Those of you who follow the blog of Scott Kingsnorth will know that he has recently rediscovered a fondness for the original Star Wars trilogy after more than a decade of rejecting the series. That he used to be light, turned to the dark side and has since returned to the light side has caused me to liken him to Darth Vader.
I can’t pretend I’m not a little pleased. Scott had already fallen out of love with Star Wars when I first met him four or five years ago and, despite passionate agrument on my side about how it actually is one of the greatest stories ever told, he would not be moved. Now that he feels the Force again, I have gone back over what it is that makes this story so important to so many people.
When I was seven I loved Star Wars. Particularly Return Of the Jedi. I think mainly because of The Jim Henson Creature Work shop’s puppets. But sometime in my teens I fell out of love with Star Wars. I think its because it was everywhere. The original films had just been tarted up and re-released. The expectation for the new prequel trilogy was high. And I couldn’t sit through a film studies class without an obsessed fan boy or dumb arsed stoner telling me how its “The Greatest film ever”. I grew sick of it. And on one occasion I recall loosing my temper with a fellow student for seemingly starting everything he said with the prefix “It’s like in Star Wars…”.
The first of the prequels came out that summer and I went to see it, expecting a lot and fearing the worst. What I was presented with was the straw that broke the camels back. The film trilogy that I started to fall out of love with I actively hated now. I don’t need to go into why I hated the Phantom Menace. A million other people have noted why its a bad film and I have to say I agree with ALL of them.
The below video is part one of a seven part review of the film with is both very funny and correct. Do watch them all when you have time:
When the second prequel came out I was at University. Studying Sound and Moving Image. We where all big film fans in my class. And most of us where sci-fi geeks too. So I went to see the film with my Uni friends. Again I was pensive going into the cinema. Two hours later my friends and I exited the cinema. My friends commended George Lucas for his “return to form” whilst I stomped about in a terrible mood as I had just sat through what I considered to be the worst film I had ever seen. I had seen many bad movies before. But Star Wars Episode 2 Attack of the Clones was the first one that angered me. With the exception the CGI desert rats I hated EVERYTHING.
Three years later Revenge of the Sith came out. I couldn’t bring myself to go see it. I was working in a DVD store called Silver Screen at the time of the DVD release. It was my job to ask every customer if they would like to pre-order a copy when they came to the counter. If the customer said they didn’t wish to pre-order it I would say “Good”.
I took to hating Star Wars in anyway it would present its self. And because of George Lucas’ merchandise machine it presented itself everywhere. I would audibly groan if someone brought it up in conversation. I would shake my head if I saw someone in Jedi fancy dress. And I would cover my face if someone suggested we watched the films again.
I eventually saw Revenge of the Sith two or three years later. Whilst I recall saying I thought it was the best of the prequels. It hasn’t lived in my memory long enough for me to comment on it now.
It was a terrible long drawn out break up but that’s where my Star Wars relationship ended.
That was until about a month ago. I went to see the Muppets superb new film. Which reignited my love for Jim Hensons work. I have always loved Jim Hensons creations. I grew up on; The Muppets, Sesame street, Labyrinth, Dark Crystal. Etc. Once I even had an interview at Jim Henson Productions. I didn’t get the job. But I kept my Kermit the Frog pass badge so proud was I to have been there.
During this rekindled passion for Jim Henson’s work I tried to watch as many films as I could that his creature work shop worked on. I got through all the ones in my DVD collection pretty quickly. Then for some reason I had the desire to see Return of the Jedi again. Of course I didn’t own it. And I couldn’t get it on Bluray alone. So I bought the Star Wars IV V VI boxset. And I really don’t know what possessed me to do so. But having made the investment I thought I’d best watch them. I put disc one in; a new hope. And would you believe it? Pretty soon I was enjoying it. Its not a perfect film. In fact there are plenty of better films. But I was enjoying it. Soon as it finished I put in Empire strikes back. Again it clunks a bit. But I was carried along with the story and by the end of the film I was ready and eager to watch the next installment. I watched Jedi. Possibly the clunkiest of the three. But the puppets appeared. And they looked amazing. And I really enjoyed myself. Like I did when I was seven.
Now I don’t want to be like one of those bores in my old film studies class. The films do have their problems. And there are better sci-fi films than Star Wars. And the prequels still make me feel a bit sick. But episodes IV, V and VI are rather enjoyable films. But just films. Not way of life.
I’d watch them again.