"On the outskirts."

that first is brilliant cinema.

Come on, the Han/Leia romance is actually pretty well done, considering. it's understated and housed in a coccoon of antipathy. It reminds me of a long-lost high school romance. When we were 16, it was poignant, and we have not forgotten.

The Force = midichlorians (mitochondria??) in the bloodstream? Jedi, please.

(p.s. I'm nice men.)
posted by zoogleplex at 3:11 AM on May 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


At least it doesn't suck as bad as those Matrix prequels. I ditched them somewhere shortly after the never-ending rave.
posted by reklaw at 5:15 AM on May 26, 2007


I meant, of course, sequels.
posted by reklaw at 5:15 AM on May 26, 2007


What a unique feeling it was to sit in that first matinee of Phantom Menace back in 1999 and feel the audience's expectations deflate when Jar Jar came on screen. The opening twenty minutes of Phantom Menace is actually pretty kickass. It's not until Jar Jar shows up that the shitiness is fully revealed.
posted by autodidact at 5:36 AM on May 26, 2007


When I was eleven, my mother and step-father threw me an Empire Strikes Back-themed birthday party, replete with a ten-foot long licorice-legged (alien?) centipede cake festooned with candles and brand new action figures, and I think every present I got was franchise-related. The storm trooper transport, which played recorded snippets of dialogue ("R2-D2, where are you?"). The R/C Sand Crawler. An army of bounty hunters (I had three IG-88s, at one point).

We all piled into the family station wagon and went to see the film, and I spent the next several years wrestling with the climactic fight scene, trying to reconcile the fact that Darth Vader could be Luke's father.

I got pubes when I was ten, but Empire made me a man.

Empire, and Debbie Harry, maybe.
posted by steef at 6:15 AM on May 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


I guess there are some people here who are as old as I am... my dad took me to see the first screening of it in 77 as well.

He said that he'd heard from his newspaper buddies that it was going to be a big deal. We loved it, but never guessed that it was going to change the entire movie business so much.
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:26 AM on May 26, 2007


I'm a little crestfallen to think that I guessed what/who IG-88 is.

Speaking of newspapers, I'm pretty hazy on his, but I vaguely remember reading, in the movie pages of my hometown paper back then, some two- or three-sentence blurb about production beginning in Europe on a science fiction movie -- this would've been late fall '75, I think. Much later I remembered seeing that and wondering if it must've been about Star Wars.

I also remember in the late winter/early spring of '77 -- about the time I was first getting to see Star Trek reruns in color -- I started seeing commercials for Star Wars and thinking, "Well, it looks like it's gonna be cheesy, but it might be fun." Not much later I lucked into that Starlog issue, read the cover article, and realized this was going to be a pretty interesting film.

I couldn't find that original commericial out on YT, but I did find the "Early Bird" one. Remember how Christmas 1977 arrived and there were no toy landspeeders or stormtroopers yet for the 'rents to put under the tree? This is how they dealt with the pent-up consumer demand. "They'll be sent to you at home between February first and June first...new from Kenner!"
posted by pax digita at 7:12 AM on May 26, 2007


Can you really not find anything to like about those movies?

Sure. Darth Maul was totally badass.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:30 AM on May 26, 2007


OP here. I just came across another couple of links I would've included in the post if I'd known about them. Wired Magazine has a whole bunch of Star Wars anniversary-related articles, including a How Star Wars Changed the World Flash map that is extremely cool.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:01 AM on May 26, 2007


(I should note that I'm an author on a Wired blog, but, as I have nothing to do with the magazine or the regular website, I think those don't count as self-links.)
posted by cerebus19 at 11:06 AM on May 26, 2007


kirkaracha writes "Sure. Darth Maul was totally badass."

Yeah. The fight between him, Obi Wan and... uh... what's-his-name is definitely the best lightsaber duel in the series, original flavor or prequels.
posted by brundlefly at 11:31 AM on May 26, 2007


fingers_of_fire - I also call bullshit on "Empire" - even by then, Georgie-boy was taking himself WAY too seriously, believing the hype, or something.

