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What Star Wars Means To Me

CreativeCOW presents What Star Wars Means To Me -- Film History & Appreciation Editorial


cine-med.com
Woodbury Connecticut USA
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With all this talk about another Star Wars Trilogy, spin off movies, live action tv and George Lucas retiring a terribly wealthy man, I've kept myself busy with rumors, speculation and criticisms as well as hopes for good movies.

But what exactly does Star Wars mean to me and why spend so much time thinking about movies?

In 1977 most of the world went to see Star Wars. This was before it was named Episode IV. I did not. My brother went. I stayed home. I was a strange child.

However over the next 3 years I read the picture book, saw the Holiday Special, the cast appearances on Donny and Marie, the Muppet Show, got many of the toys, an R2-D2 punching bag, t-shirts, lunchboxes and bed sheets.

Finally in 1980, AFTER seeing Empire, I finally saw Star Wars. This was before home video, so movies would be brought back to the theater years after their original release.

As much as I thought I loved Empire, I am pretty sure I invented the acronym OMG after seeing the original.

Some time thereafter SW started its run on HBO. I believe I watched it every time it was on during waking hours. The trench run never got old.

Friendships from 1st through 6th grade revolved around Star Wars. I stopped receiving action figures after my 10th birthday, but no worries, my friends' parents never got the memo. While I was lucky enough to have the primary vehicles and major characters, other kids in the neighborhood had the AT-AT and the Star Destroyer.

In these days you could run around the neighborhood with plastic laser guns and lightsabers and nobody called the police. Heck on Halloween I would wear my dad's Army uniform complete with dummy hand grenade, gas mask and die cast non-firing .38 revolver. Dress like that today and you get arrested. In 1982 you got a gold star!

But back to Luke and Leia.

In 7th grade Bar-Mitzvah class we had a guest speaker who used clips from Empire to show that Luke's Jedi training was similar to our Bar-Mitzvah training. Luke was becoming a man and learning the ancient tradition of the Jedi, while we were preparing to enter adulthood and learn to read from the ancient Torah scrolls. It was perhaps a stretch, but for the first time in 4 years, Hebrew school was meaningful to me.




By the way, I nailed my Haftorah (Korach in case anyone is wondering). I also rocked that white linen suit, don't you think?

Once high school arrived, although I would watch the original trilogy on occasion, such as when we got the coveted surround amplifier, or when I needed cheering up, life became about girls and sports and getting into college. My high school friends were not so interested in SW movies and that was ok.

There were two Ewok movies in the late 80's and the Star Tours ride at MGM Studios, so Star Wars never completely went away. Although most of the toys were in boxes in the basement, my Boba Fett figure stayed close by through high school and college - perhaps a reminder to never forget where I came from.

College was a different story. It was for some reason easier to find friends with similar interests and SW came back into my life.




Once the VHS letterbox set came out, it was like seeing the films for the first time. One evening we wired up the school's SVHS camera to our dorm's hifi system and watched Empire loud enough to make the neighbors complain.

Once out of college a few years, the Special Editions came out, and while not so special in use of CG, it was Star Wars back on the big screen. Watching movies as an adult that you thought you enjoyed as a child can be a new experience.

When I got married, in addition to the usual decorations on my car after the reception, my brother placed Luke and Leia action figures hanging from the rearview mirror.





Next came 1999 and the Phantom Menace. At the time it was friggin awesome because it was Star Wars on the big screen. Same for Clones and Sith. Only years later does hindsight tell you that there were some not so great parts of these movies. But Clones was actually quite enjoyable and Phantom and Sith were ok with perhaps 30 minutes removed from each. I know what Lucas was doing - pushing the limits of CGI and initiating the era of digital cinema. Heck I shoot XDCAM so I guess I have Lucas to thank. When I first started my job we were doing animation with Alias Wavefront - we certainly have George to thank for that!

(yes, that is a Darth Maul cookie jar. I have a box of C3-POs cereal in the back of my pantry too if you'd like to see that!)





In 2010, on my birthday, my wife and I attended Star Wars in concert, featuring live narration by Anthony Daniels and a huge screen, lasers and a crowd so pumped up you would think it was a Zeppelin reunion.






I am sure that a part of me became interested in filmmaking and media production thanks to my love of Star Wars and the other scifi films of the late 70's and 80's.

The circle is now complete. When I left childhood I was just a learner. Now I am the master.

So that is what Star Wars means to me.

May the Force Be With you.

Yeah, I said it.


Mike Cohen







Comments

Re: What Star Wars Means To Me
by Todd Stanton
Enjoyed this little article.

I too have felt I needed to share my experiences. Thought you would like this:







(I think Youtube has blocked some of the content on mobile devices - dumb - so its best to view on a home computer)

Thanks again!
Re: What Star Wars Means To Me
by Paul Trunkfield
I will never forget when my dad brought home a Ferguson VHS Recorder. We were one of the first people in my neighbourhood to get one and when Star Wars Episode IV came on TV at Christmas it was recorded and subsequently watched everyday for the next however many years until the tape must have worn out. I knew it all word for word and had all the figures and models. My sister, 3 years older then me, had a similar passion in them days - the film Grease. So from an early age, after school, Star Wars was followed by Grease, followed by Star Wars again - you get the picture.
So not only now in my 30's can I still remember all the words to Star Wars, I can also remember all the words to Grease and all the songs too.
Re: What Star Wars Means To Me
by Mike Cohen
I'm sure you have all read how Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher have been assigned personal trainers to get them in shape for Staw Wars 7. Hopefully this means lots of conference room scenes. Apparently Harrison Ford is in ok shape. Although sitting in the pilot's seat on the Falcon is not so strenuous.

Last week the casting call was found - they are looking for 18-24 year olds for the main characters. Maybe it is the younger Skywalker and Solo kids, or whatever.

Let's just home there are no non-human main characters.

There was an old rumor about an enemy that either clones or otherwise resurrects Darth Vader - the marketing department at Disney likes that one.
Re: What Star Wars Means to Me
by Tim Wilson
"In 7th grade Bar-Mitzvah class we had a guest speaker who used clips from Empire to show that Luke's Jedi training was similar to our Bar-Mitzvah training."

I guarantee he was dying for one of you boys to act up so he could fix you with a piercing stare and intone, "I find your lack of faith disturbing."

:-)

Thanks for sharing, Mike. I'm so annoyed at how Lucas butchered this later that I forget what a magical experience it was at the time, and how much of its spirit survived his monkeying.

I'll also note that my wife nearly wouldn't marry me because I'd "only" seen Star Wars 9 times in its original run. Her threshold for husband material was at least a dozen, minimum. I only met the standard when she allowed me to count the times I saw it in the re-release, but I'm telling ya, it was touch and go for a while there.
Re: What Star Wars Means to Me
by Mark Suszko
Star Wars was the last movie I saw at a theatre with my dad before he passed away; it was just the two of us, driving into Chicago to watch it at the Empire theatre, at that time the biggest screen in town. It was where he and I also saw 2001, A Space Odyssey. We had to stand in line at least two hours outside on a pleasant evening, waiting to get in, and I recall the wait was shortened a bit by perusing the shadows of the dancing girls on the second-floor window shades of the Gentleman's Club across the street.

We were both blown away, could not stop talking about the "jump to light speed" effect, while careening down the Eisenhower expressway under streaks of streetlights.... and all the way home, my dad, very taken with Chewbacca, did wookie howls and grunts, guffawing at himself each time but unable to quit it for a couple of days. This was outrageous for my dad to be doing, as serious as he usually was.

Good times.


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