I must be brutally honest here and say I messed up, instead of being able to disperse these articles through a number of posts I ended up in a mad rush to finish this series (or at the very least, reach a point where I can put it to rest) but instead I have had to write all of them in a mad rush to finish, and to be fair that is because I simply did not comprehend how much I would be writing about these films, I certainly did not plan to do a complete review of all of them, but I decided to do so anyway, I had an entire article just on one line, and then another on the first two minutes of the first film.
The reason for all of this? I love ‘Star Wars’, which should not come as a surprise but I fell as if I really need to emphasise it now. If I can point to any series of films and say, that shaped and changed my life, it had the biggest impact on me and made me who I am, even in just the smallest ways, it was ‘Star Wars’. Picture this, 2001, a four year old sits down as his older and wiser cousin put on their DVD (or video, I mean it was fourteen years ago and that is ancient history) of ‘Star Wars’. I remember a sense of apprehension permeating the entire screening, as I watched these daring feats of defying gravity, duelling with blades of light and a man being choked from the other side of the room to his attacker. This mysterious figure, clad in black with his odd breathing was terrifying. Then you have those who oppose him, which to a four year old watching, automatically makes them heroes.
Luke and his allies fight the evil looking Stromtrooers, even though Obi-Wan is lost in the process, even though we can still hear his voice. They defeat tyranny, destroy the Death Star and get medals, and then…. Nothing. Well actually, not nothing. I watched the first fifteen minutes of ‘Empire Strikes Back’ but watched Luke be attacked by a hideous monster, get dragged to a cave, barely survive a freezing night in the wilderness and then be hospitalised. I deem it too much and demand it to be turned off. What can this be? Luke is now in real danger and not nearly as happy as he was in the first film, they are actually doing new things, and clearly they are not going as well so why not just continue with their old adventure, again and again.
That’s right, I did not watch ‘Empire Strikes Back’ for another three years until I was seven. Even there it was still a traumatic experience (as you could tell from a previous article), and maybe that shows how it had such an endearing impact even then. I felt so attached to these characters that I did not want to see them in any peril, failing to grasp that peril was the exact reason for their adventures, but come on, I was four. Now at the much wiser age of seven I proceeded to watch all the remaining films in the saga, and then again, and again.
What was it that captured my imagination so much? Maybe it was the concept of seeing these characters endure their own struggles that began to affect me even more, I was not just watching these people go through random and fun quests, I felt as if I was a part of it, I felt their pain and anguish with them. I was left bewildered by Obi-Wan’s sacrifice, heartbroken at Han’s imprisonment, stunned at Luke’s parentage.
I went to a very small primary school, in which there were just four other boys in the class (sixteen children in total with twelve girls) and none of them liked ‘Star Wars’. I watched it with my parents, siblings and relatives but for a large portion of my life, not my friends. After a while I began to wonder if I was alone within this struggle, if I was the only person who was even aware of this brilliance of this film. Even at that age I had the sense to point out how if my friends disliked ‘Star Wars’, why did they know so much about it? They knew who Darth Vader was, Luke Skywalker, Yoda and the music, Lightsabres and some plot details. But it was as I was introduced to a wider world that I became aware of how popular the films were, and the joy that brought was unparalleled. It is also the reason that, with the franchise fully reinvigorated, I will genuinely be able to say, concerning ‘Star Wars, ‘I liked it before it was cool’.
Over this series of articles I’ve analysed and compared ‘Star Wars’ to a lot of things from mythology to Kurosawa, and thought they clearly have an influence on the story, neither mythology not Kurosawa have R2-D2 or C3-P0, they do not have the spaceships, Lightsabres or Jedi, none of them have Darth Vader (Dark Helmet from ‘Spaceballs’ does not count) or Luke Skywalker. That is what makes ‘Star Wars’ so universally appealing, there is nothing else like it, or certainly not in this galaxy at least.