The Empire Strikes Back wasn't written or directed by Lucas. He didn't even have a chair with his name on it on the set. They filmed the Dagobah scenes using his half-finished swimming pool, but beyond that he had no involvement and that's what made it so damn good. It was dark, it was gritty, there was real character development and a real cliffhanger that actually gave people something to anticipate for the next three years.

Compare that to the prequels, where we already know exactly who is going to live and and who isn't, and the circumstances Lucas concocts to explain their survival or death aren't even interesting enough to warrant making movies about them. Episodes I-III are only worth watching with the sound off so you can ignore things like Jar Jar and the lines "Republic Credits are no good out here; I need something more real," and "I truly, deeply love you, and before we die I want you to know that."
posted by Saellys at 11:45 AM on May 26, 2007


The fight between him, Obi Wan and... uh... what's-his-name

Stephen Colbert?
posted by homunculus at 12:43 PM on May 26, 2007


.
posted by Many bubbles at 1:16 PM on May 26, 2007


Saellys, Chinatown is gritty, dark and has real character development. If you want to add "by comparison", then I'd be more inclined to agree with you. Actually, scratch that - Star Wars is great 'cuz it knows its limits - it's a fun action movie set in outer space. Whoever decided to take it beyond that did a disservice, imho.

Ask yourself this - would you still like Empire as much as you do if you saw it before Star Wars? The immense success of Star Wars gave those guys the license to do virtually anything they want. I'm the first to admit that I saw the sequels (and hated them) simply because they were Star Wars movies. I'd do it again. But in retrospect, the only that's held up, in my mind, is Star Wars.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 2:25 PM on May 26, 2007


BTW -- on Monday The History Channel has a program at 9:00 p.m. -- Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed. Trailer and other clips.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on May 26, 2007


fingers_of_fire, I did see Empire before A New Hope, so the answer is yes.
posted by Saellys at 7:36 PM on May 26, 2007


Zero value reply, but dude, that's a beautiful post.
posted by phrits at 7:39 PM on May 26, 2007


30th Anniversary Dance!
posted by Burhanistan at 9:18 PM on May 26, 2007


Most Star wars fans stilll dont get it. It stopped being about film long ago. Lucas made 2 good movies and one decent movie. This was the original trilogy. Lucas had long since moved onto building up ILM and developing lucasarts. The franchise then produced about 10 -amazing- video games, all which where under the radar of the film snobs. These high-quality games let us continue to live in the star wars universe in ways that go well beyond a child's imagination. This is the work of masters here.

Its amazing you dinosaurs are still talking about star wars as film and expect someone who has been long out of the game to reproduce his work, when he's long moved beyond it. Lucas should never touch a camera again. He should just be gathering talent for projects based on his IP, like more star wars games or whatever is under-neath the radar of video game dinosaurs like myself.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:21 PM on May 26, 2007


about 10 -amazing- video games

They must have made more video games than I thought then, as the percentage of Star Wars games that are decent is pretty small.
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on May 26, 2007


There's something about a surprise smash like Star Wars (could have bombed!) that is the happy coincidence of frolicksome derring-doo, chemistry, coincidence, luck and zeitgeist.

Trying to do deliberate magic in sequels is famously difficult -- the Wizard of Oz was sooooo lucky that noone tried it .... ("The Wiz"?? shhhhh)

So though I grew tired after four -- I saw One in the theatre, rare enough, with several friends, even rarer -- and remember gladly the movie and their eyes and voices afterwards. Thanks, George et. al. for a classic ... and some pretty damn good sequels.
posted by Twang at 2:11 AM on May 27, 2007


Twang writes "Trying to do deliberate magic in sequels is famously difficult -- the Wizard of Oz was sooooo lucky that noone tried it"

*cough*
posted by brundlefly at 2:44 AM on May 27, 2007


It's not until Jar Jar shows up that the shitiness is fully revealed

You may want to google The Phantom Edit.
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:47 AM on May 31, 2007


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