My brother Michael and I both love Star Wars, but he’s much more obsessed than I’ve ever been. It’s one of his many obsessions, while another that fascinates him is history.
He’s a clever guy, which means you can easily get into a long discussion with him about the newest movie. Or one of the old ones.
We saw the very first of the now 9 or 10 films back in 1977 at the Shamrock Cinema in Houston. I vividly remember that day/evening, because once again we were late.
We were always late in those days. Somehow we got there to the cinema. Somehow. They let us go in late and then stay for the 2nd showing.
So only then did we know how the movie actually started.
As a child, I thought the Dark Side had a lot more to offer. Only with a lot of time and a bit of wisdom have I finally realised that the Dark Side is hypocritical to its core.
I assumed as a younger person that the American government must’ve been the rebels, but I’ve luckily had a change of perspective. In this 21st century, we Anglo Americans are simply the Empire. No matter what you say.
As popular as the new Star Wars film might be on social media and, of course, in cinemas around the world, there’s a contingent of people who never saw the point. Either they weren’t around when the original films came out and are baffled by the entire phenomenon or they even experienced all of that and are still unmoved. I get it. There was a funny piece I saw in the last few days in which the plot was purposely spoiled by telling the basic gist of each of the movies. It’s rather easy to take any story and ridicule it by boiling it down to its simplest parts.
Yet if you take this pop culture behemoth out of context, you’re missing the part that I find so fascinating. Whether it was the British comedian in my feed who saw the first Star Wars film at Christmastime in London when it first came out there or the limitless American friends who have been buzzing with excitement about this new installment, there’ve been posts and comments on posts in which people tell about the first time they were introduced to the ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away‘.
Scoff all you want, and I’m well aware there are always going to be those who’re too cool for what the masses like, but this story hits so deeply not just because of how compelling it is. How you got into it is nearly as much a part of the story as what the film makers intended to entertain you with to begin with. I love to hear these stories and imagine little kids in 1977 wearing their bell bottoms and scruffy t-shirts shuffling into the movie house having no idea what was in store for them.
I was one of those kids and I can still remember getting completely lost in the story. We were late to everything and this was no exception, but they sold us tickets anyway and let us in even though an hour or so of the movie had already passed. It was even somehow agreed that we could hang out and watch the beginning of the next screening, so we’d know what had happened. For years, I even liked that disjunct way of watching it.
Over the last six or months or so, we went through all the earlier films Episodes I – VI and over and over the question would come up, when are we going to see ‘The Force Awakens‘? Not until December.
December??? How can we wait that long?
Well, here it is. The day we’re seeing the newest installment. Are we going to get there an hour in and hope they let us stay for the beginning if the next showing? No, we are not. We’ve been listening to the soundtrack and singing along, we’ve been studying the Lego book that tells us all the nerdy details of that galaxy far, far away. There’s a whole new generation getting into this stuff, and that’s a good thing I assure you.