I was interested to see broadcaster, writer and champion Blue Peter host wooer, Charlie Brooker, having a wee troll on Twitter regarding Star Wars. Charlie, in a mischievous attempt at entertaining himself by riling the fans of Lucas’ mismanaged baby, decided to play the Stars Wars is rubbish card on the social networking site. It was a fairly transparent trolling but it got me thinking on what I feel about Star Wars – or more specifically the ‚”real” Star Wars, Star Wars pre-1997.
“Is Star Wars rubbish?” I asked myself. Well yes, yes it is. Despite being a fan of the original trilogy I’ve long accepted that it’s the Dame Edna Everage-esque rose tinted spectacles I wear that make me dust off my DVDs from time to time. And it’s those same spectacles that cause me to still get a lump in my throat when Ben Kenobi takes one for the team, or make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end when whiny yokel Luke turns off his targeting computer. These emotional responses occur despite me knowing that the dialogue is corny, that there’s a distinct feeling that our George is making it up as he goes along and that the whole thing has the depth of your common or garden pantomime. A pantomime most likely starring Billy Pearce.
Ah, “emotional responses”.
That’s just it, isn’t it? For a lot of people of a similar age to me Star Wars as a piece of cinema transcends critical assessment. Why? Well, it’s because it is something we are emotionally bound to. It is something cherished and treasured because, like a certain smell or a particular piece of music, it evokes feelings and memories more powerfully than any clever use of mise en sc√®ne or insightful dialogue could ever achieve.
If Star Wars is the evoker of feelings and memories it is many different things to many different people. Below is what Star Wars is to me.
Star Wars is being bought my first action figure (Chewbacca) by Mum from Taylor and McKenna in Milton Keynes. That shop never seemed quite as good after it became a Beatties.
Star Wars is my Dad digging me a huge hole in the sand when we were at the seaside. He wanted to build a dam but I wanted to feed myself to the sarlacc. He probably knew then and there that I’d never be a piping engineer like him.
Star Wars is me trying to move my friend’s Raleigh Bluebird using The Force. I swear it moved once, honest.
Star Wars is sitting down with my family to watch the television premieres, Dad pressing record on the top-loading JVC VHS recorder just before it started. I still remember all the adverts; “The wa’er in Majorca don’ taste like wot it ough’ a”.
Star Wars is my Dad teaching me how to ride a bike and telling me to “use The Force, Simon” as he let go of the saddle. I then proceeded to crash into the apple trees at the bottom of the garden. Thanks Dad.
Star Wars is being told by my Dad that the actor who plays Admiral Ackbar was; “born like that”. Again, thanks Dad.
Star Wars is being envious of my friend, David Moore’s toy B-Wing. I wonder what David Moore is doing now? Does he still have his B-wing?
Star Wars is going to Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre to see Return of the Jedi, my first trip to the cinema. Okay, maybe calling Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre a cinema is somewhat charitable but it was still AMAZING.
Star Wars is arguing with school friends over who was going to be who at playtime. I always ended up being sodding C-3PO. Or Leia.
Star Wars is my Nan and Granddad coming to visit and bringing me the Princess Leia Boushh disguise action figure. Man, I miss my Nan and Granddad.