Oh yes, he's gonna talk about Star Wars.
It was inevitable, wasn't it? I mean, look at my work: a big chunk of it deals with Star Wars and it's pretty clear I have a passion for the films and the universe George Lucas and many independent authors created.
Some people don't quite understand why. I'll attempt to explain why to them, and they will nod and smile and not really "get it". I don't mind, though. For me, it's the magic of the tale and the depth of the universe created. The magic of Star Wars is in its simple tale about a farm boy who grew up and defeated a galaxy's greatest foe, and of course the tale of how his father went from being a naive little boy to a man seduced by the dark side and all the power and glory it promised. The universe itself is also quite vast, and I often enjoy diving into it and just playing around with ideas, like "What would happen if a Wookie had a bad hair day?"
Okay, dumb example. But you see, this illustrates the idea: we can imagine it and maybe get a laugh because the universe of Star Wars is rich and detailed enough to give our imaginations the fuel required for that.
So you might expect me to do one of two things when you talk to me about Star Wars: a) tell you that the Special Editions and/or the Prequels ruined my life, or b) the Special Editions and/or the Prequels were awesome and you are a fool for thinking otherwise.
I actually don't hold either opinion. Personally, I think the Special Editions, while not perfect and certainly overdone, were a vital thing because they employed techniques to preserve the original film, as it had deteriorated quite a bit. They were lucky to salvage the films at all, from what I understand, because the film material they were shot on was a new kind of celluloid that was unstable. In addition, this was the Star Wars I grew up with and remember the most. I did watch the original trilogy a lot as a kid, but those were borrowed films, and the set that I first owned and watched the heck out of was a full screen boxed set of the original trilogy. The Prequels, while not perfect and not worthy successors to the original trilogy, were not bad films. They are held to a much higher standard because of their predecessors, and I think if they were not made under the Star Wars name or if the original trilogy had never been created, they probably wouldn't receive the amount of criticism they generate. In addition, this was *my* generation's Star Wars. I am too young to have ever seen the original trilogy and its constituent parts in theaters (heck, I didn't even get to see the Special Editions in theaters because my parents never took me), but I can remember the hype and build-up to Episode I, and it created a magical experience for me as a kid. Episode I was faulty, I know, but it was mine, and I still get nostalgic thinking about the time surrounding its release and how everyone was talking about Star Wars again.
It was suddenly relevant. And for the first time in my life I think that everyone I knew under the age of 15 didn't think of me as a geek simply because I liked Star Wars. Or at least, they tolerated my fandom because they, too, were getting sucked into the hype surrounding Episode I. They knew it was something big, and they realized that more people were fans of Star Wars than they originally thought. Whereas before they probably thought I was the one weirdo who liked it, they suddenly saw their favorite celebrities talking about how much they were looking forward to it, and it maybe made them think that there was more to it than they gave it credit for.
This is part of the magic of Star Wars. Its story is so universally appealing to most people. Kids who weren't exposed to the magic of Star Wars don't often understand why it has that effect on people. They see it as just another sci-fi movie, and in some cases think its a ripoff of other great films, forgetting just how much it changed how movies were made.
I'm sort of getting off track here, because this isn't precisely what I wanted to talk about, but I needed to establish why these films are so impactful, and let other fans know that I am just as passionate about it as they are.
This is because I'm addressing those fans. The ones who go on internet forums and YouTube videos decrying the Prequels and the Special Editions.
I should point out that I have seen the Red Letter Media reviews and agree with every one of their points. The man who did them knows his stuff. He picked out things I hadn't noticed before, because the magic of the hype surrounding the films had blinded me to their faults, and I can't deny that his insight is an accurate one.
So why do I still like the Prequels? Why would I continue to watch my old VHS copy of the SE and the 2004 DVD edition of the original trilogy?
A large part of it is that the magic is still there. Call it nostalgia if you wish, but I still find myself smiling at the films.
And that, my friends, is true magic. For a film to be imperfect and still make one feel this way is something intangible, but real to people like me. And I think this is important.
George Lucas created this new world for people. It wasn't to make money, it was because he had an idea and believed in it so much that he wanted to see it grow to fruition. He knew how to create movie magic, and to cast a spell, as it were, on the American and international public. The timeless story of Star Wars is something everyone could identify with, no matter their age or ethnicity.
And I think this is something a lot of fans forget.
When you, the fan, are criticizing Lucas and calling him unpleasant things for tinkering with his films, are you forgetting that moment when the Star Destroyer shot overhead and blew you away in the opening to Star Wars? When you decry the prequels, do you forget that this same man also is the one who created the greatest movie twist of all time with the revelation of Darth Vader?
Lucas isn't perfect, and I admit he is a bit too fond of special effects and tinkering with his films. But I think a lot of fans owe him an apology for acting they way they do toward him. He made lightning in a bottle with Star Wars in 1977, and ignited a worldwide phenomenon. Not by himself, of course. He had help from various people to write the script and refine it, as well as the fine people at ILM who helped realize his vision. But it was his ideas that created this universe to begin with. He has a fantastic imagination for worlds and spacecraft (don't forget, he came up with the designs for the TIE Fighter, X-wing, and other ships in the original films), and his stories are epic in scope and universal in appeal.
So please, the next time you decide to be mean and hateful to Lucas for "ruining your childhood", remember that he is also the one who gave you that childhood in the first place.
Star Wars is a mythical and incredible world. Don't forget who created that world.